Material Handling

Basic descriptions of material handling equipment. November 11, 2008

Reprinted with permission from MLS Machinery, Inc.

Material handling equipment encompasses a very broad range of equipment normally used to get material from one part of a factory to another or from one machine to another. Fork Lifts fall under this specific category as well. Conveyors, be they motorized or roller gravity feed fall into this category. Conveyors come in different widths and are made in different strengths depending on how much weight will actually be applied on the conveyor. Conveyors can be motorized, can use rubber belts for feeding, ball bearings, or metal or aluminum rollers.

Scissor lifts which lift material up or down at the loading or unloading side of a machine constitute material handling equipment. Other types of material handling equipment are: vacuum loaders/unloaders vacuum lifting devices (work by suction) which pick up material from a bundle to be used to either load or unload a machine. Robots are also used to do the above job. There are fully automated material handling systems or work cells where no humans are required, basically these machines will take the material, load a machine, unload the machine on the other side, transfer them automatically to another machine, or return completed parts to the operator. Panel return systems "known as return conveyors" are very popular on edgebanders. Panel flippers will flip apart 90 or 180 so that a process can be done on the underside of the part.

Power Feeders are small feeders that attach to standard machinery such as shapers, routers, table saws, etc. They have motorized rollers that feed parts into or through the machine and normally have four forward and four reverse speeds.

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