What are the four types of material handling equipment?

Material handling equipment drive warehouse work. The equipment ranges from the basic ones like storage shelves to the complex automated facilities. Material handling equipment is countless and difficult to remember.

Four broad categories described the wide variety of material handling equipment.

Before we go into these categories, let’s describe material handling equipment.

What is material handling equipment? What is even material handling?

Material handling comprises the processes of loading, moving, and unloading in factories and warehouses and the application of mechanical equipment.

Therefore, material handling equipment includes all mechanical devices for moving and storing warehouse items.

Now, what are the categories of material handling equipment? They are as follows:

  • Category 1 equipment: Storage and handling equipment
  • Category 2 equipment: Bulk handling equipment
  • Category 3 equipment: Industrial trucks
  • Category 4 equipment: Engineered systems

Category 1 Equipment: Storage and Handling Equipment

This category is for equipment where items are stored in the period between when they are received and sent out. They are specifically designed for maximizing vertical space. Equipment in this category includes racks, shelves, stacking frames, bins, and flow racks.

Category 2 Equipment: Bulk Material Handling Equipment

This category of equipment is for transporting, storing, and controlling the loose form of bulk material.

A silo that is used for storing bulk grains is an example of bulk material handling equipment.

Other examples are listed below:

  • Grain elevators: Made up of a series of buckets with which grains are used to transport grains to the top of buildings as the grains are channeled into silos
  • Reclaimers and stackers: Used for piling up items and removing them from piles as necessary
  • Bucket elevators: They work just like grain elevators and are used for transporting grains
  • Conveyor belts: Belts that can be used independently for moving items. Conveyor belts can also be incorporated into engineered systems.

Category 3 Equipment: Industrial Trucks

These are manual and automated equipment and vehicles for moving materials. An example is automated guided vehicles (AGV) which fall under categories 3 and 4.

Other examples of category 3 equipment include:

  • Hand truck: Simple trucks, also known as dollies, are L-shaped and can carry materials at a tilt.
  • Walkie stacker: Powered and manual equipment that works just like forklifts, transporting and lifting pallets, but does not have an area for an operator.
  • Forklift: Equipment with an operator area for lifting and transporting areas
  • Order pickers: Vehicles that lift workers to high places so that they can pick items

Category 4 Equipment: Engineered Systems

This category has automation equipment with complicated systems and components. Category 4 equipment pieces are also expensive. As mentioned above, engineered systems include AGVs.

Other examples are automated storage and retrieval systems, robotic delivery systems, and conveyor belt systems.

The four categories of material handling equipment are as been highlighted in this article. Category 4 equipment pieces, being the most expensive, require much more investments and are not randomly gotten in warehouses.

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