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Forklift types - there are various types of forklifts to consider



Understanding the different forklift options and applications.


Standard forklift


The standard forklift, also known as a counterbalanced sit-down forklift, is the vehicle most people think of when they think lift truck or Forklift. it is available with any of the fuel types and tyre types as well as numerous weight capacities, lift heights and attachment options. The smaller 1 200kg to 2 OOOkg forklifts are the workhorses of most warehouses. lf you are running a small operation and will only have one forklift, this is probably the vehicie for you. The standard forklift is a wide aisle truck which requires at least 3.3m
aisles to turn in. The aisle width is determined by the size of the forklift, the turn radius, and the size of the load. Available options and attachments include side shifts, fork shifts, hydraulic clamps, and slip sheet attachments, to name a few. Standard forklifts are usually used for lift heights under 6m.


Reach trucks


Unlike the counterbalanced forklift truck, reach trucks carry their loads within their wheel base. The reach truck is a narrow aisle (2.6 to 3.3m) truck designed specifically for racked pallet storage. it consists of outriggers in front and telescoping forks that use a hydraulic mechanism that allows you to pick up the load and retract it over the outriggers. This reduces the overall truck and load length, allowing you to turn in a narrower aisle. The very rare double-deep reach truck uses an extended reach mechanism which allows you to store pallets two deep in specially designed double-deep rack. Reach trucks are designed for racking areas only and do not work for loading trucks or quickly moving loads over distances. Operator training on reach trucks tends to take longer than on other
vehicles due to the complexity of the controls. Reach trucks are available with lift heights up to 12m, however, at heights above 11m cameras or height selectors are recommended.


Motorised pallet trucks


Powered Pallet Trucks (PPTs), sometimes referred to as a Walkie, Walkie-rider or Rider motorised pallet truck, are the motorised versions of the pallet jack. The PPT is designed for the operator to walk along with the truck as he or she moves loads, while the
Rider has a small platform on which the operator stands. The PPTs are great for frequent moving of loads over extended distances within warehouses and manufacturing operations. They are fast and highly manoeuvrable. Minimal controls result in short learning curves for operators although precision turning takes a little practice.


Order picker


This truck is designed specifically for manual handling of less-than-pallet-load quantities in racking. The man-up order picker design has fixed forks attached to a platform which elevates the load and the operator to facilitate manual loading and unloading from racking.
Order pickers can operate in narrow (guides) or wide aisles. They are also very useful in cycle counting and physical inventories. Order pickers are available in lift heights up to 12m.


Very narrow aisle forklifts


Swing mast turret trucks (lateral stackers) are very narrow aisle (VNA) vehicles designed to work in aisles less than 1.8m wide. A swing mast truck resembles a standard forklift with the exception that there is an additional function to swing the mast to a 90 degree angle to allow storing pallets perpendicular to direction of the forklift's travel. Many turret trucks are man-up vehicles similar to an order picker with the exception that, rather than fixed forks, the forks are mounted on an additional mast and carriage which operates as a turret turning 90 degrees in either direction facilitating picking and stocking on either side of the aisle. The man-up design makes it easer to handle loads in very tall racking up to 18m. Man-down versions of turret trucks are also available. They are less expensive than the man-up versions and are better when rack heights are less than 10m. Very narrow aisle trucks are generally used in conjunction with a guidance system (wire or rails) within the aisles to increase safety and reduce property damage. Also, man-up turret trucks
operating with tall racking require that the floor be extremely flat and level to operate correctly. VNA trucks are more complex and expensive pieces of equipment with more mechanical problems than standard forklifts and you can subsequently expect more downtime and higher service costs. These costs can be easily offset in large warehouses by the space saved by going to 1.8m aisles.


Forklift Attachments


There are an enormous variety of attachments and options available for forklifts. While most attachments are designed for use on standard lift trucks, some of them are also used on reach trucks and VNA trucks. Most attachments will change the capacity of the forklift and a new plate should be placed on the truck showing the new specs.


Safety features


There are many safety features that are common to specific types of forklifts such as seat belts on sit-down vehicles and dead-man pedals on most stand-up vehicles. In addition, some manufacturers offer additional features such as speed controls that reduce speed based on load height and steering angle.