Material Handling

Material Handling

Principles of Material Handling

  • Eliminate wasteful methods:
    • Reducing to a minimum the number of handlings of materials.
    • Eliminating unnecessary mixing and subsequent sorting.
    • Using mechanical aids to eliminate the use of hand labor in movement of materials.
    • Avoiding the unnecessary transfer of materials from floor to workplace or from container to container.
    • Increasing the speed of handling.
    • Utilizing containers and unit loads.
    • Utilizing gravity as a moving force wherever practicable.
    • Introducing automatically into the materials handling plan.
  • In laying out the plant:
    • Plan a system for materials flow and combine handling with processing wherever possible.
    • Provide for continuous or appropriate intermittent flow of materials.
    • Provide for the optimal flow of materials between operations and with a minimum of retrograde movement.
    • Plant the layout of the work-station area for a minimum of handling of the product.
    • Maximize the quantity and size of weight handled.
    • Coordinate the overall materials handling throughout the entire plant.
    • Provide for safe handling and safe equipment and integrate with the management information and control system.
    • Plan for adequate receiving, storage and shipping facilities.
    • Make optimum use of building cubage.
    • Design adequate aisle and access areas.
  • In the selection and application of materials handling equipment:
    • Plan activities and analyze equipment needs before considering the purchase of new equipment.
    • Ensure that the existing equipment is being used effectively.
    • Use the simplest equipment that is adaptable to the problem: avoid the use of complicated mechanisms and controls.
    • Adopt standard equipment if possible; ensure that the purchase of special equipment is economically justified.
    • Select equipment that is flexible in its application.
    • Select equipment that will minimize the ratio of mobile equipment deadweights to pay loads.
    • Determine comparative costs of equipment before purchasing.
    • Recognize the need for different equipment for different jobs.
    • Recognize the need to provide suitable building conditions for the equipment.
    • Provide for alternative methods for use in emergencies.
    • Give consideration to the maintenance of the equipment.
    • Replace obsolete methods and equipment with more efficient ones.


Material Handling Equipment

The general types of materials handling equipment include Conveyors, Monorails, hoists, and cranes, Industrial trucks, Containers and supports, Auxiliary and other equipments. The factors affecting the selection of materials handling equipment are:

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


Best Practices and Case Studies in Material Handling

  • Material Handling Equipment: Exploring Productivity Potential in Supply Chain
  • Case study on how to plan, select and implement a Warehouse Management System
  • Consolidation Drives Material Handling Automation: Ventura Foods Case Study
  • Case Study on McDonald’s Food Chain: Logistics Management


Note: These documents are available in Downloads on this webpage.