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11 September 2019

Top 5 Material Handling Methods Used in Small Spaces

Marcos Garrido

Marcos Garrido

Regional Sales Manager Mexico South

Top 5 Material Handling Methods Used in Small Spaces

In warehouses, manufacturing facilities, shop floors, and factories material moving equipment play an important role in moving materials from one place to another. The goal is to move materials without damaging them and delivering these materials on time.

There are diverse ways to accomplish the handling of materials across shop floors, but when it comes to small spaces or small facilities, factory owners must get creative. This is because traditional material handling solutions like forklifts and industrial trucks generally struggle with navigating through tight spaces.

In this article, the following topics will be covered:

  • Understanding your options for transporting materials in small spaces.
  • The best material handling methods for small spaces.
  • A sample of material handling equipment options available to you.

The 5 Material Handling Options for Tight Spaces

In tight spaces, your challenges generally revolve around maximizing space, lifting heavy loads, and a large number of materials across the shop floor. To meet these challenges, here are the options available to you:

Customized Carts

In situations where you require the material handling solution to serve different purposes such as transporting different types of materials per trip or storing items, carts can help. Modular carts give you the option of increasing their carrying capacity whenever the need arises. These carts can also serve as storage solutions for totes, bags, and boxes when extra storage space is needed. An example of a modular cart you can customize to meet your peculiar needs include:

  1. Kit Carts – The FlexQube kit cart is a versatile modular solution for handling tubes and carrying materials on its shelves. Its modular nature means you can customize its frame dimensions and the number of shelves on it.FlexQube’s Top 7 Shelf Carts
  2. Low Rider Carts – Low riders are durable options for transporting heavy-duty materials across the shop floors. They are equipped with handles, wheels, and lifting equipment to ease usability.

Tugger Trains

When dealing with small spaces, tugger train systems can help you carry diverse materials and tools when navigating narrow shop floors. Tugger train systems are also popular material handling options due to the customization opportunities they offer your facilities. You can choose to equip your tugger systems with scanning sensors, cameras, and integrate embedded devices that make them useful in smart factories. Tugger trains consist of a driving tugger attached to the tugger carts that carry the materials. Tugger carts can also be customized to meet specific needs and a few examples of versatile tugger carts include:

  1. Flat deck tugger carts – This cart is equipped with a drop pin tow bar, removable handlebars, and wheels. Flat deck carts can be used to transport heavy-duty materials on the shop floor.Pallet Tugger Cart - 1260 x 1260 mm
  1. Flat shelf tugger carts – This tugger cart can be built with multiple shelves that have the capacity to transport materials of different types in an organized fashion. The shelves can also be customized in any format you choose which increases its functions in a tugger train system.Shelf cart FlexQube

Conveyor Systems

Conveyor systems are popular material handling solutions used in many facilities. This is because they increase efficiency by moving good quickly across the facilities with reduced risk of damaging materials. They are also quick and the pace of movement can be adjusted according to required specifications. Conveyor systems transport materials between fixed locations which means complementary material handling equipment may sometimes be used. Here, shelf carts can be used to sort transported materials and move them to other workstations. Flow racks and shelf carts are some examples.

  1. Flow racks – This material handling equipment can be used to transport multiple tools and materials in an organized manner. It also allows the transported items to be easily accessed by technicians.Q-100-2616 Flow Rack - 1330 x 2030 mm

Automated Guided Vehicles

AGVs are popular material handling systems or options used in lean manufacturing facilities and smart factories. This system can either consist of autonomous robots or an autonomous vehicle dragging along a couple of carts across the shop floor. AGVs are highly customizable solutions that make them great for narrow spaces. The level of automation they bring to the table also reduces the possibility of accidents and defects that may occur during transportation.

Making the Right Decision

The outlined options are great solutions for transporting materials across shop floors which makes choosing between them a bit difficult. You should read more about AGVs, tugger train systems, and conveyors before making a decision. You could also speak to an experienced engineer at FlexQube to learn how we can help.

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