Call our Sales Team on 0208 912 2120

Effective Goods Handling Needs Overall Control

18th April 1958, Page 62
18th April 1958
Page 62
Page 62, 18th April 1958 — Effective Goods Handling Needs Overall Control
Noticed an error?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.

Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Mr. E. G. Whitaker Urges Closer Co-ordination Between Suppliers, Production Engineers, Transp6rt Operators and Consignees

" IT is essential, if the utmost economy is 1 to be achieved, that those responsible for handling should have authority to control all stages of handling, and that there should be the closest possible coordination between the supplier of goods or raw materials, the production engineer, the transport agency and the receiver."

This was stated by Mr. E. G. Whitaker, transport adviser, Unilever, Ltd., when presenting a paper entitled "Reducing Manual Labour in Handling Raw Materials and Merchandise--Possibilities and Problems," to the Institute of Transport in London on Monday.

The more expensive labour became, the greater was the need and incentive to do everything possible to reduce handling costs, he pointed out. The introduction and development of mechanized methods not only cut these costs, but speeded up the turn-round of transport.

Handling Wasteful

The principles of material handling were to minimize it, as it added nothing but cost to the finished product. It should be integrated with the manufacturing process and not considered as an ancillary.

Designs for new buildings should never be decided upon until handling operations had been planned. Moreover, the planned system of handling should be maintained and unauthorized changes resisted. Gravity should be used wherever possible and materials should never be placed directly on the floor, but on a pallet or dunnage.

Mr. Whitaker quoted the application of modern handling methods in the conveyance of .salt in bulk from Northwich to Avonmouth. The salt was made fluid by injecting sufficient air pressure into the flow to suspend the particles, but insufficient to propel them. It was then pumped in the same way as water into a silo 50 ft. above ground level.

Previously it had been bagged and sack-trucked at both terminals.

Bonding Pallet Loads

Regarding the size, shape and weight of packaged commodities, consideration should be given-to the fact that at some stage they would have to be handled manually. Where pallets were used, the absence of voids would assist good bonding and promote stability both in storage and transit.

Use of pallets in warehouses had, Mr. Whitaker said, halved the labour force in many instances, with an increase in storage capacity between 50 and 100 per cent. This result was achieved despite the neces-, sity of wider aisles which were generally n24 required for the satisfactory operation of fork-lift trucks and arose from the greater use of available height.

He considered there was a great demand for a cheaper automatic pallet loader and he understood such a model would soon be available. Similarly, the cost of pallets in many schemes was greater than that of the handling equipment and the possibility of dispensing with the conventional pallet was under review.

Unit loads could be provided with the necessary cavities, whilst the application of the squeeze-clamp attachment was becoming exceedingly versatile as variable pressures appropriate to the packs handled had been developed. No one method or item of equipment, however, was the answer to most of the handling problems encountered. The best systems incorporated many methods and a variety of equipment.

A big advance would result from a reduction in the variation between the laden and unladen heights of road-vehicle floors. Present experiments with hydraulic suspension may provide the solution. Road-rail transfer of goods would similarly be facilitated if the floor level of road and rail vehicles could be more uniform.

There was a large field for economy of labour in the loading of distribution vehicles, and Mr. Whitaker expected to see an increase in the proportion loaded and unloaded mechanically which, incidentally, would help to ease the parking problem. In a recent test it was found that where a 5+-ton-capacity distribution vehicle, making 40-50 deliveries per day, could load more than half its traffic mechanically, loading time was reduced from 45 minutes to less than 15 minutes.

The use of containers to cut labour costs had not been fully exploited and one of the most profitable avenues was in co-ordination between road and rail. If such a method could be developed satisfactorily it was to be preferred to the " piggy-hack" system, which had the disadvantage of so much deadweight to be carried by rail, and the necessity of an expensive team to anchor each unit to the rail frame: The practical and economic possibilities of a container van suitable for 12-ton or 14-ton payloads should be examined, so that it could be readily transferred by large fork-lift trucks from a road vehicle. A similar system operated in the United States: when transfer took place the van automatically centred and secured itself when the forks were withdrawn.

Lower Rates for Big Lots

When asked, during the discussion, whether two 6-ton container vans might not be more attractive to trade and industry rather than one 12-ton or I4-ton van, Mr. Whitaker suggested the transport operator might be surprised at the response if a reduced rate were offered to the customer if he rearranged his traffic to go in 12-ton or I4-ton lots.

He referred to the two new vessels which had been designed exclusively for container traffic on the Irish cross-channel service. The first was undergoing trials this week.

Although traders and industrialists could adopt mechanical handling, more readily than the public carrier because they could, to some extent, fit the traffic to ths. methods, even they must always preserve flexibility in their methods to permit the inevitable changes that would eventually arise within any organization.


People: Whitaker

comments powered by Disqus