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folding tablesLightweight, collapsible folding tables like those available from Bahrns.com offer a variety of uses that give your business versatility. They also can save you money in the long term on table rentals, transport costs, and more.

It’s always a good idea to have at least a few folding tables stored away in a closet or in an out of the way corner of your warehouse. Affordable and convenient, folding tables can be used for everything from employee meetings and training sessions, signup and registration at special events, employee break areas, and many other uses.

Easy to Set Up and Break Down

Folding tables vary from more durable, heavy duty models to lightweight plastic tables that can easily be lifted and moved by one person. There also are round tables, rectangular tables, square tables, crescent-shaped tables, and many other shapes and sizes.

But they all have one thing in common: Convenience. As the name implies, folding tables can be folded up so that they take up minimal space when not in use. Multiple tables can be folded up and stacked against a wall or in a closet so they are out of sight and out of mind until you need them again.

When you are ready to use them again, simply assemble the table by pulling out each set of legs, locking them in place with the built-in locking device, flip them upright, and you are ready to go.

Decorating Your Table

One of the best things about foldable tables is that they can be used for so many things. For example, a bare table paired with a couple of folding chairs is perfect for a sign-up table of information station at a training conference or other special event.

But throw a linen tablecloth over that same table, set it with fine china, and push a few comfortable chairs around it and it can double as a luxury dinner table at a fancy banquet.

Cost Savings

Folding tables are very affordable. But they can provide a substantial savings in the long run.

Renting tables for special events can get very costly fast. Plus, typically you need to pay a transportation charge every time you have rented tables dropped off and picked up from your business.

But with lightweight, collapsible tables of your very own, you can keep them stored safely out of the way until you need them again and never have to worry about paying rental costs ever again.

When it comes to convenience, there’s no beating the benefits of owning your own folding tables. And when it comes to one of the largest selection of many different sizes, styles and shapes of folding tables, there’s no beating Bahrns.com.

 

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(Courtesy: RM2 International)

(Courtesy: RM2 International)

RM2 International, a pallet manufacturer with offices in Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, and Chatham, New Jersey in the United States, is offering a composite pallet that is stronger than customary polymer and wooden pallets.

Called BLOCKPal™, the pallet is formed using a unique manufacturing process that includes a two-component polyurethane resin developed by Bayer Material/Science. A Multi-trip heavy duty pallet, it features an open top deck configuration for easy cleaning and its low profile runners and wide fork openings makes for easy pallet access for a wide variety of material handling equipment.

Due to its material and its non-porous surface, it will not splinter, warp or absorb moisture and it meets UL2335 standards for fire retardant as well as ISO 8611 standards. The manufacturing process makes the BLOCKPal pallet 20 times more durable than wood pallets and pound for pound stronger than steel and it is resistant to bacteria, chemicals, and pests.

Virginia Tech Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design tested the BLOCKPal pallet and discovered that it lasts up to 100 trips.  The fact that it is repairable adds another 50 trips to its life.

Moreover, its manufacturing carbon footprint is equivalent to saving 70,000 gallons of gasoline annually. An LCA Study discovered that the BLOCKPal pallet reduces global warning potential by 21 percent, reduces primary energy demand by 50 percent, reduces acidification potential by 31 percent and reduces eutrophication potential by 44 percent when compared to the carbon footprint of standard wooden pallets.

The pallet features a bigger opening for the forklift and is available in standard sizes including 1200 x 1000 mm, 1200 x 800 mm, 1165 x 1165 mm, and 48-inches x 40-inches footprints.

(Courtesy: RM2)

(Courtesy: RM2)

It is manufactured to withstand maximum weight and wide ranging temperatures. The edge strength exceeds industry standards with a racking load measured at 6,500 pounds, a static load of 60,000 pounds, and dynamic at 9,800 pounds. It can withstand temperatures between -40° and 176°F.

Already constructed to have a high coefficient of friction, the pallets have recently been improved with a new gel coat finish. It makes the pallet look slippery, but offers added assurance that it will keep loads secure and will not slip off forklift tines.

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chemical spill

Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society via Wikimedia Commons

The owner of a Brooklyn construction company is facing manslaughter and other criminal charges in connection with the death of one of his workers.

A grand jury in New York returned the indictment against Salvatore Schirripa, 66, owner of the Bensonhurst-based J&M Metro General Contracting Corp. after one of his workers fell six stories to his death while smoothing cement at a Coney Island construction site.

If convicted, the business owner faces up to 15 years in prison. After being arraigned, he was released after posting $35,000 cash bond.

No Safety Gear Provided

The incident occurred April 1, 2015, when J&M employee Vidal Sanchez-Ramon, 50, and two other employees were was smoothing concrete on the sixth floor of a building at 360 Neptune Ave. outside a wire cable protective fence. While walking backwards, using a rake-like instrument to smooth the concrete in front of him, Sanchez reached the edge and fell.

He had not been provided an anti-fall harness, as required by New York building code and OSHA. Nor did his employer provide any sort of safety guard rails or other protective equipment to protect him from injury, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. Now the company’s owner and the business itself are being held responsible for his death.

“As charged, these defendants recklessly cut corners and ignored standard safety procedures, resulting in another tragic and preventable death on a construction site,” Thompson said in a news release announcing the indictments.

A Warning to Other Business Owners

Schirripa’s businesses had been warned four times previously by the New York City building department “to immediately provide guardrail systems and handrails to protect workers from falls,” according to Thompson.

Sanchez-Ramon was the eight NYC area construction worker to be killed by a fall on a job site last year alone.

Schirripa’s indictment serves as a warning to all business owners: Failure to provide for the safety of their workers could land them in prison, said Robert Kulick, the regional director of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“The deaths of Mr. Sanchez and the seven other New York City construction workers in falls in 2015 were all needless and preventable,” Kulick said. “These were people, no numbers. The indictment sends a strong message to those employers who would neglect their legal responsibility to provide their employees with safe workplaces and working conditions.”

Schirripa faced an eight-count indictment, including charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminal negligent homicide, second-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, second-degree criminal possession of a false instrument, violation of the workers’ compensation law, and willful failure to pay contributions to the unemployment insurance fund.

 

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Here is a special sneak preview of some of the stories you will find coming up on the Bahrns blog:

  • Failing to provide essential safety equipment for your employees not can mean fines and penalties … it could also result in criminal prosecution. Just ask the owner of a Brooklyn construction company who is now facing a potential 15-year prison sentence. We’ll tell you why …
  • Something as simple as a folding table can give you so many various uses. We’ll tell you why it’s always better to have a few of these convenient essentials tucked away in some corner of your business …
  • Pallets are all the same, right? Wrong! We’ll show you a futuristic 21st Century pallet made of a new kind of composite material that is tougher, more durable and longer-lasting than any you’ve seen before …

All this and much, much more can be found coming soon on the Bahrns blog … so stay tuned!

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Photo by Visitor7 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Photo by Visitor7 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Online grocery shopping is one of those things that sounds like it would be a good business model. But it has yet to catch on among consumers in the US.

Despite this, mega-companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart and others are doubling down on their efforts to convince US shoppers to surf for produce, canned goods, meats, dairy and other groceries from their laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Wal-Mart recently announced that it is testing a program in which it is teaming with the Lyft and Uber ride-sharing companies for rapid home grocery delivery in Denver and Phoenix. And Amazon last week launched a same-day grocery delivery program in London.

Consumer Resistance

Home grocery delivery is something mega-retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart obviously want to be successful. But consumers historically have been reluctant to embrace the concept.

While few people enjoy making the obligatory weekly trip to the grocery store — especially in urban and suburban areas where they are likely to face crowded parking lots, large crowds,  and long waits at the checkout lines. And yet most it’s an obligation that many people don’t want to hand over to online grocery services.

‘Price and Pride’

One reason is financial: Many consumers simply don’t want to pay the added expense. Customers enrolled in the AmazonFresh grocery delivery service in Seattle and other cities are required to pay $299 in annual membership fees. Wal-Mart customers who use the Uber/Lyft pilot program will pay $7 to $10 per order.

For many consumers, those are high prices to pay for the convenience of home delivery and represent a considerable increase in the weekly grocery budget.

Freshness Counts

Another concern is control. While canned, frozen and prepared foods are relatively the same everywhere, the same can’t be said about fresh meats, poultry, dairy and produce.

To participate in online ordering, consumers have to agree to hand over control to somebody else, relying on third party shoppers to select the best-quality perishables for their families — something many picky customers have proven reluctant to do.

Scheduling Concerns

When you order groceries online, somebody generally has to be there to accept delivery. Nobody wants spoilable products like milk, fish, or poultry sitting on their doorstep for several hours — even if they are in temperature-controlled sacks or insulated boxes.

That means deliveries have to be coordinated so they take place when somebody is at home to accept them. If consumers have to wait around for groceries to be delivered anyway, many figure they may as well jump in the car and go shopping themselves — saving on the delivery charges and allowing them to pick out their own fresh products.

Glue, a Swedish startup, has developed a smart lock that replaces your front door key with an app, allowing grocery delivery drivers to stock your refrigerator even when you aren’t home. But many people aren’t likely to warm to the idea of strangers going into their homes unsupervised.

Future Shock

Clothing, entertainment media, pharmaceuticals and most other consumer goods already have been swallowed up by the online shopping trend. While it’s only a matter of time before grocery providers figure out a way to overcome consumer objections and find an effective way to make home grocery delivery a reality, consumers continue to be cool to the business model.

 

 

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Container handling equipment. (Courtesy: Steven Brandist at flickr.com)

Container handling equipment.
(Courtesy: Steven Brandist at flickr.com)

We have published a number of stories on the advantages and disadvantages of buying used equipment including forklifts and other warehouse products. One more category that you might want to consider buying used is container-handling equipment.

Just like there are used car dealerships, there are companies that also offer used container equipment. These businesses have developed relationships with companies who buy and then later wish to sell their used equipment. They know what companies are ready to divest their used container handling equipment and are willing to provide you with the information.

10 benefits of buying used container handling equipment include:

·      Reduced startup costs. New businesses can save a substantial amount of money and will cut startup costs by buying used.
·      Higher and quicker ROI. Since the cost of the equipment is lower than new equipment would cost return on investment occurs quicker and is significantly higher than with the acquisition of new equipment.
·      Save money for business expansion. The money you save in buying used container handling equipment can be used for a number of things including expansion of your business.
·      Immediate delivery. Some times you will have to wait for delivery of new machines due to long lead-time in manufacturing. Used equipment is available immediately.
·      Obtain name brand products at an affordable price. Of course, you want quality equipment and you know what you are getting when you buy a well-known brand. You can buy a quality used name brand product for a substantial savings.
·      Back-up machines. Used container handling equipment can be purchased for less than new machines and can serve as back-up when you take one machine off line to service. The back-up equipment is also available to use when you are experiencing high demand.
·      Eco-Friendly. Since the used equipment is already fabricated, there is no need to use new raw materials to construct. Thus, it encourages a business to recycle their equipment.
·      Technical specifications. Some warehouses may prefer used container handling equipment to new equipment because of the simplicity of the design and the ease of maintenance.
·      Inspection and verification. Buying used machinery provides the opportunity to inspect it while in use. This permits you to verify that specific specifications fit your needs. On the other hand, you won’t have the opportunity to inspect new machines because it may not exist when you order it.
·      Great Buy. Who knows? You may get lucky and come upon used equipment that has not been used often that you can purchase for less than half the price of a new machine.

Simply do a Google, AOL, Bing or other Internet search for “Used Container Handling Equipment” and you will get a list of companies ready to sell you used goods for a great price.

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(Courtesy: RM2 International)

(Courtesy: RM2 International)

Quick question: How do most of your products, supplies, and raw materials arrive at your warehouse, dock or business? If yours is like most businesses, pallets still provide the basis for many — if not most — of you incoming shipments.

Despite the rise of robotic automated guided vehicles, inventory-taking drones, infrared radio frequency devices, and other high-tech warehousing and supply chain tools, the simple low-tech wooden or plastic pallet remains one of the most widely used tools in all of the materials handling industry.

That’s a LOT of Pallets!

At any given moment, there are more than 2 billion pallets in use in the United States alone, according to industry analysts. In fact, about 94 percent of all consumer and industrial products in the US travel on pallets at some point or another as they make their way through the supply chain from the manufacturer to the consumer.

And more pallets are entering the supply chain every day. Pallet usage is expected to grow an average 4.6 percent per year between now and 2019, according to the Technavio Global Pallet Market report.

Pallet Evolution

While most of these pallets remain the traditional 40-inch by 48-inch wooden pallets, many businesses are turning to new non-traditional pallet sizes to accommodate their specific needs.

Half pallets, which measure 40-inches by 24-inches, are increasingly popular among grocery stores, as well as businesses with limited storage space. These less bulky pallets can be more easily used in retail displays, such as end-aisle displays.

The way consumers shop has changed. There’s an increased demand for retailers to provide online ordering for their customers, which requires smaller, odd-shaped lots to make their way through the supply chain.

Safer Pallets

There’s also an increased awareness about the environmental impact of the way companies do business, which has led to the development of sustainable and reusable pallets made from materials like recycled cardboard and high-impact plastic.

Plastic pallets are less likely to split or break than wood. They also don’t contain nails, industrial staples or other potential hazards.

And they’re lighter, which reduces the risk of injury to workers and can lower transportation costs. Plus, unlike wood pallets, plastic pallets are unlikely to absorb bacteria and can be easily cleaned, reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

Pallets may be low-tech tools in a high-tech world. But they aren’t going anywhere, at least not in the near future.

Business will continue to come up with innovative, safe and effective ways to utilize pallets to streamline delivery, reduce costs, and maximize both profits and productivity.

 

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Here is a special sneak preview of some of the stories you will find coming up on the Bahrns blog:

  • Now there’s a more affordable option to buying new container handling equipment: Used equipment is often cheaper, easier to use, and more convenient. We’ll tell you why …
  • On paper, online grocery shopping sounds like a winner. After all, who wouldn’t want to avoid trekking to the grocery store? So why have consumers been so cool to the concept?
  • As the materials handling industry gets more high tech, pallets remain the most popular platform for moving goods from one place to another. We’ll take a look at the continued appeal of these decidedly low-tech tools …

All this and much, much more is coming soon on the Bahrns blog … so stay tuned!

 

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OSHA LogoA Lansing, Illinois, commercial tank trailer company has been ordered to pay a former manager more than $190,000 in back wages and damages after he was demoted and eventually forced to resign for reporting dangerous safety violations.

Polar Service Centers was the target of a US Occupational and Safety Administration investigation after a service manager reportedly was targeted by company officials for reporting to the US Transportation Department that a Polar customer was improperly certifying trailers to haul hazardous waste, according to an OSHA news release.

Whistleblower Protection

The manager, who was not identified in the new release, was suspended by Polar Service Centers in September 2013 and was later demoted and barred from speaking further with Transportation Department officials. Eventually, the manager was forced to resign from his job at Polar Service.

Now OSHA has ordered that the manager be reinstated and that he be paid $88,847 in back wages, plus $100,000 in punitive damages and another $1,700 in compensatory damages, as well as his attorneys’ fees.

Safety Concerns

The company’s actions were a clear violation of the whistleblower protections put in place to protect employees from retaliation for reporting safety violations, according to Ken Nishiyama Atha, the OSHA regional administrator for Chicago.

“Censuring a worker for complying with the law clearly violates the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act,” Nishiyama said. ”This employee did the right thing to protect others and was punished for it. OSHA’s committed to protecting the rights of America’s workers to refuse unsafe and unlawful orders from their employer.”

No Retaliation Allowed

Under whistleblower laws, company’s can’t retaliate against workers who raise concerns or provide protected information to government agencies.

Federal whistleblower laws currently protect workers in the airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities industries.

Polar Service has 30 days to appeal the findings and request a hearing before an administrative law jugdge.

National Safety Month

In other OSHA news, the agency recently announced that June is National Safety Month, which emphasizes the importance of safety both on and off the job.

The highlight of the month-long event is the National Safety  Council’s SafeForLife campaign, which highlights the leading causes of death in the home, on the job, on the roads, and in our communities. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to visit the agency’s website to take the SafeAtWork pledge and access free downloadable safety materials, including posters, tip sheets, and games.

 

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Self-Driving Trucks Are Coming

08 Jun 2016

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In recent years we’ve been hearing about some major companies as well as automobile manufacturers developing self-driving cars. Google, Apple, BMW, Ford and other carmakers are experimenting with it and have predicted that they will be available by 2020. Tesla has recently released its Autopilot feature, which is software that can self-drive a Tesla Model S. Tesla cautions that a driver should be present at the steering wheel should anything go wrong with the system.

Now comes word that there is a new truck company developing self-driving trucks.

Based in Silicon Valley in California, the name of the company is Ottomotto. A former member of Google’s autonomous car team and other Silicon Valley veterans are involved in the creation of the firm.

The company does not intend to throw away truck design altogether and start from scratch to construct self-driving trucks. Instead, it is producing sensors and creating software and other technologies that can be used in today’s trucks. The pieces are available in a self-driving kit that is designed to turn trucks that need drivers into self-driving trucks.

The self-driving technology is already being tested on a fleet of three Volvo research trucks that are driven in a controlled setting on highways within the United States. Otto asserts that it has performed one public demonstration so far.

There are about 40 members of the Otto staff that have experience working on self-driving vehicles with Alphabet, Google, Apple, and Tesla.

One of the founders of the company, Anthony Levandowski, who served Google and worked on its free mapping service, claims that the plan is to enhance the capabilities of the trucks they already have, collect safety data to demonstrate their benefits, and then bringing the technology to “…every corner of the U.S. highway system.”

Self-driving trucks could help to provide relief to overworked drivers who plant themselves in front of a steering wheel for long hauls that can take days of very little sleep.

There are great incentives for a company to create a robot truck fleet. Such a fleet can help stretch out the thing supply of long-haul drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, there are 50,000 workers who drive trucks in the United States.

Ottomotto is not the only company developing self-driving trucks. A company called Peloton Technology headquartered in Mountain View, California, is also working on the concept. Their technology features a lead truck driven by a professional driver leading a convoy of autonomous trucks. Volvo is a major investor in the company and has been a strong advocate of this platooning style fleet of self-driving trucks. The Swedish carmaker has performed three demonstrations of such convoys of two or three trucks each in Europe. The longest that a convoy has traveled is from Stockholm to Rotterdam in Sweden.

Drivers have been present in all the trucks and concentrate on the road, as laws require.

Mercedes-Benz is also working on a self-driving truck and plans to release to the commercial market in 2025.

 

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