The reach stacker and the container handler are the most commonly used machines for material handling tasks. Although used for the same purpose, these machines are different and come with different specifications and configuration. So which one is better? Each handling machine offers unique advantages, so a wrong choice may result in decreased productivity and higher costs. Therefore, you must make the best decision in order to remain productive. The following text will highlight the main characteristics of both material handling machines so that you can choose the right one for your operation.
First of all, you need to determine how much available space you have for storing containers, both in height and width. Both mobile handling machines have different storage capacity. For example, the container handler is capable to stack up to 4 containers in height, but it is limited to a single row only. The reach stacker on the other hand, isn’t limited to a single row and can stack containers in 2 or 3 rows. However, when storing containers, the selectivity should also be considered.
The number of containers on top or in front of a particular container that need to be moved to access the needed container is called selectivity. This whole process is known as restacking, and how many “dead lifts” you will have to do before reaching the needed container depends on the material handler you use. Selectivity has a significant impact on the speed of your overall container handling operation, because it determines the time you need to transfer a single container. Some applications require frequent loading and unloading of containers. Although there are advanced logistical systems for better coordination, the restacking procedure cannot be entirely avoided. For faster restacking, you should choose the container handler.
When it comes to the lifting capacity, the reach stacker and the container handler come with different lifting capacities. Some applications requires handling machines with additional outreach and ability to rotate. When on the market, look for a reach stacker or container handler that will be capable to operate in 15m-wide aisles. Operations that involve stacking loads on higher positions require a material handler with additional capacity, which the reach stacker may not offer.