Materials handling equipments are the equipments, required for handling materials in areas such as shipping, production or storage facilities. A lot of complex tasks go into these supply chain functions. Material handling equipments make the task of managing bulky items in such centers a much easier task by mechanizing or automating them. Material handling takes place along all the links of the supply chain, and these include production, distribution, storage and retail functions.
Minimizing the complexity and number of material handling operations can increase productivity. Most material movements need to be automated and simple. All these essentials are what material management equipments can help to achieve. However, a detailed analysis needs to be carried out to track the flow of materials, before it is installed.
Lighter materials may require equipment such as pulley block, wheel barrows or trolleys, while heavily items may require cranes, lifts, trucks, and monorails. Materials handling equipments are also required in mass production sites in the form of chutes, conveyors and slides.
Material handling equipments can be classified into below categories.
Positing equipment is used for position material in the correct manner so that it can be easily handled, transported or stored later.
Example: lifts, hoists.
Unit load formation helps to maintain materials during storage and transport.
Example: pallets, bags and skids.
Transport equipment is used to move materials from one position to another.
Example: cranes, trucks
Since materials handling equipments is a key factor in transporting materials in various production facilities, it is important to choose the right equipment. Doing this will bring in the advantages of lower costs in production as materials are safely transported and moved around to where they need to be used. Factors such as the kind of materials that have to be handled, importance of these materials and safety issues need to be looked into before deciding on which equipment to buy. Furthermore, a detailed analysis of the flow of material is required before the material handling equipment is installed for usage.
Though traditional mechanized material handling equipments is used everywhere. There is a growing attention towards automated material handling equipments these days as they require less human intervention, faster and require less maintenance efforts.