Post 664 –by Gautam Shah
Many of the Materials handling processes in use today are essentially the same as those employed in ancient times. These processes evolved from day to day activities like farming, irrigation, cooking, hunting, storage, shelter-making and rituals. For a very long time, the process were not purpose-specific, but tools or means oriented. And as a result refinement has come from tools and rationalization of procedures. Many such processes are now highly mechanized saving time and energy, and some even are fully automatized, using programmed automats and robotics that allows faster, accurate and safer production.
Some of the traditional Materials Handling Processes
- Removal of Materials for surface texturizing, levelling, form-making, polishing, finishing etc.
- Addition of Material for levelling, filling-in, daubing, coating, plastering, rendering etc.
- Joining of Materials by mechanical (screwing, tying), adhesion, proximate placement, knitting, knotting etc.
- Downsizing of Material by breaking, cutting, splitting, chopping etc.
- Extraction of Material by mining, excavation, selection, separation, sieving, winnowing, floating, fishing, cultivation, hunting etc.
- Plastic Moulding of flours, clays, minerals etc.
Techniques of Materials handling include: Shaping of the form is the prime technique for treatment of materials, by plastic moulding, casting, extruding, pressing, shaping, embossing, reforming, deforming, removal of material, stretching, compressing and forging. Materials like Clay with important quality of plasticity allowed the shaping at ambient temperature. Materials like Wood and Stone were shaped by removal of the mass. Metals were workable by heating, beating (forging) and addition or removal of the mass.Materials’ Depositions are used to add upon mass or surface, and create mixes with use of the same or foreign materials for alloying, embellishing, cladding, layering, fixing, daubing, coating etc. Materials’ Compositions are used in assembling, entwining, joining, tying, bracing, weaving, knitting, embroidery, stitching, etc. Forming Composites of materials is used through Matrix and Filler mixes, such as layering, particle composites, etc.Cutting and crushing are the oldest of all material processes. Farming, irrigation, land levelling, minerals mining, cleaning the hunt and the hides, collecting and preparing fuel woods, skinning and shaving of hides, debarking timers, all require some form of cutting. Bare hands or sharp stones and sticks used as the cutting tools were aided by percussive tools like pounding sticks or stones and leveraged by long arms. Hammering was used for grinding foods, breaking and crushing nuts and compressing leather. Tools and arms served different purposes and required materials, creating processes of tying, wrapping, holding, fixing etc.
Shaving is done to remove material’s components such as outward hair or fibres, layers, etc. Leather surfaces are shaved to remove the surface hair and also for thinning. Leathers are also surface split to separate leather suitable for uppers and soles. The palm leaves are shaved to remove the stems and make them smoother for writing. Tree-barks are removed by axes and choppers to retard insect attack and increase moisture removal. Timbers are re-cut or planned with finer tools to achieve a smoother surface. Timbers are split very finely to create veneers. Wood planning is also a shaving technique. Carpets and rugs require close shearing by scissors to shave of protruding fibres.
Kneading soft or plastic materials to shape them, extract juices, forming homogeneous mixes were important material phase change processes. These were multi variant processes and gave magical capacity of material transformation. These were easiest and territorial universal processes. Using water for kneading, grinding, rubbing, levelling, polishing, coating, drilling, cutting, liquidizing, separation by flotation, emulsion-making, are processes used in food preparation, ceramics and metallurgical works.
Fire processing of materials created a whole new set of chemistry. It began by cooking, but most important innovations included clay baking into ceramics and reshaping metal nodules by hot forging. Later it included refining metals, and processes of oxidation, carbonation, etc. Controlled burning allowed development of many processes and products, by selection of fuel material, distancing, exposure timing, environmental conditions, shielding, etc.