Purchasing the right material handling equipment is an important business decision as it affects the efficiency and performance of your entire operation. It is a long-term investment, so making the right choice is crucial. Whether you’re purchasing equipment from an air balancer provider or an integrated material handling system provider, there are several factors you should consider to make the right choice. In this article, we will discuss those factors:
Characteristics of the material
This is the first and most important factor to consider while purchasing material handling equipment. The properties of material to be handled are important factors that will narrow down the kind of equipment that you need. There are various characteristics to be considered like the size of material, its shape, weight, delicacy, and its chances of getting damaged during handling. Furthermore, whether the material is fragile, corrosive, or toxic will imply that certain handling methods and containers will be more or less suitable.
Plant building and layout
The next factor to consider is the building of the plant and its layout. The layout at times dictates the type of production operation (continuous, intermittent, fixed position or group) and subsequently what material handling equipment to be used. The layout properties of the plant such as widths of aisles, inequality in floor levels, width of the doors, height of the ceiling, strength of floor and walls, columns and pillars all affect the choice of material handling equipment that should be installed. For example, a low-level ceiling may preclude the use of hoists or cranes.
Type of production
The type and flow of production are important factors in determining the kind of equipment used for handling. Mass production on fixed routes requires fixed equipment like conveyors as they can handle more volume of production per unit time as compared to trucks. Conversely in the facilities where production flow is not constant and the direction changes from one point to another because several products are being produced simultaneously, moving equipment such as trucks are required.
The nature of operation determines the material flow. And material flow, in turn, determines the choice of handling equipment like whether handling is temporary or permanent, whether the flow is continuous or intermittent and whether material flow pattern is vertical or horizontal. A vertical flow pattern will require elevators, conveyors, pipes, and additional equipment whereas horizontal flow pattern will need trucks or overhead bridge.
Cost of equipment and maintenance
After deciding what kind of equipment you need, a consideration based on cost can be the final deciding factor. You need to consider not only the initial investment of equipment, but also the cost of operation and maintenance. You can calculate and compare the total cost for each of the items of equipment you’re considering; and make a decision based on all factors combined. You can also compare costs from different suppliers. For example, one air balancer provider might give you a different costing than another.
These are the factors to consider while purchasing material handling equipment. When you’ve made the final decision, choose a good material handling equipment provider.