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Innovation in Theory and Practice: 5 Examples of Bulk Material Handling Technology in Use Across Various Industries

In any industry where it’s necessary to handle bulk materials, inventions have been
implemented which are capable of doing that. Some of the bulk weighing and handling
equipment can be used across multiple different industries, while others have exclusive systems
in place. Let’s look at a few different technological advancements that have come about which
have made the handling of bulk material easier over the years.

Industrial Trucks

Trucks can be used for the handling and transporting of bulk materials, but the term “industrial
truck” is commonly used to refer to something like a forklift, not the typical sort of truck owned
by civilians. They are often used on manufacturing floors to move around enormous amounts of material, and they are usually specially reinforced for the job, with sturdy frames and
interconnecting, heavy-duty parts. They can be used for the loading or unloading of heavy
objects from delivery trucks, and they are particularly useful when there is not sufficient flow
volume to justify a conveyor system being in place.

Conveyor Belts

Conveyor belts and other conveyance systems are in place on many factory floors. If industrial
manufacturing is occurring, like in the auto industry, for instance, conveyor belts allow materials
to be moved around the factory. Smaller ones can be used for the assembly of individual
products, while larger ones are sometimes used for bulk materials.

Engineered Systems

Engineered systems is a term that can be used to refer to any of a number of automated units
that are designed for the transportation of bulky or heavy materials. There are dozens of
different variations, and many of them can be found in factories across the world. Robotic
delivery systems are one example. These are automated systems that are used for transporting
goods throughout a warehouse or along an assembly line.

Automatic Guided Vehicles

Automatic guided vehicles are a relatively newer invention. They are mobile robots that follow
wires on the floor or specific markers. Lasers, magnets, or vision can all be methods through
these robots get the jobs done for which they are intended. Most versions are subject to a
simple control system that a human can operate.

AS/RS Systems

AS/RS are automated storage retrieval systems. They are large automatic structures that
involve shelves, racks, and aisles. They’re accessible through a kind of mechanized shuffle
system that is reminiscent of a cherry picker. They can be used for the quick retrieval of items in
a fast-paced atmosphere.
There are all sorts of other industrial and engineered systems. Smaller ones include platform
trucks, side loaders, automatic guided vehicles, pallet trucks, and pallet jacks. Each of these is a
possibility depending on the size and weight of the items that are being moved around. In
almost all cases, specialized training is necessary to prepare people for the use of this
equipment. Some of it requires a license before you can legally operate it. This is to prevent any
injury or fatality, which, as you might expect, can be a risk with equipment of this nature.

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