There is no denying the fact that forklifts are among the most used material handling equipment in industries around the world. However, many businesses rely only on forklifts for their material handling needs. They use manual labour for other material handling applications such as lifting, reaching and positioning. While forklifts are extremely efficient at transporting material within a facility, there are other kinds of material handling equipment the applications of which can make an operation more efficient. Using these devices can boost the business in a manufacturing or storage facility. Let’s find out what they are.
Hoists and Balancers
Hoists are positioning devices used for vertical movement like lifting and lowering of material loads. These can be attached to cranes as well as monorails to add vertical translation capability. Hoists come in different variants on the basis of how they’re powered. They can either be manual electrical or pneumatic. Pneumatic hoists are the most popular due to their efficiency and cost-effectiveness as they don’t use electricity.
Balancers are positioning devices used for precise positioning. Balancers can support and control heavy loads in a way that they become weightless and virtually ‘float’ in the air. This way, the operator can easily maneuver the load. Balancers come in similar variants as hoists.
Both hoists and balancers are more efficient in lifting and manipulating heavy loads in a fast and precise manner when compared to manual labor. Additionally, they are also safer than workers lifting heavy loads manually.
Articulating Jibs and Industrial Manipulators
Articulating jibs are horizontal positioning devices that are able to lift and move material loads around corners, obstructions and columns, reach under or into machinery and containers, and reach any point between the pivot anchor and the far reach of the boom. These are great devices for their reach-in capability as they enhance productivity in such tasks and also promote employee safety. They are more efficient than forklifts if the material is to be moved over a fixed path.
Industrial manipulators are machines with a rigid steel manipulator arm that can perform complex pneumatic tilts and rotations, even when the load is being handled outside the manipulator’s center of mass. These are used to manipulate or control material loads in different ways without direct contact. Industrial manipulators are extremely useful in many industries for moving large amounts of product in a fast and precise manner.
Conveyors are used when large amounts of material have to be moved repeatedly between specific points over a fixed path. These are more efficient than lift trucks when the path of material movement is fixed and there is a high volume of flow of material.
Dock levellers are used at loading docks to eliminate the height difference between the dock and a truck bed. There are also dock plates that are used to bridge the gap between the warehouse floor and the truck. These eliminate the need of workers lifting heavy loads manually for loading and unloading.
In conclusion using a mix of material handling equipment for various applications is more effective than relying only on trucks. This improves productivity and also enhances worker and product safety.