Ultimation Awards Fourth Annual STEM Student Scholarship

An entry that combines biology with technology is the winner in Ultimation’s annual STEM student scholarship program. For the past four years, Ultimation has awarded a $1,500 stipend to the U.S. college student with the best idea for improving material handling.

University of Utah student Anya Tiwari is the 2023 winner for her idea to create a dynamic conveyor system that optimizes both indoor and outdoor spaces for vertical farming. Her submission outlines a conveyor system that automatically adjusts to changing environmental conditions, ensuring the best possible growth conditions for a variety of plants.

“During daylight hours, plants will bask in natural sunlight and air, while during nighttime or inclement weather, they will be sheltered indoors, offering them protection and stability crucial for their growth,” said Anya. “Temperature and solar sensors will autonomously decide the most suitable location for the plants, based on real-time environmental data. This will ensure that the plants are neither subjected to harsh conditions nor deprived of essential growth opportunities.”

Annual STEM Scholarship Winner 2023 Anya Tiwari

“I continue to be impressed with the creativity of today’s students as they apply unique perspectives to resolving real-world challenges,” said Richard Canny, president of Ultimation Industries. “Ideas such as Anya’s rethink traditional approaches and harness new and emerging technologies for better productivity and business outcomes.”

Anya’s entry was chosen by the judges from more than 200 applications from around the country. Entries for the 2024 scholarship are now being accepted. Students have until December 15, 2024 to submit their ideas for conveyors for innovative systems and ideas for the use of conveyors within automated loading and unloading for semi-trucks and trailers.

Ultimation Develops New Vertical Farming Control System

The new vertical farming control system developed by Ultimation’s control engineering team provides our customers the ability to monitor the position of 10,000+ plants including location, product type and grow time in the present location. It can route, divert, and manage product flow from initiation to harvesting.

The system uses Ultimation-developed software and controls systems to manage the physical movements and tracking of the products as they grow. The system is suitable for managing vertical format (hanging tower) or horizontal format (tray) style vertical farms.

Ultimation Vertical Farming Monitoring System

Ultimation’s vertical farming control system is ready to integrate with the customer’s enterprise resource planning system (ERP) or manufacturing execution system (MES) to automatically make decisions for each container for every location on the conveyor system, regardless of loading or unloading sequence. This allows a customer to gain efficiency in the system’s cycle time. The system’s sequencing enables the farm to deliver the right product at the right time to the right customer.

This control system is sold as part of our conveyor equipment and can be tailored to the customer’s needs. Over the past few years, Ultimation has successfully delivered three indoor farming conveyance systems that utilize this control system.

Click here to learn more about vertical farming applications and how Ultimation can help design your perfect solution.

Ultimation Industries Shares Five Industry Trends Shaping Material Handling in 2024

Economy and labor shortages are among the factors driving the need for more productivity and efficiency

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (Nov. 28th, 2023) – Economic conditions and other factors are driving manufacturers and distributors to look for creative ways to gain more efficiency and productivity from their material handling operations, according to Ultimation Industries.

 

“Warehouses and distribution centers are evolving based on the changing demands faced by modern supply chains,” said Kali Wahrman, general manager for Ultimation. “In 2024, we expect the growth of e-commerce and continuing economic uncertainty to influence the way manufacturers and distributors address productivity challenges in their facilities.”

 

Ultimation, an MCE company, is the leading direct-to-consumer conveyor manufacturer, specializing in solving productivity challenges with fast-to-deploy solutions for a broad range of end-markets, including energy, automotive, logistics and vertical farming.

 

Based on interactions with customers, Ultimation has identified these five industry trends that it believes will shape material handling decision-making for warehouses and distributors in 2024:

 

  1. Rising cost of square footage. The price of goods and services is rising, but so is the cost of commercial construction. Simply adding onto a manufacturing facility or distribution warehouse to meet growing demand is out of reach for many small and medium-sized businesses. That’s why many are looking to maximize the space they have through conveyors and other material handling systems that make the most of small footprints or utilize otherwise unused vertical space.  Lifters and overhead conveyor systems are an affordable, effective solution that can be deployed relatively quickly, moving totes, cartons and pallets from one level to another with carriers designed to handle multiple load weights and sizes.
  2. Worker shortage. Manufacturers and distributors are increasingly turning to automated systems and robotics to meet production schedules in the face of worker shortages. While some are making longer-term capital investments in new technologies, others are adopting flexible solutions that can be deployed quickly without reconfiguring production lines or factory footprints. One example is Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) or warehouse robots that move materials within a facility. Unlike automated guided vehicle (AGV) or cart (AGC) systems which require a path or track to navigate or use wires or lasers, warehouse robots use integrated sensors to read their environment. Companies are also looking for more “smart” systems such as barcoding technologies that integrate with their existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and inventory systems to streamline processes and gain efficiencies.
  3. Growth of e-commerce. A few short years ago, shopping for conveyors or other material handling equipment online was unthinkable, according to Wahrman. Today, the same companies that are trying to keep up with the pace of e-commerce are using it themselves to outfit their facilities with conveyors and other material handling solutions that can be deployed quickly and inexpensively. Supply chain procurement managers can now compare costs and shop for a growing variety of warehouse and distribution center products and parts with the click of a button.
  4. Faster delivery times. It’s not just consumers who want it now. Today’s supply chains are scaling fast and there’s rarely time to wait for expensive, custom-designed systems. Lead times for many material handling solutions have improved since 2020, but are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, according to Wahrman. She adds that off-the-shelf, quick-ship conveyor solutions that can be configured almost overnight for their specific requirements are helping supply chains keep pace.
  5. Energy-efficiency. Reducing energy consumption is gaining a greater sense of urgency as overall operating costs continue to rise. Replacing legacy conveyor systems with alternatives that only use electricity when they are actively moving cargo can be an important part of an overall energy-efficiency strategy. Conveyors equipped with motorized driven roller (MDR) systems, for example, operate with 24-volt DC power and run on demand. Wahrman estimates that replacing a typical 5-foot ­­­­Chain Driven Live Roller conveyor system using approximately 0.75kWh of energy for operation could save up to 81% in energy usage by replacing it with a same-size MDR system.

 

Today’s conveyor systems offer so many innovations that increase material handling efficiency that it’s worth the time to rethink your current systems. Visit the Ultimation website at https://www.ultimationinc.com/ for more information.

Problem Solvers: “What are some easy upgrades we can make to improve the efficiency of our legacy conveyors?”

Customers often ask Ultimation’s Customer Service team for suggestions on how to make their legacy conveyor systems more efficient.

“With more than 400 items in our Online Store, we have a variety of quick-ship solutions to replace or re-energize legacy conveyor systems,” said Alec Fitzgerald, Digital Marketing Specialist for Ultimation.

Some of the options include:

  • Retrofit kits. Existing gravity roller conveyor systems can be converted to motorized systems with Ultimation’s retrofit kits. The kits enable customers to retain their existing roller conveyor frames and leg supports, while adding new motorized rollers, motor controllers and power supplies. The implementation is quick and total cost is much less than purchasing new equipment.

MDR Retrofit 24" Wide x 5' Long

  • Rollers and roller covers. Noisy, worn-out or vibrating gravity conveyors can often be refreshed by replacing the rollers or by adding roller covers. Galvanized steel 10-inch long, 1.5” wide spring-loaded replacement rollers start at less than $5 each. A variety of sizes are available. Roller covers in soft urethane, vinyl or hard plastic can reduce noise levels, cushion products, provide traction, reduce scratches and move products down the line. Roller cover material comes in five-foot sections that can be cut to length and be easily installed by the customer as well as pre-cut lengths.

Urethane Covers for Rollers

  • Conveyor belt replacement. Portec belt conveyors are used in some of the world’s busiest airports and are known for their durability. But eventually, the belts can become worn. By removing one small piece of the mechanical lacing, the entire belt can be replaced within minutes to give the conveyor new life.

 

For more ideas, visit the Online Store or contact the Ultimation Customer Service team directly at (586) 771-1881.  Ultimation answers all calls during business hours with a live operator and respond to all requests within 24 hours (or the following business day for inquiries received on the weekends).

How We Helped: Ultimation Keeps Projects Rolling Along

At work and at home, Ultimation keeps projects rolling for our customers. Rollers can be part of a gravity conveyor or used as a stand-alone with brackets for a variety of purposes. Check out this latest edition of our “How We Helped” customer stories featuring Ultimation rollers.

Beam it up

Roller and Bracket Sets for Moving 700-pound Wooden Beam

Getting a 700-lb. beam through a small opening in a house is a challenging project. But one enterprising customer used a series of Ultimation heavy-duty rollers to get the job done.

“I bought 4 because the beam is almost 30 feet long,” the customer writes. “The rollers come out of the brackets with a spring loaded axle on one side, so you can easily mount the bracket then insert the roller. I pushed (the beam) in with my tractor.”

Ultimation’s heavy-duty rollers are made of 14-gauge steel and make it easy to transport heavy objects without causing damage.

Another customer who also purchased these rollers remarked: “I had to return another brand that would not stay in the roller bracket, but this pair of rollers seemed like more substantially built. I use these for a raft trailer.”

Take the “crawl” out of crawl space

A customer looking for a crawl space storage solution reached out to Ultimation for answers. It turns out our Light-Duty Gravity Conveyor with 1.5” galvanized steel rollers was the perfect fit for this project. The customer writes:

“If ordering more than one section of the gravity rollers, you may need to add the connecting hardware (not expensive).” Others who ordered the same product say: “Awesome product. Built well.” and “Super easy installation, built well, highly recommend.”

With an overall width of 18″ (measured from outside of frame to outside of frame) and 16″ between frames, Ultimation’s gravity conveyor can accommodate a wide range of projects—including yours!

Lightening the load

How We Helped - Roller and Bracket Sets for Canoes

Canoeing is fun. Hauling the canoe? Not so much…unless you’re this enterprising customer, who used our Polyurethane Coated Rollers with Brackets to make the task so much easier.

“I painted the rollers black and mounted them to my truck rack for easy loading and unloading our canoe. They are working great,” writes the customer. Another says: “Very well made. Easy to install for whatever project you use it on.”

The 1.9-inch spring-retained galvanized rollers are covered with an orange polyurethane cover to protect precious cargo. The covers are temperature-rated for operation within -80°F to 200°F (-62°C to 93°C) and the rollers have a maximum 250-pound load capacity per roller.

Inspired? Let’s get started!

These are just a few examples of the many products available as part of Ultimation’s Quick-Ship product line! Visit our online store for more information.