There is a multiplicity of mechanical handling equipment options available from manual trollies and trucks up to fully automated systems, from free path to conveyors and fixed rail and overhead systems. There are also different ways of controlling and guiding equipment from manual control single operation, to multi leaved automated systems.
Whatever MHE is selected it must be integrated with the picking and storage systems used, with the warehouse operation and with the material and people flows. When designing / re-engineering a warehouse LPC consider in detail all the requirements of the operation, not just the MHE requirements. In this approach we consider for instance, material flows, movement, storage or picking, the available area and identify and specify the correct truck for the operational functions from pallet movement to pallet putaway /retrieval to picking of cases or eaches and then whether a man up or man down operation.
The process starts with identifying the material flows, the unit loads to be moved and the frequency of movement. When the requirements have been established the potential options can be considered and the costs and benefits can be determined.
It should not be forgotten that while there is the range of equipment available to make best use of the footprint and height of existing buildings, the best MHE for your operation will likely determine the size and shape of a new building if you have that opportunity.
Some of the options available are:
Manually Operated Forklift Trucks
Gas, electric and diesel choices are available for the more basic type of trucks such as counterbalance trucks, sideloaders and some articulated multipurpose trucks. While it is more normal for externally operated trucks to be diesel or gas powered ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) this does not exclude electric from operating outside nor vice versa, especially where crossover occurs.
The largest selection of manually operated warehouse truck types are electric and are either pedestrian operated stand on / in or ride on, dependent on the operation and distance to be covered.
These range in a general from
|Truck Genre||Pallet movement||Pallet and storage||Detailed Picking|
|Powered Pallet truck, pedestrian, stand on and ride on (PPT)|
|Low level order pick trucks (LLOPT)|
|Counterbalance (also pedestrian versions) for lower level storage|
|Reach trucks for higher level and common aisles with pickers / other trucks|
|Articulated trucks and narrow aisle|
|Very Narrow Aisle Trucks (VNA) Stackers|
|Man up pick trucks mid and high level VNA plus|
X = Primary Role = Secondary Role
Within these genres there are a multitude of types and models between the various manufacturers with many variations in specifications which LPC will identify specifically for a facility design and a client’s particular use.
Automated Guided Trucks
Automated guided trucks or automated guided vehicles (AGV’s), were generally as specialised carriers of pallets or bits of equipment, often used in factories. More recently, and more usable in warehouses has been the introduction of many types of modified standard trucks capable of not only ferrying pallets or product from A to B but to also collect from and put into racking. There are also some small AGVs available for the transit of small items such as totes which can be transferred to and from the carrier automatically.
Guidance methods vary from infra-red and lasers to RFID tags and optical tracking on lines painted on the floor and inductive guidance with buried wires. All AGVs are fitted with anti-collision sensors and can be controlled by a suitable WMS and interfaces.
Read Our Blog
5 Of The Hottest Trends In Warehouse Automation Technology
Warehouse automation technology is developing rapidly, which is good news for business owners who want to increase productivity and profitability. However, you’ll need to be aware of the latest trends if you want to maintain an edge over your competitors.