Material handling involves short-distance movement within the confines of a building or between a building and a transportation vehicle. It uses a wide range of manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment and includes consideration of the protection, storage, and control of materials throughout their manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Material handling can be used to create time and place utility through the handling, storage, and control of waste, as distinct from manufacturing, which creates form utility by changing the shape, form, and makeup of material.
Material handling equipment (MHE) is mechanical equipment used for the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. The different types of handling equipment can be classified into four major categories: transport equipment, positioning equipment, unit load formation equipment, and storage equipment.