In the material handling industry, companies have to upgrade their machinery, tools, and resources to stay ahead of their competitors as well as to increase their productivity. This year, there have been a few noted trends that companies should be aware of and use in their favor.
Warehouse environments and handling material come with risks. This is why innovations in the industry have increasingly placed safety in the workplace in the highest priority. There are now automatic height-adjusting carts that allow the operators to work at an optimal height without the use of hook-ups. There are also forklift attachments that reduce the hazards of handling a pallet, as well as safely placing products on the pallet. These new inventions optimize workplace safety allowing all forklift operators to safely manage multiple material handling processes with higher efficiency and precision.
When dealing with manufactured products in bulk, storing and managing these items require proper planning and careful handling of material. Material handling equipment includes an assorted range of tools, vehicles, storage units, and accessories used in transporting, storing, controlling, identifying and protecting products at any stage of manufacturing process, distribution consumption or disposal.There is equipment that assists in arranging the products for easy access and visibility as well as systems that make it easier to transport heavy and bulky loads. More advanced systems even utilize automated robotics to improve efficiency.
Material handling equipment is categorized into two areas: conventional equipment and computer-aided equipment. The former includes devices that are operated manually and are run through a more conventional mechanism. Computer-aided equipment or engineered equipment use technologically advanced mechanisms that are connected to or operated by computers.
Conventional equipment is mainly used for storage, bulk material handling, and transport. Storage and handling equipment includes racks, such as pallet racks, drive-through or drive-in racks, pushback racks, and sliding racks and shelves, bins, and drawers. Bulk material handling refers to the storing, transportation and control of material in loose bulk form with conveyor belts or elevators designed to move large quantities of material, or in packaged form, through the use of drums and hoppers. Transport is done through the use of industrial trucks such as forklifts, cranes and platform trucks. These transportation devices have a variety of characteristics to make them suitable for different operations.
This type of material handling equipment takes advantage of technological advancements. Engineered systems are automated and cover a variety of units that work cohesively to allow storage and transportation. They are also adjustable according to the process and system. The main subtypes are robotic delivery systems, automatic guided vehicles, and computer controlled conveyors. The robotic delivery system is for automated storage and transport, the automatic guided vehicles for transporting between workstations, and a computer-controlled conveyor is simply a more advanced conveyor system. While robots in 2014 were made to unload packages from a machine and place them on a conveyor, the 2015 models are engineered to pick out packages independently. As Modern Material Handling reports:
“The next evolution is robots that can replace people in mundane, labor-intensive and error-prone activities like picking pieces from a bin and into a tote in a pick zone and then moving that tote to a conveyor.”
As technology continues to evolve making material handling safer and more efficient, it has become more important than ever for employers in the industry to explore better ways to be more productive with less.
Carolina Material Handling in Greensboro can help your business stay on top of new trends in the industry with more efficient material handling equipment to help your business surpass competitors in innovation and workplace productivity.