With the advent of automation in manufacturing and warehousing, material handling is being seen as a focal point of total system integration and control. In contrast to mechanical design problems, this paper addresses current issues in the design and operation of material handling systems from an overall systems viewpoint. Topics reviewed include automated storage and retrieval systems, order picking, order sortation and accumulation, and transportation. The purpose is to overview essential issues, describe representative research, and identify critical needs for future study.

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