Material handling involves the use of different manual, semi-automated, and automated systems and equipment to move, store, protect, and control products and materials in the manufacture, distribution, warehousing, consumption, and disposal stages. Material handling involves helping the industry in forecasting, flow and process management, inventory management and control, allocation of resources, production planning, customer delivery, and after sales support and services. A company’s material handling processes are put in place for improved customer service, reduced inventory, shortened delivery time, and lowered overall costs of handling in manufacture, distribution, and transport of goods.
When it comes to the variety of material handling technologies and equipment, different industries use the following: industrial robots, integrated material handling systems, item order fulfillment systems, lift trucks, monorails and workstations cranes, overhead cranes, packaging, software, sortation, automated storage and retrieval systems, automatic identification and data collection, casters and wheels, controls, automatic guided vehicles, conveyors, protective guarding, racks, dock equipment, ergonomics, hoisting equipment, and storage. The design of a material handling system must ensure that all processes and equipment are unified with the application of different principles including planning, system, environment, automation, standardization, work, ergonomics, unit load, space utilization, and life cycle cost. There should be a collaborative approach to the management, information systems, engineering, operations, finance, suppliers, consultants, and end-users when planning, defining the needs and objectives of the proposed material handling system. Standardization of all material handling equipment, methods, software, and control is very important to be able to perform various tasks in different operating settings and conditions. Simplification of material handling processes should be carried out to reduce, combine, shorten, or eliminate unnecessary movement that impedes productivity. Safety must be emphasized when designing material handling equipment and methods, supporting the abilities of workers, and reducing repetitive and strenuous manual labor. Space utilization involves freeing your work areas from clutter and organizing it to maximize storage density without compromising flexibility and accessibility.
It is crucial to have a well-coordinated storage and material movement from receiving, assessment and evaluation, storage, packaging, assembly, order selection, and utilization to transportation, shipping, and returns handling. When designing the material handling system, it is important to consider the energy use and impacts to the environment. There should be a deployment of automated material handling technologies for the improvement of operational efficiency, responsiveness, consistency, and predictability. The life cycle costs of a material handling system need consideration not just the capital investment or installation but also the programming, training, maintenance and repair, system testing, operation, disposal, and reuse value. Material handling technologies and equipment are utilized in various industries such as manufacturing, pharmaceutical, retail, materials processing, consumer goods, e-commerce, food and beverage, construction, hardware, warehousing, and distribution, and automotive. For more information about material handling equipment and processes, feel free to check our website or homepage now!