Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) In The Warehouse

Table of Content


Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) In The Warehouse

Materials Handling Equipment - Inventory management in distribution centers (DCs), fulfillment centers, and cross docks requires a fast, accurate, safe, and economical transfer of materials. Many types of stock-keeping units (SKUs) inventory and large quantities cannot be handled using manual labor.

Imagine, Amazon every day picking and shipping goods no less than 34.4 million of the purchase orders on-line in 24 hours. 

Likewise Lazada, Zalora, Alibaba, Tokopedia, eCommerce, and others, every minute thousands of items are received from merchants or brand owners, to be put (put-away) on shelves or storage places, replenishment, taken accordingly. 

Purchase order (order picking), packing, then the product is ready to be sent to the recipient at the destination address.

The same situation occurred in the DCS warehouse. At any time, the activities of moving and moving inventory in and out of DCs warehouse are fast-moving products to be sent to retail stores, traditional markets, and modern trade. 

Speed, accuracy, security, and economy are important factors in managing inventory in the warehouse.

Companies' need for material handling in warehouses quickly, accurately, safely, and economically requires reliable and efficient materials handling equipment and technology. 

Materials handling focuses on activities, equipment, and procedures related to the movement, storage, protection, and control of materials in the warehousing system.

The characteristics of the material will determine the handling method. The material can be distinguished from size (width, length, and depth), weight (weight per item or unit volume), shape (round, square, long, rectangular, irregular), and other characteristics (fragile, sticky, explosive, and frozen).

In a logistical context, the focus of materials handling is being able to efficiently transfer materials and products over short distances within DCs, factories, cross-docks, transportation terminals, and in stores.

From a logistical perspective, the materials handling equipment and technology selected must use appropriate methods to manage the transfer of materials and products in the right quantity at the right place and time, in the right order, in the right position, under the right conditions, and with the most cost-efficient.

The objectives of materials handling are expected to increase work productivity, be efficient, environmentally friendly, and have a safe operation. 

In some circumstances, these objectives can be trade-offs. Reliability and service are sometimes less efficient in terms of costs. 

The need for MHE that can operate safely and environmentally friendly sometimes has to be paid for by a more expensive MHE investment.

Managers must be able to balance logistical performance between service and cost, safety and productivity, volume and capacity, by managing four important dimensions of MHE: movement, time, quantity, and space.

The movement dimension of material handling is related to the movement of material or goods flow for production and order fulfillment from/to DCs. 

Managers must be able to select and adjust the composition of labor and equipment to achieve efficient movement of material flow.

Meanwhile, the time dimension relates to the time it takes to prepare materials and goods for production and order fulfillment. 

The longer it takes to prepare materials for production, the more likely it will be a halt in production activities, excess inventory, and the need to increase storage space.

The quantity dimension is related to a material handling system that can meet the exact quantity of material for production to meet customer demands. 

The space dimension relates to the DCS facility capacity constraint. Choosing the right design and materials handling system will result in efficient and effective materials handling in optimizing DCS facility space, both horizontally and vertically.

Selecting the MHE type requires a good understanding of the unit load concept. A unit load is a unit of one item or several units that are regulated or limited so that it can be handled as a unit and still maintain its unity.

Advantages of unit load

  • More tems can be handled simultaneously, reducing the number of item trips required and reducing handling costs, loading and unloading times, and product breakdowns.
  • Use of MHE standardization.

The downside of unit loads

  • The time it takes to reshape and break down unit loads.
  • The cost of containers/pallets and other load-bearing materials used in unit loads.
  • Empty containers/pallets that may have to be returned to their point of origin.

MHE Varieties


Some material handling equipment, such as certain types of conveyor belts or rollers, use friction or gravitational force to move the products, depending on the type of goods handled.

The following items are commonly seen in material handling equipment:
  • Pallet trolley that is operated by hand
  • An operator steers a battery-powered pallet cart.
  • Reach truck and forklift
  • Crane
  • Lift
  • System of conveyors
  • Robotics
  • Covers and other safety items

Materials Handling Principles

In selecting MHE types according to materials handling needs, managers need to pay attention to the following design principles and materials handling systems (Material Handling Institute, 2015):

1. Planning principle

Managers need to determine operational requirements, objectives, goals, performance, specifications, and materials handling methods that meet the dimensions of movement, time, quantity, and space.

Standardization principle. MHE should be designed with standardization and integration between equipment, application systems, and operators to achieve high product performance while taking into account flexibility and modularity.

2. Work principle

MHE to operate with high productivity and easy operation according to the specified service level.

3. Ergonomic principle

Ergonomic principles are important to ensure MHE operators are safe and comfortable in operating MHE.

4. Unit load principle

MHE must be able to handle materials of the appropriate size and dimensions for the smooth flow of material movement.

5. Space utilization principle

Operate MHE with the available space efficiently and effectively.

6. System principle

MHE should be integrated with the logistics operation system, starting from receiving, monitoring, storage, production, assembly, packaging, unitizing, order selection, shipping, transportation, and handling returns.

7. Automation principle

MHE should use mechanized, semi-automated, or fully automated methods, to increase operational efficiency, be responsive, reliable, and enable it to eliminate repetitive work or reduce risks to workforce safety and security.

Environmental principle. This principle requires that MHE can be operated with the most energy-efficient use, the development of MHE technology with renewable energy, and the selection of environmentally friendly MHE materials.

8. Life cycle cost principle

Overall costs during the use of MHE (total cost ownership) are the most efficient.

MHE Classification


According to the category of MHE types according to The College-Industry Council of Material Handling Education, MHE types are classified according to their function in materials handling.

a. Materials transport equipment

MHE transport is used to move material from one location to another within DCS. MHE is intended to improve product flow by minimizing labor effort and lowering dwelling time. Types of MHE transport include pallet jack, gravity conveyor, gantry crane, forklift truck, belt conveyor, and jib crane.

b. Product positioning equipment

MHE product positioning is used to handle material in a single location so that the material position is correct for subsequent handling, machining, transport, or storage. Examples of MHE product positioning are scissor lift tables, rigid-link manipulators, and industrial robots.

c. Unit load formation equipment

This MHE will keep the material in one unit load. Examples: pallet, wire bin container, and rolling cart.

d. Storage equipment

MHE storage for material storage within a certain time economically. Examples of MHE storage: drive truck racks, mezzanines, automated storage and retrieval systems, and vertical carousels.

Different Types of Material Handling Equipment Used in Warehouse

The call ‘material handling equipment' encompasses a varied variety of cars, storage space equipment and devices. Generally, a storage facility is utilized to keep products, and after that removal them to where they are required. 

The simpler it's to removal products, the much a lot extra effective your storage facility could be. To enhance effectiveness, you have to have the best devices for the task - it will make your employee's lives simpler, and reduced the backbreaking stress they had or else be subjected to with incorrect equipment.

Leaving apart storage space equipment such as shelfs, piling frameworks, and crafted systems such as complicated conveyors and automated directed cars for a minute, we'll focus on 2 essential kinds of material handling equipment: commercial vehicles and mass material handling equipment. 

We will have a look at what each product does, so that you could after that choose whether you had think about including it for your storage facility effectiveness toolbox.

1. Commercial Vehicles

A commercial vehicle is a transport gadget utilized to removal products in material handling business. These could vary from little, hand-operated vehicles to car raises. One of the most typically discovered commercial vehicles in warehouses are as complies with:

a. Hand vehicles

This is an easy, two-wheel hand-operated vehicle or trolley, typically with a metal mount and a toe-plate. 

Hand vehicles are developed to relieve the transport of little products. Some are available in a folding range that packs level when not being used.

b. Pallet jacks

A pallet jack, vehicle or pump is utilized to transfer products that have been piled on pallets. These jacks have double forks, which move under the pallet. 

The deal with is after that utilized to increase the forks with a pumping pressure, producing a hydraulic activity that raises the allows transport, and pallet.

c. Walkie stackers

A walkie stacker is the following phase up from a pallet jack or vehicle. The fundamental develop coincides, other than that the stacker is mechanized. The ‘truck' element of the walkie stacker resembles the fork positioning and develop of a forklift vehicle. 

The entire setting up could be moved manually, and pallets could be raised to the 2nd rack of a storage facility piling system. 

They are suitable for little capability products, interior utilize and on concrete floorings. Walkie stackers are likewise cheaper compared to forklift vehicles.

d. System vehicles

A system vehicle is just a framework and system on wheels. The system could be piled manually when a a great deal of little products need transport, or could be packed utilizing one more product of material handling equipment. 

This is suitable for small-to-medium dimension procedures, or as a fast logistical service for big companies.

e. Purchase Picker

The purchase picker is a small-sized forklift vehicle that is bigger compared to a walkie stacker and can birthing much a lot extra weight. 

Purchase pickers could generally recover and change piled products from elevations of in between 10 - 30 feet.

f. Sideloader

Sideloaders are utilized to tons and discharge from the side of the device, instead of the front-positioned forks of a basic forklift. 

Sideloaders are finest utilized in tighten aisles and entrances, however they are not as maneuverable as forklifts.

g. AGV

The AGV is a mobile ‘robot' that complies with cables, pens or various other signs in the flooring. AGVs could likewise utilize lasers, magnets or video cams for assistance. 

They are frequently utilized in massive commercial applications to removal products about a storage facility.

2. Mass Material Handling Equipment

If your storage facility includes the motion of a a great deal of products, after that the essential to effectiveness is motion wholesale.

The much a lot extra products you could removal at once, the much a lot extra effectively your storage facility will run. Right below are some kinds of equipment that will allow you to do simply that.

a. Conveyor belts

A conveyor belt is a motor-driven belt that types component of a conveyor system. Products that need transport are just put on one finish of the belt, and the mechanized system relocations them to their location.

b. Stackers

A little, hand-propelled or mechanized vehicle that is utilized to raise products off the into shelving and ground. This is offer if you're maximizing your storage facility area in having actually a piling system. 

They are less expensive to run compared to forklifts, and are suitable for small-to-medium applications.

c. Reclaimers

A device that has a turning inside story at one finish of a conveyor system. The inside story gathers up little, loosened products and locations them on the conveyor belt. The products are after that transferred along the belt up till they get to their location.

d. Container elevators

Likewise called a grain leg, a container lift is utilized to transfer little, loosened products up and down. It's typically a mechanized gadget, however could be hand-cranked also. 

A collection of little containers are connected to a belt. The containers inside story up the products when near the bottom of the belt, after that raise and distribute the products on top. Some container elevators might be likely.

e. Grain elevators

Grain elevators are towers which contain a container lift or a conveyor. The grain is scooped up from a reduced degree and securely transferred in the needed storage space center. This is suitable for massive procedures.

f. Hoppers

One more gadget for handling little, loosened products, a receptacle is essentially a big channel. The products are put in the leading of the receptacle, and gravity relocations them to all-time low, which functions a slim aperture, which enables stream manage. 

The just drawback with hoppers is that they could ended up being obstructed relatively quickly.

g. Silos

Silos are generally utilized in agricultural applications. They are utilized to securely keep grain, or silage (fermented feed). 

They are likewise typically utilized for the mass storage space of coal, concrete, wood-chips, sawdust and also food items.

Materials handling is needed to increase work productivity in DCs. The selection of the type, method, MHE technology according to operational needs, and the type of material appropriately is an important decision for managers in improving the company's logistics performance.

Managers must understand the types, functions, use of MHE, and total cost ownership during MHE operations to improve the overall logistics performance of the company.


Post a Comment for "Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) In The Warehouse"