The opposable thumb has been the greatest physical asset behind human dexterity. This finger position allowed man to hold anything and provided tremendous grip strength. Human ingenuity and animal power combined with this opposable thumb helped generate such monster creations as the Giza and the Mayan pyramids, and carved all the wonders of ancient and modern world.
Although man had devised ingenious methods and applications for handling awkward and huge materials, or to channel them in the required way, much of such handling was rudimentary. The factory method of production and the industrial revolution tremendously increased the speed, amount and size of materials handled. This required specialized methods, applications and instruments as human hands were incapable or inefficient for certain processes that involved extreme temperatures, toxic materials, fumes, heavy materials, tremendous speed, huge volume, intricate processes involving small processes or large distances, etc.
Mechanical handling of materials was the way out and a variety of ways had to be devised to make the process fast and energy efficient (in case of large masses, volumes and long distances). Collieries, mineral mines, oil facilities, large go downs, factory floors, ports and container facilities, etc require a variety of material handling applications. Mechanical solutions like access platforms, fork lifts, conveyor belts, straddle carriers, cranes, etc make material handling at the industrial level possible.
This section of 01webdirectory provides links to various material handling resources.