The selection material handling equipment depends upon the following factors .
(i) Layout of the Plant
(ii) The nature of article to be handled
(iii) Nature of the production process
(iv) The possibility of increased speed
(v) The maintenance and depreciation rates
(vi) The availability and cost of unskilled labor
(vii) The distance to be covered.
The materials can be handled properly and efficiently only if right type of material handling equipment is available. The suitability of loads and goods to be handled must always be the chief criterion. Safety and cost govern the final selection, though great in convenience in moving and storing the materials is experienced if suitable and versatile equipment is not provided in the stores.
In small stores, material handling equipment like Hand barrow, wheel barrow, sack truck, shelf trolley, Hand trolley etc. are used whereas in large store houses these may include fork lift trucks, power driven trolley, trucks and cranes etc.
Assessment of cost is often difficult but if such an effort is made, new and novel ways of doing the job better may be found out. Continuous review of the system by plant engineers is essential and useful in this respect.
Various material handling equipment relevant to a typical store house/warehouse/or manufacturing unit may be as given below :
1. Hand Barrow: It comprises of a frame which is provided with a two short shafts or bars. It is used to carry load from one place to another by two or more men.
2. Wheel Barrow: It is a shallow box with two wheels mounted on to a shaft or spindles for use by one man for movement of small loads within the stores.
3. Sack Truck: It is also called two wheels hand truck. It is generally used for moving sack full of parts or granular materials. It comprises of two wheels and a frame.
4. Hand Trolley : It can have three or four wheels. It is worked by the hand lever.
5. Lift Truck: Hand operated lift trucks are adopted for running beneath still age on which parts are loaded; a backward or the handle raises the platform by means of linkages and enables the loaded still ages to be wheeled away.
6. Power Truck: Motor driven trucks, which may be powered by petrol or diesel engines or by electric motor drawing current from storage battery are capable of handling much heavier loads than the hand type and are familiar features of most works. They may also be used to tow a train of one or more four wheeled hand trucks.
7. Pallets: A development of conventional platform used in conjunction with fork lift truck is called pallet. The pallet is so designed that the forks of the truck just pass into it. One pallet may be used to accommodate one package of roughly the same base areas as pallet may be used as a base to stock smaller packages, two, three or more in breadth, depth and height.
8. Cranes: A crane provides over head movement in a rectangular or circular area served by it. One of the most common type of crane is overhead traveling type crane. It spans parallel overhead tracks carried on the columns of the building. It is used in storage yard besides in heavy structure or parts shop. A mobile crane run by an engine is used for moving and storing heavy materials.
9. Bucket Elevator: A bucket elevator consists of vertically moving belts or chains to which small buckets are attached. It is used for lifting vertically granular or powdery material.
10. Conveyors: Conveyors fall into two main category : those which rely upon the force of gravity for their operation and those which are power driven. Gravity conveyors may be roller type of chute type. Other forms of conveyors are pneumatic, screw, band and belt type.
Conveyors may be used to carry packages and to handle loose materials such as sand, stone, coal, ore, chemicals vegetable oils etc.