Material Handling Equipment Taxonomy


This material handling equipment (MHE) taxonomy was created by Michael G. Kay for use in IE 453: Facilities Design and IE 753: Material Handling Systems at North Carolina State University. The taxonomy is adapted from the MHE classifications presented in Table 1 of Chu et al. [1] and Section 6.6 of Tompkins et al. [2]. Although not explicitly cited, much of the information provided for each type of equipment has been culled from the following primary sources: Tompkins et al. [2], Kulwiec [3], Konz [4], and Ward [5].

This taxonomy is not intended to be as comprehensive as, for example, Ward's [5] taxonomy. Instead, it is intended to provide a finite amount of information about the most common types of material handling equipment to students unfamiliar with material handling terminology. This taxonomy can be used to provide a bounded amount of material that students can be expected to memorize for a 10 to 15 question 30-minute closed-book portion of an exam.

Suggested types of exam questions include the following:

  • What is a principal difference between MHE x and MHE y?; e.g., describe a principal difference between a pallet jack and a pallet truck.
  • Describe one advantage and one disadvantage of using MHE x as opposed to MHE y; e.g., describe one advantage and one disadvantage of using a slipsheet as opposed to a pallet to support a unit load.
  • Determine a particular type of MHE given its characteristics; e.g., what type of industrial truck is not used to transport material?
  • Given the characteristics of a particular move, is MHE x or MHE y likely to be the most appropriate type of equipment? Explain your answer. For example, describe why, as compared to a pallet jack or counterbalanced lift truck, a walkie stacker is likely to be the most economical and/or technically feasible for infrequent, short-distance moves of pallets from a loading dock to pallet racks.
  • List n types of MHE of a particular kind; e.g., list five different types of bulk handling conveyors.
  • Visual identification, by name, of line drawings of MHE, where only the figures from the taxonomy are presented.
  1. H.-K. Chu, P.J. Egbelu, and C.-T. Wu, "ADVISOR: A computer-aided material handling equipment selection system," Int. J. Prod. Res., 33(12):3311-3329, 1995.
  2. J.A. Tompkins et al., Facilities Planning, Second Edition, Wiley, New York, 1996.
  3. R.A. Kulwiec, Ed., Material Handling Handbook, Second Edition, Wiley, New York, 1985.
  4. S. Konz, Facility Design: Manufacturing Engineering, Second Edition, Publishing Horizons, Scottsdale, AZ, 1994.
  5. R.E. Ward, An Overview of Basic Material Handling Equipment, Material Handling Institute, Charlotte, NC, 1986.
  6. R.A. Kulwiec, Advanced Material Handling, Material Handling Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, 1983.
  7. R.A. Kulwiec, Basics of Material Handling, Material Handling Institute, Charlotte, NC, 1981.
  8. Application Guidelines for Ergonomic Assist and Safety Equipment, E.A.S.E. Council of Material Handling Institute, Charlotte, NC, 1996.
  9. Considerations for Conveyor Sortation Systems, Material Handling Institute, Charlotte, NC, 1989.
  10. Considerations for Planning an Automated Storage/Retrieval System, Material Handling Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, 1982.
  11. Reference Guide to Overhead Material Handling Systems, Material Handling Institute, Charlotte, NC, 1993.
  12. F. Pellegrino, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Conveyors and Palletizers, ALVEY Inc., 1993.
  13. G. Boothroyd, C. Poli, and L. Murch, Automatic Assembly, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1982.
  14. M. Gardner, New Mathematical Diversions, Mathematical Assoc. of America, Wahsington, DC, 1995.
  15. D. Locke, Global Supply Management: A Guide to International Purchasing, Irwin, Chicago, 1996.

The order of the citations listed below follow the same format as the MHE taxonomy. Figures not listed below are original.

I. Transport Equipment

A. Conveyors

1. Fig. 17 in [5]
2(left and right) Fig. 18 in [5]
3a. Fig. 19 in [5]
3b. Fig. 24 in [5]
4. Fig. 25 in [5]
5. Fig. on p. 7 in [9]
6. Fig. 22 in [5]
7. Fig. 9-3 in [6]
8. Fig. 9-2 in [6]
9. Fig. 9-2 in [6]
10. Fig. 9-2 in [6]
11. Fig. 9-2 in [6]
12a. Fig. 9-2 in [6]
12b. Fig. 51 in [5]
13a. Fig. 38 in [5]
13b. Fig. 36 in [5]
14. Fig. 43 in [5]
15. Fig. 8-8 in [6]
16(right) Fig. 8-8 in [6]
17(right) Fig. 8-8 in [6]
18(right) Fig. 8-5 in [6]
19. Fig. 1 in [9]
19a(left) Fig. 27 in [5]
19a(right) Fig. 28 in [5]
19b(left) Fig. 29 in [5]
19b(right) Fig. 30 in [5]
19c. Fig. 31 in [5]
19d. Fig. 32 in [5]
19e. Fig. 33 in [5]

B. Cranes

Fig. 103 in [11]
1. Fig. 70 in [5]
2. Fig. 72 in [5]
3(left) Fig. 20 in [11]
3(middle) Fig. 21 in [11]
3(right) Fig. 75 in [5]
4. Fig 77 in [5]

C. Industrial Trucks

1a. Fig. 8-4 in [6]
1b. Fig. 8-4 in [6]
1c(left) Fig. 8-4 in [6]
1c(right) Fig. 87 in [5]
2a. Fig. 8-4 in [6]
2b. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 15 in [5]) *
3a. Insert in [8]
3b. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 16 in [5]) *
4. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 16 in [5]) *
5a. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 15 in [5]) *
5b. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 15 in [5]) *
6a. Fig. 7-7 in [6]
9a. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 14 in [5]) *
9b. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 15 in [5]) *
10. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 14 in [5]) *
11. Industrial Truck Association (Fig. 14 in [5]) *
12. Adapted from Fig. 8-4 in [6]
13. Fig. 8-4 in [6]
14a. Fig. 45 in [5]
14b. Fig. 46 in [5]
14c. Adpated from Fig. 1-2 in [7]
14d. Adpated from Fig. 47 in [5]
14e. Fig. 48 in [5]

II. Positioning Equipment

2. Fig. 68 in [5]
3. Fig. 16a in [5]
4. Fig. 20 in [5]
5. Fig. 67 in [5]
6. Adpated from Fig. 67 in [5]
7. Fig. 8-7 in [6]
8. Fig. 78 in [5]
9. Fig. 81 in [5]
10a. Fig. 69 in [5]
10b. Fig. 8-9 in [6]
10c. Insert in [8]
11. Fig. 9-6 in [6]

III. Unit Load Formation Equipment

2. Fig. 5.7a in [10]
5. Fig. 86 in [5]
6(left) Fig. 5.7c in [10]
6(right) Fig. 5.7g in [10]
11. Adapted from Fig. 5.7c in [10]
12. Fig. 18.1.2 in [3] *
13. Fig. 3-4 in [7]
14. Fig. 89 in [5]
15a. Adapted from Fig. on p. 6 of [8]
15b. Adpated from Fig. 67 in [5]
15c(top) Fig. in Sec. 3 of [12] *
15c(bottom) Fig. in Sec. 3 of [12] *

IV. Storage Equipment

2. Fig. 6-3 in [6]
3. Fig. 5 in [5]
4. Fig. in [3] (Fig. 4 in [5]) *
5. Fig. 53 in [5]
6. Fig. 6 in [5]
7. Fig. 7 in [5]
8. Fig. 8 in [5]
9. Fig. 92 in [5]
10. Fig. 6-10 in [6]
11. Fig. 55 in [5]
12a. Fig. 6-17 in [6]
12b. Fig. 6-14 in [6]
12c. Fig. 61 in [5]
12d. Fig. 3.4 in [10]
13. Fig. 66 in [5]
14. Fig. 12 in [5]

V. Identification and Communication Equipment

 

* Indicates non-MHI figure (will need permission or replacement)

Please send any questions or comments concerning the MHE Taxonomy to Michael G. Kay at kay@eos.ncsu.edu

Material handling equipment (MHE) is used for the movement and storage of material within a facility or at a site. MHE can be classified into the following five major categories:

  1. Transport Equipment. Equipment used to move material from one location to another (e.g., between workplaces, between a loading dock and a storage area, etc.). The major subcategories of transport equipment are conveyors, cranes, and industrial trucks. Material can also be transported manually using no equipment.
  1. Positioning Equipment. Equipment used to handle material at a single location so that it is in the correct position for subsequent handling, machining, transport, or storage. Unlike transport equipment, positioning equipment is usually used for handling at a single workplace. Material can also be positioned manually using no equipment.
  1. Unit Load Formation Equipment. Equipment used to restrict materials so that they maintain their integrity when handled a single load during transport and for storage. If materials are self-restraining (e.g., a single part or interlocking parts), then they can be formed into a unit load with no equipment.
  1. Storage Equipment. Equipment used for holding or buffering materials over a period of time. Some storage equipment may include the transport of materials (e.g., the S/R machines of an AS/RS, or storage carousels). If materials are block stacked directly on the floor, then no storage equipment is required.
  1. Identification and Control Equipment. Equipment used to collect and communicate the information that is used to coordinate the flow of materials within a facility and between a facility and its suppliers and customers. The identification of materials and associated control can be performed manually with no specialized equipment.

 

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