Here is an essay on the ‘Material Handling’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on the ‘Material Handling’ especially written for school and management students.

Essay on Material Handling

Essay Contents:

  1. Essay on the Concept of Material Handling
  2. Essay on the Functions of Material Handling
  3. Essay on the Unproductive Nature of Material Handling
  4. Essay on the Factors on which Material Handling System Depends
  5. Essay on the Principal Determinants of the Movement Requirements
  6. Essay on the Principles of Materials Handling
  7. Essay on the Characteristics of a Good Material Handling System
  8. Essay on the Major Classes of Material Handling Systems

Essay # 1. Concept of Material Handling:

Material handling involves movements of material mechanically or manually in batches or one by one within the plant. Movement may be horizontal, vertical or a combination of the two. Design and operation of an efficient production plant requires a good and effective material handling system for moving the materials from one stage of production to another.


Material movement in an industry is inevitable from start to finish. It begins from procurement of raw materials and ends at the marketing of finished goods e.g. in manufacturing industries material handling is required for movement/transportation (→) at various stages of production process namely:

Raw material → Receiving → Inspection → Production → Packing → Storage → Marketing, and in servicing industries the movement of documents and clients is very important. Many transport organisations like Road transport, Rail transport, Airlines etc. specialise in material handling system.

A component may be handled 40 times or more before it changes into finished product. Weight of handled material during production = 40 to 50 times the weight of the finished product.

Essay # 2. Functions of Material Handling:

(i) Selection of machines/equipment and plant layout to eliminate or minimise material handling requirements.


(ii) Selection of appropriate, efficient and safe material handling equipment.

(iii) Minimise the cost of material handling by:

(a) Minimising movements of semi-finished goods during production.

(b) To plan movement of optimum number of pieces in one unit.


(c) Minimisation of distance moved.

(d) Increasing the speed of material handling operation through mechanisation.

(e) Eliminate/minimise backtracking and duplicate handling

(f) Utilise gravity for material handling.

Essay # 3. Unproductive Nature of Material Handling:


In an organisation, material handling activities are found to be unproductive. On one hand these are expensive by nature whereas on other hand these add very little to the value of the product. It is observed that in general material handling costs are 10 to 50 percent of the total labour costs.

Thus there is a necessity to analyse the material handling requirements for a system thoroughly. New types of material handling devices are being continually developed with higher degree of mechanisation so as to achieve more productivity and flexibility in operations. The cost of production can be considerably reduced by savings in material handling.

Essay # 4. Factors on which Material Handling System Depends:

Material handling system mainly depends on following factors:

(i) Nature of the Production Process:


(a) For intermittent industries with process layouts, prime requirement of material handling is volume of load. The equipment can be mobile trucks, tractors, trains, cranes etc.

(b) For continuous industries using line or product layout some direct means of transportation between various operations are required. Depending upon the nature of the product, we may need some special type of equipment for material handling.

In some instances this can be co-ordinated by simply arranging the flow of material in such a way that it can be picked up by the subsequent operation e.g. trolly’s, conveyor belts etc.

(ii) Layout of the Plant:


Layout and material handling are not separable problems and so these should always be considered jointly. One important consideration in planning the details of a layout is to provide easy access to all operations by providing an efficient material handling system.

(iii) Building Construction:

Usually, once a building has been erected, it is not possible, at a reasonable cost, to make too many changes in the construction merely for the purpose of installing materials-handling equipment. The equipments used for material handling should be such that no undue loads or other strains are placed on the structural members of the building.

Essay # 5. Principal Determinants of the Movement Requirements:

These can be:


(a) Nature of material to be moved (Liquid, Gas or Solid).

(b) Path over which material is to be moved (length, turns, radii, vertical elevation etc.)

(c) Volume of the material to be moved.

In practice choice of suitable material handling system can be made by getting satisfactory answers for the following questions:

(i) What must be moved?

(ii) Where is to be moved?


(iii) How much is to be moved?

(iv) What is the movement time?

(v) How much equipment is needed for movement?

Essay # 6. Principles of Materials Handling:

A material handling system should be able to move and store the material effectively with minimum effort, maximum safety and in the shortest time.

There are three major principles of materials handling namely:

(i) Reduction in time


(ii) Reduction in handling and

(iii) Equipment Design.

(i) Reduction in Time:

Time is money. Time lost means paying men wages when they are not doing production work. Time is consumed mainly in three things, waiting, loading and unloading and travel time. Waiting time may be the result of bad scheduling, insufficient loading facilities, plant congestion etc. Loading and unloading time depends on the efficiency of labour and the equipment used.

The greater the use of mechanical means that are faster than manual labour, the more efficient can loading and unloading be made. The travel time depends on the speed with which the equipment can move from one point to another. Although speed is a very important factor, the total distance travelled must be taken into account at the same time.

(ii) Reduction in Handling:


When there is less handling, less labour is involved, less equipment is tied up and less time is involved in reduction. Reduction in material handling involves: process changes, layout improvement, increase in size of units handled and use of proper equipment. Changes in process involving a change in layout may eliminate a transfer of load.

If material is loaded in larger units then the amount of handling is reduced. Also the equipment selected should have as little dead weight as possible i.e. it can load most easily with minimum amount of hand labour.

(iii) Equipment Design:

The design of the equipment should be such that handling of material is efficient, quick and safe. It should be economic, flexible, standardised with less maintenance and repair costs. Efficiency can be measured in terms of power input, space requirements etc. The safety of the equipment is important. The design of material handling system basically depends on the nature of operation and the type of equipment used.

Essay # 7. Characteristics of a Good Material Handling System:

(i) Low Terminal Time:

Terminal time is the time required to set down or pickup any load. This time should be lowest for the given situation.


(ii) Amount of Material Handling Equipment Needed:

Logic of economic analysis is to provide material handling capacity to an extent that the combined costs of the handling and incremental operating costs are minimum.

Essay # 8. Major Classes of Material Handling Systems:

Material handling systems can be divided in two main categories:

(i) Those having Fixed Path:

Conveyers, hoists, lifts, cranes, pallets etc.

(ii) Variable Path Systems:


Tractors, trunks, railways, aircraft and water transport.

Some of the common materials handling devices are described below:

I. Transporting Devices:

These devices are useful for horizontal motion only.

Trucks and Similar Vehicles:

These vehicles are powered by hand gasoline or electricity and are capable of transporting material and people in a horizontal direction. These are also variable path equipments and can be used so long as suitable traveling surfaces are available and the route is not obstructed. These devices occupy the space intermittently and as soon as its work is over the space is free for some other operation.

Trucks and Similar Vehicles

The simplest of these are wheel barrows and hand trucks. But they require large amount of manpower for a relatively small load. These involve low cost, greater flexibility and easy portability from one job to the other.

Tractors and trailers are other popular methods of horizontal transportation.

Here great flexibility is secured. Trailers can be left loaded and can be picked up by different tractors. This is one of the most important methods be of handling materials inside materials inside the plant. Skids can be used with lift trucks. These are improvements over wheelbarrows and hand trucks.

Pipelines and pumps can also be used for horizontal transportation of commodities like oil, natural gas, water, etc.

Straddle Carrier and Industrial Tractor

II. Lifting and Lowering Devices:

These devices are suitable for vertical transportation of material. Cranes and Hoist are the common means of vertical movement. The equipment is able to move material vertically and laterally in a space of limited length, width and height.

If mounted on tractors, trucks, rail road, etc., they can also move from one location to the other. Some common equipment is a block and tackle, which and power hoist. Hoists are power-driven devices, often operated between fixed guide. This are similar to elevators but does not carry the operator on it.

III. Combination of Transporting and Lifting Devices:

Simplest of these are conveyors. It is a device which moves materials or people in either a vertical or horizontal direction between two fixed points, other categories can be escalators, pipes etc. These provide a fixed route travel and occupy a space continuously.

In conveyor system transportation is affected by friction between materials being transported and the belt. For horizontal transportation, friction may not be of any great consequence, but for a slope of any kind, it becomes more important.

There can be conveyors for tin cans, flight conveyor, belt conveyor with lift etc. A conveyor provides a continuous transportation system occupying considerable space with relatively fixed and high cost of investment.

Selection of Material Handling Equipment:

The individuals responsible for determining what specific types of materials handling equipment will be required and how many units of each type will be needed must begin by taking into consideration what is to be transported, the rate at which the things are to be transported, the space through which it is to be transported etc.

It is important to realise that at every stage from which or to which it becomes necessary to transport something, there can be a number of alternative means of transportation which can be operated either manually or mechanically.

The individual responsible for designing the material handling system for an organisation must have an intimate knowledge about the operating characteristics of various type of equipments suitable for the purpose. The selection process begins with a decision as to whether the equipments should fall in the conveyor, truck or crane category.

The following factors should be considered in the choice of the equipment:

(i) Path to be travelled i.e. variable or fixed.

(ii) Nature of the things to be transferred viz. materials in the shape of solid, gas or liquid or human beings.

(iii) Characteristics of the building viz. floor load capacity, ceiling height, truss strength, column spacing and door sizes.

(iv) Kind and amount of space available for material handling purpose e.g. sometimes floor space may be limited but overhead space is available.

(v) Handling capacity required of the equipment.

Check Sheet for Material Handling Arrangement in a Plant:

(i) Are materials received and shipped in unit loads utilizing some suitable material handling equipment.

(ii) Are materials handled in one trip, or do they have to be handled and re-handled.

(iii) Does the material handling system operate for straight-line production with a minimum of back tracking?

(iv) Has the gravity been used in material handling wherever possible.

(v) Are the manual material handling operations eliminated wherever possible.

(vi) Have the conveyors and machines have been guarded for the safety of the employees.

(vii) What are the sources of possible delays or bottlenecks.

(viii) Are the lifts and trucks used in material handling kept busy all the times.