Material handling is a crucial aspect of any warehouse operation. From pallets to cranes to forklifts, warehouses heavily rely on material handling systems for their efficient functioning. That’s the reason material handling systems are taken into account while planning the warehouse design. Everything like space utilization, layout, aisles and docks are designed in a way that encompasses material handling systems so that the warehouse design is effective and well-planned. Let us see how material handling systems impact the warehouse facility design.
Forklifts and AGV’s (Automated Guided Vehicles) are an integral part of many warehouses as they are used to transport the material. There are several design factors to be considered for the use of forklifts or such devices in a warehouse. These are loading/unloading area, floor levelness and power requirements. The loading and unloading areas of a warehouse are critical for smooth functioning of forklifts. If they are integrated into the facility, it provides for easy functioning of forklift traffic. Floor levelness is another aspect that impacts vehicle traffic; so it should be planned according to the fleet of forklifts required. The power requirement is another factor impacting warehouse facility design. There could be a centralized battery charging location, where batteries are removed from the vehicle for charging. Alternatively, there could be distributed charging stations where vehicles connect to strategically located power sources to park and charge.
Most warehouses use a racking system for the storage of products. The height of your racking impacts your overall warehouse facility design. Factors like clear height, floor loading requirements and sprinkler positioning are taken into account when installing a racking system. The choice of your racking system further affects the design as there are the conventional types of racking and on the other hand, there are automated systems like AS/RS. Moreover, another factor impacting racking design is seismic and wind loading. This is because high seismic zones require both extra rack bracing and extra building structure bracing.
Overhead Handling Devices
Overhead handling systems supplement conveyors. Overhead handling systems like pneumatic air balancers use the overhead space of the warehouse to transferring loads with utmost precision. These devices allow the warehouse operators to use floor space for storage rather than for moving products. Installing overhead handling equipment for moving goods can give you better space utilization in the warehouse.
Therefore, material handling systems impact warehouse facility design in a significant way. It is hence important to keep these factors in mind while planning the facility design for a warehouse.