Tugger boosts productivity while reducing risk

Facility uses technology to reduce back injuries and speed up processing.

By ·

Tired of a manual application that exposed employees to exhaustion and injury, one meat packing facility used a series of customized, battery-powered tuggers to boost productivity while keeping workers safe.

In the Aurora Packing facility in northern Illinois, sides and quarters of high-quality beef are hung on hooks and moved by ceiling-mounted rails to the various processing stations. Beef halves weigh between 350 and 450 pounds, and beef quarters weigh between 200 and 250 pounds. Moving three quarters or two sides is about the maximum one individual can push at time. Because of this limitation, it doesn’t take a lot of time before production can get bottle-necked.

“We typically rotated workers out from the rail line every two hours to give them a break,” says Tim Sonne, plant engineer for Aurora Packing. “This was not especially efficient.”

The new tuggers help the company maintain compliance with OSHA’s voluntary protection programs (VPP), OSHA’s official program for recognizing the outstanding efforts of companies that have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health standards. Using a tug with stainless steel pusher attachments and some counterweights, Sonne says that one employee now moves the rails of beef sides all day long “without breaking a sweat.”

To the immediate approval of its employees, Aurora Packing bought its first tug in December of 2009. Depending on the push/pull requirements in each department, attachments and options can be used to optimize performance of the base unit while retaining the interchangeability of tires, wheels and batteries. The company no longer needs to rotate personnel every two hours.

NuStar, Power Pusher Division
800-800-9274
http://www.powerpusher.com

Read more from the 2013 Casebook.


About the Author

Josh Bond, Contributing Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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 Five Point Tune-Up for Your Warehouse
Ready to make your warehouse smarter, stronger - and more profitable in every way?
Download Today!
From the August 2016 Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
5 Emerging Technologies Enabling Competitive Advantage for Distribution
Come hear about the latest in each-picking robotics, co-bots, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, sensors, drones and droids that are enabling competitive advantage for distribution.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
The data-driven lift truck
Now that manufacturers and distributors are using the data from their automated systems to drive...
Destination Maternity: Destination Automation
Running short of space in its old facility, Destination Maternity Corp. built a new, highly...

Hibbett Sports: Faster, Flexible and Efficient
A high-speed conveyor and sortation system at Hibbett Sports’ Alabama distribution center speeds...
Necessity is the mother of invention at Quiet Logistics
Faced with the loss of a robotic pick solution, Quiet Logistics invented its own robots. Are they...