Material Handling Equipment

Material Handling Equipment

Material handling equipment (MHE) is used for the movement and storage of material within a facility or at a site. MHE can be classified into the following five major categories:

  1. Transport Equipment. Equipment used to move material from one location to another (e.g., between workplaces, between a loading dock and a storage area, etc.). The major subcategories of transport equipment are conveyors, cranes, and industrial trucks. Material can also be transported manually using no equipment.
  1. Positioning Equipment. Equipment used to handle material at a single location so that it is in the correct position for subsequent handling, machining, transport, or storage. Unlike transport equipment, positioning equipment is usually used for handling at a single workplace. Material can also be positioned manually using no equipment.
  1. Unit Load Formation Equipment. Equipment used to restrict materials so that they maintain their integrity when handled a single load during transport and for storage. If materials are self-restraining (e.g., a single part or interlocking parts), then they can be formed into a unit load with no equipment.
  1. Storage Equipment. Equipment used for holding or buffering materials over a period of time. Some storage equipment may include the transport of materials (e.g., the S/R machines of an AS/RS, or storage carousels). If materials are block stacked directly on the floor, then no storage equipment is required.
  1. Identification and Control Equipment. Equipment used to collect and communicate the information that is used to coordinate the flow of materials within a facility and between a facility and its suppliers and customers. The identification of materials and associated control can be performed manually with no specialized equipment.

| Top | About MHE Taxonomy |

I. Transport Equipment

A. Conveyors

  1. Chute conveyor
  2. Wheel conveyor
  3. Roller conveyor
  4. Chain conveyor
  5. Slat conveyor
  6. Flat belt conveyor
  7. Magnetic belt conveyor
  8. Troughed belt conveyor
  9. Bucket conveyor
  10. Vibrating conveyor
  1. Screw conveyor
  2. Pneumatic conveyor
  3. Vertical conveyor
  4. Cart-on-track conveyor
  5. Tow conveyor
  6. Trolley conveyor
  7. Power-and-free conveyor
  8. Monorail
  9. Sortation conveyor

B. Cranes

  1. Jib crane
  2. Bridge crane
  3. Gantry crane
  4. Stacker crane

C. Industrial Trucks

  1. Hand truck
  2. Pallet jack
  3. Walkie stacker
  4. Pallet truck
  5. Platform truck
  6. Counterbalanced lift truck
  7. Narrow-aisle straddle truck
  1. Narrow-aisle reach truck
  2. Turret truck
  3. Order picker
  4. Sideloader
  5. Tractor-trailer
  6. Personnel and burden carrier
  7. Automatic guided vehicle (AGV)

D. No Equipment


II. Positioning Equipment

  1. Manual (no equipment)
  2. Lift/tilt/turn table
  3. Dock leveler
  4. Ball transfer table
  5. Rotary index table
  6. Parts feeder
  1. Air film device
  2. Hoist
  3. Balancer
  4. Manipulator
  5. Industrial robot

III. Unit Load Formation Equipment

  1. Self-restraining (no equipment)
  2. Pallets
  3. Skids
  4. Slipsheets
  5. Tote pans
  6. Pallet boxes/skid boxes
  7. Bins/baskets/racks
  8. Cartons
  1. Bags
  2. Bulk load containers
  3. Crates
  4. Intermodal containers
  5. Strapping/tape/glue
  6. Shrink-wrap/stretch-wrap
  7. Palletizers

IV. Storage Equipment

  1. Block stacking (no equipment)
  2. Selective pallet rack
  3. Drive-through rack
  4. Drive-in rack
  5. Flow-through rack
  6. Push-back rack
  7. Sliding rack
  1. Cantilever rack
  2. Stacking frame
  3. Shelves/bins/drawers
  4. Storage carousel
  5. Automatic storage/retrieval systems (AS/RS)
  6. Split case order picking system
  7. Mezzanine

V. Identification and Communication Equipment

  1. Manual (no equipment)
  2. Bar codes
  3. Radio frequency (RF) tag
  4. Magnetic stripe
  1. Machine vision
  2. Portable data terminal
  3. Electronic data interchange (EDI)/Internet

Basic Material Handling Equipment: An Outline of Categories and Slides, developed by Richard E. Ward, provides a more detailed categorization of material handling equipment.

See About MHE Taxonomy for suggestions on using the taxonomy as an educational tool, references, and figure source citations.

| Top | About MHE Taxonomy |

Last modified: September 30, 1999