Material Handling Equipment

Material-handling equipment is equipment that relate to the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. Material handling equipment is the mechanical equipment involved in the complete system. Material handling equipment is generally separated into four main categories: storage and handling equipment, engineered systems, industrial trucks, and bulk material handling.

Material handling equipment is used to increase output, control costs, and maximize productivity. There are several ways to determine if the material-handling equipment is achieving peak efficiency. These include capturing all relevant data related to the warehouse’s operation, measuring how many times an item is “touched” from the time it is ordered until it leaves the building, making sure you are using the proper picking technology, and keeping system downtime to a minimum. A special analytical data-set known as Stock-keeping units (SKUs) has been devised to aid analysis of materials handling, which is obviously less efficient when a material asset is handled any more than a minimally necessary number of times.

Method to be adopted and choice of equipment for a materials handling system primarily depends on the type of material to be handled. For handling gases, pressure is main attribute to decide material handling equipment, high (25 psi and more) or low (less than 25 psi) and chemical properties are also important thus, needing pressure resisting containers usually pipes are used. In case of liquids density, viscosity, freezing and boiling point, corrosiveness, temperature, inflammability etc. are to be considered like handling water, mineral oils, acids, alkalies, chemicals and same for semi-liquids like slurry, sewage, sludge, mud, pulp, etc. Liquids are handled in tight or open containers fitted with insulation, heating, cooling, etc. as needed by liquid’s characteristic.

Solids are classified into

  • Unit load – They are formed solids of various sizes, shapes and weights
  • Bulk load – They are powdery, granular or lumpy in nature and are stored in heaps.

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