Click above to view 2002 Product of the Year finalists in this category.
Blower cools entire trailer
AeroTec air replacement system is permanently mounted by dock door to create a "virtual pipe" of air that circulates the full length of the parked truck trailer creating a cooler, more comfortable environment for forklift drivers and other dock workers. Unit is powered by a 1/4-hp, split-capacitor motor with a thermal cutout to prevent overheating. Unit uses less energy and less space than a fan. Unique design creates an air tunnel rather than the funnel-type current of a fan. DL Manufacturing ; dlmanufacturing.com TO VOTE, WRITE 39 ON BALLOT For more information, write 39 on card
Storage system provides maximum capacity
Shuttle XP vertical lift module (VLM) allows users to store materials using 1-in. increments to provide up to 50% more capacity than other VLMs. Units can hold up to 132,000 lb and reach up to 65 ft tall. Inserter/extractor speeds are also as much as 65% faster than similar VLMs. Storage trays can be 24 or 34 in. deep. Users can program height at which trays are presented for most ergonomic working conditions. Remstar International Inc. ; remstar.com TO VOTE, WRITE 41 ON BALLOT For more information, write 41 on card
Touchscreen controls improve vertical storage operations
FastPic PL-C touchscreen control simplifies operator interface to improve productivity for vertical lift modules (VLM) and vertical carousels. System can be ordered on new equipment or retrofitted to existing systems. Simplified part number entry can reduce operator errors and enhance picking accuracy levels to 99.99%. Inventory tracking option tracks real-time inventory levels, reducing "safety stock" requirements and need to purge old inventory. FastPic Systems ; FastPicSystems.com TO VOTE, WRITE 45 ON BALLOT For more information, write 45 on card
Software tracks inventory in silos
SiloTrack Ver. 2.0 inventory management software works with SiloPatrol smart sensors to provide a graphical interface and client/server capability for inventory management of materials in silos. Program can set up automatic and/or manual measurements and four alarms/relays per silo. It also displays distance, level, volume, weight, percent-full values, and alarm, relay, and sensor status. Various history and alarm data can be sent by e-mail, fax, or pager. Monitor Technologies LLC ; monitortech.com TO VOTE, WRITE 53 ON BALLOT For more information, write 53 on card
Platform raises workers safely
Ergo Lifts can raise workers up to 16.5 in. increase comfort and reduce ergonomic-related injuries. Powered by 80-psi compressed air, lifts have a unique hydro-pneumatic control circuit that locks the platform if air pressure is lost. Platform can be repositioned only when compressed air feed is restored. Floor space required for standard unit is 42 by 50 in. Custom designs are available. Industrial Design & Supply, Inc. TO VOTE, WRITE 77 ON BALLOT For more information, write 77 on card
Manipulators gain added intelligence
G-Force BXi and BX intelligent assist devices bridge the gap between manual and robotic material handling by using machines to do the work while using operators for guidance. Among the units' features are 150 to 300-lb capacity, speeds to 275 fpm, inertia management system, teachable virtual limits and speed reduction points, instant response to load changes, and external inputs and outputs. Gorbel Inc. ; gorbel.com TO VOTE, WRITE 80 ON BALLOT For more information, write 80 on card
Personnel alarm moves with load
Motion Alert is a brightly colored, loud, flashing beacon that is attached to a moving load, allowing the equipment operator to warn anyone near the load of the potential danger. Equipment operator can trigger the alarm before or during load movement with the touch of a button. Alarm can be tailored to different situations with visual and/or audible modes. Powered by standard batteries, units are easily attached to nearly any load or lifting device. Intuitive Control Systems Inc. ; intuitivecontrols.com TO VOTE, WRITE 128 ON BALLOT For more information, write 128 on card
Transporter lifts and rotates
CTR-15 container transporter and rotator combines three functions in one machine. It can be used to transport containers from a staging area to a work cell and back again. While in the work cell, the unit can raise a 1500-lb load up to 35 in. and rotate it with side tilting forks up to 90 deg in either direction. Lift and tilt are controlled independently so containers can be positioned at a comfortable height for any size worker. Tilt function is remote controlled. Southworth Products Corp. ; southworthproducts.com TO VOTE, WRITE 137 ON BALLOT For more information, write 137 on card
Air-film roll handler moves 4000 lb
Adjustable Rollmaster offers nearly frictionless omnidirectional movement of heavy loads for precise roll alignment in tight spaces. Shop air floats load on cushion of air for easy, safe movement. Unit handles rolls 14 to 60 in. in diameter and 24 to 48 in. long. Air requirement is 82 scfm at 25 psi. Lift level and controls are handle mounted. Powered fork adjustment is an option. AeroGo, Inc. ; aerogo.com TO VOTE, WRITE 188 ON BALLOT For more information, write 188 on card
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey