Get to Know the Different Material Handling Equipment (MHE)
Somewhere along the manufacturing process of various equipment, goods, appliances and anything fabricated, is the need to transport the raw material, the finished product and anything in between, within the production facility or outside its confines. This is where the need for material handling equipment (MHE) comes into use.
Material handling equipment increases productivity by making the transfer or transport of materials faster, safer and more efficiently. Of course, boxes of materials that are being produced may be moved manually, but what about metals, appliances and a lot more that are simply beyond the human capacity. For the purpose of giving an example, just imagine how people would claim their luggage at the airport without the conveyor belt, which, by the way, is also a MHE. Simply put, production processes will not be completed without the help of these equipment.
Generally, material handling equipment is divided into the following categories, namely:
(1) transport equipment
(2) positioning equipment
(3) unit load formation equipment
(4) storage equipment and
(5) identification and control equipment
Read on and you’ll be surprised that many of these machines are quite familiar to you.
As its name imply, transport equipment are for moving materials from one location to another. This is perhaps the most commonly known of all the MHEs as this is where your trucks, forklifts, cranes and all types of conveyors belong to.
Whereas the transport equipment may transport things to many points, the positioning equipment is for moving materials at a single point or workplace. The main purpose of this transport equipment is to ensure that the objects are correctly positioned in preparation for the phase of the production process such as assembling, shelving or transport. Examples of machines belonging to this type are the lifts, ball transfer tables, parts feeders, hoists and industrial robots.
On the other hand, the unit load formation equipment ensure that things arrive in one whole piece and damage free to wherever they are supposed to be transported. In technical terms, these equipment, machines or supplies restrict the materials at hand. Among the most common items under this category are the crates, tapes, strapping, glue, bags, cartons, bins, baskets and bulk load containers, to name a few.
There is also the storage equipment which is, of course, for keeping materials in store for some time. These machines may be moving or just stationary. Examples of these are the different types of racks, carousel, your mezzanine floor, shelves, bins, drawers and the automatic storage/retrieval systems.
Now, who are not familiar with bar codes and magnetic stripes? Unless you have never visited a grocery or a department store all your life, then you probably know what a bar code is for. Your bar code is an example of an identification and communication equipment that reads or collects the information specific to a certain product or material such as price serial numbers and batch numbers. Also included in this category are radio frequency tags, machine vision and portable data terminal.
There you go. Material handling equipment are not so foreign after all. We see them everyday as we go about our daily routines. Maybe next time we meet these objects, may we see them with better appreciation because of the convenience they bring to our lives.
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