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ULTRA-LITE: Optimize Your Material Handling Process

Posted on April 18, 2022

Ultra Lite Containers by MFG TrayWhether you’re manufacturing machine parts, producing pharmaceuticals, or making candy, you need to ensure your material handling process is as streamlined as possible. It’s a key element to improving customer service, shortening delivery times, and minimizing costs.

Much of optimizing your material handling process involves having the right equipment for the job. In this post, MFG Tray, a leading supplier of material handling trays and containers, discusses the fundamentals of material handling and the importance of lightweight and long-lasting solutions.

What is Material Handling?

Material handling is the movement, protection, storage, and control of materials and products. This process is active during every stage of the supply chain, from manufacturing and warehousing to distribution and consumption. Material handling incorporates a wide range of manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment and systems.

It’s vital that manufacturers of all types select material handling equipment that supports logistics and supply chain processes. By doing so, they can enhance customer service, reduce inventory needs, shorten fulfillment time, and minimize overall handling costs.

Let’s Talk Containers for Material Handling

Stacked Ultra-Lite Container by MFG TrayContainers are one of the four primary types of material packaging alongside pallets, dunnage, and unitizers. Containers function as receptacles that hold, protect, and organize products and materials while manufacturers transport, distribute, and store them. Three of the most common forms of reusable containers are:

  1. Hoppers: These containers store and organize small parts in manufacturing and assembly. It’s a best practice to find hoppers that are stackable to save space, made of durable composite plastic to avoid corrosion, and designed with a canted front for easy access to parts.
  2. Totes: Also called hand-held containers and work-in-process totes, these receptacles are typically transported by hand. However, an automated storage system may move heavier totes to avoid worker injuries or product damages. Totes are offered in three styles: nestable, stackable, and our most popular, the nest and stack design.
  3. Bulk Containers: Sometimes referred to as bulk boxes, bulk hoppers, or shipping containers, these large-scale storage units are typically only movable with a pallet jack or forklift.

Manufacturers use containers of varying sizes to move materials throughout their facilities in nearly every industry. They’re an essential part of the production process as they protect and hold components as they move through the supply chain.

Benefits of Containers

If you’re handing significant qualities of products and material, you need high-quality containers to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain. More specifically, containers offer:

  • Containment: Grouping multiple cases, small objects, or bulk materials helps optimize manual and automated handling.
  • Convenience: Containers can make every part of your operation more manageable, from stacking and displaying to dispensing and disposing.
  • Protection: Containers provide protection from contaminants such as water and dust and from damaging conditions such as vibrations, temperature shifts, and impacts.
  • Sustainability: Containers are often reusable, which cuts down on waste and minimizes supply chain costs.

Benefits of ULTRA-LITE Containers

Not all containers are made equally. For instance, MFG Tray Containers’ ULTRA-LITE composite is 40% lighter than standard composite material. Lighter trays, totes, and boxes mean more ergonomic manual processes and less wear and tear on automated systems. Fiberglass-reinforced plastic is not only super lightweight, but it’s incredibly tough, minimizing the cost of replacement parts over time.

ULTRA-LITE containers are resistant to most cutting oils, detergents, mild acids, and alkaline solutions. This resistance means that manufacturers won’t have to worry about rust, corrosion, or rot under any conditions, including high and low temperatures.

To ensure long-term profitability, it’s vital that manufacturers invest in high-quality material handling equipment. We recommend composite materials over traditional plastic or wood as they’re:

  • Moisture and humidity resistant
  • Scratch and stain-resistant
  • Easy to clean and disinfect
  • Integratable into other processing equipment
  • Usable at higher line speeds
  • Usable through the entire process flow
  • Stackable without warping or distorting under heavy loads

No matter the industry, affordable and effective handling equipment is essential for optimal efficiency. For this reason, we recommend looking for fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP or fiberglass) trays over less expensive options such as plastic, wood, or stainless steel.

Which Industries Need Material Handling Containers?

If you’re manufacturing, transporting, distributing, or storing products, chances are you need containers. Though this can cover a wide range of industries, some of the most common fields include:

●      Aerospace

●      Ammunition

●      Automotive

●      Beverage

●      Cannabis

●      Confectionery

●      Construction

●      Consumer goods

●      Electronics

●      Farming

●      Food/Food Service

●      Government

●      Hardware

●      Hospitals

●      Manufacturing

●      Materials processing

●      Medical

●      Paper

●      Pharmaceutical

●      Plastics

●      Warehousing

Go with ULTRA-LITE Containers

MFG Tray engineers developed The ULTRA-LITE containers to meet the customer demands for a sustainably lighter container that can withstand continuous industrial use. We offer two composite solutions for industrial applications: Standard FRP and an ULTRA-LITE FRP formulation.

The ULTRA-LITE composite formulation is 40% less weight than the standard FRP while retaining the strength and durability that MFG has been trusted with for over 70 years. We can also use the ULTRA-LITE composite formulation on any of our over 300 models of material handling products to align with your specific application and process needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about our products and how they can help you streamline your material handling process, reach out by visiting our contact page.


Leading manufacturer of high-strength, glass-reinforced composite containers, trays, boxes, flats and totes for material handling in the metal working, plastics and electronics assembly industries, as well as in food service, confectionery and pharmaceutical processing.

MFG Tray continually develops customized solutions for specific material-handling challenges and applications. Customers are encouraged to contact MFG Tray to discuss any unique handling and design requirements.