What are Material Handling Equipment Systems?
Material-handling equipment, to offer a near-dictionary definition, is machinery or other mechanical devices – driven or non-powered – that are used to transport and store materials through a company’s manufacturing or delivery operations.
A material-handling equipment system will often consist of several distinct pieces. Some of these processes are likely to be manual, while others are likely to be automated or at least semi-automated. The system itself manages the whole manufacturing or production process in such a way that the supply chain is always in motion and as efficient and productive as possible. The entire process may operate smoothly by optimizing the efficiency of each component included within the system.
The sectors of company that can benefit from an effective material-handling equipment system, are as follows:
- The allocation of resources
- The management and control of inventory
- Forecasting and planning
- The management of associated processes
- Customer delivery
How is Equipment Used Within a Material-Handling Equipment System?
Material-handling equipment comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Non-motorized pallet trucks, for example, are completely manual in nature. Conveyor systems, for example, might be completely manual, semi-automated, or fully automated. Even storage and retrieval systems can be entirely automated, with the system’s overall operation handed over to a computer.
Automated guided vehicles, dock equipment, hoisting equipment, lift trucks, workstation cranes, and storage solutions such as racking are all common pieces of material-handling equipment.
Many of these things will be present throughout the whole end-to-end process of a material-handling equipment system.
A conveyor system, for example, may be utilized at the point of receipt to carry products straight from a delivery truck to the core of the manufacturing process. After being scanned and assigned to a convenient location within the storage facility, items may be moved in bulk by a motorized forklift. Individual products can then be brought into the main manufacturing area using a pallet jack on a “as needed” basis. Finally, a second conveyor system may be utilized to manually transfer all of the finished goods to the distribution locations.
As you can see, an equipment system can be made up of a variety of components. Again, it’s critical that all of these components function well so that the overall system’s efficiency is not harmed.
Benefits of Material- Handling Equipment System?
You must always follow best practices to get the most out of your material-handling equipment system. Your system must function as a whole, rather than as a collection of discrete components. A successful material-handling system requires a number of stages to be completed.
- Planning: Material-handling systems frequently ‘evolve’ as a company grows. Along the production process, a requirement or improvement is recognized, and a new component is introduced or an old component is replaced.
Finally, the material-handling equipment system descends into a random collection of objects introduced to the process at various periods. Often, this just ‘works,’ but it is considerably more useful to take stock and do a thorough review of your system from time to time. This will enable better planning and the more effective use of modern technology, giving you the best opportunity of optimizing the system’s efficiency.
- Ergonomics: It’s critical that your workers work in a safe and comfortable setting. A safe working environment encourages a more effective work ethic, which boosts productivity. The employee’s job should be simplified at the workplace, and difficult or repetitive labor should be avoided. In addition, processes should be streamlined by minimizing or eliminating needless movement. When it comes to manual activities, gravity is your friend, and all actions should be conducted in straight lines as much as possible.
- Use of space: In every manufacturing facility, space is crucial, and by making the greatest use of the space you have, you may offer your system the best chance of succeeding. All vital work spaces should be maintained clutter-free, and maximum density in storage areas, including the utilization of overhead space, is critical, which is generally addressed by installing racking.
- System and Environment: Throughout the system, all elements of material transportation and storage must be considered. Items must be received, examined, and then delivered to their final destination. Items will be assembled and packed once they are in the production system. The system’s final section deals with shipping, but don’t forget that you’ll need a system in place to handle returns as well. When developing your procedures, it’s critical to keep the surroundings in mind. Wherever possible, you should utilize environmentally friendly equipment and methods, such as packing and the safe, non-hazardous disposal of any trash.
It might be tough to know what to do if you haven’t planned your material-handling equipment system. You may believe that because your process isn’t broken, there’s no need to improve it, but this approach ignores the potential for you to increase the efficiency of your system and increase the profitability of your firm.