Packaging: Device helps pickers put pallets in their place

Distributor finds cost-effective solution for stacking empty pallets in full-case picking modules.
By · October 02, 2015

A grocery distributor sought an ergonomic way to stack and retrieve empty pallets in its full-case pick modules. After installing a pallet return device, the company improved efficiency and safety for pickers and lift truck drivers.

Previously, pickers manually stacked empty pallets seven high, and lift truck drivers often had to dismount to rework those stacks to be sure they would remain stable and not get caught on racking. The new device offers an easier way for pickers to deposit empty pallets and automatically squares and neatly stacks them for retrieval by lift truck.

The company had previously considered reconfiguring the entire pick module to support another method, but the new device is mounted in 200 empty pallet return lanes on the existing pallet flow rails. Accommodating seven empty pallets per load, it requires no external source of energy like electricity or compressed air. The device’s ergonomic lifting method has reduced worker fatigue and risks of musculoskeletal disorders. The company also reports a significant time savings of as much as four minutes for each stack. Based on time savings alone, the return on investment is approximately 15 months.

“There is an ergonomic benefit to the picker, reduced time for them to build the perfect stack and reduced time for the forklift operator to pull the stack down,” says a manager at the facility. “No one will have to worry about twisted or bad stacks getting hung up on the rack frames, eliminating a possible risk or tie-off requirement. There is an added safety factor to all those below because the movement of the stack out to the edge is controlled as opposed to gravity or pushing that could result in an abrupt stop.”

Automation Plus,
a division of CSF Inc.

About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.