"Keep a Journal: How else are you going to get a good look at who you were?"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'd like to endorse this product:

It's the cat's pajamas. Really just a telescoping gaffer's pole with some specially molded plastic clips...but Brother, I'm telling ya: the EASIEST way to hang Xmas lights I've ever SEEN.

No ladder needed.

Plus, the pole itself (with threaded friction clamps on the joints so it doesn't collapse while in use) folds up to about 1 meter length when you're finished with it. We bought the genuine article...there are cheap knockoffs out there that are worse than useless. You pay the same money, but forget about using them for their intended purpose. Somebody oughta sue the unscrupulous trolls who are making these inferior copies.

We put up the tree tonight too...this is by far the tallest Xmas tree we have purchased (shades of Clarke Griswold). This sucker is almost 8 feet tall. The Angel's head is almost scraping the ceiling; this after we trimmed the top with shears so the Angel would fit!

The missionaries stopped by to say hello and "what's up?" and return that copy of FLEEP I printed up for them off Jason Shiga's website. I don't think much of Shiga as an artist, but MAN can that guy write a gripping story! FLEEP messes with your head. More specifically, the author messes with his protagonists' head...and takes the reader along for the ride.

Speaking of being taken for a ride. I've been "off the Machine" for three weeks now...and it's getting old. I've already written the theory exam for re-certification (and I'm not too upset about that...I would have had to write it in another few months anyway...) -- I aced it.

Owing as how Bill Mason (our newly minted machine trainer) has some issues with an apparent non sequitir in the manual, ie: recommended procedure for picking a load out of the rack requires turning the machine square with the racking before inserting the fork boom or lifting the mast to the shelf height. Trouble is, the Hyster lift trucks won't turn into the rack in some of our more narrow aisles -- without hitting the racking on the opposite side of the aisle.

Carlos Siferra has "taken charge" of machine operation safety. He's the one who decided I was to re-certify to get my licence back. I am the first operator to do so on the Hysters with Bill Mason as Instructor.

Bill dropped his aforementioned issues squarely in Carlos' lap. He told me that unless the manual - recommended procedures are altered, he'll basically have to flunk everybody...and we don't want that, do we?

Carlos is caught between a rule book and HBC Logistics senior management; who all insist, by the way, that there is no problem at all with the Hyster trucks. The Hyster Trucks are built EXACTLY to the specs we gave them and our complaints about them are baseless.


The Hysters are:

-Heavier than the Raymonds.

-Without linked steering gear. Surprising since (see above) a machine of that size ought to have linked steering.

-Under-powered. Their ground speed is comparable to the Raymonds, but the lift capacity is about 1250lbs less.

-Longer overall by about 8 ". Our racks are placed with about 14 inches clearance for a Raymond. The Hyster's extra lenth cuts that margin in half. With a load on the forks, the end-to-end diagonal profile is actually longer than the aisle is wide. Apparently, no-one thought of sending the overall diagonal length of the machine to Hyster, or mention that putting a standard 40x48 pallet on the forks would increase that length a further 4-6 inches.

-A trip hazard. With a step up height of over a foot; most of our guys got tripped up by these things for the first few days that we had them.

-Equipped with TWO safety switches. Full interlock switches that kill ALL the power (lift included) to the machine unless one of them is engaged (usually the deadman). You can't step off and observe the fork carriage from the "outboard postion"...you have to get another operator to stand next to your machine and spot you.

-Using a backrest that is 4 inches taller than the Raymond. This has resulted in several rack bars being hit. I had one such incedence in which I pranged the bottom of the shelf bar hard enough to knock out the locking pin! No damage to the bar, and I wasn't removed from machine operation for that one. Hyster has probably claimed that the backrest height is exactly the spec we gave them. If measured from the floor, the top of the gaurd is indeed 52"; as specified.


It is necessary to raise the forks 3 to 4 inches in order to pick up a pallet with them. The Raymond backrest was more like 48 inches from the floor, and just under 52 inches when raised sufficiently to pick up a pallet. After lifting with the Hyster, we're trying to cram a 56 inch fork carriage into a 58 inch rack bay. Sometimes it's a poor fit; especially when there's more than 20 feet between the operator and the target shelf. You really need 20/20 vision to pull that off...

Barry even suggested painting the fork tips bright yellow so they were easier to see...

Maintenance DID just that...but lowering the backstops by cutting them and re-welding? Nope, still sitting on that one.

Oh, I do hate to go on about it...but according to the operation manual, there are things that these Hysters are supposed to be able to do as part of their "normal" operation...and they can't.

I go on vacation last week of December; what the hey, I couldn't get any vacation time from May until September...I took Spring Break off, then saved the rest for square dance festival week and a final week at Xmas.

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