St. Onge Institute Launched
St. Onge Co. has introduced The Institute St. Onge, a Web portal offering 24-hour access to 2,000 years of engineering expertise in material handling, logistics, manufacturing processes, packaging and transportation.
The company is an internationally recognized leader in supply chain logistics and e-commerce. The subscription-only Knowledge Center portal will operate as a division of St. Onge Company.
At a user’s fingertips are thousands of articles, white papers and tool sets created, discovered or commissioned by the engineers and researchers at the institute.
• Search engine for focused responses;
• Advanced operations techniques and methods;
• Emerging trends;
• Web-based training and certification;
• Critiques of trends in technology;
• Customized research;
• Free attendance at annual conference.
Several subscription packages are available. Contact [email protected] for information.
Cascade Corp. has entered into a merger agreement with acquisition companies formed by Lift Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of lift truck masts; TD Capital Group Ltd., a member of the Toronto Dominion Bank Group; and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Board. James S. Osterman, chair, special committee, board of directors, Cascade, said the merger agreement resulted from the process begun by the board to evaluate a management buy-out proposal and other alternatives to enhance value for shareholders.
Grief Bros. Corp., manufacturer of industrial shipping containers, has purchased Van Leer, the industrial packaging division of Huhtamaki Van Leer Oyj, Espoo, Finland. This acquisition will double the size of Grief Bros., giving it access to global markets. Purchase price was $620 million.
Escort Memory Systems, supplier of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies, and Zebra Technologies Corp., manufacturer of bar code printing equipment, have announced an alliance. Under the agreement, they will combine efforts to promote I-CODE-based smart label solutions. Smart labels combine the advantages of bar code, electronic
article surveillance and traditional RFID technologies.
Peterson Manufacturing has acquired rack manufacturer Fab-Master and customized trailer-maker Lubick Manufacturing.
Retiring Postal VP Cites Progress
As he prepares to retire as vice president of engineering for the U.S. Postal Service, William J. (Bill) Dowling talks about the past, present and future of the world’s largest material handling system.
Dowling recalls that there was little engineering of any discipline when he joined USPS as an industrial engineer in 1970. "In the course of 30 years the Postal Service has become very dependent on process technology, material handling technology and distribution technology that is the core responsibility of engineering," he says. The new emphasis is on information — not only where the mail is headed but also information that can help USPS customers manage their businesses.
That means the ability to track the products in the mailstream. "We’ve upgraded all the control systems to improve the internal management information of the process. And to gather information about the product being mailed, we’ve invested in bar code systems and optical character reader systems that give us the capability to recognize code systems and information that is more than the destination code," Dowling explains.
That kind of capability started with bar coding. "We began bar coding as part of our letter line with the introduction of the nine-digit ZIP code in the 1970s. That was the preparation for the first optical character readers deployed in the Postal Service," Dowling recalls.
Starting in the early 1980s, the Postal Service started to deploy 1,500 multiline optical character readers that can read all three lines of an address. These were coupled with a sophisticated directory system to produce a bar code that takes the address all the way to an individual residence or business.
After reflecting on the development of optical character recognition and bar coding in the USPS, Dowling turns to a new postal product, Confirm. This product enables a code that identifies the mailer to be applied along with a destination bar code so that the letter can be tracked. "Our machines can read both codes and transmit back to the mailer the information that we have received, processed and made ready for delivery." Though Confirm is experimental, dozens of mailers are participating in it. "It’s important in a marketing campaign or any time a mailer is concerned about knowing when the actual delivery is made."
While automatic identification was one of the first projects in which Bill Dowling was involved, his career quickly took a number of turns. "From there I went into field operations, and then to positions that ranged from managing maintenance to logistics. I was postmaster of Hartford, Connecticut, for a while, and then ran operations in Manhattan for five years. So I’ve done a lot of things in the organization before I came back to engineering about 10 years ago," he recalls.
Dowling holds a bachelor’s degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As vice president of engineering, Dowling has overseen the development of material handling systems such as:
• Automatic guided vehicles (tuggers and lift trucks), some of which are still experimental;
• Gantry-type robots deployed to handle trays and tubs;
• Automated storage and retrieval systems
deployed as part of tray management systems in more that 30 installations;
• New package singulators in the Bulk Mail System, along with refurbished conveyors and sorters;
• Six-sided OCR and bar code scanners in the Bulk Mail System.
Material Handling Management
— Bernie Knill, contributing editor
HK Systems Opens Food, Beverage COE
To better enable its customers to respond to the growing demands of a continuously changing market, HK Systems Inc. has developed a Food and Beverage Center of Excellence (COE). This COE will provide total supply chain solutions for the diverse demands of the food and beverage product manufacturing, warehousing and distribution environments from consulting to design, implementation and, finally, service.
Paul Probst has been named vice president, HK Systems Food and Beverage COE. With more than 20 years of delivering in the industry, Probst will direct the sales and solution delivery efforts of this organization.
Industry Leader Wilson A. Tayloe Dies
Wilson A. Tayloe, 78, founder and president for 50 years of the W.A. Tayloe Company and a past president of the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association, died December 8 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in his Dallas home.
He was president of MHEDA in 1984, and during his term presided at MHEDA’s First International Industry Exchange in London, which brought together executives from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Holland to discuss mutual business problems and opportunities.
Memorial services were conducted at the Church of the Holy Communion in Dallas. Memorial contributions may be made to Town North YMCA, 4332 Northaven Road, Dallas, TX 75229.
Guide to Crossdocking
A 176-page book, published by the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), provides practical, easy-to-understand information on crossdocking. Making the Move to Cross Docking: A Practical Guide to Planning, Designing and Implementing a Cross Dock Operation, applies various crossdocking techniques to real-life scenarios. It looks at both drawbacks and opportunities. Cost is $35 for WERC members and $70 for non-members. Visit WERC at werc.org.
People Making News
Coit Edison has been appointed president of Hyster Company. He has been with the company for 10 years.
Greg Rzeplinski has been appointed vice president, manufacturing, at The Buschman Company.
Diamond Phoenix Corp. has named two new vice presidents. Kevin Reader has been named to the newly created position of vice president international, responsible for Diamond Phoenix Ltd. Bob Barnes has been promoted to vice president systems.
Cascade Corp. has elected Greg H. Kubicek chair-man, succeeding C. Calvert Knudsen.
Wago Corp. has promoted Toby Thomann to national sales manager from marketing manager.
One of the pioneers of the lift truck industry is dead at age 68. Tom Bidwell, retired vice president at Crown Equipment Company, started in the engineering department and became the company’s executive vice president more than 40 years later.
He is credited with marketing the company’s first lift truck products. He was known for his insistence on good design and was honored by the Industrial Designers Society of America with a special lifetime award for his many contributions. He also served as the Industrial Truck Association president and, in 1994, received the organization’s highest award for his efforts.
On The Job
This month we inaugurate a new feature, cartoons by nationally known cartoonist Jerry King. While King is certainly a fount of ideas and humor, we’d like to have you help him a bit. Send us your ideas for a satiric or just a plain, funny look at any aspect of material handling. Give us the concept or tell us what you think the caption should say and we’ll pass the idea on to King. If we select your idea for publication, we’ll send you the original cartoon artwork, signed and suitable for framing. All ideas are welcome. And, remember, sacred cows make the best burgers! Send to [email protected]. Mark the subject line "cartoon idea."