Material handling refers to the movement, storage, protection, and control of materials and products on the entire manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, consumption, and disposal. Material handling is applied in different industries to help in forecasting, allocation of resources, production planning, inventory management and control, flow and process management, after sales support and services, and customer delivery. The material handling processes and systems of a company are put in place for the improvement of customer services, shortening of delivery time, reduction of inventory, and reducing overall handling costs associated with manufacturing, transportation, and distribution.
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. 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. 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. Standardization of all material handling equipment, methods, software, and control is very important to be able to perform various tasks in different operating settings and conditions. Material handling processes must be simplified through reduction, combination, or elimination of unnecessary movement that can impede productivity. Ergonomics involve the adaptation and support of workers in reducing strenuous and repetitive labor, as well as prioritizing 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 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. It is important to deploy automated material handling technologies operational efficiency improvement, responsiveness, predictability, and consistency. 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. 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. Check out our related articles about materials handling processes and equipment by visiting our website or homepage now!