The general trend in the MHE industry is towards increasing automation, enhancing productivity and maximizing safety. A lot of innovations are also taking place to develop equipment specifically to one sub-sector of a particular industry and in turn provide a highly customized solution for a very niche requirement. Technologies have progressed rapidly in the past decade. We see superior control methodologies in terms of accuracy, repeatability and efficiency in the market today. Advanced mechanisms and use of electrical sensors, invertors help ensure safety while using these equipments.
With the advent of superior technology and introduction of high-level softwares such as warehouse management system (WMS), manufacturing execution system (MES) the isolated connectivity of MHE is being replaced by comprehensive interfaces. The more-advanced material handling control systems that provide a single point interface with upper-level software are often called warehouse control systems (WCS). Another trend in material handling equipment is the growing popularity of voice-recognition systems. The voice-recognition system aides direct communication with a computer via a headset. While receiving instructions from the computer, operators are able to keep both hands on the equipment which results in a safer working environment. The most newest development is the M2M communications space which allows communications to happen between Machines.
Apart from advances in automation and controls, a lot of development is also being made in ensuring that the products are environmentally-friendly without sacrificing the cost competitiveness. An example is the distinct shift taking place in several industries in eliminating hydraulics and moving towards purely electrical drives. The basic advantage of electrical drives is the higher efficiency in converting energy into useful work by directly driving the motors or actuators and the elimination of hydraulic fluids. The environment thus benefits due to better usage of valuable energy as well as due to elimination of problems caused by ruptured hydraulic hoses and the subsequent oil spillages.