Four major types of material handling equipment

A right material handling equipment will ensure efficient process of moving heavy goods around the warehouse. This can include items like storage units, vehicles and tools that take active part in the moving process. Some widely used types of material handling equipment are:

Storage equipment

When goods are in temporary storage and are waiting to be transported to an ongoing destination, storage equipments are used which mainly relates to racks, shelves pallets or mezzanines. One of the great advantages of using purpose made pallets or racks is that they can be stacked to minimize the usable footprint without much difficulty. Most of the large warehouses rely on propriety packaging system just to enhance the ability to store high volume of goods, thereby conserving the space side by side. By creating the bespoke storage equipment it is very much possible to size them to match the exact dimension of goods that are normally handled.

Engineered system

Different types of automated tools that enhance the ability to move heavier loads around the warehouse floor are included in engineered system. Most widely used engineered system is fully automated storage and retrieval system. This type of system includes within itself shelves, aisles and racks that are controlled by a shuttle system. The actual shuttle system is a type of cherry picker and is operated via a fully automatic system or by a worker. What is interesting to note is that, it is a very fast and efficient method to locate and retrieve items in a large warehouse. Other identical equipment includes the automatic guided vehicles, robotic delivery systems and conveyor systems.

Industrial trucks

Industrial trucks are those trucks which are not licensed to travel on public roads. Industrial trucks are one of the most important tools used to move heavy and large sized products in and around the warehouse floor. This type of equipment can vary quite significantly and include several types of forklifts, pallet-jacks and hand operated trucks. They provide more flexibility in movement than conveyors and cranes, as there is no restriction on the area covered and they provide vertical movement if the truck has lifting capabilities.Trucks can often differ in sizes and structures as it will enable it to move different types of materials. Operation of these kinds of trucks can also vary depending upon the situations and circumstances. For example, there are types of trucks which are manually operated whereas, there are other trucks which are fully automated. Trucks also include stack and non stack design.


Cranes are used to transport loads over variable paths within a restricted area and when there is insufficient flow of volume such that use of conveyor cannot be justified. As compared to conveyors, cranes more flexibility in movement because the loads handled can be can be more varied with respect to their shape and weight. Cranes less flexibility in movement than industrial trucks because they can only operate in restricted area, though some can operate on a portable base. The most common cranes include the jib, the bridge, gantry and stacker cranes.

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