Overwhelmed by the Complexity of Handling? This May Help

Your Ultimate Guide to Industrial Material Handling Design

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.

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. 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. A team approach is used in creating a plan, defining needs, strategic performance objectives, as well as functional specification of supporting technologies and proposed system. 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. Simplification of material handling processes should be carried out to reduce, combine, shorten, or eliminate unnecessary movement that impedes productivity. 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. Space utilization involves freeing your work areas from clutter and organizing it to maximize storage density without compromising flexibility and accessibility.

Storage and material movement should be well-coordinated from receiving, inspection, production, packaging, storage, assembly, utilization, and order selection. It is important to consider the environmental impacts and energy use when designing a material handling system, with recycling processes implemented as much as possible, and safe handling of hazardous materials. Automated material handling technologies must be deployed as needed to improve efficiency of operations, consistency, responsiveness, and predictability. When it comes to the life cycle cost, there should be considerations in the capital investment, setup, installation, system testing, maintenance and repair, training, programming, operation, reuse value, and disposal. The different industries using material handling equipment and technologies include consumer goods, e-commerce, food and beverage, construction, hardware, manufacturing, materials processing, warehousing and distribution, pharmaceutical, retail, and automotive. For more information about material handling equipment and processes, feel free to check our website or homepage now!

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