Different Types of Material Handling Equipment

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A Look at the Varieties of Material Handling Equipment

Material handling equipment plays a central role within the production, storage and distribution of countless products. There are also times when other factors such as disposal and tracking need to be addressed. It should be quite obvious that a variety of tools and mechanisms are used. These will primarily depend upon the needs of the organisation as well as the products themselves. What are some common varieties of material handling equipment offered by STB Engineering? Let us break this concept down into discrete categories for a more thorough understanding.

Storage and Handling

This type of equipment is commonly seen within the warehouse environment. From a general standpoint, this method is used when a product is being stored before shipping or when it will remain in place for a longer period of time. Some primary concerns are the conservation of space, maintaining the integrity of the product and implementing rotation schedules to access specific items. Common forms of equipment include:

  • Shelving, drawers and storage bins.
  • Pallet racks (static and automated).
  • Mezzanines.
  • High-capacity sliding racks.

The bulk of these solutions tend to not to be automated but instead, they are manipulated by employees.

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Engineered Solutions

These systems tend to be at least partially automated. Engineered solutions are used to rotate stock and to provide streamlined access to materials. One example can be seen in a framework known as an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS). The main takeaway point here is that higher levels of mechanisation provide an efficiency that it not often encountered with traditional storage. Some variants can include:

  • Autonomously guided vehicles.
  • Conveyor belts.
  • Rotational carousels.
  • Robotic “pick-and-pack” units.

These solutions are frequently used in large warehouses or when products need to be accessed within a real-time scenario.

Industrial Transportation Equipment

Sometimes simply referred to as industrial “trucks”, this method involves the use of (generally) manually operated machines such as forklifts, accordion lifts and pallet jacks. There are normally a wide variety of options to choose from; each designed for a very specific purpose. Hand-operated trucks and ride-on units are likewise included within this category. Their purpose is to enable workers to physically transport materials from one location to another while not jeopardising their safety or the condition of the product.

Bulk Manipulation

Examples of bulk materials can include powders, grain, minerals, foods and liquids. The majority of this equipment is intended to handle loose materials and their design reflects this capacity. Drums, hoppers, closed conveyor belts, silos and grain elevators are all applicable here. In terms of handling foodstuffs, it should also be mentioned that these units must remain clean to avoid contaminating the products that are being stored or transported.

STB Engineering is proud to be able to offer a wide variety of options for those who are looking for turnkey material handling equipment and solutions. To learn more or if you have specific questions, we encourage you to contact us at your convenience.

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