If you’re in the process of setting up, redesigning or relocating a warehouse, you might be wondering what type of equipment would best suit your new needs. Handling equipment is often narrowly defined to mean the machinery used for the movement of goods into, within and out of a warehouse, but it can also refer to all of the equipment used in the storage, control and protection of stock. A wide range of handling equipment is available, which can make figuring out the top choices tricky. In this article, we provide an overview of the main types, to help you gain a better understanding.
Following the broad definition of handling equipment, the first step is deciding what type of racking and shelving to use. You might want to hold onto what you already have, or sell it and change to something more fitting. There is a large market for second-hand shelving and racking in South Africa. The options are almost endless; take your pick from rivet shelving, steel shelving, wire shelving, rotabins, record storage shelving, bulk rack shelving, and mobile aisle shelving, or selective pallet racking, drive-in racking, drive-through racking, flow racking, cantilever racking, and many more.
A storage system must be designed while giving consideration to the lifting and stacking equipment that will be used. Relying exclusively on workers, without any machinery, is impractical, inefficient, and risky, unless your operations are extremely small-scale. The last thing you want is your employees becoming tired and disgruntled, or getting injured. A forklift or reach truck, or number thereof, is necessary for the smooth, continuous functioning of the warehouse.
There are a number of forklifts and reach trucks on the market. These include turret trucks, counterbalanced reach trucks, narrow aisle reach trucks, and many more. Electric and diesel options may be available. You can also get stackers, both electric and manual. Different types of forklifts and reach trucks are designed to be used in aisles of particular widths.
Another type of handling equipment – one that is gaining in popularity – is conveyor belt systems. These are very useful for bulky or heavy goods, making their movement across the warehouse smooth and simple. Stock items are loaded on and transported across the building.
A further type of handling equipment – this time one that is often overlooked – is scanning and barcoding devices. These are used to track the progress of stock on its journey to the customer. A handheld scanner and barcode software installed on your computers or tablets can go a long way towards ensuring the stock is kept secure and gets to where it should, on time.
The right kind of warehouse handling equipment for you might be different to what your peers are using. Our recommendation is always to carefully assess your actual needs, and then to integrate handling equipment, however you define it, into a stock management plan.
For more information, contact one of our industrial shelving and racking experts today.