Materials Handling Methods

Types of Materials Handling Methods

The different material handling systems can be classified according to the type of equipment used, material handled, method used or the function performed.

Equipment-Oriented Systems

Depending upon the type of equipment used, there are several systems. :

  • Overhead systems
  • Conveyer systems
  • Tractor-trailor system
  • Fork-life truck and pallet system
  • Industrial truck systems
  • Underground systems.

Material Oriented Systems

These may be of the following types:i) Unit handling systemsii) Bulk handling systemsiii) Liquid handling systems

A unit load consists of a number of items so arranged that it can be picked up and moved as a single entity such as a box, bale, roll etc. Such a system in more flexible and requires less investment.

Method Oriented Systems

According to the method of handling and method of production, the material handling systems can be:

  • Manual systems
  • Mechanized or automated systems
  • Job-shop handling systems, or
  • Mass-production handling systems

Function Oriented Systems

The systems can be defined according to the material handling function performed as follows:

  • Transportation systems
  • Conveying systems
  • Transferring systems
  • Elevating systems

Selection and Design of Handling System

The selection and design of the material system should be done alongside the development of the layout as each one affects each other. Hence, an integrated approach to the design process is usable.

A computerized technique known as COFAC (Computerized Facilities Design) has been developed for integrated handling system and layout design.

The steps to be followed in the selection and design of handling systems are as follows

  1. Identification of system
  2. Review of design criteria and objectives of the handling system
  3. Data collection regarding flow pattern and flow requirements
  4. Identification of activity relationships
  5. Determining space requirement and establishing material flow pattern
  6. Analysis of material and building characteristics
  7. Preliminary selection of basic handling system and generation alternatives considering feasibility of mechanization and equipment capabilities
  8. Evaluation of alternatives with respect to optimal material flow, utilizing gravity, minimum cost, flexibility, ease of maintenance, capacity utilisation and other objectives of the system design considering various tangible and intangible factors
  9. Selection of the best suited alternative and checking it for compatibility
  10. Specification of the system
  11. Procurement of the equipment and implementation of the system



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