How does a material handler work?

How does a material handler work

Handling excavators, also often referred to as material handlers, are a special type of excavator that is used to carry various goods on an especially large scale. A variety of materials can act as cargo, for example, harvested wood, rolled metal or other metal products, various bulk materials, including construction materials. Such machines operate at transshipment bases, warehouses, ports, scrap metal collection points. The equipment is equipped with a load-gripping mechanism-manipulator, which provides reliable fixation of lumber, fittings, pipes and other materials. Also, this type of special equipment is widely used for industrial transshipment and lifting of goods to the required height.

Features of material handlers

For a long time, the function of material handlers for transshipment was performed by various cranes. Then they were replaced by excavators and loaders equipped with the appropriate type of attachments. This change greatly facilitated and accelerated the processes of production and construction, and simplified the work of the operators of loading and unloading equipment. Outwardly, the material handler resembles a conventional construction excavator; it can be produced on a caterpillar mover or pneumatic wheel chassis. However, unlike earth-moving equipment, such machines are equipped with a more powerful hydraulic system, the working bodies are arranged on a reinforced chassis, and a turntable is provided.

Thanks to these features, material handlers can lift massive and oversized cargo to a height of up to twenty meters. Material handlers carry out a full cycle of loading and unloading operations. A long boom and a full-rotation load-handling mechanism make it possible to unload building materials directly from gondola cars, to stack cargo in storage areas.

The hydraulic lifting system, which defines the functionality of modern material handlers, provides them with ergonomics and high performance in work. Such loaders are characterized by high mobility, resistance to high loads, in addition, they are able to perform their tasks very quickly.

Depending on what kind of cargo it is planned to use the excavator, various equipment can be installed on it. Most often these are electromagnetic grippers, also this type of equipment can be equipped with graders. Material handlers can be caterpillar and wheeled, and each type of equipment has its own characteristics of use and advantages:

  • wheeled excavators are more compact and maneuverable
  • tracked vehicles are more powerful in operation.

A high-tech material handler can greatly simplify and speed up the workflow, whether it is construction work or logging, as well as industrial production or processing. Due to high-quality automation and high load capacity, such a unit allows you to get an excellent result of work, replacing a whole team of workers.


Material handlers are rarely universal, and are usually produced for specific tasks. For example, a machine designed for sorting scrap metal will be ineffective when handling non-metallic materials. Although this discrepancy is partially leveled by replaceable attachments.

Today the market offers a wide range of different models of this type of equipment from the world’s leading manufacturers. It is not difficult to choose the right model and buy a material handler today. With the right approach, you can buy a used material handler in good condition, saving your budget.

The use of loaders today is almost universal, since this equipment is necessary in many areas of production.