Contrary to popular belief, material handling equipment is not an unnecessary expenditure. Large companies depend on warehouses for managing their daily business processes, and every warehouse contains thousands of products which require constant movement from one place to another. In the light of this fact, the importance of materials handling becomes more than obvious. This equipment comes in numerous forms, from a simple sack truck to heavy-duty lifting platforms, each piece created for specific handling requirements. The utilization of this equipment has altered the working environment of warehouses in several different ways.
Working in a warehouse comes with certain risks, however, by using the correct equipment these risks can be drastically reduced. And if we take into consideration the fact that handling materials in a warehouse accounts for 21% of permanent disabilities and over 25% of temporary disabilities, it becomes clear how implementing the correct equipment for moving, lifting and storing the materials can help reduce employee stress and effort.
Using proper material handling tools and devices help employees stay more organized. This makes for fewer misplaced items in the warehouse. As a result, it takes workers far less time to retrieve products from the warehouse, thus saving you time. Since time is money, this practice in turn increases efficiency.
Improper movement and storage of products is sure to result in item damage. When these mishaps occur, they can greatly increase production costs. This is why it is better to invest in proper industrial handling equipment initially and ensure no money loss at a later date. What’s more, the cost from frequent item damage in the long run renders the initial one worthwhile.
Every company strives to offer great customer service and correctly handling materials is one sure way to provide that. Since using this equipment makes for more organized space and less time wasted on finding the items, the products can be delivered in a timely manner.
The four main types of material handling equipment include storage, engineered systems, industrial trucks and bulk material handling.
This type of equipment is generally used for non-automated items. It serves to hold or buffer materials when they are not being transported due to temporary pauses during long-term transportation. They are also used for providing long-term storage for the purpose of stock buildup. The pallets, shelves and racks onto which materials are stacked in an orderly manner to await transportation or consumption are the most common type of industrial handling equipment. Many companies have noted increased efficiency after utilizing storage equipment since this helps conserve space and improves the overall organization. Other examples include stacking frames, bins and drawers and mezzanines.
These are automated systems that include a variety of units that work cohesively in order to enable storage and transportation. A fine example of an engineered system is the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS), which is a large automated organizational structure. This structure also involves relying on racks, aisles and shelves while using the “shuttle” system of retrieval. This system is a mechanized cherry picker and can both be used by a worker or perform fully automated functions. It’s used to quickly locate a storage item’s location and retrieve it. Additional types of engineered systems include: conveyor systems, robotic delivery systems and automatic guided vehicles (AGV).
This term is used to refer to the different kinds of transportation items and vehicles utilized to move materials and products around. These devices can include small hand-operated trucks, pallet-jacks, and different kinds of forklifts. Their characteristics vary in order to be suitable for different operations. Some trucks have forks, others a flat surface with which they lift the items, while some trucks require a separate piece of equipment in order to be able to load.
Trucks can be manual or powered lift and the operation itself can be done by walking or riding, which means the user can either manually push one or ride along on the truck. Stack trucks, as the name suggests, are used to stack items, while non-stack ones are typically used for transportation alone. The many types of industrial trucks include: hand trucks, pallet jacks, pallet trucks, walkie stackers, platform trucks, order picker, sideloader and many types of AGV.
This term refers to the storing, transportation and control of materials in bulk form, be it food, liquid, minerals, or some other form. Usually, these pieces of equipment handle items in loose or packaged form and are designed to move large quantities of material through the use of drums and hoppers. The category bulk material handling equipment includes conveyor belts, stackers reclaimers, bucket elevators, grain elevators and hoppers silos.
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