How bending to one customer’s needs led to a breakthrough in stackable, collapsible totes.

Not long ago a customer came to us with a common space problem. Their stackable totes were taking over. Like most manufacturers, they need a ready supply of them, but the massive amount of them was crowding their workspace and taking up valuable real estate.

To make things worse, their business was at a tipping point where they needed every square foot they could get. If they continued to grow, they’d soon be out of space and need another building.

That was an expensive proposition, and one that drove our team to collaborate with them on a tote design that could satisfy their unique production needs while reducing the footprint of their staggering tote supply.

Moving to space-saving totes beats moving.

“The square-foot cost to construct new space ranges from about $80 for storage applications to $150 for a typical business operation.”
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They’d been considering molded collapsible totes but weren’t able to get the dimensions they wanted. Their optimal size of 22″ × 16″ × 13″ worked with their shelves, and it was their sweet spot ergonomically and in the way it held an efficient amount of their aluminum castings without getting too heavy.

The non-standard size wasn’t a problem for us. Our solution started with lightweight, durable and flexible corrugated plastic that provided the “bend” that enabled a unique hinged design. These features were topped off by patent-pending corner stacking lugs that are load-bearing. The special corners enable the totes to be stacked without damaging the contents—an important feature whether you’re shipping produce or storing computer chips.

The resulting design provided our client with the sturdy, stackable totes they needed. And it gave them the ability to collapse the containers down to 38″ × 13″ × 2″ when they weren’t needed.

The 29% reduction in footprint had an immediate impact on easing our client’s crowding problem and need for additional space, according to Senior Key Account Manager at Flexcon, Jason Grasso. The area saved can be used for assembly or other profit-generating activities.

In solving this client’s problem, Flexcon ended up resolving a universal one. “Stackable containers are notorious for wasting space when not in use. If they’re empty, they take up just as much room as when they’re full,” Flexcon’s President and CMO, Ken Beckerman explains. “Space is always a premium in any warehouse, in any facility. So, if you have some totes that will stack for you that you can break down and collapse to a quarter of the space, that’s a huge savings.”

Considering that commercial real estate rates continue to skyrocket, paying $5 per square foot in Chicago or $20 in NYC just to store totes makes less sense than ever. Every inch you save with a collapsible tote can help improve your return on real estate investment.

Flexcon’s Stackable Collapsible Totes have huge potential for reducing fleet costs, too. In areas like agriculture, the stackable totes could be used to protect the product during shipment and then compactly folded up to save space in trailers, thus reducing the number of return trips required.

As the goal of a closed loop becomes more and more widespread, a tote that saves in the warehouse as well as on the road provides opportunities for infinite industries and uses out there.

Talk to a Flexcon design specialist about how the benefits of stackable, collapsible totes could be bent and folded to fit the needs of your operation. Arrange a call to discuss your custom solution by emailing Jason Grasso at

Influencer, inventor, innovator: Meet Flexcon’s Justin Beckerman

The future of materials handling is in good hands with the introduction of young, tech-savvy professionals like Justin Beckerman. This week, Flexcon Container of Berkley Heights, New Jersey officially tapped the 3rd generation Flexcon’er for a design and marketing role with the family-owned creator of plastic containers, pallets, bins and boxes.

No stranger to the family business, Justin has been a fixture around Flexcon since his toddling days. For over 20 years he’s sat at the knee of his product designer grandfather, Stephen Beckerman, and sales-leader father, Ken Beckerman. Over the years, Justin has had the opportunity to contribute to everything from design projects to Flexcon’s IT systems—he even single-handedly re-upped company communications following Superstorm Sandy.

Beckerman has been drawn toward invention and innovation from an early age. He once built his own blender and he created a functioning submarine at the age of 18—a feat that led to 27 dives and countless news features.

Most recently, he graduated from the renowned Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey where he studied business science. His move to full time role was a natural, according to Flexcon President and CMO, Ken Beckerman. “He brings with him an extensive knowledge of engineering and marketing and will add his innovation, outreach and design talents to our organization,” he says.

On Flexcon’s business side, Justin will initially focus on improving Flexcon’s marketing capabilities and speeding up quoting for clients.

On the product design side, he will be working on adding the ability for Flexcon to design and make rapid prototypes in-house for a faster turnaround on samples and models. Part of that endeavor involves building Flexcon’s 3D printer. With 18 cubic feet of build space, the large format printer is custom-built to quickly and easily make conceptual container and divider models for clients.

The man who builds printers, submarines and a never-ending stream of solar-powered and remote-controlled gadgets has ambitions that extend beyond invention to innovations that build on Flexcon’s business success. His years immersed in the company culture made him keenly aware of Flexcon’s devotion to meeting clients’ needs—in particular those of facilities managers and directors of distribution and logistics. “The goal is to make the container the easiest part of their job. So when they’re running a factory, warehouse or distribution center, they don’t have to worry too much about what containers they’re going to get and how the quality may be,” Justin says.

In addition to seeing his role in Flexcon’s proud history of innovative product design and customer care, Justin is cognizant of the significant behind-the-scenes role of container manufacturers like Flexcon. “Every industry relies on containers to play some essential role. Whether the trays for bakeries, mail totes for the U.S. Postal Service or containers for automation and ASRS systems,” he explains. “They’re a necessary part of every single industry from agriculture to biomedical.”

With his new position, Justin looks forward to applying his inventiveness and insights to the challenges of modern customers. “We want to be able to help people move and store and take care of their products in the most efficient way possible,” Justin explains. ”Not only making it easier for each person who’s buying from us, but make it easy for every person that touches one of these containers—whether that means making a handle that’s ergonomic, a container that’s aesthetically-pleasing or an automated tote that’s 25% quieter.”

In doing that, he has the support of generations past. “We are excited to have Justin with us full time as our Client Design & Solutions Specialist and look forward to seeing how he can make our customer-based focus even better,” Ken says.

3 generations of family-owned business: Justin, Stephen, and Ken Beckerman

Flexcon named as a ProMat 2019 Standout Exhibitor!

ProMat 2019 partnered with a trade show consulting firm to perform a TSE Gold 100 award winning Eᶾ Exhibiting Effectiveness Evaluation for exhibiting companies. The evaluators also looked for exhibits throughout the show that displayed imaginative, creative, and effective ideas and practices.

Flexcon’s booth was one of the exhibits that caught the eyes of the Eᶾ evaluation team and we were awarded the as one of the Standout Exhibits for Effective Visual Communications!

Flexcon totes in action

Our conveyor & ASRS totes come in more than 20 sizes (and any custom size) and are designed to work with virtually any conveyor, mini-load or ASRS system! These containers and trays are made form heavy duty plastic and capacities can range from 25 to 180 lbs.

Sizes range from 15 x 15″ all the way to 48 x 30” and heights up to 25″. Features can include smooth side walls, ESD materials and recessed barcode label areas. Flexcon’s ASRS tote line works with most inserter/extractor & conveyor systems and can be designed to meet most any deflection criteria.

• Made from heavy duty plastic
• Capacities from 25–180 lbs
• Sizes up to 48 × 30 x 25” 
• Available with smooth sides
• Designed to meet deflection criteria
• Work with most inserter/extractor and conveyor systems
• Perfect for ASRS, conveyor and mini-load systems
• Available with recessed label area to protect label. No tooling necessary!

ASRS Systems and Carousels – Corrugated Plastic Containers

conveyor-totesASRS and carousels are designed for efficient use of space and increased production in moving large amounts of products in and out. The economical use of space can be maximized even more by using plastic containers and totes that are custom build for ASRS systems.

Plastic storage bins made by Flexcon Container, for instance, helped a manufacturer increase storage capacity in its automated storage and retrieval units by more than 19 percent, according to an article in Modern Materials Handling.

Flexcon corrugated plastic bins, totes and containers are designed to optimize use of available cube in carousel systems, reducing wasted space, common with other options, by 15 to 20 percent.

asrstotes2Size and fit aren’t the only things to consider when picking containers for ASRS systems and carousels. Other items to consider are strength, impact resistance, and deflection. For these and other reasons, corrugated plastic containers are excellent candidates for ASRS systems and carousels, both vertical and horizontal.

Why choose corrugated plastic containers for ASRS systems and carousels?

Their benefits include:

  • Because they are more durable than molded plastic containers, they maximize space usage while minimizing damage to products during storage and handling. They hold up to the constant handling by robotic ASRS equipment and corrugated plastic containers resist tears and punctures.
  • Corrugated totes for ASRS systems lower costs as they last longer.
  • For custom sized and designed containers required for specialized applications, corrugated plastic containers offer the advantage of requiring less development time than molded plastic containers–since they don’t require creation of a mold. Likewise, corrugated plastic containers require less production time than molded plastic containers. Production time for molded plastic can be nearly five times longer.
  • They’re lightweight, contributing to efficiency of ASRS systems and help maximize pick rates.

In addition, the ASRS corrugated plastic containers made by Flexcon Container feature:

  • Pitched drain holes to prevent collapse of a storage and retrieval system in the event a sprinkler is set off.
  • Ergonomic design for more efficient operation of carousel systems.
  • Design that prevents parts migration.
  • Capability of being partitioned to meet changing parts storage needs.

To learn more about the benefits of corrugated plastic containers with your ASRS or carousel systems, call Flexcon today at 908-871-7000. Our container experts are ready to help you choose the best solutions for ASRS and carousel systems.

10 Features and Benefits of Reusable Plastic ASRS Totes, Bins and Trays

asrstotes3Automation improves material handling efficiency. No question about it.

But even the most sophisticated automated storage retrieval system, carousel, conveyor system or mini-load system will fall short of your expectations without totes, bins, trays and other containers that are designed for smooth, efficient handling.

Following are features and benefits of reusable plastic containers that are designed and made for optimal performance in automated material handling systems:

    1. Heavy-duty plastic construction. This is what it takes to stand up to constant, predictable, uninterrupted performance in a wide range of automated systems. They’re engineered to meet deflection criteria for your applications. And because they’re plastic, they resist damage from water, rust and corrosion.
    2. Reusable. Because they’re durable, plastic automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) totes can be reused countless times, preventing waste and promoting responsible use of resources, including your operational dollars. Plastic containers for automated material handling systems take the place of one-time use containers, which are subject to crushing (and product damage) in automated systems.
    3. asrstotes4Protective. Their strong construction protects the parts and products you move through your automated systems.
    4. Stackable and nestable.  These totes, trays and bins are designed to economize on space, vertically and horizontally. And they maximize on cube, to increase your material handling efficiency, so you can move the most product or components possible per unit of space.
    5. Available with adjustable dividers. This maximizes these containers’ versatility, effective space utilization and organization for efficient picking and packing operations.
    6. Versatile. They’re made to work with most automated inserter/extractor and conveyor systems.
    7. Made with smooth sides. This promotes smooth, seamless movement of containers through automated storage and retrieval systems.
    8. Available with recessed label section. This prevents labels from being damaged or removed in the course of daily use.
    9. ASRS TotesESD designed totes. These reusable plastic containers are specially designed to dissipate electrostatic charges, preventing damage to sensitive electronic devices and components.
    10. Textured bottoms. This design feature prevents slippage and improves a container’s performance on conveyors.

      Flexcon makes heavy-duty plastic ASRS totes that work in most inserter/extractor and conveyor systems, with capacities of 25 to 180 pounds and sizes up to 48 × 30. Our standard ASRS containers are available in more than 20 sizes. And Flexcon can work with you to design custom sized ASRS bins and totes for your specific automated material handling applications.

      To learn more about our standard ASRS containers or to develop a custom solution for your needs, contact a Flexcon sales representative today.

9 Features and Benefits of Bulk Boxes and Containers

bulk containersBulk boxes are an economical option for handling large quantities of products and parts. These containers typically range in capacity from 1,000 to 3,000 pounds. They perform exceptionally well in a wide range of applications and industries.

Bulk containers provide excellent protection of products and parts in picking, assembly, processing, storage and distribution processes — throughout the manufacturing chain. You’ll find them in wide use in automotive, machining, electronics, pharmaceutical, appliance, aerospace, textiles and apparel, and the food industry, including beverages, produce, grocery distribution, poultry, bakery and snack foods.

These containers’ effectiveness and economy result from their numerous features and benefits. Here’s nine of the many benefits:

  1. bulk boxesConstructed of tough, durable high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Their construction enables plastic bulk containers to withstand harsh conditions and handling. This toughness also provides exceptional protection of parts and products within your facility and in transit.

  3. Last 30 to 50 times longer than single-use containers. This is a product of the containers’ superior construction and saves you money in the long run.

  5. Made to be recycled. These long-lasting containers can be recycled and returned to productive use, In fact, some bulk containers are made with recycled HDPE. This keeps them out of landfills when they reach the end of their lifecycle and enables your company to be a better steward of resources.

  7. Designed to be stacked. Bulk boxes can be stacked up to six high, compared to one or two high for other types of high-capacity containers. This means they can help you make the most efficient use of space in your warehouse or in over-the-road trucks.

  9. Designed to be folded. When not in use, bulk containers can be folded and stacked for efficient space utilization.

  11. Can be customized with a wide range of available options.  You can choose from many options to customize bulk containers to your specific applications, parts and products. Options include drop doors for easy part or product access, RFID tags and other identification systems to optimize material handling, standard and custom dunnage to protect cargo, built-in dollies to ease movement of bulk containers in a work area, removable walls for greater flexibility in your material handling system, solid or vented decks, covers and more.

  13. Made in more than 40 sizes, from 32″ x 30″ to 78″ x 40″ footprints and a range of heights.  With this wide selection of sizes you can find a container for virtually every application. Extended sizes are available to accommodate longer parts and products.

  15. Made for easy forklift handling. Depending on your material handling needs, you can choose bulk boxes with bases designed for two- or four-way forklift entry.

  17. Easy to clean. The smooth surfaces of plastic bulk containers are a breeze to clean. That’s less time you have to spend on maintenance between container uses.

bulk boxes

Contact a Flexcon sales representative today to find the right bulk containers for your applications.

Top 10 Advantages of Plastic Pallets Over Wood Pallets

Plastic pallets offer numerous advantages over traditional wood pallets for a wide range of applications, from moving and storing products within your facilities to reusing them in closed loop distribution systems, to even fulfilling multiple roles such as being used to display products in a store or showroom after they’re delivered on the pallets .

Following are 10 benefits of plastic pallets over wood pallets:

  1. Durable and long-lasting. Plastic pallets stand up well to the bumps and scrapes of repeated use in transit. They’re an excellent, cost-saving choice for close-looped systems, where you can use them over and over. While wood pallets typically provide less than a dozen uses, plastic pallets can be reused more than 200 times.
  2. Earth friendly. When you replace wood pallets with plastic pallets, you save trees. And because they last longer than wood pallets, plastic pallets end up requiring fewer resources. And because they’re recyclable, plastic pallets greatly reduce the amount of waste your company produces. Recyclable plastic pallets don’t end up in landfills, and they reduce your disposal and landfill costs.
  3. Lightweight. Plastic pallets weigh less than pallets made of wood. This makes them easier to handle and reduces shipping costs.
  4. Safer. Plastic pallets are safer for your workforce, because they don’t splinter or have nails like wood pallets do.
  5. Available in a range of designs. These include nesting models that nest neatly together for easy handling and saving floor space between uses; stackable pallets that optimize unitization; and rackable pallets that fit in open pallet racks, supporting the weight of their loads across an open span.
  6. Attractive. Because they look so nice, some plastic pallet users give them double duty. First, for transport of a product. Second, to display the product in a retail store or showroom, once delivered. Plastic pallets are preferred for such applications because they’re much more attractive than wood pallets.
  7. Clean. Plastic pallets meet requirements for food grade applications and reduce risk of contamination in pharmaceutical applications. Plus, they’re easy to clean between uses.
  8. Weather-resistant. Moisture doesn’t affect plastic pallets. They won’t warp. So they’re a good choice for outdoor applications or indoor applications where water is an issue. Plastic pallets also are resistant to many chemicals and can be used in all climate conditions.
  9. Uniformity. Plastic pallets don’t have the surface variability of wooden pallets, so they work well in automated systems, reducing the risk of jamming.
  10. Easy forklift access. Plastic pallets offer four-way access, making them easy to pick up with a forklift.

Flexcon plastic pallets offer additional advantages. They’re designed for most 48” x 45” applications, feature a one-inch lip to prevent product from slipping off the pallet and are available with non-skid decks.

For more information on the advantages of plastic pallets and how you can put them to work at your business, contact a Flexcon sales representative today.

Top 7 Popular Uses for Hopper Front Containers

The unique design of hopper front containers made of corrugated plastic makes them an ideal, efficient solution for many applications. Their partially open front provides you a good view of the contents and makes picking items quick and easy.

Plus, hopper front containers make good use of space. They’re designed to stack one on top of another, reducing wasted shelf space, maximizing cube of each container and reducing the need for shelving, as they can be placed on a counter. Plus, they are designed to hang on walls or from louvered panels. Their open-front design helps you keep tab of when supply is getting low and it’s time to restock. 

Optional accessories such as dividers, wheels and label holders further expand their versatility in many work environments.

Following are seven of the most popular, common applications in which hopper front containers make work easier, faster, better organized and more efficient:

  1. Production, work in-progress environments:  In assembly operations, hopper front containers provide high density storage, economizing on space while keeping parts well organized and easy to reach. This facilitates quick access of parts to keep assembly operations on pace with productivity requirements.
  2. Picking and packing: These containers enable you to quickly and accurately pick items when filling orders. They’re available in several colors, which permits color coding to further improve ease and accuracy of item picking. 
  3. Heavy duty storage: Because they’re made to stack on one another, hopper front containers are an effective solution for heavy duty, high density storage. Corrugated plastic containers are available in a wide range of sizes to meet whatever storage need you may have–and they’re stronger than corrugated cardboard containers.
  4. Offices: These stackable containers make good use of limited office supply storage space. And to help office workers find the supplies they need, they can be labeled. The open fronts make keeping inventory simple. 
  5. In-facility maintenance:  Hopper front containers help maintenance and repair shops keep commonly needed replacement parts within easy reach. This helps maintenance staff minimize equipment downtime. 
  6. Service vehicles: With limited space, service vehicles such as those used by plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling specialists and industrial equipment technicians need storage solutions like hopper front containers to optimize space usage. Hopper front containers also help them keep parts well organized. Their design prevents parts from migrating from one container to another. 
  7. Retail: Hopper front containers are popular among many types of retailers for displaying, storing and organizing merchandise, such as hardware, pet supplies, toys and craft supplies.

And whatever the application, corrugated plastic hopper front containers save money over cardboard bins. They last 20 times as long as their cardboard counterparts and can ship flat for freight savings and store flat for space savings when not in use. Plus they can be custom molded in a full range of sizes for whatever application you may have.