What are the 10 Principles of Material Handling?

During the proposal stage of your new materials handling equipment, it is important that your supplier refers to best practices to ensure that all equipment and processes in your workplace integrate as a system. By analysing your goals for your new lifting device, you can align them to the 10 principles of material handling to produce a solution designed to reduce production costs and improve health and safety. These principles include:

1. Planning

Your supplier should design your material handling equipment with your performance objectives and needs at the forefront of the proposal, whilst closely considering the functional specification and supporting technologies from the outset. The planning principle should be developed using a team approach, with input from you, your project manager, your head of operations, the operators themselves and even your finance department. Everyone who you think will be involved with the purchase and use of the equipment should take part in the planning of your material handling equipment.

2. Standardisation

This principle guides you to the use of equipment, controls and software that is standardised and able to perform a range of tasks in a variety of operating conditions. This can be difficult to achieve in materials handling without sacrificing the flexibility and throughput of your equipment. If your material handling equipment is specifically designed for your application, you should ask your supplier if you can use it for other lifting needs and if not, how could your design be changed to allow it to do so.   

3. Work

Using gravity to assist in the manipulation of your product or using straight-line movement as much as possible are examples of the work principle in use. Your material handling process should reduce, combine, shorten, or eliminate unnecessary movement that will impede productivity.

4. Ergonomics

The capability of your workers and human limitation should be recognised and considered when designing material handling equipment. Your equipment should reduce repetitive, strenuous manual labour and emphasise safety and efficiency in the workplace.

Example of Ergonomic Control Interface for Material Handling Equipment

5. Unit Load

Your equipment should be appropriately sized to handle the load. If your application involves the movement of multiple, single items, consider using pallets or containers so you can reduce the effort and work needed to move the load. 

6. Space Utilisation

Being able to use your space effectively and efficiently is important for all of your operations. Together with keeping your work areas organised and clutter free, your material handling equipment could be designed to include its own storage (without compromising accessibility and flexibility) or you could use the overhead space.

For example Handling Concepts’ travelling slewing jib crane is mounted onto existing steelwork of an overhead crane, enabling you to keep your floor space free. It can operate at the same time and in the same space as the overhead crane, utilising the space available to you without hindering the operation of the overhead crane.

Considering your production environment is important and space is always a premium.  Exploring lifting options that will keep your floorspace free could help you to maximise your use of space and is a beneficial aspect of this principle.

Handling Concepts’ Travelling Slewing Jib Crane

7. System

The system principle advises that all material movement and storage applications should be integrated to form a coordinated operational system. The system process to consider are:

  • Receiving
  • Inspection
  • Storage
  • Production
  • Assembly
  • Packaging
  • Unitising
  • Order Selection

8. Environment

You should consider the energy use and potential environmental impact when collaborating with the supplier of your equipment. Implementing reusability and recycling processes where possible, as well as safe practices established for handling hazardous materials, are all considerations during the design stage.

9. Automation

Improving process efficiencies, worker health and safety, decreasing production costs and ensuring consistent, predictable results are all important goals for material handling. Equipment that is mechanised or automated can help you to achieve these goals and should be deployed where possible and if it makes sense to do so.

10. Life Cycle Cost

Understanding the full life cycle cost of your materials handling equipment is important for you and your colleagues involved in the purchasing decision.  Your materials handling supplier will provide you with a full breakdown of the costs involved in the capital investment and it should include installation, setup, training, testing, maintenance and repairs costs.  You will have your own production KPIs to achieve and by understanding the value of the outcome you are seeking will give you confidence that you are selecting the right solution.

Handling Concepts Follow These Principles

With over 25 years’ experience, you can rely on Handling Concepts to follow the 10 principles of material handling when designing your lifting equipment. You can benefit from working with a team of experienced engineers who will propose a solution that helps you achieve increased efficiency and improved worker health and safety.

If you need a material handling solution, click the link below to browse our extensive product range. Or contact us today to be connected with an experienced sales engineer to provide you with the right solution for your handling needs.

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