Handling Equipment

Forklift Handling

MacroBins are smoother and lighter than wood bins. This must be taken into account when handling empty MacroBins. The following rules should be followed when transporting empty bins on forklifts:

  • Travel in reverse, as bins obstruct visibility in forward direction.
  • Travel with forks tilted back, as plastic bins will slide more easily on forks than wood bins.
  • Make sure the forks are raised high enough to prevent the rear corners of the feet from dragging along the ground.
  • Slow when cornering or driving over rough surfaces as empty bins may tip or bounce off of the forks.
  • If the bins start to tip, quickly lower the forks so the feet contact the ground, stabilizing the stack.
  • Never transport more than four bins high on a forklift.
  • Maintain fork tips to ensure there are no large burrs or sharp edges as this will reduce damage to the radiused forklift entry area.
  • When forklift rotators are used for dumping bins, rotator systems utilizing a clamp are recommended to prevent any movement of the bin when dumping.

 

Malavac Dumper

Malavac forklift dumpers can be used without damage to MacroBins if they are correctly adjusted, the adjustments are maintained or locked in, and the dumper is used properly.

To initially set the adjustment:

  • Set the flapper forward / back adjustment so the distance between the rear frame and the closed flapper is 1/8″ less than the bin length. This will firmly hold the bin in place without crushing the corner post, as well as prevent the bin from moving when dumping.

 

To lock this adjustment:

  • Tack weld a 3/8 square steel plate to the flapper adjusting arm, touching the frame, to act as a stop when the flapper is run into a solid object. The plate will prevent the adjusting arm from being forced in.

 

Malavac dumpers should never be used to push loaded bins with the flaps closed. This will bend the flappers and adjusting arms and force them out of adjustment.

Field Clamp Fork

The clamp fork tractor (Wiggins Clamp) widely used in the citrus industry to handle bins in the orchard can be adapted to handle MacroBins. The modifications needed involve the addition of a bumper at the foot of the forklift mast extending out 6″ on either side. This bumper impacts the corner post instead of allowing the lower corner of the mast to strike the vented area of the sidewall when the mast is tilted back. To prevent damage to the top rim, the installation of a bin edge protector on the upper clamp frame is recommended.

When removing full bins from orchard rows, they are rarely squared with the front of the forklift. To square bins for stacking, the bin on the ground must be square to the bin on the forks. The operator can either push the bin on the ground forward with the bin on the forks until it is square, or raise the forks above the bin on the ground and push the bin forward with the mast. To prevent bin damage, the second option is preferable provided that the forklift mast is fitted with a bumper as outlined above.

Straddle Fork

If 26 Series MacroBins are to be handled with straddle forklifts, the stacker dogs must be replaced with a revised model. These can be purchased from:

Harvest Systems, Inc.
553 Dawson Drive
Camarillo, CA 93012-8092
(805) 482-2753

MacroBins must also be ordered from Macro Plastics with the straddle foot option for use with straddle fork equipment. This is essential as MacroBins without the straddle foot can be severely damaged in normal operations using the straddle fork.

Bin Trailers

Most bin trailers require no modifications to handle MacroBins. Modification is required when the top of the rollers are below the level of the top of the frame. This may cause the bin foot to rest on the frame instead of the rollers, thus preventing the bin from easily rolling off the trailer. In such cases, the rollers must be raised to a point where the top of the roller clears the top of the frame. This will allow the bin to roll freely. Depending on the height, the rollers must be raised. This can be done by either:

  • Removing the rollers and adding a sleeve to increase the roller diameter.
  • Re-drilling and raising each roller to clear the frame.

 

Motorized Bin Carriers

Most motorized bin carriers can handle MacroBins with no modifications. The issue that may arise is the ability of the bin to travel in the recessed chain tracks. On some models, the path down the inside of this track is blocked by bolts or features along the frame preventing the bin from freely traveling on the chains as the inside edge of the foot impacts on the inside frame. On some models, bolts must be shortened to allow the bin to freely travel on the chains. To allow for a MacroBin to travel freely, the following requirements must be met:

  • The inside of the frame can be no more than 35″ wide for the 24 Series MacroBins and no more than 37.5″ for the 26 Series MacroBins.

 

Lightning Loaders

The Lightning Loader Citrus Harvesting System manufactured by Petersen Industries, Inc. in Florida has lifting heads specifically designed for handling MacroBins.

When using Lightning Loaders with MacroBins, Macro Plastics recommends the following guidelines be followed:

  • Loader heads that have been converted from the spring loaded actuation to hydraulic cylinder actuation of the Peterson head gripping bars should never be used with MacroBins. Use of these heads will result in damage to the rib area at the top of the MacroBin, reducing bin life.
  • Lightning Loader heads are designed to rotate 360 degrees using a hydraulic spinner. The manufacturer recommends that the head be spun at no more than six RPMs when utilizing the spinner. On some loaders, the spinner can be operated at a higher spin rate causing damage to MacroBins as well as the loader head. A restrictor is available that will limit the speed of the spinner to six RPMs. This restrictor is highly recommended as a safety feature and will prevent damage to MacroBins and Lightning Loader heads.
  • When picking up MacroBins, every effort should be made to prevent the full force of the loader head and hydraulics from being dropped on the top of the bin.

 

The correct method for picking up a MacroBin in the field is as follows:

  • Open the loader jaws as wide as possible and hook the outside jaw underneath the far side ribs.
  • Lower the loader until the opposite side jaws can be closed under the bottom rib.
  • Close the jaws and lift the bin onto the back of the Lightning Loader bed.

 

When stacking wood bins on the Lightning Loader bed, a single wood bin is used as a stabilizer by stacking it with the bin feet over the centers of the two bins below it. This must not be done with MacroBins as they are not designed to be stacked in this manner and this may create an unstable stack. To act as a stabilizer, the loader head should be placed between two MacroBins so the wide section of the loader head is resting on the MacroBin corner posts.

MacroBins are wider than wood bins. Therefore, it is very important to load the first MacroBins at the rear of the trailer. At the present time, most loaders have two pieces of angle iron welded vertically to the rear of the bed. The more care that is taken to correctly line up the first row square with and as far back as possible from the front, the easier it will be to place the last row of bins at the front of the bed. The addition of two more angle iron pieces, or the addition of an angle iron running the width of the bed at the end of the trailer, will increase the ease with which the first row can be placed.

Destackers

Most destacking equipment will handle MacroBins with little or no modifications needed. In some cases, it is advisable to cut a bevel into the leading edge of the lifting dog and extend them slightly. This is necessary to accommodate the rounded forklift entry area of MacroBins. It is also advisable to adjust the present guides, or to add guides, to insure that the MacroBin is centered between the lifting dogs before being raised. The best way to test the compatibility of MacroBins with your equipment is to fill some MacroBins up with product and run them through the line.

Dumpers

To guarantee the removal of all fruit from 26, 32 and 34 Series MacroBins, it is necessary for the dumper to rotate 140° from its resting position. Most dumpers currently manufactured are designed to rotate between 120° and 125° from rest and will require some modification to completely empty content from MacroBins.

Stackers

As with destackers, most stacking equipment will run MacroBins with little or no modifications. Running MacroBins through the equipment will determine the compatibility of the MacroBin with your equipment.

Floaters

MacroBins have easily run through all floaters that they have been tested in. MacroBins have the added bonus of plastic construction allowing them to be immersed in water indefinitely without affecting the structural integrity of the bin.

Pre-Sizing Lines

MacroBins have been tested on many pre-size lines without issues. The dimensional stability and higher concentration of venting can result in smoother operation of filling lines.

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