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April 30, 2019

What is Material Handling Equipment

So you’ve decided to spring for a material handling equipment. It’s a fantastic upgrade to your facility and will help dramatically improve productivity. However, there are a number of material handling equipment options, and each design specializes in the movement of specific materials. That is why, prior to investing in material handling equipment, you need to understand what is material handling equipment, the different four main types of materials and handling equipment. This way, you’ll have the necessary knowledge to invest in the right elevator for your commercial plant.

What is Material Handling Equipment and the Four Main Systems it is Used For

There are four main systems a material handling equipment is used for (with each system typically partitioned into more specific designs). The four main systems are:

  • Storage and Handling of Equipment
  • Engineered Systems
  • Industrial Trucks
  • Bulk Material Handling Equipment

Storage and Handling of Equipment

This is the most material handling equipment and it does essentially what the title indicates. A storage and handling elevator is designed to hold equipment. Essentially it will help secure goods. Outside of having elevator walls that won’t allow the kind of equipment you use to slip out and also being able to handle the kind of weight you load up, there isn’t too much to consider in the design of a storage and handling.

Industrial Trucks

Industrial trucks come in varying forms. These can range anywhere from a forklift to a box cart. Essentially if it can be moved and lift, it falls under this category.

Industrial trucks are further broken down into sub categories including hand trucks, platform trucks, walkie stackers, pallet trucks, pallet jacks, sideloaders, and an order picker. There are a number of variants in how these are designed. But if you’re looking for an industrial truck that can lift wood pallets or come with an extended deck, this is the category you’ll want to look into.

Engineered Systems

When you work in manufacturing or storage, you are going to have varying kinds of conveyer systems working at once. This means you’ll need material handling equipment that can function right alongside the current equipment you have. An engineered system will take specific designing requirements you have for your factory and implement these requirements. Depending on the kind of equipment you currently have in place there are a handful of sub categories under engineered systems.

First, there is a sub system known as Automated Storage and Retrieval System (or AS/RS for short). This is a system that will move through aisles, shelves, and racks. The system will slide along the current assembly line or shelving in order to help make selecting items easier. If you work in a larger warehouse with stacks upon stacks of items and you need to move about the warehouse quickly, an AS/RS engineered system is the way to go.

A conveyor system works with conveyor belts and assembly lines you have within your facility. The conveyor systems will move heavier materials to a designated area. This kind of an engineered system is able to move extremely heavy gear, which improves productivity and dramatically reduces the possibility of injury.

The last two sub categories are automatic guided vehicles and robotic delivery systems. If you do not need to use employees to pick up goods within your warehouse you might want to consider a robotic system. This robotic system can move throughout your facility and drop off equipment in designated areas. This will significantly increase productivity as you will no longer require an employee to do this kind of work.

The automatic guided vehicle is a system that follows established markers. Anything from lasers to magnets are used for this kind of guided vehicle. Again, this is helpful in improving productivity as you don’t need to have a physical driver.

Bulk Material Handling Equipment

If your facility handles a large amount of gear at once you will want to consider a bulk material handling elevator design. From using conveyer belts for both horizontal and vertical transportation to taking advantage of drums and hoppers for the funneling of goods. These different material handling equipment systems can be designed to fit weight and movement needs.

As is the case with the other forms of material handling equipment there are several sub-categories you will want to consider. These sub-categories include conveyor belts, bucket elevators, reclaimers, stackers, silos, hoppers, and grain elevators.

A stacker is similar to a forklift in that it can move extremely heavy loads onto docks and to other areas within your facility. Conveyor belts are rather self-explanatory (it moves goods from the beginning of the conveyor belt to the end). A bucket elevator may be referred to as a grain leg by some manufacturers. These will move flowable materials vertically. It is often used in grains, but it can be used with smaller items such as nuts and bolts. A grain elevator, on the other hand, is used to not only move but to store grain during production.

Reclaimers are large devices that are used to collect and move bulk material from a designated stockpile. A hopper is a large container used to store material, including grains, and then funnels the material out of an access point on the underside of the hopper. And lastly, silos are large, tower-like constructions that are used to store anything from coal to grain, wood chips, or food.

Design The Right Material Handling Equipment For Your Business

Getting the job done right the first time requires having the right equipment at your disposal. Gough Econ, Inc. is here to help you with that. Material handling equipment has the potential to dramatically improve productivity while lifting material you either can’t or shouldn’t manually. However, not all material handling equipment is designed for the same purpose, so having one specifically constructed for your company’s specific needs is crucial. So, whether you’re ready to invest in a new elevator for your facility or you have questions regarding material handling equipment and the materials used, you can call or email the team at Gough Econ, Inc. and talk to a sales engineer.

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