The recent ProMat Expo seemed to have ignited a lot of chatter regarding the automation of current processes in the material handling world. From talk of gamer-type controlled forklifts, to using image capture to find orders on the warehouse floor, technology is clearly in. One concept, though, that has not been abandoned or granted the out-of-date stamp, is training. Every product, no matter how technologically advanced still requires some form of human interaction. In fact, if your end goal is a safe, productive workplace, it would be fair to say that training is the most critical step.
Of course, some products make it easier for employers to train staff. Likewise, for workers certain products are far easier to operate. The overall goal of the relationship between product function and worker is to increase productivity while reducing costs. However, loading docks are busier than ever before. As workloads increase, the task of controlling a variety of dock equipment becomes overwhelming and challenging.
So what if I told you that you could control your dock leveler, vehicle restraint, overhead door and other dock equipment from one central loading dock control panel?
With Serco’s Master Control Panel you can simplify your loading dock. One loading dock control panel verses three or more separate panels, makes things more straightforward when it comes to training your staff. Workers will most definitely appreciate the ease of functionality.
Other than the obvious benefit of integrating your loading dock equipment into one accessible system, there are other advantages:
Increase dock safety.
- You can control your vehicle restraint via the Master Control Panel so that the trailer must be securely locked in place by the restraint before any other equipment will operate.
- The dock leveler is also interlocked with the other dock devices. This prevents operation until all the safety systems are operational and your dock doors are open.
- Dock lights can be programmed to turn on just before the dock equipment begins to function. Ensuring that your dock is well lit at the time of operation.
Increase dock security.
Exterior dock doors can be easily controlled and monitored. This feature also serves as added insurance and prevention against accidental door damage.
Some further beneficial features include:
- Single power source saves field electrical labor and hard-wiring costs
- Centralized equipment controls simplify operations
- Compact panel size optimizes wall space and provides an organized appearance
Technology works to increase efficiencies beyond the dock.
Inside your facility, HVLS fans are designed to create a comfortable and energy efficient environment. These fans produce a massive cylindrical column of air to effectively circulate air in a variety of spaces. This gentle movement of air also works to regulate the temperature of large facilities.
With iFAN™, fan automation goes further than the loading dock. Allowing the maximum level of performance from your HVLS fans, a standard iFAN system configuration can accommodate up to 30 or more networked HVLS fans. You can easily monitor and adjust your network of fans using a 23-inch touch screen computer. Thanks to built-in web view software you can do all of this from a centralized location. You can use a tablet as a remote control to adjust temperature or time settings. You can adjust settings specifically per ‘zone’ of fans or collectively adjust the entire network. You even have the ability to program the system to automatically respond to time and date, temperature setting/variance and even, connect to fire suppression systems.
According to Material Handling and Logistics (MH&L) magazine, this past October, The Automation Alliance of Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) released an Automation Reports titled Operational Performance and Investment Plans In Warehousing, Distribution and Manufacturing. The response totaled 383, with 254 of those responses coming from the material handling industry. The report churned out some interesting data. For example, 74% of respondents indicated that they are planning/considering an automation project.
Improved efficiencies and cost reductions will definitely act as strong drivers when considering whether or not to automate or integrate a process. Nevertheless, with anything new comes fear of change. Being that we are creatures of habit, new processes can be daunting. Undeniably, trends suggest that more and more warehouse owners are trusting technology, and evidently they are reaping the rewards. After all, increased productivity is very attractive to all those in supply chain management.
For more information, please visit sercocompany.com
HVLS fans are a great addition to any large facility or warehouse. They move air efficiently to keep employees comfortable and productive and are an energy efficient supplement to expensive HVAC systems and support sustainability efforts. For companies that have a number of fans, managing all those settings daily, is not the best utilization of time or resources. iFAN™ by Serco®, can take you out of the business of managing fans and put you back into doing what you do best, managing your facility.
This was certainly the case for Roger Tudor, Maintenance Manager for the Dillard’s Fort Worth Distribution Center. Tudor decided to install twenty-one, 24’ HVLS warehouse fans to maintain a cooler temperature in the massive facility. “The deciding factor for me was actually seeing a side-by-side comparison of different manufacturers’ fans and the ones we selected, the Serco VELOCITY™, really just moved more air more efficiently.” he said.
In addition to installing HVLS fans, Tudor and Dillard’s also opted to utilize iFAN to allow them to daisy-chain their HVLS fans together and control them from a centralized interface. This unique system provides increased visibility and control of individual fans or the entire system of fans and in turn improves productivity and efficiency.
The 23-inch touch screen computer allows users to easily monitor and adjust all fan operations. Navigation buttons provide access to operating parameters, temperature or time settings and fan diagnostics. Additionally, iPads and other tablets can be used as remote controls in conjunction with the main screen with similar functionality.
iFAN can control fans collectively, individually or by zones within a facility. Built-in web view software allows fans in multiple buildings to be managed from the centralized interface. Fan operation can be programmed to react to date and time, temperature setting/variance and also interconnect to fire suppression systems.
The system also ensures that operational and energy saving goals for your HVLS fans are realized. It can display a variety of tailored performance metrics for each fan, zone and facility which can be archived and reviewed for trend analysis and adjustments.
When it comes to creating a superior and more efficient work environment, Serco HVLS fans and iFAN are a cost effective, energy efficient addition to any large facility or warehouse. They make working conditions more comfortable and simplify fan control which can save you hours of time annually.
For more information, please visit sercocompany.com or call, (800) 933-4834.
Running your loading dock with inefficiencies can lead to a whole host of problems; shipment delays, accidents, product damage and even injuries. Inefficiencies can also cut down on performance opening up the door to late or lost shipments and unsatisfied customers. Making just small adjustments to your yard, loading dock and warehouse operations can make a world of difference in the efficiency and productivity you will experience from your logistics.
Start outside of the dock and warehouse. Installing a 4SIGHT™ Yard Management System is a good place to start to increase the visibility of your supply chain, allowing you to make educated decisions on how to best optimize your logistics. From the moment a trailer enters your yard to the time it leaves, 4SIGHT lets you know where exactly a trailer is, what’s on it, where it needs to be and how to get it there as efficiently as possible.
Ensure the most efficient sequence. Equipment on the loading dock such as vehicle restraints, overhead dock doors and dock levelers should operate in an appropriate sequence to make sure they are as safe and efficient as possible. A Serco® Master Control Panel interlocks all controls with sensors to ensure the proper sequence of equipment engagement. This allows maximum efficiencies, safety and minimizes downtime that can result from improper equipment sequencing.
Invest in the most standup leveler available. Vertical storing dock levelers increase efficiencies at the loading dock by eliminating the additional steps drivers must take with more traditional levelers. The Serco Vertical Storing Dock Leveler allows the driver to simply back the trailer up to the door and let the dock employee do all the rest with their integrated master controls.
In addition, companies in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries and a growing number of other operations are seeking to sustain a clean, energy-efficient warehouse environment. That’s why thousands count on our Vertical Storing Leveler for unequalled environmental control along with safe, secure performance, day after day and efficiency.
Lighten up on the loading dock. Lighting on the dock and inside trailers will help increase dock productivity. High Impact LED™ Dock Lights from APS Resource® will save your energy and provide better lighting quality than traditional bulbs making your dock safer for employees to maneuver loads thus increasing your productivity. With an average 50,000 hour life span per bulb, you will also find yourself stopping to replace bulbs during loading or unloading shipments.
Comfort that is second-to-none. Employees that are comfortable in the work place tend to be more productive than those who are not. Serco VELOCITY™ HVLS warehouse fans can deliver a perceived 7 to 11 degree temperature reduction making working conditions cooler and more comfortable in the hot summer months without adding stress to your HVAC system.
With rising logistics cost affecting nearly every industry across the U.S. and even internationally, companies now, more than ever must find ways to safety and effectively do more with less. For more information on these best-in-class, efficient loading dock solutions visit, sercocompany.com.
Let’s face it, we all worry about the impact threats such as weather, theft and even fire can have not only on our homes and personal possessions but also at the workplace. Which is why most people carry some form of insurance on their valuables, but here’s a little assurance from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for your fans and a little peace of mind.
Based on extensive testing recently conducted by the NFPA’s Research Foundation, guidelines for the installation and use of High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) Fans in facilities with Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) automatic sprinklers have been established. With a vote of confidence, tests concluded that HVLS warehouse fans, without additional fire, smoke or heat detecting equipment did not prevent sprinkler systems from meeting the “pass criteria” established for the tests and approval process
The pass criteria were determined after the two-part study analyzing the impact HVLS warehouse fans had on automatic sprinkler systems in terms of protecting stored commodities. The study was sponsored and conducted by an oversight committee of HVLS fan industry experts, facility consultants, risk management companies and members of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA).
These tests are great news for HVLS fan users and potential users and the safety of their warehouse and overhead loading dock doors. But what about more stringent local fire marshals and the fire codes? What if they mandate the HVLS fans automatically shut down when sprinklers are activated from a fire alarm? Is there an automated system to control HVLS warehouse fans shut down from a central location?
Of course there is a solution, and Serco® has taken its almost 60 years of experience as the leader in the movement of materials over to advancing the efficient movement of air with iFAN™. iFAN may not be able to help prevent fires but it can certainly assist fire suppression and fire code compliance. iFAN’s intelligent software controls all fans from a single, centralized location and even has the ability to interconnect with fire suppression systems to immediately shut fans down when a fire alarm is triggered.
This integrated connection design allows power to the fans to be immediately interrupting the signal to the iFan which will shut the fans within 90 seconds. In addition to sprinkler activation, iFAN can integrate with smoke detection devices and heat detection devices to achieve automatic fan shutdown.
If you’re looking for the peace of mind and assurance afforded by iFAN for your HVLS warehouse fans, please visit the Serco HVLS warehouse fan website. iFAN, it’s a winning combination of fan safety and fan efficiency.
Large industrial HVLS fans are a great addition to any warehouse setting. They move air more efficiently and keep your employees comfortable, but if you're like a lot of companies and have 10, 20 or 30 plus fans, keeping up with all those settings can be a real chore! iFAN™ takes you out of the business of policing fans and puts you back in the business of doing what you do best (whatever that might be).
iFAN, the latest product offering from Serco®, lets you to network multiple HVLS warehouse fans and control them from a single, centralized location. The science behind this unique industrial networked fan control system is our proprietary 4SIGHT™ software. Let iFAN do all the work, while you sit back and receive the maximum levels of performance and savings from your HVLS warehouse fans.
Integration of an iFAN system can accommodate up to 30 or depending on the application even more HVLS warehouse fans, providing employee comfort and efficiency year around. And studies suggest comfortable employees tend to be more productive employees….go figure. The fans are networked by a cool all-in-one touch screen computer with custom graphic displays of the facility and fan locations.
This screen allows you easily make adjustments to individual fans, fans in predetermined zones or every fan in the facility, all from the comfort of your office chair. iFAN incorporates smart technology, and who wants to work harder when you can simply work smarter? Without breaking a sweat, navigation buttons can turn fans on or off, control temperature and timer settings, display instruction manuals and even shut down fans when an fire alarm is triggered.
iFAN makes sure that operational and energy savings goals for your HVLS warehouse fans are realized, while you take all the credit. The system displays a variety of unique metrics for each fan, zone and entire facility which can be archived and reviewed later for trend analysis ensuring you’re in the know to make decisions about optimizing your fan’s performance.
Some of the features and capabilities iFAN provides go above and beyond and can really make your head (and fans) spin!
- Centralized controls restrict access to only authorized users ensuring employees are not changing settings.
- Need a bigger facility with more HVLS fans? No worries, iFAN allows for more fans to be integrated into an existing system as a result of facility expansion.
- All iFAN controls are tailored to your specific application needs.
- Troubleshooting can quickly identify operational issues and provide options for resolution.
For more information on how iFAN can help optimize the performance of your Serco HVLS warehouse fans visit, http://serco.4frontes.com/Products/HVLSFans/SercoiFAN.aspx.