Material Handling Equipment in Durham, NC

Material handling equipment

With its thriving economy, many companies in Durham need to move bulk materials around. Industrial materials cannot be used or sold unless they can be moved, stored, and distributed, and thus many companies in Durham cannot function unless they have the appropriate equipment to handle their industrial materials.

Forklift-free future

While some aspects of handling materials are similar across industries, each industry and company is unique. Buying the wrong kind of material handling equipment in Durham can create a bottleneck in your company's processes, delaying the movement of necessary materials and eating away at your profits. Thus, it is essential for company owners to fully understand the available options and their specific company's needs before investing in equipment to handle materials.

What is Material Handling Equipment?

Much can be said about material handling equipment. It is common knowledge that warehouses rely on it to keep products moving throughout various facilities until they reach their desired destinations.

Pallet racks and shelving have been used for years to store equipment, long before forklifts or any other automated devices even existed. Most items were moved manually using the primitive equipment that existed at the time.

Soon, automated guided vehicles made their grand debut, much to the relief of overworked staff who were tired of bending, stooping, and lifting heavy items. There were still risks involved with using the new equipment, but it did save workers a lot of time as they were able to store and move items a lot faster than they ever could in the past.

Distribution, storage, and manufacturing companies in Durham use industrial material handling equipment to transport, control, safeguard, and stock items. Because this type of equipment is used in so many different industries, it is extremely versatile.

It’s important to have a solid understanding of material handling equipment so your business can have the tools it needs to succeed. There are three different types of material handling equipment: engineered, industrial, and storage and handling.

1. Storage and Handling Equipment

Storage and Handling Equipment

The racks and shelving in a warehouse where materials are stored is the simplest type of material handling equipment currently in use. The racks use lots of vertical space to hold many items. Bins and mezzanines are also included in this category.

2. Material Handling Equipment

Material Handling Equipment

Some vehicles or equipment move materials through automation or manually. Automated Guided Vehicles, or AGVs, fall under industrial material handling equipment and engineered systems.

3. Engineered Systems

Engineered Systems

This type of material handling equipment involves more complicated systems with multiple components, usually warehouse automation.

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs), conveyor belts and robotic delivery systems are some examples of automated systems that can make warehouses more efficient. They are automated systems that can move materials around production or a warehouse without workers having to.

Let's focus on Material Handling Equipment.

Types of Material Handling Equipment in Durham, NC

The most popular type of material handling equipment includes forklifts, pallet trucks, and electric tuggers. We will examine them all to see how each one measures up to an electric tugger.

Forklifts for Material Handling Equipment in Durham, NC

Forklifts for Material Handling in Durham, NC

Forklifts are industrial trucks that lift and move materials across a facility over a short distance. The forked platform that is attached to the front can be lowered underneath a pallet or raised to lift or move it. Forklifts assist a variety of industries including most large storage facilities like warehouses.

A combustion engine or an electric battery are what forklifts rely on to work. Some forklifts require drivers to stand while others allow drivers to sit while operating and driving the machine. They move goods and materials across many industries including home improvement stores and furniture warehouse facilities.

The cons of using a forklift far outweigh the benefits one would gain from using an electric tugger. Let’s discuss these in further detail.

Common Uses Include:

  • Stacking and lifting larger items
  • Shelving and loading trucks
  • Moving palleted items across flat surfaces

Cons of a Forklift

  • Mostly not free from emissions
  • Voltage requirements may be a problem if used in older facilities
  • Require licensed operators to use them
  • Can cost upwards of $25,000
  • Are big and require large areas to accommodate turning

Consider implementing an electric tugger into your operation.  It outperforms a forklift when comparing it to the cons.

Pallet Jacks for Material Handling Equipment in Durham, NC

Pallet Jacks for Material Handling in Durham, NC

The electric pallet jack is the simplest and least versatile type of bulk goods handling equipment in common use. A pallet jack runs on a rechargeable battery. The operator walks behind it and directs it to lift and transport materials packaged on pallets. These devices are easy to use with minimal training, do not emit toxic emissions indoors, and can handle most general tasks. However, they cannot move really heavy loads (most have a weight limit of 5,500 pounds), can only move materials on pallets, and since they require an operator to walk with them and engage in some manual handling of the materials, the operator is at some risk of injury.

Common Uses:

  • General manual handling
  • Can manage basic material handling tasks
  • Can move short loads over short distances


  • Restricted to palletized loads
  • Have a maximum lifting limit of 5,500 pounds
  • Require material handling which can increase the likelihood of an injury

Electric Tuggers in Durham, NC

Electric tuggers run on batteries and can move heavier loads within most any environment. There are different configurations and sizes to meet numerous applications. Electric tuggers are a safer solution for moving heavy loads around a facility over shorter distances.

Common uses for electric tuggers include:

  • Can move carts and containers with ease in congested areas
  • Move large or heavy equipment, parts, or equipment with exactness
  • Can move up and down slopes and safely move waste bins

Electric tuggers, compared to pallet trucks and forklifts have:

• No required licenses and minimal training
• Zero emissions so they can safely be used indoors
• Can flexibly turn in tight environments
• Are less expensive than forklifts
• Are much more compact in size

Popular Electric Tuggers Ranges in Durham, NC


Up to 4,400 lbs.

SmartMover range of electric tugs

Easily move wheeled loads weighing up to 4,400 lbs. with the SmartMover range.

View the SmartMover


Up to 44,000 lbs.

MasterTow range of electric tow tugs

The MasterTow range of powerful, easy-to-use electric tow tugs, is ideally suited to towing loads weighing up to 44,000 lbs.

View the MasterTow


Up to 44,000 lbs.

MasterTug range of electric tuggers

The MasterTug range delivers unrivaled maneuverability when moving heavy-wheeled loads weighing up to 44,000 lbs.

View the MasterTug

Stainless Steel

Up to 33,000 lbs.

Stainless Steel range of electric tuggers

The Stainless Steel range of electric tuggers delivers the same level of performance as our steel ranges but with the added benefit of seamlessly ...

View the Stainless Steel

Interested in learning more about safe material handling in Durham?

Contact us to discuss how our electric tuggers can drive safe and efficient movement of your loads...