The world of manufacturing is going through a bit of a facelift right now. In order to not only bounce back from the recession, but also continue to make money and build clientele, people are taking some innovative measures to improve their operations. For example, lean manufacturing is very common now – some companies have even expanded the lean concept to other parts of their company’s mission. Also, there is a lot of talk of moving overseas operations back to the US. Companies are looking for new ways to save and make money.
Power tugs were recently touted as a tool that does both.
Modern Materials Handling currently has white papers on power tugs titled, “Material Handling Tug Devices: A Proactive Approach to Plant Safety that Improves Productivity and Profitability.” Based on the title, it sounds like tugs are God’s gifts to material handlers everywhere. How is it possible for them to be so useful? To find the answer, we need to look at areas that inflict unnecessary costs for businesses.
Unsafe practices are expensive
The biggest, most expensive issue in any manual material handling (MMH) operation is safety. MMH is one of the top three industries reporting work-related injuries and illnesses every year. A number of movements, especially when repetitive, have been found to directly cause injuries to manual handlers. These injuries are expensive for both employer and employee. About half of the reported musculoskeletal disorders are to the back. Back injuries are amongst the most expensive and devastating injuries. At the very least, they typically require between 7 and 21 days off work. Back injuries aren’t the only concern. Even a minor sprain, according to the Occupations Safety and Health Administration, can cost an employer over $48,000. Injury costs are astronomical because they aren’t just about medical expenses. They also include insurance premiums, productivity, administrative time, and replacing employees temporarily or permanently. Having healthy workers positively affects both productivity and profitability. As said in Modern Materials Handling’s download, “Implementing tugs proactively reduces the number of work-related injuries in material handling applications, which has a direct effect on worker productivity. …When safety is improved and the resulting number of injuries decreases, these incidental costs no longer impact the company’s capacity for profit gain.”
The safety of the tugs isn’t limited to relieving workers from postures known to cause injury. The alternatives to tugs- fork lifts and pallet jacks – can be very dangerous. Everything from operator injury to pedestrian accident can and has happened using these vehicles. Costs from these kinds of damages can devastate a business. More importantly, accidents with this kind of equipment have taken lives. Power tugs, on the other hand, are incredibly safe to use. “Battery-operated tugs are designed to ideally distribute weight and maximize torque. Containing specifically-designed gears, this technology effectively converts speed to torque, enabling operators to minimize the effort required to pull or push loads… With this technology, users can maneuver heavy materials without straining muscles—reducing the likelihood of injury during initial exertion.”
By simply making a job safer, it costs a business less money. It also keeps employees working productively. Safety isn’t the only reason that power tugs make employees so much more productive, though. “…Material handling tugs also increase employee productivity by simplifying material handling applications.” It is easier to accomplish more work with fewer people when using a power tug. Not only does the tug allow just one person to transport loads weighing up to 50,000 pounds, it also pulls carts like a train pulls cars. By linking carts together and hitching them onto the tug, several cartloads of material can be transported at a time. This not only delivers more parts or product more quickly, it clears spaces, unloads trucks, and empties storage quickly. The amount of work that an employee is able to accomplish goes way up. One worker using a power tug also allows other employees to continue their work without interruption to help manually lift or transport a heavy item.
One of the most unique and exciting things about power tugs is that their practicality is unmatched by other industry tools. They have been used to move kilns, convert assembly lines into mobile assembly lines, push slabs of meat, haul garbage and dumpsters…the variety of applications seems endless. Every pushing and pulling task can benefit from a power tug. Equipment manufacturers can tailor-make attachments and other amenities for the tug that make it specific to individual needs.
Power tug users are very happy with the equipment. Many people report some skepticism when they first bought their tug, and the result is often returning to buy more. Employees and employers really enjoy the benefits of power tugs.
Considering everything that a business strives for, it’s easy to see why power tugs are so valuable to the MMH industry. They have made a world of difference for many. Load Movers crafts quality battery-operated, walk-behind power tugs.
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