The purpose of this investigation was to develop a mechanical device that could safely perform handling tasks that are normally done manually in underground bituminous coal mines. The report discusses studies leading to construction of a battery-operated, three-wheel vehicle with a 6 deg. of freedom manipulator. Supportive design studies included collection and analysis of production, manual functions, and injury data on the underground bituminous coal mining industry. Transfer tasks in section storage and working places were the prime candidates for mechanical handling. Functional specifications were developed for two handling devices (one to handle existing unit loads and one to handle repackaged unit loads) and for a vehicle to mount the handling device. Design concepts for nine different handling devices were developed and a cost-benefit evaluation was made for each. Detail design, capital and operating costs, and method improvement savings data were developed for two battery-operated vehicles and for two different manipulators. The three-wheel vehicle with anthropomorphic manipulator was chosen for development.