The purpose of material handling equipment is pretty straightforward – to make material handling in commercial settings more convenient, more efficient and safer for the workers who are handling a broad range of products. Lifting heavy materials can take a toll on a person, which can result in serious injuries, followed by a sick leave and possibly getting sued. All of these things can leave your business financially strained, and employee satisfaction may drop significantly, which in turn can reduce productivity. A safe worker is a happy worker, and all managers have a duty to ensure their employees are safe from harm and happy with their jobs. For that reason, investing in material handling equipment such as trolleys, trucks and racking systems can be one of the most valuable long-term investments.
Trolleys are the most commonly used pieces of material handling equipment, and they come in various shapes and sizes. There are multi purpose trolleys that can be used for a wide range of applications and for handling a wide range of products, while there are also some application-specific models. I’d argue that most trolleys fall under the multi purpose trolleys category, as you can usually use them for at least a few applications. However, always follow the user’s manual to ensure they’re operated properly, and avoid exposing them to higher loads than recommended.
‘Industrial trucks’ is a broad term that’s used to describe a wide range of equipment, such as forklifts and other transportation devices. Industrial trucks can lift manually or they can be electrically powered. Moreover, they can either be steered by human intervention or be completely automated. The automated models follow pre-defined tracks on the production floor, raised or sunken tracks, or there are coloured strips that are laid out and picked up by optical sensors. Additionally, these sensor-driven industrial trucks have anti-collision sensors that sense when an obstacle or an employee is near.
Lastly, storage material handling systems are there to help hold products and materials when not in use, or when waiting to get shipped or enter the production process. Racking, shelving and pallet systems all fall under this category, and they help employees store items safely, conveniently and orderly. Having a suitable pallet, racking or shelving systems can greatly increase production efficiency and optimize space usage. A properly optimized storage space will improve operation workflow, which will further increase efficiency.
There’s a material handling equipment for every type of facility out there, and what you pick and how you put the entire system together will be the biggest difference maker when it comes to productivity, safety and efficiency.