Ergonomics and Automation: The Future of Cart Systems
Boyd King, Senior Account Manager, Jtec Industries, Inc.
Q1. How does the CarryMore® Tugger Cart System differ from your competitors’ systems?
A. Our CarryMore system is very unique in that it is the only fully-mechanical loading and unloading mother/daughter cart system in North America where each daughter cart rides completely off the ground during transport aboard its mother cart, without hydraulic lifts or ramps to load them. Daughter cart casters are not bearing any weight during transport, thus limiting caster wear and eliminating replacement caster costs associated with other systems. With CarryMore, each daughter cart has at least two swivel and two rigid caster rigs, aiding steering and limiting push/pull efforts to assist operators when released from the mother cart. Many other mother/daughter systems “corral” carts during transport, using all swivel casters on their daughter carts since they are being tugged with all the wheels on the ground. This increases push/pull exertion for operators to control daughter carts when they are released from their transport mother carts. In addition, CarryMore daughter carts are automatically secured in place in each mother cart by spring-loaded pins once they are loaded, not allowing any weight shifting during transport. CarryMore’s gravity–assisted release feature requires no pulling to release daughter carts from their mother cart transport. Its ergo-friendly patented system requires very little maintenance. These unique features are all very important to our customers.
Q2. Why is space-savings so important in warehousing, and how do your cart systems address this issue?
A. Floor space is a premium in all industrial locations. Using a cart system like CarryMore, only what is being used, when it is needed, is taking up space. There is no need for multiple bulk containers with multiple parts taking space on the floor; or for forklift trucks to remove items from trailers to place on the floor when parts need replenished. Without forklift traffic, safety is improved, and aisles can be thinner. Parts can be delivered, used and replenished as needed, with efficient delivery runs of CarryMore tugger trains. Daughter carts are designed with modular capabilities specifically for the parts needed, then can be reconfigured for other parts within the same shell, eliminating completely different carts for other parts.
Q3. How is the idea of ergonomics factored into your systems’ designs?
A. We’ve invested heavily into push/pull calibration equipment to make sure that our daughter carts are being safely used by operators. We meet or exceed most sites’ push/pull limit expectations. Pulling heavy objects is always the worst activity for cart operators. Our carts take virtually no pulling to remove them from their mother carts. The Elemate™ mechanical loading feature assists with pushing the carts into mother carts, as well. Otherwise, cart designs should always incorporate ergo features, such as right-height handle locations, the highest quality casters for operation ease, and even tilt and lift functionality to accommodate safe user reach levels. All our carts are designed with ergonomics in mind.
Q4. I understand that CarryMatic® is the newest product line; what makes it unique?
A. Our new CarryMatic® No-Touch Materials Movement Systemis the first total smart material handling solution on the market that is hands-free and integrates with any AGV tugger, bridging into existing lineside equipment used in each facility. Our CarryMatic smart carts use sensors and smart technology to communicate with lineside smart stations and a master scheduler in each facility. The sensors and built in routing software “tells” our carts when to load and unload materials via rollers on each cart during its operation. This type of smart technology solution is expected to grow in years ahead. What sets CarryMatic apart today is its proprietary technology, custom designed for each facility, and how it easily integrates with other material handling systems present in each facility. This makes it adaptable across many different materials movement applications.
Q5. Why is hands-free, autonomous technology the future of material handling?
A. You’ve read that one of the biggest challenges in manufacturing today is finding the right manpower to fill positions for the demands of the industry. Our CarryMatic products are completely autonomous, requiring no onboard or lineside manpower to load or unload materials from the CarryMatic train of smart carts. Further, removing workers from these repetitive delivery and pick up tasks allow them to be repurposed to other, value-added positions in the organizations. Autonomous systems can operate 24/7/365, without human error resulting in accidents, missed routes or workplace injuries from lifting materials onto or off of carts. Once programmed, they perform flawlessly. ROI is usually within two years. Smart technology, such as that found within the CarryMatic No-Touch Material Movement System, is definitely here to stay.
Q6. How do the sensors work? Is the CarryMatic system running in real-time?
A. Sensors mounted aboard each CarryMatic smart cart and smart lineside station interpret movement and proper alignment of materials being transferred on and off of each unit. When materials are safely transferred, sensors know when to stop rollers and secure the load. Our system operates in real-time and can be completely integrated into lineside equipment.
Q7. How is efficiency improved with this system?
A. CarryMatic eliminates human errors associated with route confusion, misdirected loads, and more. With autonomous systems capable of operating 24/7/365, delivering materials where they are needed and only when they are needed, productivity and efficiency is maximized. Repurposing experienced employee talent to other value-added tasks is also a more efficient best practice.
Q8. Your new system improves productivity for company owners; how does it also benefit employees and workers?
A. Employee safety is paramount. This hands-free smart system eliminates common safety hazards and workplace ergonomic injuries. CarryMatic AGVs sense movement near their train path and will react accordingly and automatically, avoiding common injuries associated with manned vehicle mishaps. Employees need to bring value to their employers to maintain jobs and grow into other positions. Utilizing autonomous systems like CarryMatic to perform simple, repetitive tasks eliminates non-value-added time spent by a talented, trained workforce. This frees up training time for those employees to learn new, additional value-added tasks where they can help their Company grow and feel pride in their work. WMHS
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