A manufacturing enterprise aims at high productivity and that too at minimal cost. Today, technological advancements have helped the enterprises achieve their aim very easily. The various techniques of saving time and power have lowered the costs of production.
Prior to the use of material handling equipment in factories, manual work force was used to carry out the function. But this led to large number of accidents. Hence, using mechanized equipment became the norm, as it saved time and also made the operation much safer.
Equipment for Handling Material
Equipment is needed for mechanical handling of scrap, as well as finished goods in a factory. Depending upon the type of material to be handled, a variety of equipment types are manufactured. You have a choice of using belts and conveyors, rail cars, trucks, cranes etc. It is very important that you make the right choice, as it directly affects the operating cost and operating efficiency of an enterprise.
Depending upon usage, the equipment can be classified into three categories.
Transport equipment is used to move finished goods or scrap from one location to another. This type of equipment comprises industrial trucks, rail cars, and cranes.
Positioning equipment is used to handle materials at a particular location on the shop floor. Its aim is to put the materials in the correct location for the next process, machining, or storage activity. These types of equipment include hoists, belts, and conveyors, as well as lifts.
Unit load formation equipment is used to maintain flow of the manufacturing process. This equipment include skids, bags etc.
Selecting the Right Equipment
The first and foremost thing to be considered, when you decide the equipment, is the type of material that is to be handled by it. The next point is design of the workshop or factory. Many times, it is possible that only a particular type of handling equipment can be permitted, due to restrictions of space and design factors of a shop floor.
Another factor to be considered is the need of urgency. If the goods are to be transferred immediately, fast-moving equipment has to be the choice. Last, but not the least, the safety factor for the workers should also to be considered.
Buying the Equipment
Depending upon the design and requirement of materials to be handled, you can make a choice. When buying equipment, one should look into the up-time and maintenance cost of the equipment. Maintenance costs of the equipment play an important role in deciding its actual cost.
Choosing low-cost equipment, with high-maintenance cost, proves to be a poor decision. Mishaps during production can cause losses in production, and can prove to be possibly fatal for the manpower. Hence, it is important that the equipment that you choose for material handling should require minimum maintenance. It has been seen that high quality plastic equipment needs minimum maintenance. It is free from the problems of corrosion and are light in weight. It is easy to maintain and can be cleaned easily.
It is important that the company provides prompt service, in case of any problem with the equipment. Any fault can leave the production stranded or may lead to a mishap with the workers.
Material handling equipment is a vital part of heavy industries. They not only make the handling of materials easier, but also much safer. Hence, proper care should be taken when you select the equipment.