Manufacturing has been a proud part of our history for a long time - not only have we come so far and developed the processes that we use, but we’ve been about to build a hardworking culture on top of that history. With an ever-changing landscape of technology at our fingertips, we’re able to revolutionise the way that we work in the manufacturing industry, improve our processes, and even better protect our workers.
Mechanical material handling is a big part of that progress and has helped us to produce products that we wouldn’t be able to work with otherwise. Not only do these systems help us to push the boundaries of what is possible, but they also enable further protection of the people that are the backbone of the manufacturing industry.
What is Mechanical Handling?
Mechanical material handling focuses on short-distance movements within a dedicated area.
Mechanical material handling focuses on short-distance movements within a dedicated area, often a factory or a warehouse. Utilising a wide range of machinery, we’re able to incorporate manual, semi-automatic and automatic systems which are designed to aid in the production and manufacturing processes.
There are a number of different types of mechanical handling equipment that can be used within a manufacturing setting. By taking advantage of several of them, you’re able to create an ecosystem in which all areas of the manufacturing process are enhanced. For example, if you install a crane, you’ll be able to lift much more than you would if it were people trying to lift something.
Type of Mechanical Handling Equipment
As mentioned, there are a few different types of mechanical handling equipment out there to choose from. While some are suited to your needs, others might not be, which is often why you would consult an expert. However, here are a few types of equipment that you might find useful within your facility.
1. Jib Crane:
A jib crane is a small crane that is situated within your facility and is used to lift objects that would be too heavy for a person or even a team of people to lift. This type of crane is built and designed to have 3 ranges of motion: rotation, transverse and lifting motions. These all work together to allow the crane to move heavy objects in each area. There are a number of customisations that you can take advantage of in order to get the best result for your manufacturing.
2. Workstation Crane:
Workstation cranes, also referred to as bridge cranes or light cranes are also helpful pieces of equipment when you need to lift something that would otherwise be too heavy. A workstation can be much larger than a jib crane and often covers a much larger area. This type of crane will move heavy items across a factory floor easily, which is perfect for when you’re setting up a manufacturing line.
3. Reeling Drums:
Reeling drums are an easy way to keep everything in the right place and reduce tripping hazards. Reeling drums can be created for manual action or even be automatic so that you don’t have to wind them yourself. The use of a reeling drum is helpful when you have moving parts that require power. For example, if you have a workstation crane with a powered hoist, you may want to utilise a reel drum and a festoon to keep the cables out of the way and protected.
4. Drag Chains:
Drag chains are a really good way to protect cables and hoses within an industrial environment with a lot of moving parts. Not having to worry about your cabling for your moving parts allows you to focus on the rest of your process and protect the cabling or hoses that you place within it. A drag chain keeps the cable tidy and ensures that it doesn’t kink or get damaged in any way as it feeds power, water or even gases to your machinery.
Improving Your Systems
One of the main focuses of the manufacturing world is to get the maximum outcome for your efforts through several avenues - mechanical handling equipment is one of these avenues.
One of the main focuses of the manufacturing world is to make sure that you’re operating with a lean process. This means that you’re getting the maximum outcome for your efforts through several avenues. Mechanical handling equipment is one of these avenues. Not only does it become a cost-effective investment, but it also means that your capabilities are widened and enhanced. Many years ago, we’d find it difficult to lift 2 tons of weight within a factory but now we’re able to do it with ease. We can even hold it there while we work on the product itself.
It also protects your workforce from injury. One of the biggest issues that many face in warehouses and factories are back problems. This often occurs due to overuse or even improper use. Many feel that they’re lifting too much or just trying to lift a weight that is too heavy for them, Virtual College tells us that the average man should lift no more than 25kg to elbow height and close to the body at work, for women, this falls to 16kg.
Therefore, having mechanical handling equipment can be very useful. Lifting is one of the biggest parts of the work within a factory or warehouse and so having machinery that can help you with this is worthwhile and important.
Simon Cullingworth, Director, Metreel - https://www.metreel.co.uk
About the Author:
Simon has been the director at Metreel for some time now. Having worked closely with their own manufacturing team, he has been able to develop specialist systems that have helped other manufacturers around the world.
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