To sort its bulky international mailbags, which weighed up to 35kg, Australia Post used ball transfer tables.
This required substantial and repetitive manual effort by operators to push, pull and rotate the bags, exposing the operators to the risk of back injuries.
To address the issue Australia Post looked for alternative solutions that would substantially reduce operator input and exposure to risk of injury.
With a targeted push/pull force of 50N (5kg) for a 35kg bag, it was acknowledged that this target would in all likelihood require a powered solution, adding to operating and maintenance costs.
Materials handling experts Rotacaster proposed a manual transfer solution using its 48mm Rotacasters combined with polyacetal (POM) spacer rollers.
The roller’s smaller diameter was designed to provide support for the soft packaging, while minimizing friction and reducing the number of Rotacaster wheels required.
Australia Post and Rotacaster collaborated on the design and construction of the transfer table. Trials were successfully undertaken at an Australia Post gateway.
The end result was a significant reduction of push/pull forces to between 40 and 70Nm (4-7kg) in all directions on the table – a remarkable achievement in the absence of any powered assist.
In addition to reducing the push/pull forces required, without the cost noise and maintenance associated with a powered solution, the polymer surfaces of the Rotacasters and spacer rollers have demonstrated a lower affinity to adhesion of labels and stickers from packages, further reducing down time and maintenance costs.
Rotacaster CEO Peter McKinnon said: “Feedback from operators using the table has been exceptionally positive. And importantly, the risk of injury has been reduced. Rotacasters are proving their versatility.”
Following the successful trial, the remaining transfer tables at the facility will be replaced with the Rotacaster solution, with further upgrades to follow at other major Australia Post outlets.
Rotacaster Wheel Pty Ltd designs and manufactures innovative, patented, multi-directional wheels. Rotacaster wheels, made from fully moulded polymers, are sturdy, impact resistant and precision-engineered for a broad range of applications.
Rotacaster Wheel Pty Ltd
Ph: 1300 768 222