Selection of material handling equipment is an important decision as it affects both the cost and efficiency of handling system. The following factors are to be taken into account while selecting the material handling equipment.
1. Properties of the Material
Whether the material is solid, liquid or gas, and in what size, shape and weight it is to be moved, are important decisions and can be lead to a preliminary elimination from the range of available equipment under review. Similarly, if the material is fragile, corrosive or toxic this will imply that certain handling method and containers will be preferable to others.
2. Layout and Characteristic of the building
Another restricting factor is availability of space for handling. Low-level ceiling many preclude the use of hoist or cranes, and the presence of supporting columns in awkward places can limit the size of material handling equipment. If the building is multi-storeyed, chutes or ramp for industrial trucks may be used. Layout itself will indicate the type of production operation (continuous, intermittent, fixed position or group) and indicate some items of equipment that will be more suitable than others. Floor capacity also helps in selecting the best material handling equipment.
3. Production Flow
If the flow is fairly constant between two fixed position that are not likely to be changed, fixed equipments such as conveyors or chutes can be successfully used. If, on the other hand, the flow is not constant and the direction changes occasionally from one point to another because several products are being produced simultaneously, moving equipments such as trucks would be preferable.
4. Cost Considerations
This is the most important consideration. The above factors can help narrow the range of suitable equipment, while costing can help in taking the final decision. Several cost elements need to be taken into consideration when comparisons are made between various items of equipment that are all capable of handling the same load. Initial investment and operating and maintenance cost are the major costs to be considered. By calculating and comparing the total cost of each items of equipment under consideration, a more rational decision can be reached on the most appropriate choice.
5. Nature of Operations
Selection of equipment also depends on the nature of operations like whether handling is temporary or permanent, whether the flow is continuous or intermittent and material, flow pattern-horizontal or vertical.
6. Engineering Factors
Engineering factors such as door, ceiling dimensions, floor space, floor conditions and structural strengths are also taken in consideration in the selection of equipment.
7. Equipment reliability
Reliability of the equipment and supplier reputation and the after sale services plays an important role in selecting the equipment.
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