Forklift trucks are essential workhorses in hundreds – if not thousands – of industries. They are heavy lifting vehicles equipped with a motor and two forks. These forks are perfect for picking up pallets. Pallets are one of the most common methods of storing warehoused items. Forklift trucks can also be fitted out with pulleys, hooks, buckets, and platforms for the completion of various specialist tasks. Here is a very quick and simple guide to some of the most commonly used forklift trucks.
By far, the most common kind of lift truck at any forklift hire or warehouse is the counterbalance type. These vehicles are weighted at the back, meaning that they are less likely to tip over when they are encumbered with a heavy load. They have small wheels, low ground clearance, and very tight turning circles – making them perfect for warehouse work. These forklifts are not suitable for road use due to their slow speed. Some modern models are electrically powered. Electric motors have an extremely high potential for torque, which makes them perfect for lifting. The increasing price of fossil fuels is ‘fueling’ the rise of the electric forklift.
Reach forklifts are the most compact of the powered lifting trucks. They are often equipped with only three wheels and a side-mounted driver’s seat. These forklifts are not capable of lifting super heavy loads, but they are crucial in the operation of pallet warehouses with very limited free space. Reach forklifts are not particularly comfortable for long shifts, but they are perfectly suitable vehicles for more limited use.
Side loading forklifts have a similar profile to reach lifts – with the exception being the location of the forks on the side of the vehicle. These forklifts are frequently used to move long objects like lumber around warehouses. They also afford an operator lots of forward vision, which is very useful in confined spaces.
The humble pallet truck might not have an engine, but it is still a kind of forklift vehicle. These small, hand-drawn carts have two forks and a pneumatically assisted pump that allows the user to raise pallets above the ground. Despite the lack of engine, pallet trucks still need some training to be used safely – anything that can carry a heavy load is liable to be relatively dangerous. Pallet trucks are a common sight in just about every warehouse.
As the name might suggest, this kind of forklift truck is designed for use on rough ground. Operating on soft or uneven surfaces is particularly hard in conventional forklift trucks, which have low ground clearance largely for stability purposes. Rough terrain trucks have more ground clearance thanks to their large tractor-type wheels. To maintain stability despite this extra clearance, they often have wide wheelbases. These vehicles have more powerful engines than warehouse-only examples. They can climb slopes of up to 45 degrees – making them perfect for use in construction sites and lumber facilities.
Forklifts are popular machines for those in the construction and warehouse industries. Without them, people’s jobs would be made much more difficult.