Materials management is the foundation of every efficient, safe industrial process. No matter the level of sophistication of the manufacturing facility, the line can only move as fast as raw materials are brought in and finished goods are put out. It also plays a key role in security; Large volumes of goods have to be moved quickly and efficiently with an emphasis on safety. A dropped load not only causes loss and damage to the product, but also puts workers at risk. Highly effective material handling systems and equipment from reflex equip, down to individual hoist rings, are to be designed and implemented with safety and efficiency as top priorities.
Material handling on the production floor
Supply and inventory management are two major areas of stock storage and material utilization in the manufacturing sector. After the goods come off the shelf or off the truck, they have to be used in the manufacturing process and this requires a unique set of materials handling equipment. At times, it comes in the form of cranes, hoist rings and rigging systems. Many tools for inventory management and transportation are considered catalogue items, meaning they are standard among supply companies for their ease of use.
A critical component in any rigging system is the weakest link. Every single part of the overhead system must be rated for twice the expected load to ensure that nothing fails. This means that every component, from the bottom host to the host rings, must be able to easily handle heavy loads, even in the event of a partial failure.
These requirements break down into several design decisions for effective and safe material handling. One such decision comes when it comes to choosing host rings. Fixed hoist rings provide a higher rated load, but swivel mount fixed rings provide more manoeuvrability and a better range of motion for loading goods on a production line. Product material is also an important design decision. For example, in a corrosive chemical environment, the use of carbon steel host rings would be disastrous; In this case it would be better to use stainless steel or heavy-duty polymer.
Industrial storage supplies
Most material handling decisions involve the storage of both raw materials and finished products prior to final shipment. The most common solution comes down to pallets and pallet racks. These systems catalogue items to facilitate easy storage and the ability to expand storage capabilities. Pallets are so common because they are easy to work with, handle a variety of loads and are made for stacking when combined with a rack system.
Rack systems make for ideal use of storage space. Long rows and high columns allow every square inch of the warehouse to be used from floor to ceiling. Most importantly, these racks allow for safe and secure stacking of pallets. All stacked and stored items are easily accessible with any number of pallet handling equipment for quick retrieval.
A list of equipment designed to carry, lift and load pallets could fill a book by itself. The most commonly used equipment in the industry is pallet jacks, forklift trucks, dollies, carts and hand trucks. To move inventory vertically, forklift trucks and powered jacks are often used. Once the inventory is on the floor, any numbers of manual and powered devices are suitable for moving stock throughout the warehouse or facility. The best part is that most of these options require only one person to move the entire load by hand or with a truck or powered jack.
Even more material handling options
In addition to rack and rigging systems, companies have plenty of options when it comes to effective inventory management, storage and utilization. Available catalogue items include drum handling equipment from specialized jacks and hoists to platforms and movers.