Lecture 2


The need to design a material handling system arises when:

  1. A new product is being planned for manufacture
  2. Change in the existing product design requiring a corresponding change in the layout
  3. Obsolescence of facilities
  4. Frequent accidents
  5. Adoption of new safety standards  


The scope of material handling activity in any industry depends on the type and size of industry, the product manufactured, the value of the product, the value of the activity being performed, and the relative importance of material handling activity to the other activities. However, it should be emphasized that a sizable portion of total material handling activity is not in manufacturing but in the fields of distribution, service industries, agriculture, and construction. It is very important that both the beginning student and material-handling engineer be aware of the material handling applications in the following areas:

  1. Industrial material handling
  2. Transportation industries
  3. Warehousing
  4. Extractive industries
  5. Process industries


The College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE), sponsored by Material Handling Institute Inc., adopted 20 principles of material handling.

These principles (Table 1.) represent the experience of designers who have been working in the design and operations of handling systems. These principles serve as rough guides or rules of thumb for material handling system design. The designers of material handling systems are usually advised to follow the following principles. However, in some cases they might not be able to apply them to the fullest extent because of factors such as the limitation on capital, physical characteristics of the building, and capability of the equipment.

Table 1. Material Handling Principles

  1. Planning Principle
  2. Systems Principle
  3. Material Flow Principle
  4. Simplification Principle
  5. Gravity Principle
  6. Space Utilization Principle
  7. Safety Principle
  8. Standardization Principle
  9. Maintenance Principle
  10. Obsolescence Principle
  1. Flexibility Principle
  2. Mechanization Principle
  3. Cost Principle
  4. Ergonomic Principle
  5. Energy Principle
  6. Ecology Principle
  7. Computerization Principle
  8. Orientation Principle
  9. Layout Principle
  10. Unit Load Principle



The material handling system design process is iterative. The analyzer has to go back and forth between the different steps until a satisfactory design has been obtained and can be implemented. The major factors for consideration in material handling system design are:

1.  Material

  1. Form gas, liquid, semi liquid, solid
  2. Nature bulk, unit load, individual items, fragile, sturdy, bulky
  3. Characteristics chemical, electrical, mechanical
  4. Quantity pieces, pounds, gallons, other

2. Move

  1. Source and destination receiving, stockroom, ware house, same floor, other floor, other department
  2. Route location , range, path, cross traffic
  3. Distance horizontal, vertical, inclined
  4. Frequency intermittent, uniform, regular, irregular, unpredictable
  5. Speed

3.  Methods

  1. Unit or load bulk, items, containers
  2. Manpower one, several, many, none
  3. Equipment conveyor, forklift truck, crane etc.

Goto Home