Managing a warehouse is challenging, but there is a variety of manual handling equipment that can simplify the process. This type of equipment are designed to move, lift, protect and store items and materials used in warehouses and commercial or industrial facilities. As such, it’s vital for businesses that need to handle and store vast quantities of bulk material.
Material handling equipment can be manual or automated, and both types can feature on the same premises. Automated systems are more expensive and are used exclusively in complex facilities. Just as crucial as any automated device, manual equipment is the starting point for most businesses.
What do you mean by Material Handling Equipment?
Material handling equipment refers to a range of tools and machinery that are used to move, store, control, and protect goods and materials in various industrial settings. These equipment’s are an essential part of any manufacturing or production process, as they ensure that materials are transported efficiently and safely, minimizing the risk of accidents and damage to products.
Common types of Material Handling Equipment’s
- Cranes & Hoists : Cranes and hoists are used to lift and move heavy loads
- Conveyors : They are used to transport materials along a fixed path
- Loaders : They are used to load and unload materials onto trucks or other vehicles.
- Forklifts : Forklifts and pallet jacks are used to lift and move pallets and other heavy items
These equipment’s are often automated or semi-automated, making them highly efficient and reducing the need for manual labor.
Benefits of Material Handling Equipment’s
- They help to increase productivity, reduce labor costs, and improve workplace safety.
- They also help to minimize material damage and ensure that products are delivered to customers in good condition.
- With the right material handling equipment’s, businesses can improve their bottom line and gain a competitive edge in the market.
Types of Material Handling Equipment’s
There are mainly two types of Material Handling Equipment’s. They are as follows:
- Manual Material Handling Equipment’s
- Mechanical Material Handling Equipment’s
In this article we will discuss about the Manual Material Handling Equipment’s in detail.
What Is Manual Material Handling Equipment?
Manual material handling equipment encompasses all tools, vehicles, storage units, appliances, and accessories used for moving things that require human effort. Manual handling is the old-fashioned and proven way of sorting, retrieving, locating, and shelving goods.
What Are the Benefits of Using Manual material Handling Equipment?
Compared to the automated alternatives, manual equipment has low up-front costs, is easily adaptable to workplace surroundings and conditions, and can save space since it usually has a small footprint. This equipment is easy to maintain and doesn’t require the additional cost of electricity or compressed air to operate.
As it is light, small, and mobile, you can use manual equipment in various spaces without special training. Also, employees using the equipment do need to follow strict workplace health and safety guidelines to avoid injury or material damage. This is virtually non-existent with automated systems.
The Most Common Types of Manual Material Handling Equipment
Choosing equipment for your business will be based on what, where, and how often you’ll need to move goods around. But in general, most rely on the following types of manual material handling equipment.
- Trolleys and carts
- Pallet trucks
- Shelving units
- Load Binders
- Load Locks
- Machinery Stakes
- Pry Bars
- Shopping carts
Trolleys and Carts
You can rely on trolleys and carts to safely load, transport, and unload any goods within a defined boundary. Though designs differ, almost all consist of a loading platform or shelf, sturdy plastic or metal frame, and four wheels or castors. Platform trolleys have a larger, lower-sitting platform to accommodate bulkier items. They also have high loading capacities, heavy-duty industrial castors, and often, a metal frame incorporating the handle. Shelf trolleys consist of two or more shelves and can have a more compact and lightweight design.
Carts are lighter than trolleys. They are usually made of durable plastics, and come with optional features like drawers, bins, or cages. The choice of design and materials should reflect the surroundings where you plan to use these pieces of manual handling equipment. Utility carts, for instance, should be lightweight yet durable, made of reinforced plastic frames and shelving, and sitting on swiveling rubber castors. You’ll see these in offices, schools, and hospitals.
Heavy-duty and industrial trolleys and trucks, on the other hand, go for outright durability and tend to be made of bolted or metal stainless steel frames, with loads sitting on non-slip metal checkered surfaces and running on polyurethane castors. The latter will also have battery-powered variants where larger loads and distances are concerned. Warehouses, loading depots, and manufacturing facilities are where these call home.
Advantages of Trolleys and Carts
- Efficiency and Productivity: Trolleys and carts allow for the easy transport of goods from one place to another, reducing the need for manual labor and multiple trips. This can increase productivity and efficiency in various industries and settings.
- Customization: Trolleys and carts can be customized to meet specific needs and requirements of different industries and businesses. They can be designed with different sizes, shapes, and features to accommodate different types of goods.
- Easy to Move: Trolleys and carts are typically designed with wheels or casters, making them easy to move around and maneuver.
Disadvantages of Trolleys and Carts
- Limited Capacity: The capacity and size of trolleys and carts can be limited, which may restrict the amount of goods that can be transported at once.
- Not Suitable for All Terrain: Trolleys and carts may not be suitable for all types of terrain or environments. They may have difficulty on uneven surfaces, stairs, or rough terrain.
- Maintenance: Trolleys and carts require maintenance to ensure they remain in good working condition. This can include regular cleaning, lubrication of wheels and casters, and replacement of worn-out parts.
Applications of Trolleys and Carts
- Warehouses: Trolleys and carts are commonly used in warehouses for the transport of goods, such as picking and packing orders, moving inventory, and restocking shelves.
- Supermarkets: Shopping carts are a type of trolley used in supermarkets to allow customers to easily transport their purchases throughout the store.
- Industrial Settings: Trolleys and carts are used in various industrial settings, such as manufacturing facilities, to transport raw materials and finished goods.
These are the man-powered equivalent of forklifts and do the same job. Although on a smaller scale. They load, unload, and transport pallets and are a great solution for small and tight spaces where forklifts can’t go. Pallet trucks (or pallet jacks) consist of a pair of forks that fit under the pallet like forklifts, a rotating handle to lift, lower, or hold the pallet in place, and wheels or castors for movement. There’s a lot of variation in the forks as to the weight they can carry, the heights they can lift to, and the type of pallets (Euro or standard).
The pros of (manual) pallet jacks are of low cost, high mobility, ease of use, high safety, and long-term durability. They are versatile pieces of handling equipment used for other heavy loads besides pallets and are a safe, simple, and cost-effective alternative to forklifts. Similar items, but capable of reaching greater heights, are pallet lifters, scissor lifts, and scissor tables.
Advantages of Pallet trucks
- Versatility: Pallet trucks are versatile material handling equipment that can be used to transport goods in various settings, such as warehouses, factories, and loading docks.
- Efficiency: Pallet trucks can transport heavy loads with ease, reducing the need for manual labor and multiple trips, which can increase efficiency.
- Ergonomics: Pallet trucks are designed with ergonomic handles and controls, which reduce the risk of injuries or strain to the operator.
Disadvantages of Pallet trucks
- Limited Load Capacity: Pallet trucks have a limited load capacity, which may restrict the amount of goods that can be transported at once.
- Not Suitable for All Terrain: Pallet trucks may not be suitable for all types of terrain or environments, such as rough or uneven surfaces.
- Maintenance: Pallet trucks require regular maintenance to ensure they remain in good working condition. This can include lubrication of wheels and rollers, cleaning, and replacement of worn-out parts.
Applications of Pallet trucks
- Warehouses: Pallet trucks are commonly used in warehouses to move pallets of goods, such as from storage to loading docks or trucks.
- Manufacturing Facilities: Pallet trucks are used in manufacturing facilities to transport raw materials and finished goods from one station to another.
- Retail: Pallet trucks are used in retail settings, such as big-box stores, to move large items or pallets of goods from the stockroom to the sales floor.
The storage side of material handling boils down to heavy-duty shelving and cabinets. The most common is steel shelving, either in an open or closed-back design, capable of carrying extremely high loads and with the option of being mobile or fixed in place. Similar in use is rivet or bulk shelving that’s easy to assemble and fit within smaller spaces.
Light to medium loads are handled with wire shelving units and are also good for wet or dusty environments. Shelves can also come with numerous accessories. Parts bins and trays are essential in automotive workshops and where there’s a need to store and better organize multiple items.
Advantages of Shelving units
- Space-saving: Shelving units help maximize storage space by organizing goods vertically, which can reduce the amount of floor space needed.
- Customization: Shelving units can be customized to fit specific storage needs, such as the height, width, and depth of shelves.
- Accessibility: Shelving units can be designed with different types of access points, such as sliding doors or open shelves, to allow for easy access to goods.
Disadvantages of Shelving units
- Limited load Capacity: Shelving units have a limited load capacity, which may restrict the amount of goods that can be stored on each shelf.
- Assembly and Installation: Assembly and installation of shelving units can be time-consuming and require specialized tools and expertise.
- Maintenance: Shelving units require regular maintenance, such as cleaning and inspection, to ensure they remain in good condition and do not pose a safety risk.
Applications of Shelving units
- Warehouses: Shelving units are commonly used in warehouses to store and organize goods, such as small parts, tools, and inventory.
- Offices: Shelving units are used in offices to organize files, books, and supplies.
- Retail: Shelving units are used in retail settings, such as grocery stores and convenience stores, to display products for customers.
Load binders, also known as chain binders, are tools that are commonly used in the transportation industry to secure cargo. They are designed to tighten chains and prevent them from loosening during transit. Load binders come in different sizes, shapes, and types, depending on the specific application, and are made of materials such as steel, aluminum, and iron.
Advantages of Load binders
- Secure and Safe: Load binders are designed to securely fasten and hold loads in place, reducing the risk of damage or accidents during transport.
- Versatile: Load binders can be used with a variety of different types of loads, such as pallets, boxes, and machinery.
- Easy to Use: Load binders are relatively easy to use, with simple mechanisms that allow for quick and efficient fastening and release of loads.
Disadvantages of Load binders
- Maintenance: Load binders require regular maintenance to ensure they remain in good working condition and do not pose a safety risk.
- Capacity: Load binders have a limited load capacity, which may restrict the amount of goods that can be transported at once.
- Compatibility: Load binders may not be compatible with all types of loads or transport equipment, such as different types of trucks or trailers.
Applications of Load binders
- Transport: Load binders are commonly used in the transport industry to secure loads during transportation, such as on flatbed trucks or trailers.
- Construction: Load binders are used in the construction industry to secure and transport heavy equipment and materials, such as steel beams or lumber.
- Agriculture: Load binders are used in the agriculture industry to secure and transport hay bales, equipment, and other types of agricultural goods.
Jacks are mechanical devices used to lift and lower heavy loads. They come in various types, including hydraulic, bottle, and floor jacks, and are used in different industries such as construction, automotive, and manufacturing. Jacks are essential tools for lifting heavy equipment, vehicles, and machinery safely and efficiently, and they are designed to handle different weights and load capacities.
Advantages of jacks
- Efficient: Jacks can lift and move heavy loads with ease, reducing the need for manual labor and multiple trips, which can increase efficiency.
- Versatile: Jacks can be used with a variety of different types of loads, such as vehicles, machinery, and furniture.
- Mobility: Jacks are typically designed to be mobile and easy to maneuver, allowing for greater flexibility in different settings.
Disadvantages of jacks
- Capacity: Jacks have a limited load capacity, which may restrict the amount of goods that can be lifted or moved at once.
- Safety: The use of jacks can pose a safety risk, especially if not used properly or with inadequate support.
- Maintenance: Jacks require regular maintenance to ensure they remain in good working condition and do not pose a safety risk.
Applications of jacks
- Automotive: Jacks are commonly used in the automotive industry to lift and move vehicles for repair or maintenance.
- Industrial: Jacks are used in various industrial settings, such as manufacturing facilities and construction sites, to lift and move heavy machinery and equipment.
- Residential: Jacks are used in residential settings, such as for moving furniture or home appliances.
Load locks are adjustable bars used to secure cargo in a truck or trailer. They are designed to fit between the walls of the trailer and lock in place, preventing the cargo from shifting during transit. Load locks are made of durable materials such as steel and aluminum, and they come in different lengths and sizes to fit the specific needs of the cargo being transported.
Advantages of Load locks
- Avoid slipping: Load locks prevent cargo from shifting during transportation.
- Easy installation: They are easy to install and remove.
- Safety: Load locks can improve safety during transport by reducing the risk of cargo falling or shifting.
Disadvantages of Load Locks
- Expensive: Load locks can be expensive to purchase.
- Unsuitable: They may not be suitable for all types of cargo.
- Risk of damage: Improper use of load locks can lead to damage to the cargo or the vehicle.
Applications of Load Locks
- Trucking Industry: Load locks are commonly used in the trucking industry to secure cargo.
- Shipping Containers: They can be used in shipping containers to secure cargo during transport.
- Warehouses: Load locks can also be used in warehouses to secure pallets of goods.
Machinery stakes are long metal bars with pointed ends that are used to secure equipment and machinery in place during transportation. They are commonly used in the construction and manufacturing industries to prevent heavy equipment from moving or tipping over during transit. Machinery stakes are made of strong, durable materials such as steel and are designed to withstand heavy loads and rough handling.`
Advantages of Machinery Stakes
- Secure: Machinery stakes provide a secure anchor point for machinery during transport.
- Less risk of Damage: They can reduce the risk of damage to the machinery during transportation.
- Easy Installation: Machinery stakes are easy to install and remove.
Disadvantages of Machinery Stakes
- Weight: Machinery stakes can be heavy and difficult to maneuver.
- Unsuitable: They may not be suitable for all types of machinery.
- Damage Risk: Improper use of machinery stakes can lead to damage to the machinery or the vehicle.
Applications of Machinery Stakes
- Construction Industry: Machinery stakes are commonly used in the construction industry to transport heavy machinery.
- Agricultural Industry: They can be used in the agricultural industry to transport large farming machinery.
- Forestry Industry: Machinery stakes can also be used in the forestry industry to transport logging equipment.
Pry bars, also known as crowbars, are versatile tools used in many industries, including construction, automotive, and manufacturing. They are used to pry or lift heavy objects, remove nails or screws, and manipulate materials. Pry bars come in different shapes and sizes and are made of materials such as steel, iron, and titanium.
Advantages of Pry Bars
- Versatility: Pry bars are versatile tools that can be used for a range of tasks.
- Durability: They are durable and long-lasting.
- Cost: Pry bars are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
Disadvantages of Pry Bars
- Injury Risk: Improper use of pry bars can lead to injury or damage to the material being worked on.
- Suitability: They may not be suitable for all types of tasks.
- Weight and Maneuverability: Pry bars can be heavy and difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.
Applications of Pry Bars
- Construction Industry: Pry bars are commonly used in construction to remove nails or other fasteners.
- Automotive Repair: They can be used in automotive repair to remove parts or panels.
- Woodworking: Pry bars are also useful in woodworking to remove glued or nailed pieces.
Shopping carts are essential tools for retail businesses, allowing customers to easily transport their purchases throughout the store. They come in various sizes and styles, including traditional metal wire carts, plastic carts, and handheld baskets. Shopping carts are designed to be durable, lightweight, and easy to maneuver, making them an essential tool for any retail business.
Advantages of Shopping Carts
- Customer Convenience: Shopping carts make it easier for customers to carry multiple items while shopping.
- Increased Purchases: They can increase the amount of items a customer purchases.
- Improved Shopping Experience: Shopping carts can improve the shopping experience for customers.
Disadvantages of Shopping Carts
- Cost: Shopping carts can be expensive to purchase or maintain.
- Space Usage: They can take up a lot of space in a store or parking lot.
- Theft and Damage Risk: Shopping carts can be easily stolen or damaged.
Applications of Shopping Carts
- Grocery Stores: Shopping carts are commonly used in grocery stores to allow customers to carry their purchases.
- Retail Stores: They can be used in retail stores to make it easier for customers to browse and purchase items.
- Transportation: Shopping carts can also be used in airports or train stations to transport luggage.
Other Material Handling Options
These are just some of the more common manual material handling products. Other items include rigid or flexible expanding skate and roller conveyors, spill containment cages and cabinets, heavy-duty access ramps, and more. Where safety is a concern, look to bollards, barriers, expandable fencing, and other items that meet specific workplace health and safety regulations.
What Are the Main points to Consider When Buying?
Manual material handling equipment must be safe to use. Products need to be built as per standards, with quality materials and workmanship, and must be able to handle designated loads without issue. Look for rated loading capacities and safety features like braked castors. Sizes need to be appropriate for the goods, materials, and surroundings. Additional features and a wide range of attachments make moving and storing goods a lot easier and safer.
Video on Material Handling Equipment’s
Which type of Material Handling equipment is right for a specific need?
When are pallet trucks used?
For which applications are Shelving Trucks often preferred?
In conclusion, material handling equipment’s are an essential part of any industrial process, and they play a critical role in ensuring that materials are transported efficiently and safely. By understanding the different types of equipment’s available and their benefits, businesses can make informed decisions about which equipment’s to invest in to improve their operations.