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SJF's Material Handling Blog

Material Handling Guides

New “Guides” Section on SJF Material Handling Blog

Material Handling GuidesSJF is proud to announce the new and improved Material Handling Guides section on our blog.  This section contains articles, tips, tricks and best practices relating to material handling and warehouse equipment of all types.

Topics include pallet rack, cantilever rack, packaging, balers, shelving and much more.

Further – we plan to introduce new articles about new and used equipment alike.  If you have any suggestions or would like to propose a guide topic, please email SJF and we’ll be happy to oblige.

Guide > Dock Boards & Dock Plates

Dock Board & Dock Plate Guide

Dock boards and dock plates are a portable, non-permanent solution to loading semi truck trailers at a loading dock. These dock ramps bridge a gap from the dock to the truck, overcoming both the gap distance, but also the height differential between the truck and the dock. Typically, dock boards are of heavier-duty construction than dock plates and allow for utilizing a forklift to load and unload a trailer.

Dock Plates

Aluminum Dock Plate

Aluminum Dock Plate – Note the Lack of Guide Rails

The surface of dockplates is typically safe and skid-resistant.  A ten degree bend in the plate allows edges to be flush at dock and truck for smooth material transfer. Beveled edges reduce wear and excessive equipment jarring. Locking legs secure the plate for safe loading and unloading. This unit also comes complete with carrying handles attached to the locking legs for easier portability.

Also notice that the dock plate does not have guide rails on the sides.  This is typical of dock plates as they are not usually handling vehicular traffic such as forklifts.  Also notice, however that to prevent run-off, the edges of the dockplate are distinguished by different shades as well as the lack of diamond plating.

Aluminum Dock Plates
Steel Dock Plates

Dock plate capacities range from 1,800 pounds to 5,500 pounds.

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Guide > Cantilever Rack Basics

Cantilever Rack Basics

Single Sided Cantilever Rack

Single Sided Cantilever Rack

Cantilever Rack (also called lumber rack or pipe rack) is a very unique solution to a very real storage problem.  Often, manufacturers find themselves with long, bulky items they need to safely store, but no real way to keep them out of the way.  This is an ideal solution for cantilever rack.

Cantilever racks make quick work of storing long and bulky items like lumber, plumbing pipes, bar stock or other long raw materials.  These racks utilize a center column with arms providing the actual shelf levels for storing items.

Cantilever racking can be purchased in either single sided or double sided configurations, the only difference being the number of sides available for storage.  Single sided units can only utilize one side while double sided units can store material on both sides.

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Guide > Carton Flow Rack Basics

Carton Flow Rack Basics

Why Carton Flow?

Carton Flow RackIf you are in any business where you do a lot of picking from inventory, carton flow rack is a product you should be aware of. With carton flow, you stock from the back and pick from the front. Pickers and stockers are kept out of each others way. If you are using regular static shelving, you know what a great benefit this alone will be.

A carton flow rack has several shelves, each shelf generally has 4 or 6 lanes. Specific products are assigned to each lane. As items are picked, the next item slides down to take its place at the face of the racking. Everything works using rollers and gravity (nothing motorized here). With a carton flow system, costs are kept low and efficiency is high.

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Guide > Balers

Hydraulic Baler Guide

Balers are designed to compact empty boxes, paper, clothing or other bulk materials into manageable bundles that can be disposed of or recycled. You can reduce fire hazards and free up space by eliminating the clutter.

Balers can typically be found in back-room or waste-disposal areas where several boxes or other items need to be disposed of or recycled in as efficient a manner as possible.  It’s also common practice to bale T-shirts, jeans and other fabrics together for shipment to recycling or donation facilities.

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Guide > Dock Levelers

Dock Leveler Guide

Dock Levelers attach permanently to a loading dock face, or mounted in a specially dug pit. Unlike dock boards and dock plates, these are a permanent solution that provide immediate use while saving floor space. They are typically constructed of high strength steel to maximize strength and durability. Some units are fully mechanical – needing no power, while others are electric and utilize motors for raising and lowering the dock platform.

Here’s an overview of the dock levelers available online from SJF.

Edge of Dock Leveler

Edge of Dock Leveler

Edge-of Dock Levelers

By far the most popular dock levelers on the market today, these edge of dock levelers attach to the edge of your truck dock and eliminate the need for a custom dug concrete pit. Available in 20,000 and 25,000 pound capacities, these units are mechanically operated and come complete with dock bumpers.

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Guide > Dock Seals

Tutorial Guide to Dock Seals & Shelters

Dock Seals vs. Dock Shelters

Dock Seal

Dock Seal

Dock Seal or Dock Shelter – Which Do You Need? What’s the Difference?

Dock Seals provide an effective seal between the truck trailer and building wall and are the best choice when a tight seal is needed. Dock Shelters are used on larger door openings. Shelters are also best for loading docks serving a variety of trailer sizes. They allow full access to trailer openings and in many situations will out-last Seals.  Either way, a dock seal or shelter can help you save money on energy costs.

Benefits of Dock Seals & Shelters

  • Save Money On Energy Costs
  • Seal in warehouse heating & cooling. Energy Saving pay back time can be less than a year.
  • Reduce Employee Injury and Absenteeism Seal out wind, rain, ice and dust that cause employee illness and accidents.
  • Reduce Pilferage. Close the gap between truck and door, thereby eliminating easy access for theft.
  • Prolong Life of Dock Equipment Seal out moisture, dust and elements that reduce equipment life.

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Guide > Fork Lift Platforms

Fork Lift Platforms Guide

Lift PlatformLift platforms are an easy way to reach high places without resorting to a dedicated man lift table or truck.  These platforms simply slide onto a forklift’s forks and one person operates the lift while the other is raised in the platform.  Obviously, this poses some safety issues, however the manufacturer’s of these platforms have factored in several safety features to minimize risk.

SJF carries two main types of lift platform, the standard maintenance platform and a narrow aisle platform (good for smaller spaces).  Both have benefits and drawbacks, but both are guaranteed safe and fully functional.

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