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Material Handling Equipment (MHE)

Material Handling Equipment (MHE) are mechanical devices for handling of supplies with greater ease and economy. MHE refers to various materials handling equipment, to include but not limited to forklifts, shelf pickers, motorized pallet jacks (hand trucks), tractors, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines.

Imagine having all the supplies needed to feed the entire country experiencing famine, or all the ammunition needed to protect a region but having no means to unload or distribute the goods. In a nutshell that is what happens when Material Handling Equipment is not available to unload, stack, load and distribute goods. For example, in Desert Storm the cranes, forklifts, and container handlers unloaded and distributed over 37,000 ISO containers and 500 thousand tons of ammunition.

Manpower factors are those job tasks, operation/maintenance rates, associated workload, and operational conditions (e.g., risk of hostile fire) that are used to determine the number and mix of military and DoD civilian manpower and contract support necessary to operate, maintain, support, and provide training for the system. Manpower officials contribute to the Defense acquisition process by ensuring that the program manager pursues engineering designs that optimize manpower and keep human resource costs at affordable levels (i.e., consistent with strategic manpower plans). Technology approaches and solutions used to reduce manpower requirements and control Lifecycle costs should be identified in the capabilities documents early in the process. Material-handling equipment can be used to reduce labor-intensive material-handling operations and embedded training can be used to reduce the number of instructors.

The Seventeen (17) Material Handling (MHE) Principles remain constant.

  1. Least handling is best handling. The greatest economy in moving materials is secured by keeping handling to a minimum.
  2. Standardization of methods and equipment results in the reduction of costs of operation. Maintenance, repair, storage and issue procedures can be simplified.
  3. Material Handling Equipment (MHE) must be selected for a multiple number of applications. Flexibility is the key.
  4. Specialized equipment should be kept to a minimum. Normally, first cost, cost of operations and maintenance costs are greater for special equipment than for standard equipment.
  5. Volume dictates the method of handling materials. The number of pieces to be moved determines the method of handling.
  6. The most essential phase of any program is planning. Material handling is no different. Factors requiring advanced planning include protection against weather and breakage, legal and physical restrictions in reference to transportation, the possibility of using unitized loads, the standardization of equipment and methods, the combination of material handling methods and the consideration of safety hazards.
  7. The length and number of moves of material should be kept to a minimum. Movement paths should be studies for the possibility of reducing "backtracking" and length of moves, resulting in better utilization of equipment and personnel.
  8. Equipment capacities should never be exceeded. Overloading causes excessive wear of equipment and creates accident potential.
  9. All materials handling activities should be analyzed for improvement possibilities by elimination, combination or simplification. Combination of operations may result in the simplification and reduction of the number of times material must be handled.
  10. The selection of Material Handling Equipment (MHE) is based on the economies of operation. Greater payloads for each handling operation will result in less handling cost per piece.
  11. The "physical state" of materials is a factor in determining MHE. The three physical states of material - solid, liquid and gas - determine the method of containment (pack). This, in turn, influences the selection of MHE.
  12. The shortest distance between two given points is a straight line - utilize a straight line flow of materials whenever possible. The time to move materials can be reduced by using a straight line flow.
  13. Materials should move continuously along any production line. Choppy or broken flow causes confusion and delay. Most shipping and receiving operations should operate on the principle of continuous flow.
  14. All materials handling operations should follow a defined method. The standardization of the method will provide a basis for determining handling requirements.
  15. Short, irregular moves lend themselves to manual materials handling. When moves are short, irregular and load capacity of people is not exceeded, it may be more economical to use manpower.
  16. Whenever practicable materials should be prepositioned for the handling operations. Prepositioning places containers in position to facilitate picking up and/or moving and materials so they do not obstruct other materials.
  17. Whenever practicable, materials should be moved in a horizontal plane or with the aid of gravity. The ideal lifting position is at the waist. The nearer to the waist that a container or part can be picked up and disposed, the greater will be the efficiency.

The Material Handling Equipment (MHE) Group is part of the commodity Business Unit (CBU), under the Deputy for Systems Acquisition and Life Cycle Management (DSA & LCM). It is located at the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), in Warren, Michigan. The Material Handling Equipment team, under TARDEC's Engineering Business Group, is part of the Engineering and Logistics Equipment POD, AMSTA-TR-E-ELE/21. The MHE team provides a broad range of engineering services including development, fielding and support of various military logistics equipment.

Customers of the team include: PM for Force Projection-Enabling Systems, PM for CE/MHE and PM for Army Watercraft Systems. The MHE team represents the Army and DOD on national and international technical and standardization committees. Many future programs come from new initiatives that are proposed to meet current and emerging Army needs in the respective mission areas.

The MHE team -- PM for Force Projection-Enabling Systems, PM for CE/MHE and PM for Army Watercraft Systems -- represents the Army and DOD on national and international technical and standardization committees. Many future programs come from new initiatives that are proposed to meet current and emerging Army needs in the respective mission areas.

The Materials Handling Equipment team supports several active programs. Individual programs often result in a production contract that purchases several hundred end items. These end items can be very complex and expensive systems such as the Rough Terrain Container Handler, which cost approximately $500,000 each and weigh 117,000 pounds. The MHE team also manages the hardware, inspection and testing of fielded equipment and modernization of existing vehicle and watercraft systems.

The Marine Corps Family of Material Handling Equipment encompasses a wide variety of material-handling assets, ranging from light forklifts to heavy cranes and container handlers. Specific systems include the rough-terrain container handler; extended boom forklift; light-capability, rough-terrain forklift; high-speed, highmobility crane; light, rough-terrain crane; mobile welding equipment; and, multipurpose, rubber-tired articulated tractor.

Procurement of these systems ensures that Combat Service Support Elements (CSSEs) have the ability to support the scheme of maneuver and logistical requirements of their Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

The Family of Material Handling Equipment program maintains the Marine Corps' material handling and transportation support capability. As such, various items are replaced as determined appropriate by the life cycle manager, Program Manager Engineer Systems. Specific items may be managed as acquisition or abbreviated- acquisition programs. However, there are several acquisition programs in progress at any point in time.

Each year it is estimated that more than 40,000 MHE related injuries occur in the U.S. Injuries involve employees being struck by lift trucks or falling while standing or working from elevated pallets or forks. Many employees are injured when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks or when the lift falls between a dock and an unchocked trailer. For each employee injured, there are probably numerous incidents that are unreported to supervision. All mishaps cost. Most incidents also involve property damage, such as damage to overhead sprinklers, racks, pipes, walls, machinery, doors, and merchandise. Unfortunately, the majority of employee injuries and property damage can be attributed to lack of procedures, insufficient or inadequate training, and lack of safety-rule enforcement.

OSHA has reviewed several studies that compared the driving experience of trained and untrained MHE operators. Those studies suggested that when operators received detailed training, and got feedback from the trainers and supervisors, the number of dangerous maneuvers linked to accidents were reduced.

Only trained/authorized operators are permitted to operate powered industrial trucks. The employer must certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated as required by OSHA. The certification shall include the name of the operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation, and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation. An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator's performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.

Modifications must not be made on any powered industrial truck without prior written approval from the manufacturer. Nameplates shall be legible and posted on vehicle, indicating truck capacity, approximate weight, and any instructional information.

Only approved powered industrial trucks may be used in hazardous locations. The atmosphere or location of powered industrial truck use shall be classified prior to consideration of what type of truck to use in that area. Trucks are designated as approved by a recognized testing laboratory for specific hazardous locations and are so marked. A summary table on use of powered industrial trucks in hazardous locations cn be found in the OSHA Standard.

Slings used in conjunction with other material handling equipment for the movement of material. A sling is an assembly which connects the load to the material handling equipment. Slings include those made from alloy steel chain, wire rope, metal mesh, natural or synthetic fiber rope (conventional three strand construction), and synthetic web (nylon, polyester, and polypropylene).

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:47:28 ZULU