Material handling involves short-distance movement within the confines of a building or between a building and a transportation vehicle. It uses a wide range of manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment and includes consideration of the protection, storage, and control of materials throughout their manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Material handling can be used to create time and place utility through the handling, storage, and control of material, as distinct from manufacturing, which creates form utility by changing the shape, form, and makeup of material.
Design of material handling systems:-
Material handling is integral to the design of most production systems since the efficient flow of material between the activities of a production system is heavily dependent on the arrangement (or layout) of the activities. If two activities are adjacent to each other, then material might easily be handed from one activity to another. If activities are in sequence, a conveyor can move the material at low cost. If activities are separated, more expensive industrial trucks or overhead conveyors are required for transport. The high cost of using an industrial truck for material transport is due to both the labour costs of the operator and the negative impact on the performance of a production system (e.g., increased work in process) when multiple units of material are combined into a single transfer batch in order to reduce the number of trips required for transport.