material handling conveyor system

Material Handling Challenges and How to Solve Them

material handling conveyor system

Individuals in the manufacturing and storage space know how intricate the system of processes, machinery, human input, and algorithms are. All of these things work together in fascinating ways to ensure continuity of production and output. However, when it comes to material handling, the available equipment and solutions all have incredibly focused roles in handling, transportation, and storage.

Material handling involves getting products and raw materials from one point to another as efficiently as possible. If there are any material handling inefficiencies, then it’s almost impossible for organizations to reap any profits. Therefore, we have compiled some of the most common material handling challenges and how to solve them in this blog. When done properly, the handling of products runs smoothly and utilizes the available storage space to an organization’s maximum potential.

Material Handling Challenges

Analogous Storage System

One of the most common problems in material handling is failing to account for the diverse materials. If there is no flexibility or diversity in your storage, then you will find that you often run out of space. You want a system that can handle a full variety of your materials and storage systems that can hold your specific materials without wasting any space.

Minimal Research

Times are changing and with these changes come new and innovative ways of doing things. A wise man once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.” Ensure that you constantly research new developments rather than relying solely on what you already know. You can engage material handling specialists to help you identify areas of improvement which are often overlooked.


This is one of the biggest challenges that organizations deal with when it comes to material handling. Picture a honeycomb in a beehive, there are usually spaces all over. Honeycombing happens when organizations don’t fully utilize the space in their storage units. This is usually a costly mistake because apart from wasting precious space, it also hinders the seamless movement of personnel.

Lack of Scalability

All organizations that get into business primarily seek to make profits and expand. Despite this, most companies lack an effective long-term plan and end up scrambling in the eventuality that business booms. When business is booming, it means that there’s more effort and more energy needed to meet customer needs. Organizations often set themselves up for disaster by failing to plan and then rushing to try to handle the new demands.

Too Much Contact

For effective material handling, you want your workers to deal with each material for as little time as possible. No matter how skilled your personnel is, the goal is minimizing costs and raising efficiency. The less time your workers spend moving or processing materials that can be automated means more time for them to focus on other jobs that require their skills. In material handling, effective time management is often the difference between making profits or losses.

How to Solve Material Handling Challenges?

Process Automation

In a flowing factory, automation using conveyors is a game changer for process and productivity. Manual labor usually works at a much slower pace than machinery resulting in a lot of money spent and can even risk the health of your employees every so often. Richards-Wilcox conveyors are built with redundancy and repetitive decision-making in mind to ensure efficiency and ease of use. Our conveyors are cost-effective and seamlessly integrate into your production line. In addition, the set-up is completely customizable to whatever material type you handle.

Consistent Processing Speed

Another way to overcome the challenges of material handling is to ensure a steady speed of processing goods and materials in your entire system. If one of your systems or processes is too fast or too slow then you will notice problems with overflow or backups. This can cost you precious time and even lead to delayed deliveries. Our conveyors ensure a consistent speed throughout to enable the handling to move like clockwork.

Efficient Use of Space

Most organizations don’t plan their storage arrangements or try out different layouts. As a result, they often settle for sub-optimal storage systems with a lot of wasted space. With proper planning and equipment, organizations can utilize all the space from the floor to the ceiling. Overhead space can also be used to move materials using overhead conveyors. Just ensure that it’s completely safe because falling materials can be dangerous.

Frequent Inspections and Maintenance

A large part of handling challenges in material handling is conducting preventative maintenance. Frequently inspect your systems and machines and fix any problems you come across before they become big issues. These inspections and maintenance can help you avoid breakdowns that halt the entire operation and often cost a lot to repair.


The way an organization’s material handling system operates can be the difference between making profits and incurring losses. Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is a master of conveyor systems engineering. We specialize in engineering systems and creating custom material handling solutions.

Our conveyors are ideal for various material handling equipment situations. If you would like to streamline your material handling and ensure maximum efficiency, contact Richards-Wilcox Conveyor today!

powder coating

Why the Finishing Industry is Betting Big on Powder Coating

powder coating

Driven by technological advancements, external pressures, and opportunities to enter new markets, many producers are switching from liquid paint to powder coatings. Let’s take a look at why this switch is happening and what you should know about powder.

What is UV-Curable Powder Coating?

UV-curable powder coating is an alternative to liquid paint. Applied using an electrostatic spray gun and finished with high-powered UV light, powder is used in a wide range of industrial finishing applications, on products ranging from plastic car parts to wooden patio furniture.
Thanks to its low curing temperature, powder coating can be used on substrates that liquid paint cannot—just one of the many differences between the two.

powder coating

Powder vs. Paint

In terms of the performance and look of their final products, powder coating and liquid paint are comparable. Some newer powder formulations have even outperformed liquid in chemical- and weathering-resistance.

At the same time, there are some major differences between the two.

For one, powder coating can be applied to a variety of non-metallic substrates that liquid cannot. While liquid formulas often require extreme heat to cure, powder coating can cure at a relatively low temperature. Therefore, powder can be applied to materials that cannot withstand ultra-high temps, such as wood composites and plastic. Today, producers are using powder coatings in a variety of non-metallic substrates such as MDF, HDF, glass, gypsum fiber board, ceramics and plastic.

Another advantage of powder coating is the speed and efficiency of its curing process. While liquid paint often takes minutes to cure, powders can be cured in less than 10 seconds using UV light. Thanks to its quick curing, systems that use powder can move faster, produce more, and consume less energy along the way.

A Changing World

powder coat finish

In today’s climate, arguably the most important difference between powder and liquid paint is that powder is seen as a sustainable alternative. In general, powder coatings produce less waste and toxins. Meanwhile, producers are working towards making powder part of a “true circular economy” by reprocessing powder waste and formulating resins from recycled materials.
While not everyone agrees on the relative sustainability of powder vs. liquid formulations, what really matters is that many governments and corporations have reached the consensus that powder is more sustainable. As a result, shifting regulations and corporate commitments are pressuring producers to switch to powder, and those pressures will likely intensify in the years to come.

Recap: Should You Use Powder?

powder coating

While some producers will continue using liquid paint for the time being, many are switching to powder. That’s because powder is:

  • More flexible: Thanks to its low curing temp, powder coatings can be applied to a variety of wood composites and other non-metallic substrates. For those in the finishing business, using powder can open up entire new markets, such as plastic vehicle components and wooden home furniture.
  • More efficient: Powder coating’s low-temperature curing process takes less time and consumes less energy.
  • More sustainable: As governments and corporations pressure producers to use more sustainable processes, using liquid paint is increasingly costly and cumbersome. A system that uses powder coatings may have greater longevity.

Want to Bring Powder Coating to Your Production Line? We’ll Make It Happen.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor has partnered with a wide range of producers to design, install and integrate finishing applications, including powder coating. From designing layouts to integrating robotic applicators, we leverage decades of experience and partnerships with the best in the business to create smarter, safer, more efficient solutions.

To get started, submit a contact form or call us at 800-253-5668.

For more technology that’s revolutionizing the finishing industry, read our blog How Automated Conveyors are Revolutionizing Industrial Paint Application or take a closer look at Richards-Wilcox’s Finishing Line Conveyors.