Under the term material handling equipment fall a wide spectrum of industrial goods, all of which are involved with moving items from one point to another, regardless the method they use to do so. Many industrial settings, such as warehouses need several pieces of materials handling equipment, all of which comprise the full material handling system.
Any manually operated or motorised piece of equipment that facilitates the movement of warehouse materials falls under the category of materials handling equipment. A forklift would be the prime example of this and other commonly seen pieces of material handling equipment are the trolley and hoist. These three pieces of equipment comprise the backbone of a warehouse. Most racking systems are especially designed to accommodate them.
There are many more tools and pieces of equipment used in warehouse settings that are meant to make moving materials safer and more efficient. For instance, a pallet truck can move pallets from one spot to another with great efficiency. However, as efficient as they may be for moving a full pallet of goods from one spot to another, they aren’t as efficient at moving only a couple of boxes. That being said, a hand truck is much more efficient at moving single boxes from one place to another – from the racking system to the loading dock for example.
Furthermore, pieces of equipment that help utilise your space optimally can also be considered as a part of the material handling system. For example, anything that’s placed out of human reach, and needs the help of equipment such as a ladder or an electrically powered lift is classified as such equipment.
Additionally, almost everywhere where business is conducted, there’s probably a need for a waste management system. Similarly to there being a waste receptacle next to every office worker’s desk, there should be a large plastic garbage can in a warehouse to hold different types of materials. Outside the warehouse, there should be even bigger waste cans for efficient waste storage until it’s removed by a garbage truck.
Lastly, there’s equipment used for storing materials, such as utility carts and shelving units. Utility carts can prove to be invaluable when a warehouse employee needs quick access to items that would otherwise be stored in a static shelving unit on the other side of the warehouse. Shelving units are the stationary counterpart and they’re usually used to store items that you don’t need access to very often.