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10 Types of Lifting Equipment to Make Material Handling Easier

In this post, we explore the different material handling equipment employees can use to enable the free movement of goods around a building, from A to B, or G to 1,2,3,4 or more... 

Material handling process 

Material handling occurs whenever heavy goods and loads are being transported around a building with the help of a manual or automated mechanical equipment, making them easier to move, protecting goods from damage, as well as protecting staff from manual handling risks and accidents

A material handling process helps staff manage heavy-duty cargo, speed up productivity and helps to establish a safer working environment. Lifting machines are used in most market sectors, such as retail shop floors, warehouses and factories, back of house locations, construction, distribution and disposal of any types of materials.

Horizontal movement from A to B 

Pallet truck (aka pump truck or pallet pump and pallet jack) 

A pallet truck is a manual lifting device with wheels, used to lift and move around pallets. With the cart’s tapered forks beneath the pallet and the pump handle, the equipment can assist lifting, moving and lowering any material from A to B. 

One of the most common devices used all over the world in warehouses, storerooms and retail environments to move around stock, it’s a low-cost solution that helps reduce manual handling risks and accidents. The pallet is the most elementary form of small forklift.

Forklift truck   

One of the most widely used industrial vehicles is the forklift truck. It’s used to move pallets, heavy goods and materials. Due to its sturdy composition, size and the weight it can lift, forklifts are used in warehouses, factories, industrial units and construction sites. 

Depending on the weight of the goods, the type of business, there is a choice of electric forklifts you can choose from. Only employees who have undergone training are able to operate such types of machinery. 

Lifting hoists and overhead cranes  

Lifting hoists and overhead cranes are used in warehouses and factories. An overhead crane is made of parallel beams with a travelling bridge crossing the gap, the hoist is the part that aids in supporting, lifting and moving along the bridge. Depending on your type of business, you can find different types of cranes and hoist, from manual to powered, even lifting hoists that help to elevate older or disabled people. 

Fun fact! Stannah’s founder, Joseph Stannah, was a pioneer engineer during his time. The hoists and cranes he was manufacturing, installing and supplying were being used in cargo transportation around the London dockyards.     

Belt conveyors  

When you think belt conveyors, you may think of moving walkways, they’re similar, transporting through a long runaway/belt large volumes of loads, boxes and materials effortlessly allowing companies to ship and receive greater quantities of stock with smaller warehouse space and fewer labour expenses.  

Vertical movement up 1,2,3,4 or more! 

Cage lift 

The most basic of vertical movement options, cage lifts are designed to carry single cages or trolleys. They can be supplied in a stand-alone mesh structure or just as a hoist where you can install your own means of controls. 

The pallet lifting cages are most commonly used in agricultural settings. With adjacent dual doors, lifting forks with storage and handles to ensure maximum safety, lifting and moving of palletised goods has become quicker, easier and safer. 

Service lifts and small goods lifts

Dumbwaiters and trolley lifts fall under the umbrella of service lifts and hydraulic lifting equipment. With load capacity which starts from 50kg for micro lifts reaching up to 500 kg for custom-built trolley lifts; they can transport anything from office and dental equipment, coffee, food and drinks to small goods, barrels and large boxes. 

You can find them supporting all kinds of business needs of any office, small retail, catering sector, restaurant, pub and light industry. 

Goods only lifts 

And then you have the choice of larger goods lifts. They have a load capacity up to 3000kg for the transportation of heavier warehouse merchandise and materials in retail and industry.

goodsmaster-cd-concertina-door-optimisedThe lower rise small scissor lifts can assist with moving trolleys and cages over a small change of level and to a mezzanine floor.

While a platform goods lift can move heavy loads between two or more floors. Both types come with bump rails and a ramp option as well as interlocked gates to limit movement of loads inside the lift. 

Goods attendant lifts 

Plus, there are ranges of goods lift which gives you the extra benefit of moving your goods along with up to two attendants. So, you don’t have to worry about your staff’s safety when the staircase is located away from the lift. 

Heavy goods/passenger lifts 

Heavy goods lift Countess of Brecknock

Heavy-duty lifts are ideal for demanding environments such as infrastructure, airports, hospitals and warehouses.

Those lifts have larger capacities and tougher finishes which allow them to carry heavy machinery, hospital and medical supplies, theatre and scenery equipment, even cars and aeroplanes!

Bucket elevator 

What happens when you want to move and elevate free and semi-free-flowing materials? The bucket elevator is the most popular solution and operates by being attached to an endless spliced loop of either belt or chain which moves continuously. During the cycling movement, the buckets are loaded and travel around to where they dispose of their content, returning back to their never-ending cycle. 

Want to make material handling easier in your building?

When assessing which material handling systems best fits your needs, you need to consider your building layout and the type of goods/loads/materials you need to transfer around. No company can offer all the above solutions and products. Depending on your needs and requirements of your business, you have a variety of manufacturers to choose from. 

Looking for a vertical lifting gear? 

When it comes to service and goods lifts and heavy-duty lifts, you know you can rely on Stannah. With over 150 years, supplying, installing and servicing a range of lifts we can help. 

See our range of service & goods lifts

Still unsure? No problem! Get in touch to speak to one of our lift experts or click here to download your FREE guide to goods lifts your question answered.


With nearly 50,000 installations across the UK and over 92,000 units on our service portfolio, Stannah offer a wide range of lift solutions and services to move people and goods. Take a look at our product range or simply get in touch.

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