The changing technology has resulted in numerous innovations in the material handling sector. An insight
Technology has stepped on the accelerator and is changing at a drastic pace. Innovations like Big Data, the Internet of Things Industry 4.0, mobility, the advanced robotics, autonomous vehicles, and alternative energy sources have started to have an influence on the movement of the products through the supply chain. This all is a result of the technologies and trends that will play an important role in the continual effort to drive costs out of the supply chain and increase the speed and predictability of product movement.
These trends are already finding their way into business applications in a number of industries that will play the role of development laboratories and will be the base of the next generation of material handling technology. The automotive industry, with its work on driverless vehicles, will certainly have a significant influence on material handling. A number of other industries—agriculture, aviation, medical, consumer products and the military—are also adopting disruptive technologies in ways that can serve as a model for material handling applications.
Advances in technology
Speaking about the advanced technology that is used in the material handling technology for industrial manufacturing, Bill Shukla, Managing Director, Martin Engineering Company India Pvt. Ltd says, “Martin Engineering services all processes industries such as Cement, Coal Power, Mining, Ports, Steel, Fertilisers, Grain Handling, and Pulp and Paper. In all of these, belt conveyors are used to carry the raw material or cargo. Traditionally losses associated with Dust and Spillage were an accepted norm if handling bulk materials.”
He further adds, “The latest concept is an evolution if conveyor designs and manufacturing technology. This evolution, known as EVO, involves re-designing the transfer point or load zone with a fresh approach with focus on Safe-To Use and Safe-To-Service whilst ensuring huge elimination of dust and spillage. Every single product that forms the Total Solution is re-designed using the EVO concept.”
Terex India Private Ltd is one of the leading names in the area of Material Handling. Vidyakant Mirje, General Manager – Sales and Marketing, Terex India Private Limited shared his thoughts about the advances in the technology. He said, “We have developed the Demag modular rope hoist (DMR), that can meet specific needs of our customers. This can help them benefit from ground-breaking flexibility in all types
of applications ranging from stationary installations to crane systems. For the first time, a rope hoist so versatile, it can be built either in a C-design or co-axial design utilising one basic technology. The extraordinary wide range of possible DMR applications can be extended thanks to smart interfaces and corresponding fittings and accessories. DMR Rope Hoist is one rope hoist with two designs and many possibilities.”
The company provides the following choices for its clients
• C-design or co-axial design
• Five sizes for the complete load spectrum of 0 to 50 tons
• Various application types: Foot-mounted hoist, low-headroom travelling hoist, double-rail crab
• Control system: Smart safe control system, conventional contactor control or provided by the customer
• Variable or two-stage switching elements
• Control concept: Wired connection or wireless (radio control)
Impact on Indian manufacturing
The recent advances in the technology have created an impact when it comes to Indian manufacturing. Sharing his thoughts on this, Shukla says, “As plants begin to adopt a ‘Model Conveyor’ approach where carryback, dust and spillage is eliminated it immediately improves productivity and profitability. Other spin off benefits include reduced maintenance, higher safety, improved employee moral due to cleaner working conditions”
When asked about the impact of material handling innovations on Indian manufacturing, Mirje said, “The demand of material handling equipment is correlated with the growth of Infrastructure sector. India still needs to develop it in a big way. There is substantial scope for the growth of the infrastructure sector viz., Steel, Power, Cement, mining, etc. Our innovations are increasingly driving more awareness and investments towards safety, efficiency and reliability of the equipment for the end user.”
He further adds, “We have been able to help our customers automate as well as modernise their processes. Our innovations are being well received by many proactive customers and to our pleasure they are reaping benefits and approaching us with expansion requests. India definitely has a potential for world-class operations in-house.”
Shulka also spoke about the offerings of Martin Engineering in the area of Material Handling. “Martin Engineering has introduced a revolutionary innovation in belt cleaning technology, called ‘CleanScrape’. It incorporates a matrix of tungsten carbide scrapers and is tensioned against the belt.”
He adds, “Cleanscrape is installed diagonally across the discharge pulley and forms a three dimensional curve. Despite an extremely low contact pressure between belt and cleaner, 85 per cent to 95 per cent of stuck material is removed. CleanScrape is a proven solution, providing long running, highly effective belt cleaning performance while requiring minimal maintenance in major bulk materials handling industries like mining, coal-handling, power, cement, aggregate, concrete plants, chemical, ports etc.”
Another Innovative design by Martin Engineering is ‘Air Cleaner’ which controls dust, offering an economical alternative to bag houses or central collectors. Martin Air Cleaners filter dust-bearing air at the transfer pints without the ductwork, large fans and energy costs of central “bag house” systems, returning captured material directly back into the stream. Shulka adds, “Installation and compact filter replacement is simple and economical; all filter media is changed from the “clean side” and no confined space permit is required.”
Demag has also contributed their share in the Material handling industry. The company has launched new types of cranes. Throwing light on this, Mirje says, “Demag has launched a new type of crane – cranes with V-type girder, which precisely achieves the requirements of the automotive industry and is able to reduce dead weight, reduce oscillations, and double the service life of the girder, thus providing increased safety and reliability. The solution has already found place and appreciation in many manufacturing plants in India. A double-girder variant (ZVKE) for V-type is also available in India now.”
According to Mirje, when it comes to rope hoists, choosing the best suited one is often like a puzzle. He says, “Companies not only have to compare many individual rope hoists with their specifications, they often have to make a compromise, because one rope hoist has the required motor, while a different one is available in exactly the right size, for example. We solve this problem and offer our customers more flexibility in their choice of a rope hoist. This is how the Demag DMR modular rope hoist evolved.”
Mirje further states, “This rope hoist exactly meets our customers’ requirements and offers the perfect solution for their specific applications. Depending on the specifications, the customer can select the basic design, hoist or crab type, electric equipment, drive method, size and load capacity.”
Along with the crane and monorails, Demag also offers semi-automatic electrified monorail systems. Speaking about this, Mirje adds, “We also offer structure for our cranes in many cases. Pneumatic balancers are also offered with our modular cranes – KBK systems as a complete solution. We have wide range of components in KBK systems like turn table, track switches, curved tracks, latching devices, drop stations, etc. which make it possible to design the layout as per customers material flow. For customers who want an alternate to pneumatic balancers, we have also launched a new product – “electric balancer D-BE”.
With the changing times, the technology has brought some serious changes in the sector of Material Handling. However, when it comes to Indian material handling, we have a long way to go. With the growing awareness about the safety and security, added with the urge to have better productivity and profitability India is speeding up in the right path. In the years to come, companies will find that investing in material handling technology may enable reduced material handling expenses and order cycle times. In turn, customers receive orders sooner and shipments will be more accurate.