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The Tools of the Trade: 6 Types of Material Handling Equipment to Assist You in Your Industrial Operations

If you’re managing a busy industrial site, one of these pieces of equipment could help you. For someone just starting out in industry, it’s a good idea to have a grasp of the different types of heavy machinery that different businesses use. In this article, we’re going to look at a few of the most important heavy equipment items in a range of different industries. Some of these might be a major purchase for your company, while others can be hired as and when necessary.

What is material handling equipment anyway? It’s actually quite a broad term that can be broken down into a few sub-categories. These can include storage units, vehicles, counting tools, protection products, transport accessories or any number of things that help work with different materials during their manufacture, consumption, distribution or disposal. That means that this equipment looks after different materials either when they’re being produced, used or disposed of. They generally fall into four main categories of equipment, and these are storage, material handling equipment, transport, and engineered systems.

So let’s have a look a the equipment:

Transport equipment

These material tools and heavy equipment are designed specifically to help the transport of heavy materials. They’re used mainly to help move certain materials between two different locations, like from productions facilities to storage areas.

There are actually a few subcategories of transport equipment, like positioning tools which mainly stay in one location rather than help with the logistical transport of items over a large distance. Examples of transport equipment include cranes, industrial trucks, pallet equipment or conveyor systems.

Some of this transport equipment will require a trained worker to drive, while others can run along the conveyor system and will only require manned supervision. Some of these systems can even work unsupervised, and solutions are improving in this area as technology continues to evolve.

Engineered systems

Other than transporting heavy materials, you might need some equipment that’s used to handle it, often before or after transportation (but not necessarily). Conveyor systems can actually fall into both of these categories – that’s because they can be used to both transport materials over quite large distances but can also be used to handle materials before or after they’re unloaded for transport.

Other engineered systems are designed to handle materials in one place either to help get it ready for transport or to facilitate storage. Examples of engineered systems can include conveyors, guided vehicles and robotic movement systems. Many of these types of equipment can be used without supervision and do not need to be manned.

Bulk material handling

This type of equipment is often used to control or handle loose materials such as grain, liquid or other foods. Again, you can get conveyors that fall under this category. Either way, a lot of the bulk material handling equipment that you see in the industry has been especially designed to handle a specific type of product and will have particular engineering features designed to deal with a specific item or range of items.

Examples of bulk material handling can include stackers, grain and bucket elevators, hoppers and silos. A lot of this equipment is used in farming, agriculture or other food-production businesses.

Storage equipment

You might be most used to seeing storage equipment already, as these have many uses in lots of different types of industries. Most of this equipment is normally non-automated, and it might not be as sophisticated as some of the equipment examples we’ve already looked at. Storage equipment is reasonably self-explanatory and is often used to hold or buffer items or materials when they are not in specific use or being transported.

Storage equipment’s main aim is to minimize handling and storage costs and keep things secure before they’re needed for production, transport or sale.

What are some specific examples of material handling equipment?

Now that you’ve seen the main categories of material handling equipment, let’s look at some specific examples and the uses they can bring to your business:

Tugger carts

If you need to move a lot of pallets around your site, tugger carts could be for you. They’ve actually grown in popularity in recent years as a viable alternative to traditional pallet loaders, and they do actually have a few key advantages. They’re said to have improved safety, security and efficiency in the workplace and many businesses are now replacing their entire lineup of pallet loaders with tugger carts.

Tugger carts pull pallets behind them and can be attached to tractors and other material equipment. This can enable multiple tugger carts to be connected in a row, so lots of material (pallets) can be moved with only one driver. Tugger carts are also easy to control and do not require a fork-lift license to operate. More and more business owners are turning to tugger carts every year as they improve warehouse efficiency and make pallet transport easier. Tugger’s aren’t just for pallets, either – they can be used for a wide range of contained materials.

Shelf Carts

Shelf carts can be attached to tugger carts to create a more efficient material handling solution. Shelf carts used to be used manually, one at a time – but now you can connect a chain of them to a tugger cart and transport multiple products simultaneously. Shelf carts offer a diverse range of solutions that should make the logistics of your warehouse more efficient. They can handle heavy loads at the same time and are a flexible solution to moving materials around your site.

Hopefully, you’ve seen a few different examples of how handling solutions have evolved in the workplace and how keeping up to date with industry solutions could make your site more efficient. It’s always best to keep up-to-date with the most recent innovations in handling equipment as they could save you a lot of money and improve workflow efficiency in the long run. Have a look at how the right material equipment could revolutionalize your productivity and logistic flow in the workplace.

About Anirudh Singh

Anirudh Singh is a passionate blogger and the man behind Amazing India Blog. He has 5 years of experience in the newspaper industry and he founded Amazing India Blog in 2015. Apart from writing and editing articles on Travel, Business and Technology at Amazing India Blog, he also contributes to other well known newspapers and online news blogs.

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