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Past, Present & Future: Materials Handling Units Vol1

Filed under: Materials Handling

This material handling blog is a two part series exploring ‘the past’ history of the materials handling units, and making some observations fo current trends in materials handling units ‘the present’.

The series will conclude with some predictions for ‘the future’ of materials handling units.

Materials Handling Units – The Past

  • Materials handling in the past would have been very simple, starting off people carrying items unassisted, eventually graduating to basic modes of transport such as horse and cart to carry larger items.
  • In the early 20th century Hyster were major contributors to the design and manufacturing of the first forklift trucks. Both companies were pioneers in developing specialist machinery for materials handling in the logging and metal works industries respectively.

past and present Hyster forklift

Materials Handling Units – Present

  • The materials handling industry has grown rapidly, it is now a part of everyday life due to the internet and e-commerce. Freight is sent around the world via rail, air and sea. Materials handling equipment has become a vital part of this process for both loading and unloading freight. Global materials handling
  • There are a plethora of materials handling units available at present. You can purchase everything from a basic hand pallet jack and standard warehouse forklifts through to specialist units such as big trucks for large loads, narrow aisle solutions to maximise storage space and multi-directional units that don’t limit potential vehicle movement. Hyster's complete materials handling unit range
  • Recent industry data has shown an increase trend towards the purchase of battery electric materials handling units. This trend is fuelled in two parts by manufacturers becoming more environmentally conscious as demonstrated by Hyster with its new XT model being manufactured to meet new stricter emissions guidelines in countries such as Japan. The other being company’s looking to become better corporate citizens and being seen to having less impact on the environment through their operations. Industry shift towards cleaner battery electric powered materials handling units
  • Further advances in technology have seen new fuel sources being researched and tested to supplement and/or replace traditional fuel sources. Some of these new fuel sources include hydrogen, solar power and lithium ion batteries. Technological research leading to new fuel sources being developed for materials handling vehicles such as hyfrogen, litium ion batteries and solar
  • In the present day the most advanced materials handling units are able to operate autonomously after being programmed to follow a set of specific instructions. Further research is being conducted to provide these machines with a level of artificial intelligence that will allow units to be completely autonomous and operate independently from programming.

The points above are some brief observations regarding materials handling units in the past and present.


Published By: Paul Hinz

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