By: Meaghan Ziemba, Content Marketing Manager, AME
Handling raw materials is a critical part of industrial sawing processes. It can either be done manually or through an automated process.
Manufacturers that invest in a material handling system can improve the safety and productivity of their sawing process. The less you transport, pick up, and jockey materials by crane or forklift, the safe the work environment for your employees.
Manufacturers can also gain a competitive advantage by reducing their wait time. If material can be moved in and out of a saw with just a simple push of a button, then less time is wasted on waiting for the availability or loading and unloading of a crane.
Other benefits of an efficient material handling system for sawing processes include:
Appropriate and effective facility layout plan.
Improved and simplified work processes.
Increased production activity.
Reduced total cost of production.
Before Selecting a Material Handling System
There are a variety of material handling systems that you can select from, including custom solutions. The right system should work in perfect harmony with your complete sawing operation. To start, ask yourself:
What is the entire process flow to and from the saw?
What are the sizes, physical shapes, and types of materials that need to be transported?
What are the pre- and post-sawing operations?
What is the overall budget for the system?
What is the volume that is to be moved?
How sophisticated of a system is needed and what sort of ROI can be generated from that system?
Consult among managers, suppliers, engineers, consultants, labor, etc. to develop an efficient plan that includes your facility’s layout, system location, and additional storage space. Identify your existing methods and any challenges they present, including physical and economic constraints.
Your overall plan should describe what is being moved and the when, where, and how often these moves must occur. Include your basic requirements, your desired options, and all future requirements and goals
Recall Principles of Material Handling
The basic design of a material handling system comprises of machine layout, product routings, and material flow control. Once you have your overall plan established, recall the remaining principles of material handling to help you select the right material handling system for your sawing processes:
To achieve your overall performance objectives, select methods, equipments, controls, and softwares that can perform a variety of operating conditions under specific standards. This involves:
Compatible flexibility and modularity in various conditions.
Integration of data flow with physical material flow.
Computerization of material handling and storage systems.
The goal is to integrate a smooth, seamless system that is flexible to meet the needs of tomorrow.
You want your work handling system to be minimal as possible without sacrificing your productivity or the level of service required of your operation. Your goal should be limiting the amount of times you move the materials, so consider the following:
Reducing, combining, shortening, or eliminating unnecessary moves that encourages the simplification of methods and processes (overall work).
Using the principle of gravity, when possible, to move materials or assist in their movement while respecting safety procedures and the potential for product damage.
Preparing all operation sequences and process/equipment layouts to minimize work and shorten the distance the material has to travel.
Do not forget about your employees. What are the limitations of your workers in the environment that they work in? Recognize their capabilities and match the handling equipment to what they can accomplish. Select a system that eliminates strenuous and repetitive tasks that also keeps their safety in mind.
Unit Load Principle
Match the unit load to the capability so that each load is appropriately sized and configured to achieve the material flow and inventory objective at each stage in the supply chain. This step will guarantee an efficient workflow throughout the process.
Space Utilization Principle
The space in your facility is three-dimensional, so make effective and efficient use of all that is available. This means:
Eliminating clutter and clearing aisles.
Maximizing storage density with a balance between accessibility and selectivity.
Using overhead space to keep organized.
The best material handling system for your sawing application will encourage the integration of data flow with physical material flow from the time the raw material is place on the saw to the moment it is cut and exits the blade.
An automated material handling system improves the efficiency, responsiveness, safety, consistency, and accuracy of your sawing process. It also reduces the manual work needed by an employee, increasing the safety of your overall operation.
If material can be moved in and out of a saw with a push of a button, then less time is wasted on waiting for the availability or loading and unloading from a crane. There are also high costs and slow speeds associated with operating cranes and forklifts, so reducing their use or cutting them out completely works to your advantage.
When selecting a material handling system, do not forget to ask yourself how much energy it will consumer and what sort of environmental impact it will have.
Life Cycle Cost Principle
Finally, what are the overall costs for the the options your considering? To select the right handling system for your sawing application, consider the following costs of the complete lifecycle of the system:
Setup and equipment programming
System testing and acceptance
Operating (labor, utilities, etc.)
Maintenance and repair
Other factors of a strategic nature to the organization should also be considered and quantified whenever possible.
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Mar 15, 2019 at 02:57 PM
I wanted to thank you for helping me understand material handling systems more. I didn't know that you need to have a system that is as minimal as possible while productivity isn't sacrificed. It sounds important to really understand what your productivity is like currently and how a system can be simplified while still maintaining it.
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