Material handling refers to the movement, storage, protection, and control of materials and products on the entire manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, consumption, and disposal. Material handing application helps in forecasting, allocation of resources, production planning, flow and process management, inventory management and control, 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.
The different material handling equipment and technologies include automated storage and retrieval systems, automatic guided vehicles, automatic identification and data collection, casters and wheels, controls, conveyors, dock equipment, ergonomics, hoisting equipment, industrial robots, integrated material handling systems, item order fulfillment systems, lift trucks, monorails and workstations cranes, overhead cranes, packaging, protective guarding, racks, software, sortation, and storage. When it comes to material handling system design, it is essential to ensure that all processes and equipment work as a unified system, applying the principles of planning, standardization, work, ergonomics, unit load, space utilization, system, environment, automation, 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. It is important to have a standardized material handling methods, controls, equipment, and software to be able to perform different tasks in various operating conditions. It is best to have a simplified material handling process by combining, reducing, eliminating, or shortening unnecessary movements that can restrict productivity such as using gravity to aid movement. When it comes to ergonomics, the work and working conditions must support the workers’ abilities in reducing repetitive and strenuous manual labor while emphasizing safety. It is important to keep your work areas organized and free of clutter, maximizing storage density without accessibility and flexibility being compromised.
Storage and material movement should be well-coordinated from receiving, inspection, production, packaging, storage, assembly, utilization, and order selection. 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. 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. 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.