Tag Archives: warehouse

Warehouse trucks: What you need to know to get things moving

Warehouse vehicles are essential for most businesses that handle goods and products. The use of such vehicles allows the safe transport of products and materials from manufacturing to storage, distribution and then onto retail. It’s important to use the correct equipment when handling loads to maintain the health and safety of employees, it also contributes to business efficiency, protecting items from any unnecessary damage.

Warehouse equipment

In this post we’ll be taking a look at a variety of warehouse equipment in detail, from manually operated sack trucks to powered pallet trucks so you can ensure that your business is running efficiently and safely.

What different warehouse trucks are available?

Warehouse trucks come in a wide range of weights, models and dimensions suited to many different tasks. There is so much choice available, from manually operated pallet trucks and sack trucks, to semi-automatic scissor lifting tables, right up to huge hydraulic lifters and even totally self-functioning robots!

If robotics are a bit beyond your current reach, don’t worry! We offer a range of sack, platform and pallet trucks all in different sizes so you can keep your product distribution flowing without a hitch.

What is a sack truck?

Heavy duty and budget sack trucks

Commonly used for lighter loads, a sack truck works by levering the weight of an item, balancing it over the trucks’ wheels allowing it to be transported easily. They were originally used in the 18th century by young harbour workers who were employed to move heavy bags of spices around the docks.

Sack trucks are commonly made from materials such as aluminium, steel tubing or high impact plastic, making them lightweight and versatile for a range of duties. But what is a sack truck used for? The sack truck’s purpose is to transport goods from one place to another. This could be a stack of heavy boxes, machinery or even used by baggage handlers to move heavy luggage.

Sack trucks are extremely versatile, cost effective and easy to use. They allow one warehouse operative to move something that may otherwise take 2 or 3!. Even though they are easy to use, knowing how to use a sack truck safely is very important and to also warehouse errors.

Firstly, check the truck and wheels before use to make sure it’s not damaged, and ensure the load does not exceed the weight limit of the truck. Carefully place the load on top of the toe (this is the flat metal piece that rests on the floor) so it’s ready to be lifted, and make sure it’s secured before gently pulling the top of the sack truck towards you and pushing forward.

As sack trucks require no formal training to operate, it’s important to feel confident and know exactly what to do when operating one. If you have concerns, do speak to your supervisor or the manufacturer of the truck before using it.

What is a pallet truck?

What is a pallet truck

As the name suggests, pallet trucks are machines designed for lifting and moving pallets. They’re a basic form of forklift truck and are mostly used to move pallets and their goods around warehouses. They come in 2 main forms; manual and electric powered. For this post we will be focusing on manual pallet trucks which are commonly used in warehouses and in the retail sector.

If you’re looking at purchasing a pallet truck you may be wondering how much does a pallet truck weigh? The answer entirely depends on the pallet truck you may be considering – we currently offer 7 of the most popular manual pallet trucks but there are countless more available in the marketplace.

A pallet trucks’ weight is not necessarily an indication of how much it can lift. So then, what is a pallet truck’s safe maximum handling limit? This varies depending on the individual piece of machinery. For example, our Extra heavy duty pallet truck weighs in at 80kg with a maximum load capacity of 3,000kg whereas our Economy pallet truck weighs 79kg and has a maximum load capacity of 2,500kg. It all depends on the intended use of the truck, so work out the typical weight to be lifted, where the pallet truck will be stored when not in use, and who will be operating it, before making a final decision on which one to purchase.

Just like sack trucks, using a pallet truck does not require any formal training, so knowing how to use a pallet truck before you start is important!

How to use a pallet truck, step by step guide

  1. Before you begin to use the truck, check the body and wheels are in good condition and not damaged.
  2. Check the maximum load of the pallet truck and ensure the weight of the load you’re intending to move doesn’t exceed this.
  3. Find the release lever, this is a small lever usually near the handles that drops the lifting prongs to the floor. Pull the lever to lower the prongs, then slide the prongs underneath the pallet.
  4. Once in position, repeatedly pull the handles towards you which will start to lift the prongs.
  5. When the prongs and load are at a suitable height, you should be able to smoothly push the pallet truck to move it.

Remember, if you’re unsure then speak to your employer or the manufacturer of the truck before attempting to use it.

How does a pallet truck work?

How should an operator move a pallet truck

Manual pallet trucks are able to lift and carry heavy loads using hydraulics. When the release lever is pulled, it releases the hydraulic fluid, lowering the prongs. The action of repeatedly pulling the handles towards you increases the pressure in the hydraulic fluid, raising the prongs and the load.

So how should an operator move a pallet truck? Manual pallet trucks can be pushed or pulled, although most people are able to push more weight than they can pull, so it’s always safer for the handler to push.  To find out how to use a pallet truck safely always speak to your employer, the manufacturer or read our short guide in the section above.

To reduce the risk of injury from lifting equipment used at work, The Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) was created under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Main areas covered as part of LOLER are:

  • To ensure lifting equipment is strong enough for safe use and marked to indicate safe working loads.
  • Ensuring that any equipment is positioned and installed to minimise risks.
  • Any work done is planned, organised and performed by a competent person.
  • Lifting equipment is regularly inspected by competent people.

More information can be found about LOLER on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

So are pallet trucks covered by LOLER? The HSE states that pallet trucks are not covered by LOLER where the consequence of the load falling off is very low. However, where the equipment is used in the workplace, it will need to be properly maintained and may be subject to inspection under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER).

We have a core range of essential equipment at Rajapack however if you’re looking for a wider choice visit our sister company Welco.

If you’d like more information about our range of warehouse trucks, or help on selecting the right warehouse equipment for your needs simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Your Guide to Strapping Machines

One of the most secure ways to fix a pallet or join parcels together is with strapping.  It’s a topic we’ve recently covered, detailing what is strapping and how to choose the right strapping. In this post we’re focusing purely on strapping machines, which can help speed up and simplify the strapping process. We’ll be detailing what they are, the different types available and how to use them, with a final focus on polypropylene strapping.

Strapping machines and strapping tools

What is a Strapping Machine?

There are 3 main uses of strapping; pallet strapping, to join one parcel to another, and to offer more strength.  It can be used to secure almost anything, from fragile products to bulky loads. A strapping machine is electrically powered and uses strapping to consistently create a secure seal on parcels and packages that is guaranteed to hold.

These machines do all the hard work, saving time, energy and materials in a typical packaging process.  They do this without the need of manual strapping tools such as tensioners, cutters, or combination tools.  The tension and strap strength can all be set by the operator, giving total control over the entire process of strapping.  If you’re regularly strapping parcels and shipments, then consider one to speed up your operation and improve efficiency.

There are three types of strap machines; an automatic strapping machine, semi-automatic strapping machine, and handheld strapping tools – all with different benefits and applications depending on your requirements

A semi-automatic, handheld and automatic strapping machine

1 – A semi-automatic, handheld and automatic strapping machine.

Automatic strapping machines are high performance, work best on high volume lines and are a bigger investment. Completely automated, they’re able to dispense up to 65 straps per minute making them ideal for production lines.  In one smooth motion they strap a parcel, sealing and cutting the strap to size as per the tension level set by the operator. Watch the automatic strapping machine in action!

Watch the Rajapack automatic strapping machine video

Semi-automatic strapping machines are lower cost and are more suited to lower volume operations, though still able to seal up to 24 straps per minute.  They tension, seal and cut the strapping in one motion, though with these machines the strapping has to be fed in manually so some operator work is required.

Handheld strapping machines are the smallest and most portable. These battery powered machines are lightweight and easy to handle. They’re ideal if you don’t have the space for a large machine or need to strap items in different locations.  These small machines tension, seal and cut quickly and efficiently and can be pre-programmed to set the tension strength.

How does a Strapping Machine work?

Depending on what type of strapping machine you’re using, it will work in one of three different ways. Below we’ve outlined each type of machine and detailed how they work so you can be fully informed before committing to a new packaging machine for your business.

Automatic strapping machines

These fully automatic machines are the quickest and simplest to use once they have been prepared and setup.  With the tension set, simply place a parcel on the machine and begin the strapping process with the touch of a button.  The items are fully strapped automatically, with the strap tensioned and cut by the machine.  The parcel can then simply be removed, ready for the next shipment.

Semi-automatic strapping machines

These machines require a little more operator involvement than automatic machines, as the user feeds in the strapping manually around each parcel they wish to strap.  This is a simple operation but takes slightly longer than using an automatic machine.  Once the parcel has been placed onto the machine in the correct orientation, the user simply has to feed the strapping through, engage the machine, and the strapping is tightened to the set tension automatically and cut in one smooth simple action.

Handheld strapping

These small, portable devices work quite differently to the larger machines above. A small handheld device, they are simple to operate, lightweight and easy to handle.  The strapping has to be wrapped around the item and placed in the machine where it then automatically tightens, tensions and seals the strap in one smooth action.  Being handheld, they can be used vertically or horizontally and the tension strength can be set on the machine.

They’re powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery that typically take 30 – 40 minutes to fully charge and is capable of applying up to 440 strapping cycles per charge, depending on which device you use – plenty to get through a good amount of parcels in between charges.

How to use a Strapping Machine

Depending on which type of strapping machine you’re using, the operation will vary slightly.  Below we’ve outlined the basic steps in how to operate the different types of machine.

Automatic & semi-automatic strapping machines

These two types of machines work in a similar manner, being an upright machine with a flat surface to work from.  For both, the strapping is typically fed from the bottom or the side of the machine, where the strapping reel is placed and feeds into the machine.

To operate, one must place the parcel in the specified spot on the machine, so that the position of the strap is in the correct place to wrap around the item.  For semi-automatic machines, you’ll then need to feed the strap over the top of the item and into the other side where it is fed back into the machine (automatic machines do this part without the need of manual intervention.)

Engaging the machine with the on button will then tighten and tension the strap, cut and seal it securely around the parcel. It can then quickly and easily be removed and the next one placed on.  This simple and seamless process makes it ideal for quickly strapping parcels.

Handheld strapping machines

Otherwise known as handheld strapping tools, are convenient as they are portable, these small machines require a little more manual work to operate but the flexibility they offer for strapping is second to none.  To operate, manually loop the plastic strapping, either PET strapping (also known as poly strapping) or polypropylene strapping all the way around the pallet, parcel or cartons.   Once looped, feed both ends of the strapping into the handheld machine.  With a pull of the trigger, it will then tighten and tension the strap, cut and fully seal it, giving a secure fit all around the item.

How to use Polypropylene Strapping

Polypropylene strapping (also known as PP) is one of the lightest and most versatile materials, making it ideal for sealing, reinforcing and securing lighter loads.

How to use polypropylene strapping

When using PP strapping with a machine, polypropylene machine strapping must be used – this is specifically designed for use in machines with regular embossing and straight parallel edges.  This strapping is easier to work with and handle than heavier duty materials such as steel or polyester strapping, but gloves should still be worn when handling and loading this strapping onto a machine for use.

A popular question asked is how to use a polypropylene strapping machine, however there is no specific strapping machine for PP strapping, you can use an automatic, semi-automatic strapping machine or handheld strapping tools. 

If you are strapping a pallet or strapping boxes, then make sure you use the right material for the job.  Take a look at our guide to choosing the right strapping to help you decide.

If you’d like more information about strapping machines, systems or advice on which may be best suited for your packaging operation, simply get in touch with our team of packaging machine experts who are on hand to help.  Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 142 26 46, or machines@rajapack.co.uk.

Introducing the RajaSafe™ Impact Protect Box

With so many of us shopping online, the need for innovative packaging solutions has never been greater. Under the Sale of Goods Act, products damaged in the post are the responsibility of the seller, not the buyer, which can leave many businesses out of pocket. The bottom line is that inadequate packaging costs your business money. And even if your packaging is up to scratch, unscrupulous, heavy-handed couriers can be unavoidable.

It’s difficult to estimate the number of parcels that are damaged in transit each year. With giant postal sorting warehouses continuously running conveyor belts full of packages, sometimes accidents are unavoidable, and packages can accidentally slip off the line.

As the No 1 in Europe for packaging solutions, Rajapack has been working to solve this problem. So it gives us great pleasure to announce our revolutionary RajaSafe™ Impact Protect system.

Boxes with bounce

RajaSafe bouncebox-banner-april-fools (2)

Our team of technologists have been working on developing and improving this innovative new packaging solution. Corrugated card is combined with isoprene and styrene-butadiene compounds. This creates resilient, pressure absorbing properties which give the boxes a slight bounce on impact.

RajaSafe™ Impact Protect technology is designed to give maximum protection to heavier, bulky items, such as flat-screen televisions, as these can be the hardest to handle. The ‘bounce’ is engineered to be more apparent the heavier the package, as these are generally the items requiring the most protection.

We showcased the new range of RajaSafe™ Impact Protect boxes at the Packaging Innovations 2016 show earlier this year. We carried out demonstrations to show the degree of bounce for each item placed inside the boxes, and we were blown away by your feedback.

“This new technology from Rajapack demonstrates one of the greatest innovations in the packaging industry since the introduction of personalised packaging. As a company we are acutely aware of the need for affordable, contemporary, resilient packaging solutions; RajaSafe™ Impact Protect is the technology this industry has been waiting for.”

– Anabelle Fool, MD, CBB Systems

How it works

At Rajapack, we are committed to creating eco-solutions that can be recycled or in this case reused. The main component of our RajaSafe™ boxes is styrene-butadiene, an artificial rubber compound commonly used by large tyre manufacturers. Heralded for its abrasion resistance, this compound, as well as giving our boxes their boing, adds a resilience that was never before available with cardboard. This means the boxes are sturdy enough to be used long past the lifecycle of an ordinary cardboard box.

We use Solution-SBR, created through an anionic polymerization process, to coat the inner wall of our cardboard boxes.  Using Solution-SBR gives us greater control over the polymer, allowing us to tailor it to our needs. This compound is what gives the boxes their bounce, and offers maximum protection to the items inside.

RajaSafe bouncebox-sales (2)

Rajapack is constantly striving to create a better product for our customers, with RajaSafe™ Impact Protect technology we hope to bring you peace of mind. We will be offering this technology in our postal box range, and are currently working on introducing it to our complete range of cardboard boxes to include more bulky items such as TVs or guitars. When combined with our other innovative packaging solutions, the RajaSafe™ Impact Protect system is guaranteed to be your number one shipping solution.

10 ways to cut packaging waste in the warehouse

Cutting down packaging waste should be a key priority for anyone who works in a warehouse, whether that be administration staff, managers or those on the warehouse floor. Waste of materials is not only bad for the environment and profit margins, but also creates health and safety concerns.

Rajapack Warehouse

We work with businesses who face this challenge on a day to day basis. They’re looking at ways of making their operation more efficient, such as using different types of recyclable packaging materials and making their ordering processes more efficient.

Reasons to reduce packaging waste in the warehouse:

  • By cutting waste, you can save money and time, and make your business more efficient.
  • More and more customers are only buying from companies who have ‘green’ credentials. Waste that isn’t disposed of properly can be harmful to the environment.
  • Minimise days lost due to health and safety accidents and, look after your employees.

 Top 10 ways to reduce packaging waste in the warehouse:

1) Reuse rather than recycle

 Recyclable packaging is much better for the environment than non-recyclable packaging, but they still require processing and piles of recyclable products might be left lying around for long periods of time. Reusing materials for different purposes, such as using left-over cardboard boxes to house office equipment, helps to reduce waste and prevent the unnecessary purchase of products.

Waste Solutions
2) Use the appropriate type of material

 A lot of warehouse packaging waste is as a result of materials not being fit for purpose. Waste can occur when a product has been packaged in the incorrect material or incorrect sized packaging product. Companies such as Rajapack offer customers expert advice about the most appropriate types of packaging to use.

3) Give staff the proper training

On many occasions, waste is created or not disposed of properly because employees don’t know the processes that have been put in place. This could mean that administrative staff aren’t properly communicating with the warehouse operatives or it could be that staff haven’t been given the appropriate training. If you think you have the processes in place, make sure that your colleagues and employees are all reading from the same page. You can enrol your employees on specialist courses such as this one, from UCLAN.

4) Understand loose fill

How many times you receive a parcel at home where the packaging seems to be ten times bigger than required for the item inside. Sometimes, this is a necessity as a smaller box won’t properly protect the item however, on other occasions the wrong box or wrong loose fill has been used. Some loose fill packaging is more appropriate for certain types of item than others. Using the correct type of loose fill will better protect your product and help you to use the appropriate type of material.

5) Collect waste at regular intervals

 It may sound like common sense, but it is surprising how many companies only have daily collections of waste when 3 or 4 times a day would be more appropriate to create a safe working environment for your employees. Waste can build up throughout the day and it is can become a health hazard if it isn’t removed on a regular basis.

Rajapack6) Create partnerships with community projects

If removing waste material on a regular basis is becoming too time consuming, find out if there are any local charities or community projects who can use the left over material. Organisations such as animal shelters and kids clubs are often on the lookout for materials such as cardboard and may be willing to come and collect it from your organisation themselves.

7) Clearly mark packaging with pressure and weight limits.

 Giving proper guidance to staff about the amount of weight and pressure packaging can take will ensure less damaged packaging and less waste. It may be the case that the strength of box being used can actually hold more products or an employee could use a smaller box for an item.

Rajapack strapping8) Use stretch film

 When transporting products around the warehouse, you may be able to save packaging and energy by securing them together using stretch film rather than packing them in large boxes. Stretch film is easier to fit in bins and recycling containers.

9) Reward employees who are waste conscious.

 Even if you or your staff don’t think that much about your carbon footprint or how environmentally responsible you’re being, your customers do. Rewarding your employees for their eco-friendly efforts in your warehouse should be the same as giving shop floor workers reward for great customer service. They are going the extra mile to help your company, so reward them and encourage others to do the same.

10) Appoint a ‘waste champion’

 Waste champions will help to ensure that all colleagues are energized and enthusiastic about reducing waste in the warehouse. It will also give an individual an added sense of responsibility and job satisfaction.

One of Rajapack’s warehouse waste-champions is Simon Howes. We asked him why he thought having people in these kind of roles is so important:

“We currently have 2 champions on site. What we have found is that once you have championed someone, they are very quick to jump on anyone who doesn’t follow the rules, as they quite rightly should. Since implementation, it has taken a very short period of time for staff to take notice and work with the recycling process. My feeling is that it is very quickly becoming a normal working condition with more and more individuals becoming aware of the importance of waste management without having to put a lot of effort in.”

Cutting down waste in the warehouse will help you save money and the environment, as well as creating happy customers and employees. If you want more information from Rajapack about how make your packaging more efficient and eco-responsible, you can call our expert team now on 0800 542 4428 or take a look round our range of environmentally friendly packaging solutions online.