New Material Handling Simulation Technology

The Field-to-Lab® methodology has always been a guiding principle for the development of Lansmont Testing systems. When fundamental changes are made to the ways in which products are moved and handled, the new environment should be measured to define the changed dynamics. If you don’t know what is happening in the distribution cycle, how can it be properly replicated in a laboratory setting?

We know that variables in distribution cycles – like transportation modes and lanes – are subject to change. Likewise, conditions in warehouses and distribution centers are often modified for optimization, and efficient use of space is always at a premium. For appliance manufacturers, one way to optimize storage space is to use a folded cap carton instead of a pallet. By outfitting a forklift with an attachable accessory called a basiloid, cartons can be “top lifted”, which makes maneuvering the load easier and allows for the aisles in facilities to be narrower. This innovation also saves space above, below, and around the product, creating a more efficient storage and transport solution. Packaging and logistics professionals have asked “How can the dynamic inputs from this unique mechanical handling system be replicated in the laboratory?”

To answer this question, Lansmont put the Field-to-Lab® methodology to work. The forklift, outfitted with the basiloid fixture, was measured with a SAVER™ 3X90 during its every-day operations. Product was handled and moved around the warehouse, including crossing over thresholds on the loading docks, all while the SAVER™ was along for the ride to characterize the shock and vibration environment. Tens of thousands of events were acquired and after some careful analysis the data was used to generate requirements for a new, custom testing system, the MH-15 Material Handling Test System.

The MH-15 uses a hydraulic actuator much like a vibration testing system does. The actuator is outfitted with standard forklift mast interface, to which the basiloid fixture is mounted. The unique Lansmont controls allow for replication of time-history measurements, as well as random vibration PSD profiles. Not only does the MH-15 replicate the vibration experienced when the product is being transported in the warehouse, it also replicates the stresses associated with the forklifts up/down and tilting dynamics. These unique motions have replicated unique failure modes in the laboratory setting, empowering the package designers to make the necessary modifications to reduce damage.


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