Haynes defines “Material handling embraces the basic operations in connection with the movement of bulk, packaged and individual products in a semi-solid or solid state by means of gravity manually or power-actuated equipment and within the limits of individual producing, fabricating, processing or service establishment”. Material handling does not add any value to the product but adds to the cost of the product and hence it will cost the customer more. So the handling should be kept at minimum. Material handling in Indian industries accounts for nearly 40% of the cost of production. Out of the total time spent for manufacturing a product, 20% of the time is utilised for actual processing on them while the remaining 80% of the time is spent in moving from one place to another, waiting for the processing. Poor material handling may result in delays leading to idling of equipment.
Materials handling can be also defined as ‘the function dealing with the preparation, placing and positioning of materials to facilitate their movement or storage’. Material handling is the art and science involving the movement, handling and storage of materials during different stages of manufacturing. Thus the function includes every consideration of the product except the actual processing operation. In many cases, the handling is also included as an integral part of the process. Through scientific material handling considerable reduction in the cost as well as in the production cycle time can be achieved.
Objectives of Materials Handling
Following are the objectives of material handling:
Minimize cost of material handling.
Minimize delays and interruptions by making available the materials at the point of use at right quantity and at right time.
Increase the productive capacity of the production facilities by effective utilisation of capacity and enhancing productivity.
Safety in material handling through improvement in working condition.
Maximum utilisation of material handling equipment.
Prevention of damages to materials.
Lower investment in process inventory.
Following are the principles of material handling: Planning principle:All handling activities should be planned. Systems principle: Plan a system integrating as many handling activities as possible and co-coordinating the full scope of operations (receiving, storage, production, inspection, packing, warehousing, supply and transportation). Space utilisation principle: Make optimum use of cubic space. Unit load principle: Increase quantity, size, weight of load handled. Gravity principle: Utilise gravity to move a material wherever practicable. Material flow principle: Plan an operation sequence and equipment arrangement to optimize material flow. Simplification principle: Reduce combine or eliminate unnecessary movement and/or equipment. Safety principle: Provide for safe handling methods and equipment. Mechanization principle: Use mechanical or automated material handling equipment. Standardization principle: Standardize method, types, size of material handling equipment. Flexibility principle: Use methods and equipment that can perform a variety of task and applications. Equipment selection principle: Consider all aspect of material, move and method to be utilised. Dead weight principle: Reduce the ratio of dead weight to pay load in mobile equipment. Motion principle: Equipment designed to transport material should be kept in motion. Idle time principle: Reduce idle time/unproductive time of both MH equipment and man power. Maintenance principle: Plan for preventive maintenance or scheduled repair of all handling equipment. Obsolescence principle: Replace obsolete handling methods/equipment when more efficient method/equipment will improve operation. Capacity principle: Use handling equipment to help achieve its full capacity. Control principle:Use material handling equipment to improve production control, inventory control and other handling. Performance principle: Determine efficiency of handling performance in terms of cost per unit handled which is the primary criterion.