A California company has entered the materials-handling industry with a cart that marries a rotational molded storage bin to an oversize skateboard for a combination that its inventor said can improve efficiency by moving people and parts faster.
A few easy pushes send the nonmotorized MouseCart, its operator and as much as 350 pounds' worth of items in the bins gliding along at up to 8 mph, compared with 2 mph for a walker with a handcart, said Tom Emerzian, a partner in Mouse LLC of Fresno, Calif.
``The first push is the hardest,'' said Emerzian during the MouseCart's introduction at Material Handling & Logistics North America 2002, held April 8-11 in Detroit. ``With the second one, you're just flying.''
Emerzian came up with the concept a few years ago when he went to a warehouse to collect an order for his woodworking business. It took one employee 45 minutes to gather everything.
At his own shop, meanwhile, Emerzian estimated he had to spend $36,000 annually for maintenance on his fleet of electric-powered carts used to ferry parts and maintenance workers through the building - in addition to the original purchase price.
His first concept MouseCart was a wooden box attached to a long, scooter-style footpad. The company soon realized, however, that it should make the switch to plastic for the main box, to improve durability.
``Just look at it,'' Emerzian said, kicking at the base of the four-wheel cart. ``It's practically bulletproof.''
Mouse LLC turned to Hood Bros. Pallets & Bins Inc. of Fresno to mold the polyethylene cart and holding trays, then modified PVC pipes to serve as handles.
The carts hit the market four months ago, and the company has sold 450. According to Emerzian, more orders are coming in for the cart, which retails for less than $750.