Moving important and often heavy commodities between places is a routine and common task in a manufacturing business. Material handling equipment refers to any apparatus that aids this procedure. Material handling equipment includes everything related to the movement, storage, and management of materials at every stage of its manufacturing. The different types of material handling equipment, their features, and best practices to remember while handling such equipment are listed below.
Material handling equipment
Material handling equipment is used to move, store, manage, estimate, and safeguard materials at every stage of production, distribution, consumption, or disposal. Some of the common material handling equipment are listed below.
- Racks such as pallet racks, drive-in or drive-through racks, push-back racks, and sliding racks are simple yet effective storage equipment that make their contents accessible while taking up less floor space.
- Stacking frames, as the name suggests, can be stacked like blocks. They allow the safe stacking of crushable inventory pallets, such as liquid container storage, to save space.
- Conveyor systems are categorized as vibrating, overhead, chain, vertical, or apron conveyors based on the content they transport.
- Automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) are self-driving computer-driven trucks that deliver items along a predetermined path using sensors and detectors to avoid collisions.
- Bucket elevators, or grain legs, carry items vertically by attaching buckets to a spinning chain or belt.
- Mobile vehicles and trucks, often known as dollies, are small machinery that gives users the leverage they need to move bulk goods.
- Reclaimers, unlike stackers, retrieve materials from stockpiles. Some reclaimers convey the material with bucket wheels; others use scrapers or portal-style containers.
Material handling designs
Material handling is used by businesses to generate place and time utility. It primarily benefits retail establishments, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities. All factory staff relies on material handling equipment to execute their tasks efficiently. When making material handling designs, the following considerations should be taken into account-
- The concept of a unit load
The object is referred to as a unit load if it is a single unit or if many units are connected to form a single unit.
- Management of ongoing projects
During the in-process handling, unit loads are received, stored, and dispatched for distribution.
Selecting the specific unit load before transferring any goods for the distribution step is critical. However, it can be challenging because pallets or containers are only available in preset forms and sizes.
Material handling guide
Given the extensive material handling procedures necessary in transferring containers and loads, understanding how to initiate, carry out, and administrate a successful material handling project is paramount.
Start with the original maker of the equipment
While evaluating material handling equipment, a physical assessment is essential. It aids in examining the equipment to determine the best way to use it. Begin with the original manufacturer of the equipment.
Choose suitable material handling equipment
The manufacturing industry and service organizations rely heavily on raw materials. However, depending on the demands of the business, material handling can be carried out in various ways.
Use best practices for material handling
Utilizing the best material handling procedures is one of the most significant ways to ensure efficient material handling.
- To handle dangerous equipment, implement a safety program that provides personal protective equipment and train employees on proper lifting and carrying techniques.
- In the warehouse, automation catalyzes greater productivity and process optimization.
- Use the put-away technique, wherein the items are stored as soon as they are received. It reduces material damage and transaction errors.
- A warehouse management system can keep track of how much time passes between receipt and storage and help with material tracing and inventory visibility.
- Material handling is more efficient in a well-kept, clean, and well-organized warehouse.
Material handling types
Bulk material handling equipment
It involves storing, managing, and transporting products in bulk and lost form. Handling food, drinks, liquids, metal objects (such as screws and nails), and minerals are just a few examples.
A well-engineered system is frequently automated. These systems are often built from various units as well. When combined, they make storage and transportation possible.
Different types of trucks help with various transportation requirements of the business, including pallet trucks, hand trucks, order pickers, side loaders, and more.
Storage and handling equipment
Storage equipment holds products and materials when unused or waiting to enter or exit the manufacturing process.