For over 30 years the leading pallet and sawmill magazine in America.
ProMat 2001 Post Show Overview
ProMat: Overview of the latest packaging and material handling products from the floor of ProMat, including new containers and pallets.
By Staff Writer
Date Posted: 4/1/2001
Thousands of leaders in the materials handling and logistics industry met in Chicago for ProMat 2001. Nicknamed Productivity City, the meeting in Chicago drew attendees from around the world.
ProMat’s continuing success has earned it the distinction as the premier material handling and logistics trade event in the U.S. More than 650 exhibits covered over 300,000 square feet on two floors. After walking the aisles looking for innovative packaging and materials handling ideas or applications, Pallet Enterprise’s staff has compiled the following report.
State of the Industry Report
John B. Nofsinger, chief executive officer of the Materials Handling Industry of America (MHIA), shared the views of the MHIA Roundtable Leaders on the economic outlook and several issues facing the materials handling industry. Year 2001 sales are expected to increase slightly from 2000 levels. Since demand is expected to be spotty, some equipment groups will fare better or worse than the industry average. Material handling industry internal capital spending is expected to be up slightly over 2000 with the majority going toward computer and information technologies, followed by production equipment with new plant expenditures a distant last. Origins of an economic slowdown began to appear in the second half of 2000. The softness in the economy is expected to continue until the fourth quarter of this year. Revenues are expected to increase in 2001, but profits are projected to be flat from 2000. Areas of greatest concern are automotive, steel, textile, computer, retail, housing, utilities, a glut of used equipment and e-commerce.
Innovative Products & Solutions
Simple Knockdown Tote for Bulk Jobs
The innovative K-Box series designed by Containair Packaging Corp. allows for fast setup and collapsing by one person. Made of corrugated, the high strength-to-weight ratio of these containers reduces tare weight significantly compared with wood crates and other alternatives. When collapsed, empty containers are folded into their own covers providing for reusability.
Built-in pallets (or slipsheets, when needed) speed handling and ensure uniform stacking.
These units offer high stacking strength, moisture resistance and durability, reducing loss in damage claims. Containair’s patented tamper-evident seal guards against theft. Containair clients include Nestles Foods, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Folgers Coffee, Kraft Foods, Kodak and Sunmaid Raisins.
The KR Box bulk tote system is designed for shipping high density food products, chemicals and assembly parts. It features high stackability. Optional inserts are available to meet specific compression requirements. The KC Box permits unloading with conventional side discharge or air transfer equipment and high stackability under adverse conditions. www.containair.com
Innovative Ergo-Friendly Container Add-On
Back injuries are expensive to treat, result in lost time days, and can increase workmen’s compensation insurance premiums for companies. Many materials handling operations require placing or retrieving product from the bottom of a container, which can lead to lower back disorders. The Spring Enclosed Ergonomic Lift, or S.E.E.L. Unit (U.S. Pat Pend), can alleviate the problem. It attaches to any common or specialty designed basket, bin, or rack used today.
The S.E.E.L. shelf unit is actually a "false floor." This "floor" is attached to four PVC corner posts or tubes that are equipped with engineered springs. The floor responds to several spring weights from 40-500 pounds, depending on what spring has been placed in each set of corner posts(tubes). Place your product on the shelf and it drops from the weight placed on the shelf; pull off this weight, and the floor rises. It is a simple but effective way to keep your employee erect, reducing the risk of lower back injury. www.ergo-solutions-inc.com
Innovative Twists on Totes
Paxton has developed an attached lid tote with a drop-down side panel. This feature makes picking out of the container even easier. The height of the opening can be adjusted. The container also includes a tote lock, which makes it easier to secure and prevent tampering.
Paxton has pioneered a new lid design for a tote tailored to the need of the wholesale drug business. The lids, made entirely of plastic, do not have any metal hinge rods to back out if broken like other container designs. According to Paxton, the lids of some other containers were falling off when used. Paxton developed a lid that folds up when opened, which solves the problem. Widely used in Europe for transportation of perishables, Paxton’s Maxi-Nest tote has a thinner lip and plastic bell arm, that allow more containers to be stacked on top of each other than other designs. Containers can be stacked securely and also fully nested for a space savings of up to 76%. www.paxton-na.com
More Than Just A BOXX
Originally designed for the apple industry, the BOXX® combines the features of a mobile display with that of a true knock-down container. The BOXX can be used for storing and merchandising product or as a true knock-down container for industrial/manufacturing applications. According to Pacific Bin Corp., the BOXX has an impressive back haul ratio of 3.5 to 1 and permits easy replacement of damaged parts. Constructed of injection-molded, FDA approved HDPE, it weighs less than 110 lbs. and holds up to 1000 lbs. Design includes either solid or vented sides and base. The BOXX® has been designed to permit stacking 10-12 high. It has been subjected to independent laboratory tests proving a stacking weight capability of 30,000 pounds. The BOXX® is designed for forklift or pallet jack entry, which eliminates the need for a pallet. One person, without tools, should be able to assemble the BOXX® or take it apart in two minutes or less. www.boxx.com
Low Cost Plastic Pallet
Port Erie Plastics manufactures the Skidmarx®, a low-cost, light-weight reusable pallet. According to Port Erie Plastics, Skidmarx is economical enough to use as a one-way pallet yet durable enough to be reused in a closed loop. Injection molded of recycled HDPE, the Skidmarx weights less than 16 lbs. It has a nesting ration of 2:1; 31 Skidmarx pallets nest in an 8 foot stack. It is a four-way entry pallet for use with forklifts and hand jacks. www.skidmarx.com
Turning Rubber Into Pallets
Companies have manufactured pallets out of a wide variety of material, from composites to sugar. Now there is even one made out of rubber. Engineered Rubber Products introduced at ProMat a heavy duty, rackable pallet made of a plastic and rubber composite. Called the Kodiak™, the pallet is open rackable to 2,800 lbs. The Kodak has a uniform, closed top deck and four-way entry. It has a slip resistant surface and comes in standard and custom sizes. Although the pallet may not be as pretty as those made from 100% virgin plastic, the plastic-rubber composite is less expensive. Compression molded with a unique process, the Kodiak offers lower tooling costs for custom sizes than other plastic pallets. www.erpiowa.com
New Label Technologies Identify Containers
The Kennedy Group offers a radio frequency identification (RFID) system designed for returnable containers and pallets. RFID tags prevent misidentification and allow for easy trackability and asset management. By integrating two identification systems, a company can continue to use its visual label system while incorporating an RFID system; labels provide a back-up and added protection should the RFID system a failure. This tag system cannot be used on metal packaging because of the frequency disruption. Depending on the size, the RFID tags operate at ranges from 6 inches to 22 inches. Since RFID tags do not need to be visible to be read, the tag information can be processed through a variety of substances, including snow, fog, ice, paint, grime as well as labels. Variable information labels can be placed over the RFID tag, offering a visual back-up to the information on the RFID tag. The passive RFID tags feature 48-byte memory and read/write capabilities, which allows information on the tags to be revised. www.kennedygrp.com
Powell Systems — Container Dumper
Powell Systems Inc. introduced a new rotating container dumper at the show. It can be used in applications that require emptying up to 4,000 lbs. of material from most factory containers. According to Powell Systems, the Dumper will rotate a container 180 degrees, allowing complete discharge of the contents faster than hydraulic dispensing equipment. Powell’s design does not use hydraulics, eliminating the possibility of hydraulic leaks. Optional wireless remote control is available, enabling a lift truck driver to load, operate and unload without leaving the vehicle. www.powellsystems.com
Unique Forklift Allows For Omni-Directional Movement
Why should an operator have to turn a forklift if he does not want to? AIRTRAX Corp. has pioneered a new type of forklift. It can travel in any direction and rotate 360 degrees in its own footprint. Using a unique wheel system, the forklift travels forward, reverse and sideways. The ATX Series Sidewinder comes in 3,000 through 6,000 lb. capacity models. www.airtrax.com
CHEP Adds IBCs to U.S. Product Offerings
CHEP, the global leader in packaging rental, has added an intermediate bulk container (IBC) to its North American rental family. Named the Unicon, the IBC features a hinged folding design, sight glass front panel, total discharge sump that lowers the discharge level below the base for minimum waste, access door on the side of the unit, and an ISO compatible size. Plastic panels and steel base and frame make the Unicon suitable for use in food-grade applications. Folded Unicon containers offer a 3:1 storage and transport ratio. The Unicon can be stacked five high and boasts a volume capacity of 275 gallons of product. CHEP has offered IBCs in other areas of the world for years. www.chep.com