Plant Practices: Cart Pusher Solution Saves Hands From Hazards
This Smurfit-Stone facility uses eight print colors and one varnish station to turn roll after roll of white linerboard into printed material for corrugation plants, which incorporate the printed linerboard into boxes for shipping or commercial use.
At Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation’s  preprint facility in Jacksonville, FL, Production Supervisor Craig Schuster has seen many changes on the plant floor during his 11 years with the company. One major change involves a material handling solution that now, more than two years after its implementation, has saved the company time and money while protecting employees from on-the-job injuries.
This Smurfit-Stone facility uses eight print colors and one varnish station to turn roll after roll of white linerboard into printed material for corrugation plants, which incorporate the printed linerboard into boxes for shipping or commercial use. These printed cylinders range from 28 in. to 79 in. in diameter and weigh 2,000 to 5,000 lbs. each. To move these cylinders, Smurfit-Stone uses large carts to carry several cylinders at a time. Once this cart is ready to be moved to another area on the plant floor, it can weigh 10,000 lbs. or more. Schuster said that with his company’s previous material handling methods, relocating these products was no simple task.
“Before we even had our old system for moving these cylinder carts, we used to have guys push these carts around by hand,” Schuster said. “We’ve had cylinders fall on workers’ hands before, and that is a definite hazard when you have 10,000 to 15,000 lbs. on a single cart. And with our previous system, we had issues with batteries wearing out and parts frequently breaking.”
In April 2005, Schuster contacted Nu-Star Inc. of Shakopee, Minn. to find a better solution. Schuster was soon introduced to Power Pusher®, a material handling solution for heavy or challenging loads.  Within a month, Smurfit-Stone had purchased its first Power Pusher unit with roller attachment.
Power Pusher is designed to push, pull and maneuver loads of up to 50,000 lbs. in challenging industrial situations. At Smurfit-Stone, these pedestrian-operated, conveniently sized Power Pusher units deliver a reliable load moving solution that eases numerous personnel safety concerns.
“One thing we stress here is safety, and with Power Pusher, we don’t have to worry about several safety issues,” Schuster said. “For one thing, personnel no longer have to be in close proximity to the machinery we use. These units also prevent the hand and back injuries that often result from moving heavy loads. We’ve been at the top of the list in safety for the paper industry over the last four years,” Schuster added.
Another benefit Smurfit-Stone saw relative to its application was that the product was robust enough to handle this difficult industrial environment.
“These products are very easy to maintain,” Schuster said. “With the amount of stress we put on these machines, any problems we’ve had in the last two-and-a-half years have been very minor. And we don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get these units working again.”