Forklift trucks have been here for a little under a century and today, it finds usage in every warehouse operation in different corners of the world. The first forklifts were developed owing to manpower shortage caused by the First World War.
In the early 1920s, the design of forklift evolved from a tractor to a machine that boasts vertical lifting mast. Development of forklift advanced with the advent of the Second World War. It played a significant role in armies throughout the world during the Second World War.
After the Second World War, the development of forklift gained momentum. The battery-driven forklifts made its appearance in the 1950s. The specialized forklifts like Narrow Aisle Reach truck also came into being during this time. In the 1960s and 1970s, improvements in electronic control were undertaken. This helped forklifts to acquire more versatility. The companies also started considering warehouse efficiency.
Today, we can power forklift using a number of options like diesel, gasoline, compressed natural gas, and liquid propane gas.
Classifications of Forklift
There are different types of forklift trucks. Let’s check out on them
- Counterbalance Forklift Trucks
This is one of the most common types of forklift trucks and most people think of it as soon as forklift trucks are mentioned. The forks protrude from the machine’s front. The truck is possible to be driven to the exact location of the load. No reach facility is thus necessary here. These are diesel, gas, or electric powered.
- 3 Wheel Counterbalance Forklift Trucks
This is similar to the counterbalance forklifts. It just includes a single drive wheel. These are perfect to use in applications where space is limited. This truck ensures maximum productivity.
- Reach Trucks
These trucks are designed chiefly for warehouse operation.
They are perfect to operate in the narrow aisle warehousing spaces. They come with 2 outer legs that help in distributing the load of the weight. The drive wheel is located under the seat of the operator. The driver sits sideways while operating the machine.
Some manufacturers design these trucks with a tilting cab mechanism. This ensures a more comfortable viewing position for the operator.
- Hand Pallet Trucks
These trucks are designed to move palletized loads; they are simple to operate.
A huge variety of hand pallet trucks is available.
- Euro pallet compliant
- Standard pallet compliant
- Low profile
- Wide fork spread
- Stainless steel construct
- Narrow fork spread
- Short forked
- Long forked
- Powered Pallet Trucks
These trucks operate in a way similar to the hand pallet trucks. Here the lifting of the load, as well as truck movement, is powered by an electric motor within the machine. It comes with a ‘paddle’ control that selects the forward and the reverse direction. It also boasts a button control to lower or raise the forks. As with all electric-powered trucks, the batteries need to be charged.
These trucks operate best on smooth and flat surfaces.
These are specialist machines. They come with an extending mast rather than a standard straight mast found on the reach or the counterbalance trucks. The chief benefit on offer is excellent access. Cost is its drawback. There are also a few reliability issues owing to complexity in the structure and the design.
Which Forklift Truck Should you Opt For?
Most people make the mistake of thinking that just any forklift truck can do the job. These trucks are a customized piece of equipment built specifically for end-users based on need. The following points will help you choose the right forklift truck.
- Match Specifications to Facility
The specification of a given forklift truck must match with the need of a facility. This is especially significant for big businesses that require a large number of forklifts.
- Know the Needs
A good dealer will spend time finding out your needs and pinpoint a machine that can cater to all these needs. The key points covered here include
- Forklift class
- Packaging of the material to be lifted
- Know the Local Laws
Remember the local laws and government policies. It may dictate a few specifications that the forklift needs to possess.
Now, you know everything about the forklift trucks, hope that you won’t have any trouble choosing the right one for your facility. Make sure to observe caution while operating forklift trucks. In instances of an accident, a truck accident attorney can provide you with the requisite guidance.