The modern world comes with a thousand little conveniences we all take advantage of.
When was the last time you logged onto the internet, purchased a product and had it arrive on your doorstep in just a few days? It’s a simple thing, but there’s an incredible amount of work that goes into producing materials, manufacturing products, transporting goods and delivering them to your doorstep.
While there are thousands of little steps involved in this process, they all have one thing in common: materials handling equipment.
Materials handling equipment is the secret to our modern lifestyles. It simplifies and speeds up the process of handling, transporting, storing and managing goods, making it possible to deliver products to every corner of the world.But what is materials handling equipment? In this article, we’ll explore the topic in more detail to learn where and how these machines are used.
What is Materials Handling Equipment?
Materials handling equipment is a category of machinery, vehicles and equipment that are used to store, move, lift, transport and manage materials. This includes vehicles such as forklifts and cranes, as well as equipment like conveyor belts, goods elevators and more.
The benefit of materials handling equipment is that it simplifies the process of managing bulk materials. Manually handling materials is inefficient, costly and dangerous. The right materials handling equipment can greatly improve the way your business operates.
Industries that Use Materials Handling Equipment
Materials handling equipment is used in dozens of industries all over the world. Some of the most common users of materials handling equipment include:
- Transportation – Materials and goods transportation is a huge part of modern life. The ability to quickly and affordably move materials over large distances is the key to an efficient production chain. Whether it’s road, rail, air or marine transportation, materials handling equipment greatly simplifies the process of transporting goods.
- Warehousing and distribution – Transportation companies work hand-in-hand with distribution centres. The scale of distribution networks means that materials handling equipment is a requirement. From humble shelving systems to advanced cranes, forklifts, elevators, robots and more, warehousing makes extensive use of materials handling equipment.
- Construction – Construction requires large volumes of heavy materials, such as steel, bricks and loose materials. Shifting these materials en masse is a major challenge that poses a genuine risk to workers. Simple devices like cranes and pallet jacks make this process safe and efficient.
- Mining and processing – The mining industry makes extensive use of materials handling equipment. This includes conveyor systems, trucks, sorting and grading machines, centrifuges, processing equipment and much more.
- Agriculture – Modern agricultural businesses often operate at very large scales. When you need to store, transport and manage huge volumes of produce, materials handling equipment is indispensable.
Common Types of Materials Handling Equipment
There are hundreds of types of materials handling equipment in the world. These range from common machines like forklifts, through to purpose-made devices that perform a single function. The types of equipment businesses use depend on the application:
- Storage Equipment
Storage systems are the cornerstone of materials handling. The ability to store goods in an organised manner can greatly improve the productivity of a business.
At the most basic level, this includes things like shelving systems and racks that help to maximise the use of space. For other applications, storage devices can include silos, loose materials bags, drums and cylinders, and much more.
- Manual Equipment
Materials handling equipment is a major asset for companies that need to manage products in bulk. But machines can’t do all the work, and eventually your workers need to step in.
The term materials handling equipment also applies to the tools we use to manually handle products. This includes pallet jacks and trucks, trolleys, bins and beyond. These types of equipment reduce heavy lifting, improve efficiency and help to manage the risk during manual handling.
- Forklifts and Forktrucks
Forklifts are a staple of the materials handling industry. These versatile platforms are used all over the world for moving large and heavy items, especially within confined spaces.
The power of forklifts lies in their flexibility. While they’re primarily designed to lift palletised loads, they are often modified with forklift attachments.
Forklift attachments can greatly expand the capabilities of a forklift. If you need to move materials or goods that aren’t on a pallet, the right attachment makes it possible to shift any load.
Forklifts are the ideal tool for working at ground level. When materials, goods and containers need to be lifted to any significant height, cranes take over.
Cranes are another common type of materials handling equipment. They come in thousands of variants, making them suitable for lifting and moving cargo of any size. Like forklifts, cranes can be fitted with attachments that further expand their use.
Crane attachments are designed to improve safety and reduce the time it takes to rig large, unbalanced and unusually shaped loads.
- General Handling Equipment
Materials handling is a broad category that includes a vast array of equipment. The following machinery and vehicles are all considered materials handling equipment:
- Conveyor belts
- Sorting machines
- Goods elevators
- Robot handling
- Automatic picking vehicles
- Automatic storage systems
This is only a fraction of the equipment that’s used for materials handling purposes. Whatever types of goods or materials you need to move, it’s possible to find a purpose-built solution!
Maximise Your Handling Equipment with Forklift and Crane Attachments from Bremco!
Materials handling equipment ensures the modern world keeps moving. From the humble forklift through to large-scale sorting, storage and retrieval systems, the right handling equipment can revolutionise the way you work.
If you operate cranes and forklifts, you can greatly expand their capabilities with attachments from Bremco!
Bremco is an Australian owned and operated manufacturer of materials handling equipment. We specialise in forklift attachments and crane attachments that allow you to manage materials safely and effectively.
Our catalogue includes hundreds of products that can maximise your materials handling capabilities. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our catalogue, we are also equipped to custom manufacture the perfect solution.
Contact us today to find out more, or speak with our team about custom materials handling equipment!