Power Tuggers Make the Difference in Meat Packing Plant

posted on: Monday January 21, 2013

The beauty of ergonomics is that some of the simplest solutions make such giant impacts in the workforce. Volumes of stories show that by increasing safety, injuries and days away from work decrease, productivity increases, profits go up, and morale is boosted. Plants and warehouses have implemented a variety of life-changing equipment and automated devices. In these success stories, one of our favorite little devices is the power tugger.

Tuggers have proven to have many applications. They’ve made their way into a number of industries; here we will look at what it did for a meat packing plant in Northern Illinois.

Josh Bond of Modern Materials Handling gives us the story of the Aurora Packing facility. Here, there are quarters and halves of beef weighing between 200 and 450 pounds hanging from the ceiling. The beef has to be pushed to various stations, and because of its weight, a person can only push two or three at a time. Bond reports that this quickly and frequently results in bottlenecking.

To limit the occurrence of injuries, Aurora Packing was rotating workers out every 2 hours. Their plant engineer, Tim Sonne, said that was quite inefficient.

While tuggers are traditionally used to move wheels on the floor, Aurora Packing was able to use stainless steel pusher attachments to move the beef along the rails on the ceiling. As a result, just one person was needed to push the beef, and was able to do it all day long without fatigue. Employees no longer needed to be rotated.

The employees supported the addition of the tugger. Back injuries were reduced and productivity increased. Such is typically the case for companies who have implemented this versatile equipment. Power tuggers also comply with OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program.

What makes the tugger so great? Our friends at Load Mover Inc. let us test drive their power movers to see for ourselves. First of all, they are easy. Any adult who can hold a handle, push a small lever, and steer a pallet jack can use one. Secondly, they are powerful. There are three Load Movers built for different weights. The Xpress, Xtra, and Xtreme can move 1,000, 20,000, and 50,000 pounds respectively. Thirdly, not only does the design allow it to maneuver around awkward turns, but also the attachment options make it a fit for nearly any application. These Load Movers have adjustable handles (for the ergonomically-conscientious), a durable base, top-notch safety features, and run all day on one charge. As if that weren’t enough, the tugger is small; it won’t take up valuable space.

The power mover keeps turning up again and again in new industries that find ingenious ways to put them to use.  Again and again they report fewer injuries and days away from work, increased production and profit, and improved morale. It’s no wonder we, along with Aurora Packing, love this amazing piece of equipment.