New tools to improve workplace safety during National Safety Month

National Safety Month 2016

June is National Safety Council’s National Safety Month with the goal to educate individuals and companies about workplace safety best practices. To accomplish this, the NSC provides a variety of tools and resources to help organizations plan for a safer workplace and build safety strategies to reduce unnecessary accidents.

This year, the National Safety Council has introduced three online tools to improve workplace safety which include a Safety Assessment, Employee Safety Perception Survey, as well as an Incident Rate Calculator. With a free membership, the NSC also offers articles, recorded webinars, case studies, an online forum, as well as periodic updates on events and new resources.
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T-slotted Aluminum Profiles: Reusable and Reconfigurable

National-environmental-education-foundationAs students across the United States gain increased awareness of environmental issues during National Environmental Education Week, April 17-23. It is the responsibility of everyone, including manufacturing companies, to be mindful of our environment impact and find ways to curb inefficiency and remove unnecessary waste.

One way for manufacturers to adopt environmentally friendly principles is by utilizing item’s Machine Building Kit System. item’s high-quality extruded aluminum profiles enable manufacturers and solutions builders to design and build modular mechanical solutions that can be updated as needed, reused, and easily recycled.
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For National Engineering Week, Legendary Ohio Engineers

Innovations from Ohio’s Most Legendary Engineers

“Ohio, The Heart of It All” was a longstanding slogan of the mid-western state that referred to the wide variety of what Ohio has to offer. Many may not know, this includes a longstanding history of American innovators, engineers, and entrepreneurs! item North America set-up shop in Akron,

Ohio for a variety of reasons; a good education system that provides for well-trained workforce, geographic location, infrastructure, and also the rich history of innovation and a strong industrial foundation. In recognition of DiscoverE’s National Engineering Week from February 21-27, we want to recognize a few legendary engineers from Ohio.

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STEM -- A Path Forward for Manufacturing

Like other manufacturing companies, item North America has a keen interest in the continued development of a well-educated workforce. As a company that designs and builds custom mechanical solutions such as linear motion systems, machine safety guarding and enclosures, automated assembly lines, industrial workbenches and factory platforms and stairs, the growth of item North America is partially dependent on our ability to find and hire well-qualified mechanical engineers and other skilled staff.

After years of focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, a growing STEM workforce has developed to help lead domestic manufacturing growth in 2015. You may have noticed industry outlets reporting on the resurgence of domestic manufacturing and new technological advancements that have facilitated this growth. Many are sharing expectations of continual growth into 2016, pointing to the constant demand of STEM positions and increased STEM interest in students throughout the education system. 

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Adjustable Height Workbenches: Building Healthier and More Productive Environments


MB Kit Systems Adjustable Height Workbench

The engineers at item industriteknik GmbH in Solingen, Germany gained years of experience designing and building custom workbenches with item aluminum profile for companies across Europe. item’s engineers used this vast knowledge and experience to create a system that closely followed ergonomic principles with workbenches that adjust to each person, each job, and each environment.

This forward-thinking  from the status quo is why item’s ergonomic workbench and other systems have been nominated for Design and Ergonomic Awards from the German Design Award, the Red Dot Design Award and the iF product design award.

One main feature of item’s workbench system, and a key to minimizing user fatigue, is the ability for height adjustability of the entire workbench. When height adjustability is paired with ergonomically designed accessories, each workbench user has all necessary tools comfortably within reach.  item’s extruded aluminum system with cross-system compatibility of accessories makes it easy to optimize a workspace while realizing the benefits of ergonomic components. ESD-safe materials guard against electrostatic discharge, making item’s WBS ideal for electronic assembly applications. 

item’s workbench system makes it easy to implement ergonomic lean production solutions. With a variety of components and item aluminum profile, custom workbenches for specialty assembly lines, laboratories, and electronics manufacturing are easy to design and build. The adjustable height functionality of the workbenches, makes them ideal for multi-shift applications with varying personnel sharing a work station.


Ideal Applications for the WBS 

OSHA’s list of laboratory ergonomic practices and suggestions to achieve ideal posture can more easily be followed with an ergonomic workbench from item. Adjustable mounts for monitors, keyboard, tools, and other equipment enable users to achieve a more comfortable posture with the option to switch between sitting and standing.

The inherent advantages of being a modular system enable an array of accessories and components making the WBS ideal for custom lean production assembly and set-up. These include picking trays, extended arm attachments, easily-integrated flow racks, all enabling the design of individual workbenches to be custom built for a particular task.

Electronic manufacturing is an ideal application for item’s Work Bench System. With ESD-safe materials and accessories, workbenches can be designed and built with a table, small parts, and accessories, that protect sensitive electronics or microprocessors by eliminating excess static and lowering the potential of an electrostatic discharge. 


Direct Benefits

Health and productivity benefits from using ergonomic and customized workbenches extend beyond lowered fatigue and comfort. OSHA ranks Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) as one of the most common workplace injuries. According to the Liberty Mutual Research Institute, overexertion and repetitive motions in 2010 accounted for one-third of the workplace incidents, costing $16 billion dollars in the United States.

So how can ergonomic workbenches and customized production set-ups benefit the workplace?

Recently, the CDC published research that bolsters the benefits of ergonomic workbenches. With the ability to adjust the height, ergonomic workbench users can counteract the negative consequences of sitting at work. This increased movement can increase circulation and reduces muscle fatigue. The CDC study also highlighted a link between reducing the time spent sitting at work and increased back health and mood.

These benefits are not limited to office jobs. Production and assembly personnel also benefit from the adaptability of a adjustable height desk. With the option to switch between sitting and standing, a user of an ergonomic workbench can increase movement maximizing comfort. The range of add-ons, including extended picking tray arms, tool hangers, high quality LED lights, all help to minimize strains and fatigue. Adjustable arms are available to reduce over-extension of muscles and ergonomic designs which help lessen the damage due to repetitive motion. 


Ergonomics is not just a buzzword, but a scientifically supported set of practices and design features. item’s ergonomic workbench system can improve productivity, increase worker well-being, minimize fatigue and extend the utility of any workspace. Allow one of our experienced engineers to design a custom ergonomic workbench solution for your exact application at no cost.

Visit the Workbench System page for more information.

Contact us now if you are interested in our team quoting your next ergonomic workbench.

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Trial By Digging: Kent State University Competes at NASA Robotic Event

Trial By Digging: Kent State University Competes at NASA Robotic Event

We last saw Kent State University’s robotics team back in April of 2015 during an early test run of their robot, just weeks before traveling to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s Sixth Annual Robotic Mining Competition.

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item North America introduces aluminum stairway and platform system


item North America has introduced a new “Stair Platform System” to the North American market, using item International’s innovative TPS system of extruded aluminum components.

The TPS Stairway and Platform System enables the design of customized, elevated work platforms, industrial and warehouse mezzanines, and inspection areas around large and non-standard applications in factories, manufacturing facilities, automation cells or assembly operations.

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Industrial Robots & Automation: How to Combine Structural Aluminum with Cartesian Robots for Faster Processes

Regardless of your industry, it’s likely that you’ve considered using industrial robots to improve automation and speed processes within your manufacturing and assembly. Using a Cartesian robot or other industrial robots not only saves time and money, but it allows workers the opportunity to focus on processes where human interaction is needed.

But when you combine industrial robot technology with structural aluminum material, you double the number of improvements you can make to your production and processes. Not sure where to get started? Let us walk you through the process in 3 easy steps.

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