With a growing food business, there are serious health and safety risks to consider. This includes everything from fit-for-purpose mechanical handling equipment to meat cutting machine operator safety. And when it’s time to upgrade your systems, how do you choose the right machinery for your processing plant? Exactly what factors are considered for selecting material handling equipment? Read on to find out.
- What is material handling equipment?
- Types of material handling equipment
- Factors for selecting material handling equipment
What is material handling equipment?
Before discussing what factors are considered for selecting material handling equipment, let’s first determine what we mean when we talk about material handling equipment.
Essentially, material handling equipment is “mechanical equipment used for the movement, storage, control, and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and disposal.” (Wikipedia)
This equipment is particularly useful for the continuous or intermittent handling and transportation of heavy materials, and as such is an essential part of any food processing plant.
Types of material handling equipment
There are four main types of material handling equipment:
- Storage equipment
- Bulk handling equipment
- Trucks and movers
- Engineered systems
The first type is often not even thought of as handling equipment, as it features things like shelves and racking units as well as bins, drums and drawers etc.
The second category is more what we think of as material or mechanical handling equipment. It includes machines such as conveyor belts, rotary turntables, stackers, elevators and more.
Trucks and movers include machinery like forklifts, hand trucks (aka sack trucks) and order pickers.
Engineered systems are often automated and feature various components, each performing a different task. For example, an Automated Storage and Retrieval System, often abbreviated to AS/RS, has racks, aisles and shelves as well as a cherry picker.
- Weigh scales – for weighing product
- Euro bin racking and stacker – for storing product
- Tumbler mixer – for marinating and/or coating product
- Euro bin tipper and lifter – for lifting and emptying bins
- Wash frame – for washing bins
If you’d like more information on any of these solutions, all of which are supplied by FPE and eliminate the need for manual handling, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
What factors are considered for selecting material handling equipment?
So, what factors are considered for selecting material handling equipment? FPE has been supplying the food industry since 1983 and when it comes to equipment partners, we only work with the best. We consider these to be the most important factors affecting the selection of material handling equipment.
How much room do you have to house the equipment?
Exactly what do you need the equipment to do, and what might you want it to do in the future?
What is a realistic and best case through-put?
Do you have any custom requirements?
- Operator risk
What are the safety risks associated with using the equipment and are there any additional safety measures that need to be taken?
How often will spare parts be required and what is the ongoing cost of maintenance?
What is the product exactly? How viscous is it? This is particularly important when it comes to tippers and tilters.
Essential requirements of a good material handling system
When it comes to selecting a material handling system, it really comes down to one question: what problem are you trying to solve?
If you’d like to talk this over with someone in our team, or would like further details about any of the mechanical handling solutions we supply, please don’t hesitate to contact us on AUS 1800 882 549 or NZ 0800 100 003.