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 following principles apply when designing a material handling system: planning, system, standardization, work, ergonomics, unit load, environment, automation, space utilization, and life cycle cost. When planning your material handling design, it is important to have a collaborative approach with your consultants, suppliers, and your end-users. In order to perform different tasks in different operating condition, there should be a standardization of all material handling equipment, methods, software, and controls. Material handling processes must be simplified through reduction, combination, or elimination of unnecessary movement that can impede productivity. Safety must be emphasized when designing material handling equipment and methods, supporting the abilities of workers, and reducing repetitive and strenuous manual labor. It is important to keep your work areas organized and free of clutter, maximizing storage density without accessibility and flexibility being compromised.
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. It is also essential to consider environmental impacts and energy usage. It is important to deploy automated material handling technologies operational efficiency improvement, responsiveness, predictability, and consistency. For the life cycle cost, it is important to consider the capital investment, setup, installation, training, programming, system testing, maintenance and repair, operation, reuse value, and disposal. Material handling systems are used in different industries such as consumer goods, e-commerce, food and beverage, construction, hardware, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, retail, materials processing, warehousing, and distribution, and automotive. Allow us to help you to learn more about materials handling systems and processes by checking our related articles on our homepage or website now.