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Five Must-Have Equipment for Material Handling

by Olufisayo
Equipment for Material Handling

Have you ever considered the possibility of how large machinery like airplanes or windmills gets manufactured to perfection? Or how deliveries are made efficient from a warehouse to the customers’ doorstep?

The answer to all of these related queries is material handling. From the start point of raw material to production to shipping and logistics, everything relies on the prospect of material handling. Think about all the moving parts involved in a supply chain process. Engineering is one part, but material handling, installation, testing, and support are also a part of the process.

With the rise of the idea of online shopping and globalization. The need for material handling has grown quite significantly. This has also fueled the demand for cost-effective material handling equipment that provides swift and efficient work. The need for highly efficient material handling and globalization demands go hand in hand.

The idea of material handling primarily deals with the movement of large loads such as equipment, machinery, parts, and even vehicles. It also includes the handling of raw materials and spares.

 Functions of Material Handling

The primary function of material handling is to use the most suitable material handling equipment for the relocation of in-house and out-house materials. The main idea is to choose equipment that fulfills the requirement of machine handling at minimum cost.

       

Generally speaking, the most basic functions of material handling includes:

  • Aim to move the optimum number load in one unit using the idea of centralization.
  • Selection of safe, effective, efficient and effective material handling equipment.
  • Speed up the moving process by using mechanical equipment in place of manual labor.
  • To minimize the movement during production and operations.
  • Using material handling equipment in such a way that it does not interfere with the operation or production line.
  • Designing a proper storage solution to minimize or eliminate damage during material transit.
  • Regular maintenance, repairs, and replacement of material handling equipment.

Benefits of Material Handling

  • Cost Reduction

The critical benefit of material handling equipment is to reduce costs by decreasing the number of labor involved in the manufacturing of the product. It lowers the chances of damage during transit and optimizes control requirements ensuring a quicker manufacturing process.

  • Improved Productivity

Material handling equipment directly improves productivity due to the rapid transit of needed material on site.

  • Waste Reduction

The production plan and layout of the facility are greatly improved, which reduces waste significantly. Reduction of waste in terms of time, material, space, and labor commences due to the use of material handling equipment.

  • Safety

This material handling equipment increases the safety of workers by providing them a safe working space and reducing the risks involved with the handling of equipment.The International Labor Organization states that nearly 2.78 million laborers die and nearly 3.74 million are fatally injured every year. Hence these equipment reduce the chances of fatal accidents significantly.

       
  • Improved Customer Service

Especially crucial for businesses that deal with product delivery to their customers. Effective material handling equipment provides a swift and efficient manner of the logistics system. Thereby improving customer service significantly.

Now that we have a clear idea of features and benefits of material handling equipment.

The following are the five must-have types of equipment for material handling:

  1. Handling and Storage Equipment

Storage and handling equipment includes all the non-mechanical storage solution. The primary use of this storage equipment is to store raw material and finished goods. Using a proper storage solution helps in increasing space as well as making the supply chain smooth. The most common types of storage and handling equipment are:

  • Racks: A basic yet essential method of storage that includes pallet racks, sliding, push back, drive-thru, and drive-in racks. It saves floor space while making the materials accessible.
  • Shelves, bins, Drawers: Used to store smaller yet difficult to handle materials and keep them organized. Includes boltless, cantilever, revolving, and tie-down.
  • Mezzanines: It is a type of indoor platform mostly used in warehouses to provide extra storage. Includes modular, rack supported, and building supported and free-standing versions.
  1. Transportation Equipment

This equipment used to transport other materials, raw material, or finished from one place to another. This equipment mainly consists of trucks or moving vehicles, either manually operated or electronically automated. The types of equipment in this category include:

       
  • Trucks: The most commonly used transportation system vehicle that features a platform where a heavy material can stand. These can consist of platform trucks, side loaders, and counterbalanced lift trucks.
  • Cranes: Mostly used for lifting heavy equipment to move across various pathways or setting it on a truck for loading. They have a slow movement as compared to that of a conveyor belt. These include overhead cranes, stacker cranes, gantry cranes, and jib cranes.
  • Conveyor Belts: Mostly associated with production lines, conveyor belts provide a safe and quick movement of material from one production booth to others. Different types of conveyor belts, depending on the operating mechanism and load are used for production assemblies. They include chute conveyors, chain conveyors, bucket conveyors, and vertical conveyors.
  • Lifts and Elevators: Mostly associated with transportation of personnel and small material from floor to others.
  1. Engineering Systems

Engineering systems work cohesively with a variety of units to enable storage and swift transportation. These systems usually operate on an automated basis where a worker can perform a fully automated operation to locate or move material. These systems include:

  • Automated Guided Vehicles: These AGV’s are computer operated trucks that have predefined pathways for transportation. Equipped with sensors and detectors to avoid bumping into anything.
  • Robotic Delivery Systems: More sophisticated sites use robotic delivery systems to save time and cost by reducing manual labor. These robots can work non-stop which in turn increases production.
  1. Bulk Material Handling Equipment

These equipment help you store bulk items and used for both vertical and horizontal transportation of goods. These equipment include:

  • Silos: These are large structures that usually store grain, sawdust, coal, and other related material.
  • Stackers: Stackers are automated or semi-automated tools that help in lifting heavy loads on docks or other storage systems.
  1. Safety Systems

This equipment usually provides safety for the workplace or construction site. These equipment include:

  • Safety Grills: Used to make an area safe by providing a secure reinforcement for labor or production facility.
  • Bollards: Used to make a safe perimeter against high impact accidents around an operational area.
  • Barriers & Safety Gates: Provide a safe area for the labor and other handlers to have in and out movement.

Conclusion

Material handling equipment has taken the production and logistic world by storm as they provide fast and efficient transportation. The production line greatly benefits from these systems by increasing their production time and capacity significantly. The categories mentioned above are some of the most widely used material handling equipment. Online delivery systems and bulk productions can substantially benefit from these systems by making them a part of their operations.

       

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