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Material Handling

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Material handling is the process of moving, protecting, storing and controlling materials in a manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, consumption, and disposal stages. Because of the wide range of applications, the process could involve the use of different manual, automated and automatic equipment within the production or supply chain lines. Material handling is crucial in helping with the following: 1. Resource allocation 2. Forecasting 3. Production planning 4. Inventory management 5. Customer delivery 6. Products flow management 7. After sale support The main types of material handling equipment fall into four main categories. These include: i) Bulk handling equipment: These equipment are designed to handle large quantities of materials at different levels of production and supply chain. The equipment include conveyor belts that help to raise raw materials into the processing machines and or extracting finished products for supply to the market. Other types of handling equipment include bucket and grain elevators, stackers, reclaimers, and hoppers. ii) Engineered systems: These are automated material handling systems that are run through computerized systems. A good example is the Automated Storage and Retrieval System that is fitted with racks and shelves that can be accessed by a shuttle. Other types of engineered material handling equipment include robotic delivery systems and automated guided vehicles. iii) Industrial trucks: These tricks are designed to make moving materials easy and fast. Some are fitted with forks or cranes that easily load and offload materials under consideration. Other types of trucks include side loaders, order pickers, walking stackers, and pallet jacks. iv) Storage and handling equipment: These equipment are used for holding product and materials that are not being used right away. They include pallet racks, shelving push-back racks, sliding racks, and stacking frames.