Factors affecting Materials Handling Equipment’s

27/08/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

The selection of materials handling equipment requires the attaining of proper balance between the production problem, the capabilities of the equipment available, and the human element involved. The ultimate aim is to arrive at the lowest cost per unit of material handled.

Equipment factors to be taken into consideration may well include the following:

Adaptability: the load carrying and movement characteristics of the equipment should fit the materials handling problem.

Flexibilitt: Where possible the equipment should have flexibility to handle more than one material, referring either to class or size.

Load capacity: Equipment selected should have great enough load-carrying characteristics to do the job effectively, yet should not be too large and result in excessive operating costs.

Power: Enough power should be available to do the job.

Speed: Rapidity of movement of material, within the limits of the production process or plant safety, should be considered

Space requirements: The space required to install or operate materials handling equipment is an important factor in its selection.

Supervision required: As applied to equipment selection, this refers to the degree of automaticity designed into the equipment.

Ease of maintenance: Equipment selected should be easily maintained at reasonable cost. Environment: Equipment selected must conform to any environment regulations.

Cost: The consideration of the cost of the equipment is an obvious factor in its selection.

Variable Path equipment

Variable path equipment has no restrictions in the direction of movement although their size is a factor to be given due consideration trucks, forklifts mobile cranes and industrial tractors belong to this category. Forklifts are available in many ranges, they are maneuverable and various attachments are provided to increase their versatility.

Material Handing Types of equipment may be classified into five major categories.


Conveyors are useful for moving material between two fixed workstations, either continuously or intermittently. They are mainly used for continuous or mass production operations indeed, they are suitable for most operations where the flow is more or less steady. Conveyors may be of various types, with rollers, wheels or belts to help move the material along: these may be power-driven or may roll freely. The decision to provide conveyors must be taken with care since they are usually costly to install; moreover, they are less flexible and, where two or more converge, it is necessary to coordinate the speeds at which the two conveyors move.

Industrial trucks

Industrial trucks are more flexible in use than conveyors since they can move between various points and are not permanently fixed in one place. They are, therefore, most suitable for intermittent production and for handling various sizes and shapes of material. There are many types of a truck- petrol-driven, electric, hand-powered, and so on. Their greatest advantage lies in the wide range of attachments available; these increase the truck’s ability to handle various types and shapes of material.

Cranes and hoists

The major advantage of cranes and hoists is that they can move heavy materials through overhead space. However, they can usually serve only a limited area. Here again, there are several types of crane and hoist, and within each type, there are various loading capacities. Cranes and hoists may be used both for intermittent and for continuous production.


These are either ‘dead’ containers (e.g. Cartons, barrels, skids, pallets) that hold the material to be transported but do not move or ‘live’ containers (e.g. wagons, wheelbarrows or computer self-driven containers). Handling equipments of this kind can both contain and move the material and is usually operated manually.


Many types of robots exist. They vary in size, and in function and maneuverability. While many robots are used for handling and transporting material, others are used to perform operations such as welding or spray painting. An advantage of robots is that they can perform in a hostile environment such as unhealthy conditions or carry on arduous tasks such as the repetitive movement of heavy materials.

The choice of material-handling equipment among the various possibilities that exist is not easy. In several cases, the same material may be handled by various types of equipments, and the great diversity of equipment and attachments available does not make the problem any easier. In several cases, however, the nature of the material to be handled narrows the choice.