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• Material handling is the function of moving the
right material to the right place in the right time, in
the right amount, in sequence, and in the right
condition to minimize production cost.
• Material handling is the art and science involving
the movement, handling and storage of materials
during different stages of manufacturing.
Goals/Objectives of Material Handling
• The primary goal is to reduce unit costs of production
• Maintain or improve product quality, reduce damage of
• Promote safety and improve working conditions
• Promote productivity
– material should flow in a straight line
– use gravity! It is free power
– move more material at one time
– mechanize material handling
– automate material handling
– Reduce manufacturing cycle time
– Reduce work in progress (WIP)
– Reduce Labour cost handling
– Achieve better control of flow of materials
Goals of Material Handling
• Promote increased use of facilities
• Reduce tare weight (dead weight)
• Control inventory
• Increase productivity
• Better personnel utilization
• Improve system control
• Improve customer services
Significance of Material Handling
• It is an essential part of every manufacturing operation
• It consumes a major share of the time involved in the
• Cost generally accounts for 20-25 % of total cost of
• It influence the efficiency and cost manufacturing
• Increase productivity and improving cash flow
• Improvement in handling means faster production, higher
plant capacity, lower stock in process, less damage to the
product and components in each stage.
Overview of Material Handling Equipment
• Material handling equipment includes:
– Transport Equipment: industrial trucks, Automated
Guided vehicles (AGVs), monorails, conveyors, cranes
– Storage Systems: bulk storage, rack systems, shelving
and bins, drawer storage, automated storage systems.
– Unitizing Equipment: palletizers
– Identification and Tracking systems
Considerations in Material Handling
1. Material Characteristics
Safety risk and risk of
Solid, liquid, or gas
Volume; length, width, height
Weight per piece, weight per unit volume
Long and flat, round, square, etc.
Hot, cold, wet, etc.
Explosive, flammable, toxic; fragile, etc.
2. Flow rate
Unit load AGV
LongShort Move Distance
3. Plant Layout
Layout Type Characteristics Typical MH Equipment
Fixed – position
Large product size, low
Variation in product and
processing, low and medium
Limited product variety, high
Cranes, hoists, industrial trucks
Hand trucks, forklift trucks,
Conveyors for product flow,
trucks to deliver components to
20 Principles of Material Handling
1. The Planning Principle:
– Large-scale material handling projects usually require a
– Material handling planning considers every move, every
storage need, and any delay in order to minimize production
– The plan should reflect the strategic objectives of the
organization as well as the more immediate needs.
– Material should be placed on support and not the floor
– Provide sufficient storage space at the work-place.
– Plan for scrap removal means
– Minimize movement of men and material
2. The systems principle:
MH and storage activities should be fully integrated to form a
coordinated, operational system that spans receiving,
inspection, storage, production, assembly, …, shipping, and
the handling of returns.
– Information flow and physical material flow should be
integrated and treated as concurrent activities.
– Methods should be provided for easily identifying
materials and products, for determining their location and
status within facilities and within the supply chain.
– Integrated activities into the handling system
– Material flow between work areas be planned.
3. Simplification principle
– simplify handling by reducing, eliminating, or combining
unnecessary movement and/or equipment.
– Reduce variety of equipment
– Eliminate rehandling
– Four questions to ask to simplify any job:
• Can this job be eliminated?
• If we can’t eliminate, can we combine movements to
reduce cost? (unit load concept)
• If we can’t eliminate or combine, can we rearrange the
operations to reduce the travel distance?
• If we can’t do any of the above, can we simplify?
4. Material Flow Principle:
Material flow pattern must be determined be operation
sequence and pattern of equipment arrangement.
• Avoid overcrowding
• Eliminate obstacle in the flow
• Move in the direct path and avoid backtracking
• Minimize movements between floors and buildings
• Plan proper location of sub-assemblies
• Plan related work areas close together
5. Gravity principle:
Utilize gravity to move material whenever practical.
–Use slides, hoppers etc.
6. Use Size Principle:
Increase size, quantity, weights of the load handled. Since
larger the load, lesser will be the cost per unit handled.
Handle unit loads
Use standardized containers and pallets
7. Space utilization principle:
– The better we use our building cube, the less space we need
to buy or rent.
– Racks, mezzanines, and overhead conveyors are a few
examples that promote this goal.
– Equipment for work area may be kept in reasonably close
– Inventory at temporary stores must not kept too much.
– Dispose obsolete or scrape items in time.
– Utilise height of building and use rack to permit higher
8. Safety principle:
Provide adequate guards and other safety devices
Handling equipment should be kept in good operating condition
Highlight danger areas
Emergencies switches or controls be provided
Keep floor clean
Provide good housekeeping
9. Mechanization Principle
Replace access manual handling
Moving heavy containers
Design containers suitable for mechanical handling
10. Flexibility Principle:
Buy versatile and flexible equipment
Cost per unit to be handled should be compared
Utilise accessories and attachments
11. Equipment Selection Principle:
Why? What? Where? When? How? Who?
Select Equipment very carefully considering all aspects of materials,
movements and the methods
•Select versatile equipment
•Cost per unit to be handled should be compared
•Equipment should be economical on long term basis
12. Standardization Principle:
Equipments and methods should be standardized
• Standardize the equipment, containers etc.
• Standardized methods
• Trained employees
13. Light Weight Principle:
Reduce Weight of equipment:
• Equipment should have less dead weight to pay load ratio
• Use light weights pallets skids and containers.
14. Motion Principle:
The handling principle should be kept in motion i.e
minimum period of loading and unloading.
• Reduce loading/unloading time
• Use mechanical means of loading/unloading
15. Idle-time Principle:
Reduce idle and unproductive time.
• To avoid idle manpower, deliver material at a desired
• Do not use productive labour for handling
• Equipment should be fully utilised.
16. Obsolescence principle (Out of date):
Obsolete methods and equipments be replaced by efficient
methods and equipment.
17. The maintenance principle:
– Plan for preventive maintenance and scheduled repairs of all
– Pallets and storage facilities need repair too.
– Regular maintenance schedule
– Trained operator for proper operation and maintenance
18. Control Principle:
Control production and inventory materials handling
• Provide direct mechanical paths for material movement
• Materials should be moved in predetermined quantity
• Material should be moved as per schedule.
19. The capacity principle:
– use handling equipment to help achieve desired production
capacity i.e. material handling equipment can help to maximize
production equipment utilization.
– Ensure uniform desire rate of flow
• Equipment be operated at optimum rate.
• Utilise overhead space
• Store items not affected by weather
20. Performance Principle:
Performance of handling be measured in terms of cost
per unit handled, safe working condition, increase in
production rate or reduce manpower for handling.
Basis of Selection of Material Handling
1. Material to be Handled
2. Nature of Operations
3. Equipment Reliability
4. Distance over which the material is to be
5. Installation and operating costs
6. Engineering Factors
7. Plant Facility
8. Safety Consideration
Types of Material Handling Equipment:
Material handling equipments are classified under the following
Another classification is based on the paths followed by material.
They may be
A) Fixed path equipments:
elevators, conveyors, wire-guided AGV (Automated Guided
B) Variable path equipments:
Trolley, trucks, free-ranging AGV etc.
Material Handling Equipment
Material handling equipment (MHE) is used for the movement and
storage of material within a facility or at a site. MHE can be classified
into the following five major categories:
•Transport Equipment. Equipment used to move material from one
location to another (e.g., between workplaces, between a loading dock
and a storage area, etc.). The major subcategories of transport equipment
are conveyors, cranes, and industrial trucks. Material can also be
transported manually using no equipment.
•Positioning Equipment. Equipment used to handle material at a single
location so that it is in the correct position for subsequent handling,
machining, transport, or storage. Unlike transport equipment,
positioning equipment is usually used for handling at a single
workplace. Material can also be positioned manually using no
•Unit Load Formation Equipment. Equipment used to restrict materials
so that they maintain their integrity when handled a single load during
transport and for storage. If materials are self-restraining (e.g., a single
part or interlocking parts), then they can be formed into a unit load with
• Storage Equipment. Equipment used for holding or
buffering materials over a period of time. Some storage
equipment may include the transport of materials (e.g.,
the S/R machines of an AS/RS, or storage carousels). If
materials are block stacked directly on the floor, then
no storage equipment is required.
• Identification and Control Equipment. Equipment
used to collect and communicate the information that is
used to coordinate the flow of materials within a
facility and between a facility and its suppliers and
customers. The identification of materials and
associated control can be performed manually with no
I. Transport Equipment
1. Wheel conveyor
2. Roller conveyor
3. Chain conveyor
4. Slat conveyor
5. Flat belt conveyor
6. Magnetic belt conveyor
7. Troughed belt conveyor
8. Bucket conveyor
9. Vibrating conveyor
1. Screw conveyor
2. Pneumatic conveyor
3. Vertical conveyor
4. Cart-on-track conveyor
5. Tow conveyor
6. Trolley conveyor
7. Power-and-free conveyor
9. Sortation conveyor
II. Positioning Equipment
1.Manual (no equipment)
4.Ball transfer table
5.Rotary index table
1.Air film device
III. Unit Load Formation Equipment
1.Self-restraining (no equipment)
6.Pallet boxes/skid boxes
2.Bulk load containers
IV. Storage Equipment
1.Block stacking (no equipment)
2.Selective pallet rack
5.Automatic storage/ retrieval systems
6.Split case order picking system
V. Identification and Communication Equipment
1.Manual (no equipment)
3.Radio frequency (RF) tag
2.Portable data terminal
3.Electronic data interchange
Q1. Define the term Material Handling and state its
Q2. What factor must be taken into consideration in the
selection of material handling equipment?
Q.3. Define material handling and also state its various
Q4. Material handling and plant layout are complementary
to each other? Discuss the statement.