Production & Manufacturing

Materials Handling Systems

The material handling system is the system entrusted with controlling the flow of workpieces (Parts) and mobile resources used in manufacturing (such as cutting tools).

and manufacturing waste (such as chips resulting from operating operations), all within one manufacturing department or between different departments.

The material handling system requires several basic characteristics, including: specifying the location to be transported and handling the materials to, determining the direction of the workpiece when handling, determining the quantity to be handled, determining the timing of handling, the correct selection of the pieces to be handled, and the path taken by the handling process.

These characteristics determine the way and method of material handling, in fact, necessitate taking into account the two ideas mentioned below:

1- Storage at the point of use (Point of use Storage):
It is an idea that serves to reduce the number of handling times, as the transfer takes place from one work center to another directly without returning materials to a storage area located between manufacturing operations.
2 – Unit Load:
Unit carried for any type of workpiece means the amount of workpiece that can be grouped together to be carried and handled as a single item or unit load. This reduces handling times, possibly reducing the possibility of damage to movable workpieces during transportation and handling, and also provides the possibility of using standard material handling equipment.

Fundamental principles for the design of material handling systems

These principles represent a guide and reference list that can be used when designing material handling systems, starting or modifying existing designs for these systems. At the same time, these principles provide a way to compare different alternatives for material handling systems.
The basic principles involved are as follows:

1- The Orientation Principle: It means studying the system relations before developing the specifications to determine the problem, the constraints on the system, as well as the objectives of the system.
2- Gravity Principle: It is an attempt to exploit this phenomenon as much as possible.
3 – Safety Principle: It is concerned with providing methods and equipment that ensure the safety aspect of using the handling system.
4 – Cost Principle: It compares alternatives that can be used as a material handling system based on the cost per unit moved.
5- The Simplification Principle: in which simplification is taken into account in general in the design of handling systems, and any steps for handling that can be dispensed with and disposed of are omitted.
6 – System Flow Principle: It works to achieve complementarity between the flow of information and the flow of materials.
7 – Flexibility Principle: means the use of methods and equipment that can carry out multiple tasks under changing circumstances.
8 – The Obsolescence Principle: by preparing an economic plan for the replacement of handling systems and equipment based on the costs of the life cycle of such equipment for use.
9 – Maintenance Principle: by preparing a plan for preventive maintenance and expected repairs for all handling equipment.
10 – The general layout principle of the manufacturing system (Layout Principle): It means preparing possible alternatives for the movement of materials with the position of machines and equipment inside the factory, and then choosing the optimal alternative with the aspects of efficiency and effectiveness.
11 – Energy Principle: It is concerned with comparing the energy consumption of alternative handling systems.
12 – Planning Principle: It is the orientation towards a plan that achieves the requirements efficiently, but without sacrificing the flexibility of the system to meet any possible bottlenecks.
13 – The Space Utilization Principle: It confirms the effective use of all available space (or available cubic units).
14 – Standardization Principle: It is an attempt to use handling systems with standard specifications as much as possible.
15 – The Ergonomic Principle: It is taking into account the limited capabilities of the workers and what they may be exposed to in terms of boredom or stress and the interference between them and the handling systems, when designing these systems.
16 – Ecology Principle: It is to use handling systems with the least harmful effects on the environment.
17 – Mechanization Principle: It is to focus on using mechanical handling systems as much as possible to increase efficiency.
18 – Computerization Principle: It is concerned with the use of computers and the provision of information ready for handling and storage to facilitate monitoring and supervision.
19 – Unit Load Principle: It is that materials are handled by units with a large load, but it is practical at the same time.
20 – Systems Principle: It means coordination and achieving the necessary integration between the processes of receiving, checking, storing, producing, assembling, and material handling operations.

Types of material handling equipment and their characteristics

The material handling equipment industry constitutes an influential industrial sector characterized by its technical capacity, as the types of this equipment range from high-tech control levels to simple, manually driven equipment. Commonly used handling equipment can be classified as follows:

1 – Conveyors.
2- Cranes & Hoists.
3 – Industrial Trucks.
4 – Automated Storage / Retrieval Systems (As / Rs).
5 – Robot (or robot) (Rodot).

1- Conveyors:

It is used in handling materials of relatively uniform size and weight, between specific locations, for times that vary in frequency, high and medium, in a fixed path.
These conveyors include belts.

Chutes and Rollers.
We can summarize the characteristics of carriers as follows:

1- Generally, they are of motor power, and sometimes they operate automatically.
2 – It is fixed in its location and thus determines the line of passage of the transported materials.
3 – It often operates on the basis of one direction of flow.
4- It generally transports single loads, but special types of them are used to transport continuous loads.
5- It can be used to do the task of storage only or storage and ordering together.

2- Cranes & Hoists:

Cranes and hoists are used to intermittently handle materials of varying weights and sizes in a limited space. Cranes lift materials vertically and these materials are carried by hooks. The cranes move horizontally.

3 – Industrial Trucks:
This group includes fork lifts, hand carts, and others.
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are used for handling between a specified number of pre-programmed locations in the control system.

4- Automated Storage / Retrieval Systems (As / Rs):
This system combines storage and handling equipment and various levels of automatic control in order to achieve speed and accuracy in the operations of storing and ordering products and materials from their stores.

5- Robot (or robot) (Rodot):
Robots are commonly used in handling operations, where they are programmed to perform a specific order of movements. Its distinction appears in the following cases:

1- Working conditions in which many risks prevail for workers.
2 – The required handling process is characterized by repetition.
3- The transported material is distinguished by its heavy weight.

An industrial robot can be defined as follows:

It is a reprogrammable handling device with multiple tasks, and is designed to move materials, parts, tools or special devices in variable and programmed movements, in order to perform a large number of multiple tasks.
Among the most important types of bodies that the robot has on are the polar type, whose field of action is within the limits of a spherical shape, the cylindrical type, which works in a cylindrical field, and the coordinate type, which works in a rectangular field. And the type with the articulated hand (jonted-arm), which is similar to the human hand

Another way to classify material handling equipment

Handling equipment can be classified according to its characteristics and advantages, the most important five groups of which are as follows in this table:

group examples

1 – A – Manual equipment. Hand carts.
B – Equipment with a driving force. Powered forklifts.
C – Automatic equipment with computer control, automatic guided vehicles (A G V S).
2 – A – mobile equipment. forklifts
B – Fixed equipment in its location conveyor belts.
3 – A – equipment installed on the floor. Roller conveyor.
B – suspended equipment. Hanging winch with hook
4-a- Fixed track equipment. Transport belts.
B – equipment with a programmable path. Auto Guided Vehicles ( A G V S ) .
5- A- Equipment for transporting loads or single pieces. forklifts
B – equipment with continuous loads. Conveyor belt or transport pipes.

Methods for improving the performance of material handling systems

The principle of simplification that we mentioned is among the basic principles of designing material handling systems – the most important principle for designing and improving the performance of material handling systems. Among the improvements in the performance of material handling systems is the selection of the appropriate means for each movement of material transportation, and it is also necessary to have a plan for preventive maintenance and expected repairs for all handling equipment. ) is of particular importance, and it means the possibility of changing the route and transport capacity by adding additional equipment of the same type used.


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