Material handling is an evolving art form and the components and tools that are essential to carry out daily tasks are always progressing. With the emergence of green technology and electric forklifts, the material handling game has changed rapidly in a short period of time. It is no longer strictly gas-fed combustible forklifts complemented by manually operated pallet jacks.
Now, the forklifts are sleeker and they are integrated with supply chain software such as SAP. Ideas are growing and with this comes emerging schools of thought on how to do the job quicker, safer and more easily. Thus we have seen the rise of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. The future for material handling is a bright one and you and your business can get on board and ride the wave of tomorrow. Here are few of the exciting breakthroughs in material handling technology:
1. Autopilot Technology
For the first time ever, a forklift does not need to be operated by a human pilot. Now, experienced drivers and operators can set the parameters while reducing operating time. The same features found in many forms of aircraft across the world will be deployed and offered in warehouses everywhere! Autopilot technology is one of the cutting-edge breakthroughs that material handlers have to look forward to in the coming years.
According to Adaptalift, materials handling units are currently able to operate autonomously through human programming. In the future, these devices will have increased artificial intelligence levels that will allow them to operate independently without any form of human intervention or interaction.
2. Smaller Forklift
To enhance maneuverability and to promote versatility, smaller forklifts will be able to go into the tight spaces that traditional and bulky forklifts are not able to negotiate. With a smaller and sleeker design, these vehicles can play an instrumental role in storage practices and optimizing space. These are two key items we covered in our ‘Five Ways to Reduce Material Handling Costs’ article and undoubtedly the new concept will help small businesses eliminate those critical costs in the early stages of production.
3. Streamlined Design
While the material handling industry is committed to making smaller forklifts, the design has also been simplified and streamlined to make operation easier. With fleet management software integrated into the machines themselves, the forklift does most of the work and helps tackle the menial tasks. No longer do operators have to focus on manual fluid level tests or the weight of the goods they are hoping to lift. These interfaces are built right into the machine through integration of this proficient software.
4. Alternative Energy and Technologies
In addition to electric forklifts, manufacturers have discovered alternative means of energy and technology to power tomorrow’s material handling appliances. Solar power and hydrogen power are just two examples of renewable energies that will promote the environment while also affording businesses the chance to reduce fuel costs as a result. Alternative energy has always been the foundation of the future of material handling and developers are deriving more sophisticated adaptations daily.