What Is an Automated Material Handling System & How Can It Help Improve My Warehouse’s Productivity?

automated material handling system

Your material handling systems can determine everything from how you store your products to their movement throughout your manufacturing plant or warehouse. How you manage material handling is a foundational process in your supply chain management, so you’ll want to ensure that you are transporting goods in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible.

Once you start researching your options, you’ll see that you have many choices when it comes to your material handling systems. Specifically, you can choose between manual equipment handling, automated equipment handling, or a combination of both.

To help you determine the best material handling systems for your warehouse’s needs, we’re discussing the pros and cons of material handling automation systems and how they can benefit you. Let’s take a look! 

What Are Automated Material Handling Systems? 

Automated material handling systems use computerized devices and robots instead of human labor to move, lift, pull, push, store, and retrieve products. Some examples include heavy equipment box lifts, conveyors, pallet lifting devices, and industrial lifting devices

Many industries have begun to realize the potential of automated material handling systems. However, while automated equipment can significantly improve your warehouse productivity, you’ll need to factor in the hefty initial costs and unexpected downtime if a machine breaks down. 

How Are Manual and Material Handling Automation Different? 

Manual handling systems require human operators to move materials throughout the warehouse, sometimes with the assistance of forklifts, incline conveyor belt small cranes, hook lifters, or others. These setups are often slower and more time-consuming than automated systems. They may also lead to more errors and inaccuracies due to the human element.

The initial cost of a manual handling system is low, and you’ll likely see positive returns on your investment quickly. However, because employees will be operating the equipment directly, you’ll need to conduct frequent training sessions to limit workplace injuries and accidents. 

On the other hand, automated handling systems can locate, move, retrieve, and store your materials all on their own without manual intervention. Therefore, they are faster, and you can program them to handle multiple tasks at a time. However, if they break down, your operations may come to a halt.

Automated material handling systems are accurate and scalable, but they do require a substantial investment and take longer to show a positive return. Plus, you’ll need skilled operators to program and use the individual machines. Still, these disadvantages pale in comparison to the cost savings and productivity increases you’ll enjoy from an automated system. 

Let A-Lined Handling Systems Help You Find the Best Material Handling Solutions for Your Warehouse 

Your warehouse has a lot of moving parts. Finding that perfect balance between manual and automated handling systems can be a challenge, but A-Lined Handling Systems is here to help. We offer a wide selection of automated material handling solutions, including warehouse storage equipment, conveyor systems, and mechanized portable lifting devices designed to fit your budget and requirements. That way, you can improve your warehouse operations and increase your bottom line.

For more information about automated material handling systems or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!