Material Handling Equipment- Meaning and Types

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Have you ever thought about how it is possible to move large, bulky loads in a warehouse or a factory? Well, with material handling equipment, it has been made simpler and easier. With emerging trends in technology, the material equipment has lessened humans’ work in inbound and outbound storage activities in various factories. Now we shall discuss the meaning and types of optimal material handling solutions.

Material Handling Equipment:

Being a part of supply chain management, material handling involves moving heavy materials across the manufacturing units and warehouses. Carrying these loads is not one man task for humans. To save the time and efforts involved in transporting the raw materials and finished goods, handling equipment was designed.

Optimal material handling equipment is a set of tools used to facilitate effective, smooth movement, storage, and control of inventory in large manufacturing units. These material handling tools assist in efficient controlling, storage, and movement of products at different acquisition, manufacturing, and distribution stages.


Types of Material Handling Equipment:

Depending on the variety of inventory to be transported or stored, material tools are broadly classified into four main categories. Read on to have a deep insight into different types of handling tools.

  • Engineered Systems:

Engineered systems are automated units that work altogether to enable efficient storage and transportation of bulky volumes of materials across the production units. The best examples of these systems are AS/RS tools, conveyor systems, robotic delivery systems, and automatic guided vehicles.

An automated storage and retrieval system are devices with shelves, racks, and aisles easily accessible by a mechanized shuttle system. Conveyor systems use belts, flexible chains, and rollers to carry heavy inventories to specified locations. The conveyors can effectively move bulky loads of materials very quickly. Robotic delivery systems idealize the movement of an assembly line of products throughout the production place. Automatic guided vehicles are designed to move materials at the wired paths on the floor.

  • Storage and Handling Equipment:

Storage and handling equipment are non-automated equipment of the optimal material tools. They are used to store heavy materials when they are not being used or awaited for their transportation. Having suitable and appropriate storage locations and equipment improves the efficiency of the business outlets. Various examples of storage equipment are racks, shelves, pallets, stacking frames, and mezzanines. Mezzanines are elevated floor systems that provide additional storage spaces between the production floor and ceilings.

  • Industrial Trucks:

Industrial trucks are large motorized vehicles and small hand-operated devices used to transport heavy materials across the manufacturing unit. These trucks can be handled manually or be driven with simple power assistance. Completely automated industrial trucks are designed to move along pre-defined, sunken, or raised tracks laid out by optical sensor systems.

  • Bulk Handling Material Equipment:

Bulk handling tools are equipment that is meant to handle large and loose materials, controlling their storage and transportation. Usually, they are used to move loose materials from one part of the production unit to another. Examples of these tools are drums, hoppers, bucket elevators, grain elevators, or silos.

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