Lift truck scales raise productivity

Fork-mounted scales make it possible to lift, weigh, move and record a load in one smooth operation.
By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor
January 19, 2011 - MMH Editorial

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

image
Lorie King Rogers
Associate Editor

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.


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