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IntroductionEdit

Unit load formation equipment is a vital tool for companies and industries everywhere, especially in cases where single units are smaller in size. This material handling practice involves turning a certain number, anywhere from 10 to 1000's of units, into a single unit that can be moved with ease, usually with a forklift. [1]

Background & ProgressionEdit

The concept of unit load formation has been around the world of manufacturing, as well as retail, for many years. It has been estimated that in 1993 there were two billion unit loads used daily in the United States. Since the initial use of unit load formation equipment several standards have been adopted for special items such as hazardous materials that may need a special type of pallet/tote. An example of these standards is the ASTM D4169 standard which varies based on the material at hand. Some contributions that dictate the ASTM D4169 standard is the value of the load, the possible hazards, and the distribution environment. [1]

Unit Loads Edit

Unit Load Formation Equipment are the equipment used to arrange, form, and/or restrict the items to a single Unit Load. A Unit Load is defined as "a single item, a number of items, or bulk material which is arranged and restrained so that the load can be stored, picked up, and moved between two locations as a single mass."[2]. This definition constitutes that even if a single item is picked up and moved manually to a different location, it is still considered a one Unit Load.

Quick Facts About Unit Loads [3] Edit

  • Size can vary, e.g. whether a trailer delivering a load of products is full or half full, it is still one Unit Load.
  • The move defines the Unit Load
  • As the Unit Load size decreases the Material Handling Time increases, but the job completion time decreases.

Types of Unit Load Formation EquipmentEdit

Self-Restraining [4] Edit

  • Definition: one or more items formed into a unit load using no equipment but can still maintain their integrity when handled.
  • Usually consists of a simple part or interlocking parts.
  • Constraints: size and weight of unit load are very restricted


Pallets [4]Edit

sciencedirect

[5]

  • Definition: a platform that has enough space underneath to allow a forklift to lift and transport.
  • The top of the pallet is called the deck-board and that determines the length of the pallet.
  • The stringer is under the deck-board and runs perpendicular. It determines the width of the pallet.
  • The most common pallet size, in the United States, is 48 in x 40 in.
  • Materials: wood (most common), pressed wood fiber, corrugated fiberboard, rubber, plastic, or metal
  • Constraints: low mobility, preferred for cubic-shaped materials, requires stacking patterns


Skids [4] Edit

Skid

[6]

  • Definition: a platform with enough space underneath to allow for a platform truck or forklift to move underneath and lift.
  • Has a greater clearance than that of a pallet to enable lifting by a platform truck.
  • Most commonly used for heavier loads when staking is not necessary.
  • Materials:?Metal (most common), wood, plastic
  • Constraints: low mobility,?preferred for cubic-shaped materials, requires stacking patterns


Slip Sheets [4] Edit

Slipsheet

[7]

  • Definition:?a sheet that lies on the floor and the unit load is placed on top of it.
  • Sheet is flat on the floor and the load is placed on top of it.?
  • Tabs on the end of the sheet stick up in the air and are used by a special lift truck attachment to push or pull the slip sheet.
  • Preferred over pallets for long distance shipping because they are cheaper and less weight.
  • Materials:?thick paper, corrugated fiber, or plastic
  • Constraints:?slower to move loads compared to pallets and the special lift truck attachment used reduces the load capacity of the vehicle.


Tote Pans [4] Edit

Totes

[8]

  • Definition: a reusable container used to combine and protect loose items.
  • Generally used for in-process handling.
  • Provide an alternative to cartons for distribution
  • Materials:?plastic (most common), metal



Pallet and Skid Boxes [4] Edit

Pallet box

[9]

  • Definition:?Reusable box that is placed directly on a pallet or skid that is used to combine and protect loose items.
  • Materials:?wood, plastic, cardboard, metal.




Bins, Baskets, and Racks [4] Edit

Bins

[10]

  • Definition:?Storage units used to unitize and protect similar loose items.
  • Materials:?Plastic, metal




Cartons [4] Edit

Cartons

[11]

  • Definition: a?disposable container that used to combine like items and protect them, mostly used for distribution.
  • Typically the cartons are stored on pallets until needed.
  • Materials:?Cardboard (most common), plastic



Bags [4]Edit

Bags

[12]

  • Definition:?a disposable container used to protect bulk materials.
  • Range from sizes of 1-6 millimeters.
  • Mostly used for distribution.



Bulk Load Containers [4] Edit

Load container

[13]

  • Definition:?Reusable container used to protect bulk materials.
  • Common containers are drums or cylinders.
  • Most common used are for distribution and in-process handling.




Crates [4] Edit

Crate

[14]

  • Definition: a?container used to protect like items.
  • Material:?wood (most common) or plastic




Intermodal Containers [4] Edit

Intermodal

[15]

  • Definition:?Large container used to store and/or transport items.
  • Can be transferred by road, rail, and sea.
  • Standard length is either 20 or 40 ft. in length.
  • Standard width is 8 ft.
  • Standard height ranges from 8-9.5 ft.
  • Material:?Metal (most common)
  • Constraints:?Very low mobility



Straps, Tape, and Glue [4] Edit

Straps

[16]

  • Definition:?Used to help stabilize a load
  • Material (straps):?plastic or metal




Shrink-Wrap and Stretch-Wrap [4] Edit

Stretch wrap

[17]

  • Definition:?Used to help stabilize a load.
  • Shrink wrapping contains a film or bag that is placed around a load and heat is applied to shrink the film or bag to conform to the shape of the load.
  • Stretch-wrapping contains a film that is stretched around a load which stabilizes the components of the load.
  • Stretch-wrapping is preferred over shrink-wrapping because it has less material, labor and energy costs.




Palletizers [4] Edit

Manual Palletizing Edit

Manual palletizing

[18]

  • Definition:?Operators manually stack the items to form the unit load
  • Usually positioned in the prime working zone between the knees and chest
  • Semi-mechanized palletizers allow operators to stack items and a powered device transfers the layers onto a pallet then returns to be stacked again.
  • Constraints:?requires extensive amount of physical movement



Robotic Pick and Place Palletizers Edit

Robotic palletizer

[19]

  • Definition:?Fully automated device used to form the unit load
  • Most common when flexibility is required
  • Picks up item and then places at desired location
  • Constraints:?capacity (averages around 6 cycles per minute), space requirements, cost



Conventional Stripper Plate Palletizers Edit

Cenventional stipper

[20]

  • Fully automated device used to form the unit load
  • Most common when high throughput of identical loads is required
  • Capacity can range between 30-180 items per minute
  • Entire layer is placed on the load at the same time.
  • Constraints:?Capacity (ranges between 30-180 items per minute), space requirements, cost




Sustainability of Materials Edit

The sustainability for the equipment is mostly dependent on the type of material used. This mainly pertains to the reusable smaller equipment such as pallets, skids, totes, bins, and etc.

Material Comparisons [3]Edit

Wood Edit

  • ?Weight (pallet): 55-112 lb
  • Durability:?Medium
  • Repair-ability:?High
  • Environmental Impact:?Biodegradable and Recyclable

Pressed Wood Fiber Edit

  • ?Weight (pallet):?30-42 lb
  • Durability:?Medium
  • Repair-ability:?Low
  • Environmental Impact:?Recyclable and able to be burned without ?fuel residue

Corrugated Fiberboard (Cardboard) Edit

  • ?Weight (pallet):?8-12 lb
  • Durability:?Low
  • Repair-ability:?Low
  • Environmental Impact:?Biodegradable and Recyclable

Plastic Edit

  • ?Weight (pallet):?35-75 lb
  • Durability:?High
  • Repair-ability:?Medium
  • Environmental Impact:?Recyclable

Metal Edit

  • ?Weight (pallet):?32-100 lb
  • Durability:?High
  • Repair-ability:?Medium
  • Environmental Impact:?Recyclable

Design Parameters Edit

There are multiple factors that play a role in the design process of Unit Load Formation Equipment. The following are some of the major factors:

Size of the Unit Load [3] Edit

  • majorly impacts the operation of the material handling system
  • as the Unit Load size?decreases the Material Handling Time?increases,?but the job completion time decreases.
  • The two elements in determining the size of the a unit load
    1. "Cube" Limit
    2. Weight limit
  • Large Unit Loads
    1. Advantage (major): requires fewer moves
    2. Disadvantage: increase work-in-process inventory
    3. Disadvantage: requires more advanced and heavier material handling equipment
    4. Disadvantage: increase aisle sizes and storage area
  • Small Unit Loads
    1. Advantage: reduce work-in-process inventory
    2. Advantage: require simple material handling equipment
    3. Disadvantage: increase transportation requirements

Formation of the Unit Load [3] Edit

  • the integrity of Unit Load is a major factor of the Unit load formation equipment. Pallets, skids, totes, cartons, etc. are used to contain the unit load. Shink-wrap, stretch-wrap, and strap are used to enclose the unit load.
  • Stacking patterns are critical to maximizing a unit load size
  • Stacking patterns for different pallet sizes:
    • Block pattern
    • Row pattern
    • Pinwheel pattern
    • Honeycomb patter
    • Split-row pattern
    • Split-pinwheel pattern
    • Split-pinwheel pattern for narrow boxes
    • Brick pattern

Movement of the Unit Load [3] Edit

  • determines the material handing equipment required for movement
  • Apple [21] lists four basic methods
    1. Lifting under the mass
    2. Inserting the lifting element into the body of the unit load
    3. Squeezing the load between two lifting surfaces
    4. Suspending the load

Reusable vs. Returnable equipment [3] Edit

  • Using returnable equipment:
    • minimizes the movement of empty equipment
    • storage for empty equipment is not needed
    • better quality equipment
    • increase in utilization
  • Using reusable equipment:
    • less shipping cost
    • eventually must be replaced or upgraded
    • must have space available to store empty equipment
  • the use of returnable equipment (pallets and containers) is becoming the standard for most companies
  • Containers with good stacking and nesting features reduce material handling costs[3]

Vendors Edit

Relius Solutions? Edit

Logo-Relius-Solutions

[22]

A manufacturing company that produces industrial grade products focused on reliability and performance. They are a manufacture of products such as: bins, pallets, racks, and all other sorts of storage and material handling equipment. In the US, C&H distributors is Relius Solution's main distributor of their entire product line. [22]



Premier Tech Edit

A0d96b2b2d54534ad49a3e8844cc9390

[23]

A company with over 90 years of experience, they are a leading manufacturing company for specific industries such as: Horticulture and agriculture, Packing and Material Handling, and Water Treatment. The industrial equipment group of Premier Tech is one of the largest manufactures in the industry. They are also a leader in innovating, designing, and manufacturing specific and custom palletizers that meet the specific needs of their customers. Below is a video demonstration of one of Premier Tech's AR series Robotic Palletizers. [23]


Robotic Palletizer & Layer Forming System - AR-200 Series Courtesy of Premier Tech

Robotic Palletizer & Layer Forming System - AR-200 Series Courtesy of Premier Tech

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Unit Load." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_load>.
  2. "Home | Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design."?Home | Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://unitload.vt.edu/>.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Bozer, Yavuz A., and J. M. A. Tanchoco. "Chapter 5: Material Handling."?Facilities Planning Fourth Edition. By James A. Tompkins and John A. White. New York: Wiley, 2010. 186-202. Print.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 "Unit Load Formation Equipment." Unit Load Formation Equipment. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2015. <http://www.mhi.org/learning/cicmhe/resources/taxonomy/UnitEq/index.htm>.
  5. "Pallets-."?Jay Bird Manufacturing Co. Inc.?N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.jaybirdmfgco.com/pallets.html>.
  6. "Skids | Carolina Crate & Pallet."?Carolina Crate Pallet RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.carolinacrate.com/skids/>.
  7. "Slip Sheet."?Search Pictures Photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://searchpp.com/slip-sheet/>.
  8. "ATTACHED LID CONTAINERS (ALC'S)."?Akro Bins, Bins, Attached Lid Containers, Plastic Tote Boxes, Storage Bins. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.lkgoodwin.com/more_info/attached_lid_containers/attached_lid_containers.shtml>.
  9. "Plastic Pallet Box Max. 1 165 X 790 Mm | FPT Series FAMI S.R.L."?Plastic Pallet Box. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.directindustry.com/prod/fami-srl/plastic-pallet-boxes-20037-164190.html>.
  10. "Material Handling Systems."?Plastic Bins. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mathand.net/specialty-extra-items/shelving-bins/plastic-bins.html>.
  11. "Material Handling Systems."?Plastic Bins. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mathand.net/specialty-extra-items/shelving-bins/plastic-bins.html>.
  12. "Material Handling Systems."?Plastic Bins. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mathand.net/specialty-extra-items/shelving-bins/plastic-bins.html>.
  13. "Material Handling Systems."?Plastic Bins. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mathand.net/specialty-extra-items/shelving-bins/plastic-bins.html>.
  14. "Material Handling Systems."?Plastic Bins. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mathand.net/specialty-extra-items/shelving-bins/plastic-bins.html>.
  15. "Material Handling Systems."?Plastic Bins. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mathand.net/specialty-extra-items/shelving-bins/plastic-bins.html>.
  16. "Material Handling Systems."?Plastic Bins. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mathand.net/specialty-extra-items/shelving-bins/plastic-bins.html>.
  17. "Paragon Stretch Wrap."?Paragon Stretch Wrap. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.johnedwardsco.com/paragon.htm>.
  18. "Paragon Stretch Wrap."?Paragon Stretch Wrap. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.johnedwardsco.com/paragon.htm>.
  19. "Paragon Stretch Wrap."?Paragon Stretch Wrap. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.johnedwardsco.com/paragon.htm>.
  20. "Paragon Stretch Wrap."?Paragon Stretch Wrap. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. <http://www.johnedwardsco.com/paragon.htm>.
  21. Apple, J. M., Material Handling Systems Design, Ronald Press, New York, 1972.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Hang & Stack Bins." Material Handling, Storage and Supplies Products. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2015. <http://www.reliussolutions.com/index.html>.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Premier Tech." Premier Tech. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2015. <http://www.premiertech.com/global/en/>.



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