The Various Categories of Materials Handling Equipment

Materials handling equipment is a broad umbrella term referring to the range of vehicles, accessories, tools, storage devices and more that are all tasked with making it easier to transport, control, protect and distribute materials. These types of equipment are typically used for industrial purposes. As such, they are tasked with the handling of an array of materials ranging from chemicals to food items. Since there are numerous types of materials handling equipment, they are split into broad categories based on their main function. Here are some of the various categories of materials handling equipment.

Equipment used for storage

Typically, you will find that storage equipment tends to be non-automated. This type of materials handling equipment will be used during down time, usually meaning when the equipment does not need any transportation. The down time could vary from short periods to extended amounts of time. Long-term storage equipment is usually designed to allow the stacking of the stock. As such, you will find other types of storage equipment used in tandem, such as pallets, racks and shelves, which allow the stacking of the goods for significant periods of time as they await either consumption or transportation to various locations. Some of the examples of storage equipment include:

  • Pallet racks
  • Shelves
  • Mezzanines and more

Equipment used for transportation

Materials handling equipment that is used for transportation is typically designed to cohesively facilitate the storage and transportation of goods. As such, these types of equipment tend to be automated. One of the more popular options for industrial materials handling is the automated storage and retrieval automated system (AS/RS system). This organisational structure comprises racks and aisles. These racks and aisles are accessible using a mechanized shuttle system. The AS/RS system then can cherry pick items either to put into storage or to retrieve from storage for transportation. Other automated materials handling equipment that are used for transportation include:

  • Conveyor belts
  • Automatic Gilded Vehicles
  • Robotic Systems and more

Equipment used for the bulk handling of goods

As the name suggest, these types of equipment make the handling of bulk items much more convenient. The bulk items can range from liquids, grains, minerals and much more. Typically, the bulk handling equipment will be tasked with carrying large quantities of these items in loose form. Some of the equipment used for the bulk handling of goods include:

  • silos
  • bucket elevators
  • stackers
  • grain elevators
  • hoppers and more