One of the many industries we here at Breiner love to work with is material handling and the forklifts that are the primary instruments of it. There are several types of material handling, though, each as critical to the overall effectiveness of your organization and your ability to deliver parts and products when customers need them. Let’s investigate these four types of material handling and how each is used to achieve the results you demand. 

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Why Does Material Handling Matter? 

Material handling is an essential component of any successful warehouse: it can make products easier to find, move, ship, and replace. In conjunction, great material handling practices lead to fewer damaged products, happier customers, and a safer warehouse. Who wouldn’t want that?  

All four types of material handling are focused on common functions. They want to move the greatest number of pieces possible per unit, use machines in key roles, economize space to reduce damage, work with gravity to move materials, and minimize the required movement in the operation. 

Types of Material Handling:  

1. Bulk Handling Material  

Bulk material handling equipment transports, stores, and controls bulk materials—usually in a loose form. For example, in agricultural settings, a conveyor belt (horizontal transportation), grain elevators (vertical transportation), and silos (storage) are all part of the material handling process. Other examples include stackers, reclaimers, and hoppers. 

2. Industrial Trucks 

Industrial trucks—such as forklifts—move large materials or large amounts of materials around the shop floor. They are also used to load and unload heavy objects onto or off delivery trucks. When there isn’t enough flow volume to justify a conveyor system, industrial trucks are a great alternative. In addition to forklifts, dollies and box carts, pallet jacks, order pickers, and sideloaders are also in the industrial truck category.  

 3. Engineered Systems 

Like industrial trucks, engineered systems are focused on the transportation and storage of large parts or large quantities of parts. Where they differ, though, is in the use of automation. Engineered systems work together to automate the warehouse. This often takes the form of an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), but automated guided vehicles (AGVs)—which are computer-operated trucks—robotic delivery systems, and conveyor systems are also engineered systems. 

Person using forklift to load trailer

Forklifts are among the most versatile pieces of material handling equipment.

 4. Storage and Handling 

When you need to safely store and organize materials while they wait for the next stage of the production or distribution process, storage and handling equipment is what you’re looking for. Depending on your organization’s needs, you can use storage equipment for both long and short periods of time. Generally, this equipment is stationary and not automated, but it can be used alongside automated, engineered systems. 

Breiner Works with Material Handlers

Using the right material handling system or combination of systems will help you and your organization reduce material damage and decrease maintenance costs, while also improving productivity, efficiency, and time and equipment management. At Breiner, we’re serious about helping material handlers keep their systems up and running with our custom cut gaskets and seals. Whenever you need custom parts made for any condition, Breiner will deliver. Don’t believe us? Check out our work with Toyota Material Handling and get in touch with us today! 

Toyota Case Study "Breiner Innovative. Your Parts, Our Passion. Toyota Partners with Breiner. Learn how Breiner Innovative provides the materials essential to Toyota's manufacturing process here in Indiana. Download your case study here."