Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Essentials Of Materials Handling Equipment

By Henry A. Parker

INTRODUCTION Material handling is a manufacturing term relating to moving, storing, protecting and controlling of raw materials, goods and products. Material is handled as it is cleaned, prepared, manufactured and consumed while refuse is disposed. The types of equipment used in the materials handling process includes systems for storage and engineering. It also includes industrial trucks, conveyors, on-rails transfer carts and cantilevered crane loading platforms.

HANDLING AND STORAGE EQUIPMENT This includes carts, shelving, metal cages, racking and pallets. This category of equipment is called "catalog" items because they have internationally recognized standards and can be ordered right out of the catalog. Pallets and wire cages are pretty much the size and shape and made from the same material all the world over.

PALLETIZATION Everything from bricks to bagels, from television sets to toilet paper, spends at least some of its life cycle shrink-wrapped and stored on pallets. Most people are familiar with pallets made from wood, and this is the vision of pallet that springs immediately to mind. However, pallets are also made from steel and other types of material as the need dictates.

ENGINEERED SYSTEMS Unlike catalog products, engineered systems are custom-designed and built. This category of manufacturing equipment includes conveyors, robots and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS). Care must be taken when designing and handling engineered systems that are destined to handle edible products in order to avoid contamination.

INDUSTRIAL TRUCKS The most common type of industrial truck is the powered industrial truck, or forklift. There are dozens of different kinds of forklifts. Tow tractors and stock chasers are other types of industrial truck. Each of these conveyances may be equipped with a wide variety of different attachments, making them extremely versatile.

ON-RAILS TRANSFER CARTS These are used to transport bulk materials in heavy industries. They are widely employed in the fields of coal mining, heavy manufacturing and metallurgy. They are able to handle weights in the region of one ton or heavier.

SAFETY Emphasis is placed on occupational health and safety in this aspect of manufacturing. Forklifts, in particular, and have an abominable safety record. For this reason, OSHA regulations particularly stringent, especially with regard to training. Any employer found to have untrained operators on his site is subject to fines that may run into the tends of thousands of dollars. Forklift training procedures have been streamlined so that most of the education may be conducted online. There is still an element of hands-on training and operators must be fully certified on the workplace environment and on the specific type of truck they will be operating.

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