In order to create a delicious meal, chefs must not only know how to prepare the various ingredients, they must also be aware of how to properly store them prior to cooking.
This concept is also true for owners of manufacturing companies. They may be so focused on the production process, they could be inadvertently overlooking how they are storing the materials that help to create their amazing products in the first place.
As Cisco-Eagle notes, ignoring and/or not taking proper care of manufacturing materials can have a negative impact on production as well as the materials themselves. The way that companies store and handle their materials is extremely important. If they are not stored properly, they could potentially go bad prior to being used, interact in a dangerous way with other materials or roll off a shelf onto a worker, which could have fatal results.
With this in mind, let’s look at some relatively common manufacturing materials and how they should be properly stored:
Large Bags and Other Bulk Goods
For manufacturers that use huge plastic bags in the production process (to wrap their final product, for instance), storing these enormous bags can be a problem. As Stow-Group notes, their shape can vary and they can often lean to the side. The best way to store this type of manufacturing material, as well as any other type of bulk goods, is on deep shelving units with side guidance. These guides can be attached to the shelving frames and will reinforce the stability of the stacked bags and other bulk goods, which will help to prevent them from falling over.
If sheet metal is used during the production process, storing it improperly can lead to injuries in the workplace. In addition to reading through the latest rules from OSHA on the proper storage of manufacturing materials, company owners should consider storing this uber-heavy product on a custom-made storage system that will keep the sheets vertical. The storage units should have multiple levels which will allow employees to handle the sheets in a safer way and quickly see and choose which pieces they need. If the sheet metal is exceptionally heavy, double frames should be used.
3-D Printing Materials
A number of major companies use 3-D printing in their everyday operations. As ME3D notes, this includes Boeing and Ford; the former is 3-D printing titanium stress-bearing parts to be used in the production of planes, and the latter uses the technology during the vehicle prototyping process. In order to be sure that the finished product is perfect and the 3-D filament is up to the job, Ultimaker says it must be stored out of direct sunlight and in a dry and cool location. The filaments can be placed inside re-sealable bags for easy access. Ideally, PLA, Tough PLA, CPE, Nylon and other common forms of 3-D filament should be stored at temperatures between -4 degrees and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a pretty decent range. However, if the storage room heats up during the summer, this could lead to brittle filament that will snap easily during the printing process.
While they are typically unseen, o-rings are vital to the safety and integrity of the finished product. In order to keep the o-rings in great shape and prevent them from being damaged, they should be stored in airtight packages at a temperature ranging from 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The o-rings should be on their own shelf, and heavy items should not be placed above them; this way, if part of a storage unit is compromised, the o-rings will not be crushed by items falling on them.
Proper Storage Is Imperative for Safety and to Prevent Wasting Money
Companies spend a great deal of money on their manufacturing materials, so the last thing they want to do is store them improperly, causing them to be dangerous to employees or become damaged. Through a combination of proper shelving and temperatures, vital materials will be in great shape and ready to be used in production.