Principles of material handling

Material handling is a technique, the efficiency of which is governed by the following principles:

1. The first principle of material handling is not to handle the material at all. The materials should be moved as little as possible. The selection of production machinery and the type of the plant layout should be such that the material and long may be eliminated as far as possible.

2. The time of each move should be minimized. This can be attained through the shortest routes and use of mechanized material handling equipment in place of manual labor.

3. The distance of each move should be minimized. This can be attained through use of the shortest routes and elimination of backing tracking.

4. The principle of “unit load� should be applied. According to this principle, the materials should be moved in lots rather than on individual basis. The optimum number of pieces should be moved in one unit.

The concept of containerization and keeping materials on pallets is applied in deciding the unit load. The principal of unit load avails the economies in the form of reduced loading, labor cost, packing cost, elimination of damage and pilferage, savings in time and the effective utilization of material handling equipment.

5. The gravity should be used wherever possible as it is the cheapest source of motive power.

6. Re-handling and back-tracking of the materials should be avoided. This can be attained through proper layout and efficient routing and scheduling.

7. The appropriate material handling equipment should be selected so that the safety, efficiency and flexibility can be maintained.

8. The design of the container, pallets, drums etc. should be such that they may entail economy in handling, at the same the material damages during the transit may be reduced.

9. The material handling service must not interfere with the production flow.

10. The safety of the people must be taken care of.

11. The provision of the stand-by facilities should be made so that the sudden breakdown may not shut down the operations.

12. The check up, repairing and maintenance of the existing material handling equipment should be made periodically.

13. The material handling services should be evaluated periodically and necessary changes should be incorporated wherever it is possible.

Types of Material Handling Equipments

Various types of material handling services are required to
be performed during the production processes such as,

(a) Lifting, Holding, Dropping;
(b) Loading, unloading;
(c) Positioning;
(d) Moving;
(e) Stacking etc

All these services can be performed manually. However, in the modern complex production system, manual material is inefficient as compared to mechanized material handling. Moreover, it is more dangerous. So many types of material handling equipments have been developed to perform all these services. Various types of material handling equipment performing the different as well as similar of functions are available. They can be classified on various bases, like:

Types of equipment: (1) Cranes and hoists (2)Conveyors (3) Chutes (4) trucks, Tractors and Trailers (5) Rails (6) Rope ways and cable ways (7) Pipelines.

Types of services:

(1) lifting (2) moving (3) positioning (4) stacking

Space of movement of equipment: (1) On the floor (2) Above the floor (3) overhead (4) Beneath the ground.