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, Senior 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
Evaluating Goods-to-Person Technologies
This white paper overviews the various, self-contained, goods-to-person AS/RS systems available for handling the totes, cases and eaches most frequently faced by e-commerce order fulfillment operations, and the typical applications for each.
Download Today!
From the May 2017 MMH Issue
Every company considers itself an innovator. It’s time to include materials handling leaders in that category.
Top 20 Worldwide Materials Handling Systems Suppliers 2017
ERP Suppliers’ Changing Role
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Materials Handling Innovation (and why it matters)
Every company considers itself an innovator. It’s time to include materials handling leaders in...
Thrive Market’s Startup Distribution Network
How does a fastgrowing, e-commerce startup company build out order fulfillment capabilities? Thrive...

U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics: Version 2.0 released today
On Tuesday, the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics: Version 2.0 will be released on...
2017 Productivity Achievement Awards
Modern’s annual Productivity Achievement Awards honor companies that have made exceptional...