Discussion:
Climbing on racks to retrieve damaged pallets?

I am wondering how other warehouses deal with damaged pallets, or pallets not stacked properly on double deep rack systems, they fall or tilt and Maintenance has to deal with that because they feel is unsafe for regular team members, but we don't really have a procedure, it is just a managers word that he said is ok to climb out of the order picker to restack the pallet we have 4 levels, how do your warehouse deals with these type of problems? Oh management never writes anybody for not checking the condition of the pallet, or for misplacing the pallet.
  • Posted 23 Aug 2012 23:09
  • Discussion started by fredz0003
  • Texas, United States
Showing items 1 - 13 of 13 results.
Stuck pallets have been a major safety concern for decades. Unfortunatly, employees continue to enter jammed locations useing only pallets as a walking surface and a Y-lanyard. Not only is this very dangerous and unstable, I don't know of any industrial racking that has engineered tie off locations built into their systems. The MARC (maintenance and Retrieval cart) has engineered tie off locations and is custom designed with safety features that keep it from tipping or coming away from the Rack rails. There is no limit to how deep into a racking system the MARC can go. It is a virtual safety cage that safely takes it's operator to the jammed location. I have personally used the MARC in several pallet jams situations that took me at least 30 pallet spots into the racking system. As far as I know, there is only one manufacturer that has taken on this problem and has been working along with some major corporations on how best to solve the stuck pallet problem and how to keep there employees safe while doing the job. From a maintenance standpoint, the MARC can be included into the rack inspection programs were rack bolt torque can be checked as they do loosen after time due to vibrations etc. My recommendation would be to contact the folks at accu-flex-safety.com My contact there is Rick deJong.
  • Posted 26 Feb 2016 01:09
  • Modified 26 Feb 2016 01:13 by poster
  • Reply by jerry2m
  • Ontario, Canada
The challenge of stuck pallets, particularly in push back and pallet flow racks continues to be a serious safety threat. How do you provide operator access deep inside these rack structures? I would be interested in viewpoints on how the MARC - maintenance and retrieval cart, is performing in various applications. Any thoughts on alternative methods?
Jerry, I have talked to the Marc people and they have a nice machine. You said you had talked to the rack people re: getting a solution to the bunged up pallets you receive. Would it not be a better solution to have something like a clamp on the ForkLift or a Pallet Inverter and shall we say bouncer and squeezer to get them all back into alignment?
to do it with racks all I see is a big metal squared off coffee filter type thing whereby it would have fork slits on the front and it would lower the pallet down. As it did this the sides of the filter would narrow and bring the boxes on the pallet into alignment.Bit fanciful but you have to think outside the box on these problems, until the genesis of THE idea comes out.
Andrew
  • Posted 9 Dec 2012 08:32
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
Oops I did not make myself clear. When I said pallet I should have said pallet and load. Or loaded pallet. What I am talking about is very simple, you see them all the time before trucks enter yards or go under Railway bridges but extended out to all 3 sides. If the loaded pallet passes through this then it is dimensionally correct as far as height and width to go into the racking.You could easily add in the depth with an escapement mechanism. But this is old tech because you can get this done much faster with scanners these days which would also give you weight.
"95% of our issues involve the unit loads we receive from other sites"
That is a tough one because until area / National management recognizes that, it really is a game of tag. They are passing less than good product down the line, to an area that they know, they will not get serious repercussions from.
You cannot not accept them, but the good thing is you know that these are the ones to be flagged and acted upon. You can do this before introducing them into and polluting your system.
My guess is that they arrive in a bulk mode i.e. a full trailer which again makes it easier. You don't say how many are these unrelaibale pallets so I can't make a case for a sizing no/go line of conveyor with a manual size cage but that option is not expensive. It would save you a lot of heartbreak down the line. I have been in the Rack Business for over 30 years and am adamantly opposed to anybody climbing or going into the rack. Just one slip is all it takes, and you have a head fatality. it possible you could share some of the information you are giving to the rack people for me to look at? Having been around the block a couple of times I have seen a variety of solutions in practice. Some work some don't but I live for the challenge of solving them.
  • Posted 29 Nov 2012 06:04
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
Thanks Andrew,
The problem at out site is that we process about 6,000 unit loads per month, 2000 of which, are new order pick pallet orders. 95% of our issues involve the unit loads we receive from other sites. We have been documenting our jams for about 2 years now, type of jam, possible causes, high /low movers, location etc. We have found that there are many variables with respect to this problem and although damaged pallets are a contributor, they are only part of the problem. We share this information with all of our Associates to help them better understand the importance of correct placement of unit loads. We are also working with several rack manufacturers to see if they can come up with new designs that would help reduce or eliminate these issues. Until then, the M.A.R.C.(maintenance and retrieval cart) has helped us to manage the problem and reduce and or eliminate the amount of out of service rack positions. This is very new technology and was designed to address this issue. The marc will not help you clear the jams faster, it was designed to allow us to clear the jams and keep our employees safe while doing so.
  • Posted 29 Nov 2012 03:54
  • Reply by jerry2m
  • Ontario, Canada
I looked at the Marc system and it seemed a good solution to a problem. What I don't understand is why you don't use a sizing station before putting the pallets away in the warehouse? It's a standard procedure with an AS/RS because you can't climb up 60' to rectify a pallet problem. Yes it slows things down a bit but taking into account the time and potential problems you are having I think it is a better solution. For anybody wandering what I am talking about it a length of Power Conveyor with a metal surround that the pallet has to go through in the middle. Load at one end and unload at the other. If the pallet is the right height and width it passes through, if not it is rejected for repacking. I don't know what the approved procedure is for unstable pallets, but what i would do if i could track who put it away and it caused a bottleneck, is charge that driver a penalty for the clearing. The correct procedure would be to put it into a shrink wrap lane. I just think the solution is to input correct pallets and you won't have these downstream problems?
  • Posted 27 Nov 2012 11:36
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
Rack jams caused by unstable or poorly positioned pallet loads has been a problem for some time now. we have about 75 thousand pallet positions in our Canadian distribution center. About 30% of these pallet spots are push back. Until 16 months ago, we would enter jammed locations and manually clear the affected area with only a safety harness for protection at height. Our site safety managers decided to stop employees from entering racks in this manner and as such resulted in 600 pallet positions out of service. We tried several approaches to this problem and ended up with a unit called MARC (maintenance and retrieval cart). Rack inspections and clearing are now part of our daily procedures and I am happy to report zero locations out of service. We have 27 DC locations throughout North America and orders are already being processed in many of our US location. Well worth investigating!
  • Posted 27 Nov 2012 06:22
  • Reply by jerry2m
  • Ontario, Canada
There is a solution to this problem as it pertains to double deep, push back, and flow through racking etc. Take a look here.
http://accu-flex-safety.com/products/marc/pdf/themarc.pdf
The system is the MARC - Maintenance and Retrieval Cart. You can use it as a safe anchor location for clearing jams, pallets, and product and also to perform rack inspections at height.
Save lives with real world solutions
Buy a cherry picker and a safety harness. we use crown sp 3520. Thousands of dumped pallets and no injuries from cleaning up.
  • Posted 11 Sep 2012 13:31
  • Reply by eric_k
  • Illinois, United States
The camera is great for putting them away correctly, but his problem was " it is just a managers word that he said is ok to climb out of the order picker to re stack the pallet we have 4 levels" i.e. going into the rack to sort out the pallets that are messed up on the manager's say so.
Also there is no punishment for sloppy work of putting them away incorrectly.
Fred, What you are describing is a warehouse with weak management. If you have that don't expect back up when something happens from your manager. As you stand there saying "he said it was ok" he will be shaking his head and saying absolutely not I would never encourage unsafe practices.
  • Posted 8 Sep 2012 02:20
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
I believe you have Raymonds, Fred? Install a wireless camera on top of the reach carriage with the monitor on the windshield. The camera is toggle switch activated and you can see that rear pallet location up to 30' in height. I've done it on one of ours for about $400.
  • Posted 7 Sep 2012 22:19
  • Reply by joe_d
  • Texas, United States
Ain't nothing I can't fix but a broken heart and the break of day!
Climbing out on racks to fix damaged pallets or mis aligned pallets is extremely dangerous. I think I would be justified in asking for that order to be put in writing before doing it to protect me.
I have never been a fan of double deeps always struck me as a product invented after we had a forklift to sell.
You could get fork extenders but it would be very hard to see them getting in to the pallet and re arranging them. If this is a frequent occurence then it is the pallet's fault and management has to face up to that and buy decent one.Otherwise find another job, your life is more important.
  • Posted 7 Sep 2012 03:06
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
How to better deal with damaged pallets? I think this is the question, which never answered by experts. According to me it is only your poise and experience which can help you in this matter.
  • Posted 3 Sep 2012 18:31
  • Reply by kay_s
  • Devon, United Kingdom

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