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Material handling equipment: understanding the pros and cons

Logistics Tech Outlook | Monday, January 02, 2023

Large quantities of loose of form materials are stored, controlled and transported using bulk handling material equipment. 

Fremont, CA: Materials and goods are moved from one location to another through material handling. From manufacturing to distribution, the process includes protecting, storing, and controlling the materials. In warehousing, goods need to be securely stored, retrieved, and shipped, and material handling can be used across industries. Material handling equipment uses manual, semi-automated, and automated methods to move and store materials within the warehouse. 

In addition to storage and handling, bulk materials, industrial trucks, and engineered systems are the four main categories of material handling equipment. Let's take a closer look at each.

 Storage and handling equipment 

Storage and handling equipment protects your goods during the supply chain process. 

A warehouse's storage and handling equipment can keep materials for a short time or for a long time, depending on its needs. 

The following items are included in the equipment for storage and handling: 

 • Racks for storing pallets: steel frames with connectors and beams 

 • Small materials are stored on shelves, drawers, and bins within shelving units

 Material Handling Equipment for Bulk Handling 

Large quantities of loose-form materials are stored, controlled and transported using bulk handling material equipment. 

In loose form, materials can include liquids, food, minerals such as rocks and stones, and metals such as bolts and nails. 

Equipment used for bulk handling includes: 

 • Transporting products from one location to another with belts and pulleys 

 • Loaders and un loaders of heavy materials that load them onto bulk storage or stockpiles 

 • Using reclaimers, you can pick up materials from stockpiles 

 • The bucket elevator is designed to handle and lift large quantities of bulk materials 

 • Materials are poured or dumped into containers with hoppers, which are funnel-shaped equipment 

Trucks for industrial use 

Besides transporting goods and materials within your warehouse, industrial trucks also load and unload heavy objects. 

Industrial trucks come in a variety of types. Some products can be lifted using forks or a flat surface, while others require additional equipment. Large, drivable machines, as well as small, hand-operated machines, can be found in industrial trucks. 

The following are examples of industrial trucks: 

 • Short-distance lifting and lowering of goods is accomplished with forklifts 

 • A hand truck is a hand-operated industrial truck with two wheels and a small ledge for carrying goods. 

Systems that are engineered 

Systems that are automated or engineered use computers and robots to store and transport products. The majority of automated systems consist of several units controlled by a management software application. 

The following are examples of engineered systems: 

 • An autonomous mobile robot (AMR) is a sophisticated robot that navigates its environment without human intervention. 

 • Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS): Computer-controlled systems for keeping and retrieving goods 

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