Ultimation celebrates Earth Day

Ultimation is recognizing Earth Day 2021 by celebrating the progress made on indoor vertical farming systems.

Indoor farming

“It’s now 3 years that our team at Ultimation have been doing large scale indoor vertical farming systems” said Ultimation CEO Jacqueline Canny. “When we did the first facility with Plenty three years ago our team were really excited to work on the project. Now systems like this have become a major segment of our project business. We’re grateful to be doing something good that’s good for business too.”

Ultimation offers a variety of different material handling systems for indoor vertical farming ventures. The technology includes conveyors and material handling products for vertical (hanging) format growth systems and horizontal (sliding/rolling) format growth systems. Material handling systems for these farms can be hand push, motorized or ‘power and free’ style with accumulating buffer banks.

5 Safety Tips For Safely Implementing Warehouse Robots

Ultimation’s Cory Meisel helps customers implement warehouse robot projects and integrate them with their overall material handling systems. Here are Cory’s tips for a safe, smooth rollout of an AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot) project:AMR avoiding collision

  1. Practice safe lifting; bend your knees: Warehouse robots are great, and in general they work best with the loads on a low center of gravity. AMRs help your warehouse team work more efficiently by reducing their need to walk. But when workers are loading and unloading AMRs manually, this can create a problem. Remember to practice safe lifting techniques which includes lifting with your legs and not with your back. Consider how the AMR will be loaded and unloaded. Can it automatically transfer the load to a conveyor where the product can then be presented to the operator at a better height? Can the AMR be fitted with the correct height upper module like these Nord Module units?  Always consider ergonomics carefully with any warehouse robot implementation project.
    AMR and Humans working together
  2. Watch your head: The advanced LiDAR sensors and AI programs that AMRs use make them fully autonomous. They have outstanding ability to identify and detect objects in their path to adjust accordingly. One think they do not have is eyes on the top of their head. If the AMR load extends upward or outward, consider the possible paths that might cause trouble. You can set up ‘no entry’ zones where an AMR load might touch on an overhanging protrusion. Does your workplace have a forklift with tines? If so, be sure they are always at floor level. Just like their human counterparts, forklifts left with tines (forks) in a partially raised position represent a danger point for both AMRs and humans alike.
  3. Socialize your team: AMRs and your team members can occupy the same warehouse space without any issues. Their motion sound devices make them easy to hear and their lights make them easy to see. They will always avoid humans and stop if anyone is in their path. One thing to keep in mind is that it is important for your team and visitors to know they are sharing space with AMRs. Do not let team members wear audio devices that cover both ears.
  4. It is not an Uber: Depending on the payload of your AMR, it may have lots of carrying capacity, but that is not to confuse it with a ride sharing program. Riding on an AMR at any time is a very bad idea. AMR’s can start and stop quickly while also making sharp turns, making it dangerous for anyone to ride on top of them. Develop policies to ensure that everyone knows the rules.
  5. Mind the gap: Ultimation’s team will help you to do a site survey to identify any danger zones where an AMR should not be going. It is easy to program “no entry zones” to keep your warehouse robot out of harm. Unlike the robotic vacuums you have at home, AMRs do not have edge detection that would stop them falling down an open pit or stairway. AMRs are also not able to do floor transfer, meaning it cannot go on an elevator and take product from one floor to another.

Following these simple steps will allow for an easy transition as you plan for your warehouse robot launch. They are fast to implement, flexible to adapt and a great compliment to the material handling system of a well-run warehouse. Want the full story on warehouse robots and top modules? Here’s a link to more information to get you started.

Mushroom Leather is now a scalable alternative to animal leathers

Ultimation’s customer MycoWorks has launched their new production facility

Mushroom-Based ‘Leather’ Is Now A Scalable Alternative To Animal Leathers, Poised For Market Disruption

“Mycelium “leather” has been mooted as a potential replacement for animal leathers for some time, but has been plagued by the inconsistencies brought about by the natural, uncontrolled growth process. This process typically results in a leather-like material that varies unpredictably in tensile strength, thickness, and breathability throughout the material. This stood in the way of its suitability for the demands of the apparel and footwear industry until groundbreaking material developers Sophia Wang and Philip Ross designed a closed tray system that has now become the foundation of MycoWorks, a $62 million advanced manufacturing company established in 2013 that supplies their trademarked Fine Mycelium “leather” to Hermès amongst other (as yet undisclosed) brands.”

Indoor farming for mushroom leather

Read the full article on Forbes.com

 

Six reasons why warehouses should have at least one expandable conveyor

Sometimes the simplest pieces of equipment are the most valuable. At Ultimation we’re often designing and installing custom engineered conveyor systems that have total project costs in excess of USD $1 million. But did you know that one of the best value and most flexible pieces of warehouse productivity equipment sells for under $1,000? The equipment is an expandable or flexible conveyor. You’ll see them in use on loading docks, within stocking aisles and in lots of places in most well run warehouses and industrial facilities.

Flexible Conveyor Systems

“Expandable conveyors have amazing versatility and flexibility” said Katie Berry, a digital marketing specialist at Ultimation Industries. “They have adjustable height and you can connect them end to end. Use them anywhere you need to quickly set up a mini assembly line or loading system — and then put them out of the way when you don’t need them.”

Katie explains the six reasons why expandable conveyors are found in use in most warehouses, distribution centers and industrial facilities:

  1. Gravity provides the power. There’s no motors or cables with these conveyors. By setting up the leg height at the loading end 3 – 12″ higher than at the unloading end, gravity does the work. Each conveyor has a folding end stop that you can use to stop packages falling of the end of the conveyor.
  2. Straight or curved? Both. The unique design of the rollers and support means that these conveyors can be twisted into a 30 degree curve for each unit. The more conveyors you join together the greater the curve that you can achieve. This is great for use on the side of loading docks where it might be helpful to have a curved conveyor available.
  3. Easy to set up, easy to store. Community organizations and food banks love these conveyors because they are so easy to store when not in use. Expandable conveyors for food banks can also be easily loaded into a van or pickup truck for fast set up at temporary locations. Disaster relief conveyors is another common application. In warehouses you will commonly see two or three units available at each loading dock to help improve team productivity.
  4. Affordable. Ultimation sells 18″ wide models with 3 leg support sets that extend up to 8 feet for $595. That low pricing is achieved through Ultimation’s direct to end-customer sales model. No distributors, no sales people. Just great products at good value prices. You can buy the 8′ model here or the 12′ model here.
  5. Sides guides not required. As if by magic, the cartons or tote on the conveyor track around the corner by following the path from one set of rollers to the next. This ingenious capability means that your product won’t end up dropped on the floor!
  6. Durable. The strong heavy duty frame and roller system can support up to 670 pounds. Packages can weigh up to 56 pounds per linear foot. This weight range conveyors >90% of all warehouse material handling requirements. And because there are no motors and no cords to trip over, they are very safe. Wet, dusty or dirty environment? No problem. The wheels are sealed.

The skate wheels on the top of Ultimation’s expandable conveyors are able to be used for most packages and tote bins. Plan on having the load rolling on at least two rows of wheels at all times. This helps ensure that the products move smoothly down the conveyor. And when setting up the conveyor, be sure to use the standard locking casters and adjustable leg height locking system at all times.

“If you have any questions, give us a call” said Katie. “Our customer service team answer every phone call with a live operator. We love learning about how our conveyors are used and we can help you specify the best system”.

Need help learning about other conveyor types, which types to use and how to specify them? This step by step guide will help.

Ultimation Introduces Warehouse Robots to Give Companies of All Sizes More Flexible Material Handling Solutions

ROSEVILLE, MICH. MARCH 31, 2021

 

Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) technology—also known as warehouse robots—is now within the reach of mid-size companies. They provide more flexible material handling when used in conjunction with Motor-Driven Roller (MDR) and other conveyor systems, according to Ultimation Industries LLC. Ultimation is a woman-owned leader in conveyor technology and automation for over 30 years.

“AMRs have become common in large distribution companies such as Amazon and some Fortune 500 companies. But new technologies are making it easier and more affordable to deploy autonomous robots in companies of all sizes as a complement to other types of material handling equipment,” said Richard Canny, president of Ultimation Industries.

Ultimation is partnering with Denmark’s Nord-Modules to expand its portfolio of fast-to-market, productivity solutions. The strategic partnership will grow Nord-Modules’ market share in North America, leading to future opportunities for local assembly and manufacturing to suit local customer requirements.

Nord-Modules delivers reliable robotic top modules for warehouse robot load solutions. These units provide superior returns on investment through optimal speed, space and flexibility and can be fitted to various AMR solutions.

According to Canny, warehouse robots are a good option for manufacturers and distributors of all sizes who need to transfer loads within their facilities quickly and without reconfiguring production lines or factory footprints. They can be deployed wherever and whenever needed, interfacing with existing conveyor systems and providing flexibility as volumes change.

mobile robot

Nord-Module’s Quick Mover 180, for example, uses an autonomous robot base with a flexible top module that performs multiple material handling tasks and handles a plethora of materials—gates, half pallets, plastic boxes, carton boxes, carts and cobot solutions. Without changing top modules, manufacturers have the ability to integrate the Quick Mover with MDRs to:

Transport multiple types of containers from point A to B to C.

Pick up goods from gates and deliver to a drop-off point.

Precisely re-position goods to another automation area (e.g., a CNC machine).

The unit is controlled by a provided smartphone and can carry up to 485 pounds. Set-up and installation take approximately 30 minutes. Sensors help the Quick Mover 180 navigate quickly and safely around people, stationary objects and other obstacles.

“We’ve all heard about autonomous cars or self-driving vehicles on our roadways. While these technologies are still well into the future for cars and trucks, warehouse robots are bringing that level of intelligence and autonomous operation to the factory floor today,” said Canny. He added that AMRs excel at repetitive tasks that are monotonous and potentially dangerous for humans, such as handling heavy loads.

“Warehouse robots are able to move their loads safely alongside production workers without the need for pre-programmed paths or routes. When obstacles appear, they quickly find alternate safe paths to the destination,” he said.

A video of the process shows how material flows seamlessly from production lines to the AMR to the warehouse.

Solutions such as the Quick Mover 180 are now available through Ultimation’s application and service team. Other Nord-Modules for AMRs include the Pallet Mover style motorized roller conveyor modules, which can carry over 3,000 pounds.

Ultimation is the leading direct-to-consumer conveyor manufacturer and specializes in solving productivity challenges with fast-to-deploy solutions. The company designs, manufactures and installs material handling equipment and has the capacity for automation component manufacturing and subassembly.

“As the industry transitions to the modern high-speed warehouse, innovations such as AMRs are providing the productivity and flexibility solutions they need,” said Canny. Ultimation expects to announce additional relationships with strategic partners in the AMR space later this year.

Ultimation was named to the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies and was a 2019 finalist for Amazon’s Woman-Owned Small Business Spotlight Awards. For more information about Ultimation Industries, visit https://www.ultimationinc.com.

 

About Ultimation:

Ultimation Industries, LLC is a woman-owned leader in the conveyor technology and automation industry. Founded in 1989, Ultimation designs, manufactures and installs machinery and equipment, automation devices, tire and wheel processing lines and conveyor systems for customers throughout the Americas. The company offers a line of proprietary automation systems and is also a leading integrator of Jervis Webb Conveyor Systems. Ultimation’s e-commerce channel sells Ultimation, Interroll, Itoh Denki, Jervis Webb, and a wide range of other conveyor equipment. In 2020, Ultimation was recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing private companies in America. The company was a finalist for Amazon’s 2019 Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year and earned honors as one of “2019 Metro Detroit’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®.”