Material Handling Equipment: Importance, Objective and Principles22/02/2020
Material handling equipment (MHE) is mechanical equipment used for the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. The different types of handling equipment can be classified into four major categories: transport equipment, positioning equipment, unit load formation equipment, and storage equipment.
Importance of Material Handling Equipment
The basic importance of material handling is to choose most appropriate materials handling equipment which is safe and can fulfill material handling requirements at the minimum possible overall cost and to choose production machinery and assist in plant layout so as to eliminate, as far as possible, the need of materials handling. In general, the functions of good materials handling system include:
(a) Using the principles of centralization, unit load or cartelization, aim at moving optimum number of pieces in one unit.
(b) Safe, standard, efficient, effective, appropriate, flexible and proper sized materials handling equipments should be selected.
(c) To employ mechanical aids in place of manual labour in order to speed up the materials movement.
(d) To minimize the movement involved in a production operation.
(e) Changes in sequence of production operations may be suggested in order to minimize backtracking and duplicate handling.
(f) Handling equipments’ arrangement should minimize distance moved by products and at the same time handling equipments should not interfere with the production line.
(g) To minimize the distances moved, by adopting shortest routes.
(h) To design containers, packages, drums etc., to economise handling and to reduce damage to the materials in transit.
(i) To utilize gravity for assisting materials movement wherever possible.
(j) Materials handling equipments should periodically be resorted to check ups, repairs and maintenance.
Objective of Material Handling Equipment
The main objectives of material handling are as follows:
- It should be able determine appropriate distance to be covered.
- Facilitate the reduction in material damage as to improve quality.
- Reducing overall manufacturing time by designing efficient material movement
- Improve material flow control
- Creation and encouragement of safe and hazard-free work condition
- Improve productivity and efficiency
- Better utilization of time and equipment
Principles of Material Handling
Material handling principles are as follows:
(i) Orientation Principle
It encourages study of all available system relationships before moving towards preliminary planning. The study includes looking at existing methods, problems, etc.
(ii) Planning Principle
It establishes a plan which includes basic requirements, desirable alternates and planning for contingency.
(iii) Systems Principle
It integrates handling and storage activities, which is cost effective into integrated system design.
(iv) Unit Load Principle
Handle product in a unit load as large as possible
(v) Space Utilization Principle
Encourage effective utilization of all the space available
(vi) Standardization Principle
It encourages standardization of handling methods and equipment.
(vii) Ergonomic Principle
It recognizes human capabilities and limitation by design effective handling equipment.
(viii) Energy Principle
It considers consumption of energy during material handling.
(ix) Ecology Principle
It encourages minimum impact upon the environment during material handling.
(x) Mechanization Principle
It encourages mechanization of handling process wherever possible as to encourage efficiency.
(xi) Flexibility PrincipleEncourages of methods and equipment which are possible to utilize in all types of condition.
(xii) Simplification Principle
Encourage simplification of methods and process by removing unnecessary movements
(xiii) Gravity Principle
Encourages usage of gravity principle in movement of goods.
(xiv) Safety Principle
Encourages provision for safe handling equipment according to safety rules and regulation
(xv) Computerization Principle
Encourages of computerization of material handling and storage systems
(xvi) System Flow Principle
Encourages integration of data flow with physical material flow
(xvii) Layout Principle
Encourages preparation of operational sequence of all systems available
(xviii) Cost Principle
Encourages cost benefit analysis of all solutions available
(xix) Maintenance Principle
Encourages preparation of plan for preventive maintenance and scheduled repairs
(xx) Obsolescence Principle
Encourage preparation of equipment policy as to enjoy appropriate economic advantage.
Material handling operations are designed based upon principles as discussed above. Material handling equipment consists of cranes, conveyors and industrial trucks.