Lift truck scales raise productivity

Fork-mounted scales make it possible to lift, weigh, move and record a load in one smooth operation.

By ·

Serving the automotive industry for nearly 50 years, Quality Metalcraft in Livonia, Mich., is a leading automotive production facility. The company delivers quick turnaround on high-quality components, ranging from small brackets and simple fabrications to large body-in-white components and assemblies.

Each process begins with a flat laser blank, which arrives at its manufacturing facility with an identification tag that is scanned upon arrival. To confirm material costs, each metallic component is weighed twice: once as it arrives and once after it’s been processed. Forklift operators were waiting in line for the scale and transactions were documented by hand, which was proving time-consuming and inaccurate. 

“This process consumed a massive amount of extra time; plus, we couldn’t identify at which stage a work order was during processing. We also discovered our floor scale had been inaccurate—on some occasions, as much as 10% of the time,” says Ron Hassen, plant manager.

Managers implemented a forklift scale system (Avery Weigh-Tronix, http://www.wtxweb.com) that provides legal-for-trade weighing of loads up to 10,000 pounds and uses electronic weight sensors for reliable, repeatable weighing. Its built-in system allows operators to accurately weigh materials in motion, which means no more waiting in line. And, the fork-mounted scales feature no flexures, hydraulics or springs—allowing it to withstand frequent jolts and still deliver accurate results.

The company has also implemented a wireless scanner that allows the forklift operator to scan the flat laser blank when it arrives, instantly assigning materials for each job number an initial weight.

This job can now be tracked on the company’s computer system throughout processing: allowing managers to keep a running total of the materials used at all times.

This electronic documentation keeps employees up-to-date on each job—a significant advantage at the company, where at any moment 250 production parts may be rolling out the door. 
“This system allows us to know how much our materials weigh, instantly record the weight, and know in which processing stage each work order is at all times—so we know when the work order will be done,” Hassen adds. “Keeping track of these jobs throughout our three-building manufacturing facility saves us significant time while helping us maintain accurate records.”


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
The Overlooked Competitive Advantage: Connected Teams
57% of surveyed manufacturers believe they could reduce downtime by 10-30% by unifying their workgroup communications. What does a minute of downtime cost you?
Download Today!
From the January 2018 Modern Materials Handling Issue
PFS built one of the largest and most automated AS/RS freezers in the world in Washington state. Next up is a new design for automation. Automated Storage/ Automated Retrieval System, Cold Storage.
Lift Truck Series Part 1: Lift truck technology connects pickers to productivity
Breaking Through On Yard Visibility
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Emerging Technologies for Your Distribution Center
Come get an insider's view of the latest technologies for inside your Distribution Center. You'll learn which technologies are being piloted, which are having success and moving from concept to implementation and into production on the maturity scale, and what's coming on the horizon.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Trinchero Family Estates: Pallet handling in the vineyard
The second-largest family-owned wine company in the world turns to automated pallet handling and...
System Report: Rocky Brands Sees the Light
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer...

Top 20 industrial lift truck suppliers, 2017
The top lift truck suppliers list is changing with industry acquisitions causing a dramatic...
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
In a new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business...