Both for manufacturers and clients in metal fabrication and laser cutting areas, handling of materials is often a very important process. One of the most common products utilized here is known as the material handling tote, which streamlines efficiency by maximizing organization and material access.
At Cypress Metals, we regularly utilize material handling totes in our facility for both practical and safety needs, whether for custom laser cutting, metal fabrication or any of our other services. We know many of our clients also utilize such options or similar products – with this in mind, here’s a quick primer on material handling totes, the purposes they serve and some of the materials they are made of and which is best for given applications.
Defining Material Handling Totes
In any area where material handling is necessary, a tote describes several different containers that might be used in this realm. Material handling totes are open-ended containers generally made of wire, plastic or metal, meant to hold a variety of different items.
Material handling totes are portable, which is extremely convenient and necessary for many facilities. They’re also often designed to collapse when they aren’t being used, allowing them to be stored extremely easily. They come in a huge range of sizes and styles, and will generally be purchased based on their volume.
Totes Vs. Bins
Some assume material handling totes and bins are the same thing, but they are not. As we noted above, totes are open-ended containers, with this opening generally appearing at the top. Bins, on the other hand, come with a lid to completely enclose materials.
Each of these products has its ideal uses. Totes are best for parts or materials that require quick access, while bins are best for materials that aren’t accessed as often. Things like nails and screws are often stored in totes, for example, but specialty parts that are only used every so often will be stored in bins.
There are several materials available for material handling totes, including each of the following:
- Steel: A heavy, strong metal that’s best for totes that need to hold heavy parts.
- Stainless steel: For specific totes that are required to stand up to issues like chemicals, corrosion or even impact damage, stainless steel is an ideal material.
- Aluminum: A lighter metal than steel, plus one that won’t oxidize or rust. However, aluminum does dent, so it shouldn’t be used if impact risks are present.
- PVC: Commonly used in food processing and chemical facilities, PVC resists environmental factors like corrosion.
- ABS, PE or PP: These are varieties of thermoplastics that bring a rigid material handling solution, with PP generally serving as the strongest option.
For more on material handling totes in metal fabrication or laser cutting settings, or to learn about any of our custom fabrication or other services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.