Material handling equipment is mechanical equipment used for movement, storage, control, and protection of raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods throughout the process, from manufacturing to distribution to consumption and disposal. Mechanical equipment includes a diverse range of vehicles, tools, and storage equipment.
A warehouse is a place used to store goods, and the goods are moved when needed. The warehouse has a lot of uses, as it helps store the goods until their demand rises or the goods available in the market are finished. It makes the distribution and delivery process easier, increasing labor productivity and customer satisfaction. It also prevents the goods from getting stolen or spoilt during handling.
There are different types of warehouses for different types of products. For storing dairy products, a warehouse with a freezer is required. The warehouse can either be built by the company or leased. But renting or building a warehouse will not increase your efficiency if you do not have the proper equipment for handling or moving your goods. It will only increase your load and cost you more.
Top-Notch Material Handling Equipment for Your Warehouse
To increase the speed and efficiency of workers, a warehouse must have the right type of tools. So, let’s move on to some of the best material handling equipment. There are four types of material handling equipment – industrial trucks, bulk handling material equipment, engineered systems, and storage and handling equipment. Let’s take a look at the use of each item to see whether your warehouse needs specific equipment or not.
Industrial trucks, designed to assist in material transportation, occupy a large area of equipment. It is used in material handling companies for the transportation of goods. They range from small, hand-operated to large driveable equipment.
Industrial trucks can be segmented into two types of trucks. i.e., stacking and non-stacking trucks. Non-stacking trucks are designed specifically for transportation, whereas stacking trucks are used for stacking goods and moving them from one place to another.
Some types of industrial trucks are –
- Hand trucks – A truck, also known as a dolly, is a type of stack truck, an L-shaped moving handcart with handles on one side, a ledge to stack goods on, and wheels at the base. It has to be pushed by a person to move. It is used to transport small goods to different locations. Some hand carts can also be folded when not in use.
- Sideloaders – This equipment is meant for carrying a heavy load. This equipment is built in such a way that it can fit between narrow aisles, easily picking items on either side of them. The machine can also be tilted horizontally to improve load picking.
- Pallet trucks – A pallet truck, also called a pallet jack or pallet pump, is used to transport materials that have already been stacked on pallets. These consists of twin forks that slide under the pallet.
- Order pickers – It is a small-sized two forklift that is capable of bearing a little weight. This equipment can retrieve stacked items from heights of between 10-30 feet.
Bulk Handling Material Equipment
It refers to the equipment that transports, stores, and controls bulk items. These are generally used when the material is in loose form. It is a kind of food material handling equipment.
The main types of bulk handling material equipment are –
- Hoppers – Hopper is a device, just like a funnel, used for handling small, loose items. The items are placed on top of the hopper, and things slowly move down to their bottom due to gravity. But a problem with hoppers is that they can get blocked easily.
- Conveyor belts – This motor-driven belt forms a part of the conveyor system. Items that need to be transported must be placed on one side of the belt and automatically reach their destination. Pallet conveyors for food items are very renowned in the field of material handling.
- Reclaimers – These are large machines that pick up loose materials from a company’s stockpile. This machine has a rotating scoop at the end of the conveyor system and places them on the conveyor belt.
- Stackers – It is a machine that is used to lift items off the ground and place them on the shelves. This equipment is worth it only when you are making your warehouse have a stacking system. They are suitable for lifting small to medium materials.
These are automated systems used to transport and store bulk items. They are high in demand as they remove the requirement of human resources, and thus, the error rate is reduced.
Some of the engineered systems are
- Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) – These are computer-operated trucks featuring sensors and detectors.
- Robotic delivery system – These are used to transport materials. They are used for transportation in an assembly line.
Storage and Handling Equipment
This equipment helps in safely storing the goods until they are ready for another stage in production or distribution. Goods in this equipment can be stored for short as well as long periods.
- Drawers, bins, and shelves – These are the basic shelves that are used to store and organize material. Bins and drawers are more popular for storing small items.
- Racks- Racks help in saving goods at accessible locations but save floor space. There are many types of racks, like sliding racks, drive-in racks, pallet racks, etc.
- Mezzanines – refers to a raised indoor platform that allows companies to store goods vertically and save space in the warehouse.
The choice of the type of material handling equipment depends upon the following factors – the type of material, production flow which means if the company has a continuous production flow between two fixed positions, operation type, expense, etc.
This material handling equipment will increase the efficiency of your labor, reduce the production and transportation time and also ensure the safety of employees. The use of this equipment is rising day by day, whether it is the edible industry using pallet conveyors for food or the automobile industry using engineered systems.
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