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4 major challenges engineers continue to face when moving heavy objects

John Snoeren | 03-10-2019

In the manufacturing industry, engineers are constantly facing the challenge of needing to transport, lift and position heavy objects. Manufacturing companies are ever-changing their production facilities with new assembly lines, adding or removing machinery, and exchanging manufacturing products from one place to the other. It’s for that reason production facilities often have a separate logistical department for material handling. Within this department, engineers have to deal with the multi-faced challenges that arise when moving heavy objects safely. In this blog, I’ll outline the main logistical challenges engineers in manufacturing companies continue to face.

1. Not even Hercules is strong enough

Compared to warehousing and assembly lines with smaller items - where employees often only need to relocate lightweight items - the material handling departments in manufacturing companies face a much bigger challenge.

When heavy objects come to the stage, human power alone is not enough to move objects heavier than a person’s own body weight. Not even a group of strong employees or Hercules himself could do the job.

For that reason, technical engineers have no other choice but to rely on the support of internal transport solutions to lift, carry and place the heavy loads. But how do you find the transportation solution that tackles your specific challenges? With so many parameters you have to take into account, finding the appropriate solution is an expertise on its own.

2. The critical impact on the floor

The weight of the heavy object has a high impact on the floor, and specifically on the floor loading capacity. Besides the weight of the object itself, the weight of the transportation equipment also adds up to the total weight. This impact on the floor might exceed the floor loading capacity.

So when looking for a way of moving heavy objects safely, the first thing on the to-do list should be calculating the maximum floor loading capacity and performing an extensive risk assessment.

3. The limitation of overall moving space

Moving heavy objects is less of a challenge in an empty production facility, but this is almost never the case. The material handling department in manufacturing facilities has to deal with fixed machinery, warehouse racks, and free-moving traffic. This full environment can limit the space needed for moving heavy objects safely and efficiently.

Space limitation doesn’t just rely on the width size of the object and the surrounding traffic and objects. The construction height of the object - and especially the height of the transportation equipment - also determines whether or not the heavy loads can fit through gateways when moving them.

Therefore, material handling departments should make an inventory of the available space in the production facility. This calculation makes it possible to choose the right transportation equipment when moving heavy objects, based on its size to fit for internal transport.

4. Health and safety legislation for employees

Whereas the first three challenges discussed in this article where mainly practical and functional, the fourth challenge concerns the physical well-being of the employees moving the heavy objects. What is and isn’t allowed in terms of carrying heavy weights at work is registered in general health and safety legislation. Manufacturing companies that want to move heavy loads, therefore are required to obey the rules and will be held accountable when accidents happen.

More and more transportation solutions are automated, but employees are still needed. Manufacturing companies are bound to the rules for their employees, so choosing the best transportation solution should incorporate the best working conditions for human resources.

Find out what the best transportation solution is for you

Your internal transport challenges could vary from the weight of your load and the impact of its weight on the floor loading capacity, to the overall moving space and the well-being of your employees.

Are you curious to discover which transportation solution best matches your specific challenges? In our Internal Transportation Guide you’ll learn more about the best fitting transportation solution for your company.

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John Snoeren

Technical Specialist at Aerofilm Systems