Different Types of Material Handling Equipment

Material Handling Equipment

It is worth stressing that the necessity of material handling equipment cannot be overestimated in various fields. These equipment are quite essential in carrying out various tasks, reducing time, and minimizing the use of manpower. In this article, we will discuss various categories of material handling equipment currently in use in the market.

No matter whether you are in charge of a warehouse, construction site, manufacturing plant, or any other facility that handles materials, the right material handling equipment is a must.

Importance of Material Handling Equipment

Material handling equipment facilitates the movement, storage, control, and protection of material within the manufacturing, distribution, usage, and disposal processes. The use of equipment such as AGVs and robotics can help reduce the time taken in the execution of various tasks, reduce errors made, and also help cut down on the costs incurred. This in turn increases the general efficiency and the ability of the productivity to compete effectively in the market.

Also, it is important to note that the appropriate choice of warehouse material handling equipment minimizes the possibility of accidents at work. Lifting and moving big loads may cause musculoskeletal disorders and other health complications for the workers. Forklifts, conveyance systems, and pallet jacks are some of the equipment that can be used in companies to prevent the workforce from getting injured.

Major types of Material Handling Equipment

Lifts: Elevators are vertical transport equipment that transports individuals and goods from one floor to another. They are commonly installed in buildings with several stories, with large storage areas, loading bays, and factories. Some of the types of lifts include; scissor lifts, vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs), and freight elevators. Further, there are specific types of lifts like aerial lifts and boom lifts that are employed in construction areas and maintenance procedures.

Conveyors: These are machines that transport products along a predetermined route in a firm without requiring any manual intervention. They are widely used in industries, especially in manufacturing and packaging industries to move the products from one location to another. Sub-categories are belt conveyors, roller conveyors, and chain conveyors. The main strength of conveyors is that they can transport a large amount of material and the use of manual labor is minimized.

Forklifts: The forklift is one of the most used material-handling equipment in warehouses, ports, and construction sites. There are varieties of types and sizes of lift trucks including the counterbalance forklifts, reach trucks, and pallet trucks. Forklifts are very useful in lifting heavy loads to the highest levels and transporting them from one point to another within a short duration of time.

Pallet Jacks: Pallet jacks are also called pallet trucks and are small types of material handling equipment that are used for lifting and moving pallets. They are widely applied in such facilities as warehouses, distribution centers, and retail shops. They are classified as manual pallet jacks, electric pallet jacks, and walkie stackers. Pallet jacks are useful when moving large but slightly massive loads within a short distance. Furthermore, they are cheaper and easy to maintain since they are made of tough material.

Hoists: Hoists are equipment that is used for raising or lowering a load through a rope or a chain that is reeled around a drum or lift wheel. They are available in the manual type, the electric type, and the pneumatic type. Usually used in construction and other related industries. It is one of the widely used categories of material handling equipment designed for lifting heavy loads.

How to Choose the Right Material Handling Equipment?

Assess Your Specific Needs
It is imperative to first evaluate the needs and demands of your operation before considering the different types of equipment available in the market. Think about the kind of materials you deal with, the sizes, weights, and the distances to be covered by the materials. For example, if you are dealing with the movement of heavy pallets over a large distance, you might need electric pallet jacks or forklifts.

Evaluate Your Facility Layout
The design and the general layout of your facility will determine the right MHE to use in your warehouse. Think about factors like the width of the aisle, the height of the ceiling, and the manner in which the storage will be done. Some factors that could affect the choice of equipment are as follows; Narrow aisles may require the use of narrow aisle forklifts or even AGVs that are capable of operating in such environments. Likewise, if your facility is very tall with high shelving units, reach trucks or order pickers with high lift abilities may be necessary.

Understand Ergonomics and Safety
It is imperative to note that ergonomics and safety are hallmarks of any material handling operation. Applying equipment that helps to minimize the physical load on the workers ensures that the employees suffer from fewer injuries and work more efficiently. Comfortable handles, handle positions, cushioned grips, and easy-to-use controls are other features that can be easily appreciated. In each case, it is always advisable to go for equipment that is more ergonomic and safe to use in order to minimize risks while improving the work process.

Account for Flexibility and Scalability
Your material handling equipment should not only address the current requirements of your business but also the future ones. Search for equipment that is flexible and can be expanded as your business grows. For instance, modular conveyor systems can be easily rearranged or even added onto as the business expands. Likewise, flexible assets such as multi-directional forklifts can adapt to changing operations needs in the facility.

Budget and Total Cost of Ownership
MHE, like any other piece of equipment, comes with a certain price tag for the initial purchase, but it is also essential to look at the total cost of ownership (TCO). This entails service costs, repair costs, energy costs, and time that the machine may be out of service. Selecting less costly equipment means that one will incur more costs in the long run because the equipment will often break down or is not very efficient. A cost accounting will enable you to make the right decision from the financial aspect.

Wrapping up!

To summarize, material handling equipment is crucial in any business and, therefore, choosing the right equipment is vital. By considering factors such as ergonomics, safety, flexibility, scalability, and total cost of ownership, and your specific needs and priorities, you can make a good decision.

Nostec Lift provides complete solutions in material handling equipment with high-quality products to fulfill your needs. With our experience and knowledge, we can assist you in selecting the right product for your business. Get in touch with us today for more information.

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