Design and selection of material handling system to support an automated industry must take into consideration the following.
- Nature of material to be handled
- Type of production facility served by the material handling system.
- Routes of movement.
- Quantities and flow of material to be to be moved
- Schedules of the movements
- Cost considerations.
We need to consider various characteristics of material such as physical state, size, weight, shape, special condition such as temperature or dirt, risk of damage to material, and safety of equipment and personnel.
Variety of material and their quantities also affect the type of equipment. for example large quantities of limited variety may suggest use of dedicated material handling equipment. In situations requiring handling of small quantities of large variety of product, it may be better to use general purpose equipments.
The routes of movement have similar consideration. When the movement is over a limited well defined routes it is possible to use fixed path equipment more economically, In contrast, it might be necessary to choose systems with much greater flexibility in environment with many alternate routes of material movement.
The capacity of the material handling equipment depends more on the maximum rate of material movement at any given time rather than on the total quantity moved. Therefore is is very important to examine carefully the schedule of material movements.
The routing as well as the rate of material movement is very much dependent on the plant layout. As a matter of fact it is always desirable to design the plant layout taking into consideration the material handling implications.
Finally, the cost consideration is very important. It is important to consider the total cost of material handling including the capital and operating cost. However in some cases there may be budget constraints. In such cases it may become necessary to keep the capital cost within specified limits even if it means increasing the total cost.