Warehouse handles large volumes and bulky goods, making it difficult to rely on human labor. Hence most rely on lifting devices, both manual and automated, to move goods within various points in the warehouse. These lifting devices get used to move, store and retrieve goods in the warehouse.
There are various types of lifting devices available for a warehouse to select. The choice of lifting devices depends on various factors such as the warehouse size, goods stored, and other factors. Lifting devices are grouped in multiple categories depending on how they operate. The most common categories include
Industrial trucks and movers
These are user-operated movables designed to move materials from one location to another. They require workers to operate them. They vary in size; some are hand-operated, driven, and can carry small to large cargo or multiple cargoes.
Hand trucks: They are used to roll equipment to the required locations. They are suitable for moving heavy and cylindrical goods to be rolled to the required location.
Side loaders: These get used to load or pick items in aisles. They are suitable for storing and retrieving items from higher shelves that someone cannot reach easily.
Pallet trucks: They are also called forklifts, and they can carry various types or multiple goods to the required location. They are available in manual and electric variations. The items to be transported must be loaded on a palette for the forklifts to carry them effectively.
Order pickers: They are used to lift warehouse employees to reach higher shelves to retrieve items. Once the items are retrieved, the pickers lower the employee to the floor.
Bulk handling material equipment
These are equipment suitable for handling bulky goods within the warehouse. They can be used within the warehouse to store, transport, load, and offload goods. They are classified based on their capabilities, functionality, and the types of materials they handle.
Forklift: This movable lifting gear is used in a warehouse to handle large cartons, pallets, and containers. They are available in different sizes, each designed to carry up to a certain maximum weight.
Hoppers: They are mainly designed to pick up and pour loose materials. They can be used for purposes such as filling containers.
Conveyor belts: Conveyor belts are automated movers designed to carry items from one point to another. They are also used to hold smaller items picked and packed by workers. They are suitable for moving goods over long distances within the warehouse floor.
Grain elevators: They are suitable for moving bulky items within the production line as they undergo successive production stages. They can also be used for storage when the materials reach the final stages.
Storage and handling devices
These devices are suitable for storing and organizing materials on shelves or in the process of production as they await the next production stages. They are ideal for long or short-term storage needs. They include drawers, shelves, racks, mezzanines, and stack frames.
Automated or engineered lifting devices
These lifting devices operate without human intervention, and they can transport equipment without human intervention. They majorly use sensors on warehouse floors and production lines to guide the goods to the required destination. They get majorly used for moving items rather than storing them.
Automated guided vehicles: They move on the factory floor using sensors and detectors that guide them to various locations. These vehicles move along designated paths and hardly change lanes.
Robotic devices: These automated devices move bulk goods on the factory floor. The materials are loaded vertically, driving them to the required destinations.
Automated storage and retrieval systems: These are robotic devices majorly used to retrieve goods from shelves and store them on other shelves. They can carry goods off the shelves for packaging or store them as they get offloaded from trucks.
Another group of lifting devices are the goods only lifts. These get used in story warehouses where the goods have to move from one floor. They are industrial-grade lifts with an increased capacity to handle bulky or big equipment.
Benefits of warehouse lifting devices
Warehouse lifting devices can help the company save a lot of capital. The warehouse can rely on them instead of human labor, which is expensive. Using human labor to move various items also requires the company to pay more insurance in case of employee injury and sickness. These devices need no insurance; hence they facilitate cost-saving strategies in companies.
Human labor is subject to delays due to the limited amount of items they can move, store and pack in a day. Machines are not limited; they can do more work and operate 24 hours, enabling them to beat deadlines and increase production speeds.
Machines are not prone to accidents such as being hit by items. They operate in a controlled manner to prevent accidents. They also assist in moving bulky items hence suitable for preventing injuries such as backaches supposed employees were to move the items.
Once automated, they can move within the restricted areas, reducing congestion on a warehouse floor. They can also stack goods closely, eliminating space wastage due to poor storage and organization.
There are various warehouse lifting devices available for multiple purposes and specialized warehouses. The device to select depends on the nature of the goods, warehouse organization and size, the weight of the goods, and other factors. Warehouses can rely on them to improve efficiency, save space, improve employee safety and reduce costs such as salaries and insurance coverage.