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Forklift trucks; the workhorses of the modern age.

15 Nov 2013, by Anthony in Forklift Training News

Forklift trucks; the workhorses of the modern age

The modern forklift was developed in the 1960s by Clark Transmissions, and Yale & Towne Manufacturing, and has become a necessary tool in almost every warehouse and manufacturing plant in the world.

The first lifting trucks appeared in 1906 when the Pennsylvania Road Train Station put a battery powered platform truck to work for moving luggage at their Altoona station. Labor shortages during WWI caused the further development of labor saving trucks. In the United States Clark, a transmission manufacturing company, began developing and using the powered lift tractors in their factories.

Once again labor shortages, this time during WWII, spurred the further development of the forklift truck to help in the war effort. After WWII the Japanese began introducing more manoeuvrable fork lifts into the marketplace, selling their first machines to the United States in 1967.

Fast forward another 50 years and we find a world which can barely function without the ‘workhorse’ of all industries. From haulage to construction, there are few industries which do not rely on on the use of Forklifts at some point.

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Today’s Forklifts

Ever changing warehousing needs have encouraged the development of the current types of fork lifts, including:

  1. Standard Trucks

Large study trucks used in warehouses all over the world that can lift between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds, and with blades that can lift cargo up to 20 feet.

  1. Reach Trucks

Narrow-aisle forklifts that usually run on electricity can lift loads up to 40 feet.

  1. Order Selector

Very narrow aisle-forklifts used for moving racked loads on small pallets. Can also lift a load and a load operator 40 feet.

  1. Motorised Pallet

Known as walkies, riders, or walkie riders, the operator does not have to sit inside the truck to operate it, but usually walks along side the truck as it moves the load.

  1. Swing Mast

Similar to standard trucks in appearance but with a mast that can swing up to 90 degrees in one direction. It is designed to be used in narrow aisles.

  1. Turret

Another narrow aisle forklift. The driver stands in the mast and is lifted to retrieve goods and packages. It can lift a load, and an operator, similar to Swing Mast trucks, but their mast can swing up to 90 degrees in either direction.

  1. Internal Combustion

These fork lift trucks run on petrol, liquid propane, diesel, or compressed natural gas. Propane powered trucks can work inside, but petrol powered trucks are optimal for outdoor use. These trucks an weigh 15,000 to 35,000 pounds each, and cost less than an electric truck, though they may be more expensive to use due to fuel and maintenance costs.

  1. Electric

Usually run on rechargeable batteries, best for indoor use, and they are quieter. However and electric truck may not be able to lift a load greater than 15,000 pounds and are accelerate more slowly than gas powered trucks.

Of course Safety will always be an issue around any machinery, especially forklift trucks. OSHA reminds all companies using forklift trucks that all operators must be trained and certified, and over the age of 18. Certified operators receive training about how to avoid accidents by paying attention and beware of what’s happening around them at all times. Operators must also know to ensure proper load balance by centering, and proper and practical pallet stacking.

Why use a forklift?

The forklift saves time, and effort, and used properly can save workers from the risk of injury, as most forklifts can either lift the operator to the height of the item to be retrieved, or snatch it or put it on the shelf without the need for human intervention.

A good forklift driver can

  • Increase factory efficiency and productivity by pulling, placing, stacking, and carrying materials to and from work areas.
  • Provide faster pallet handling and product organising by giving the warehouse the muscle to move large loads up and down, and over to where it can accessed more easily when needed.
  • Reduce operator error and injuries on the job

A properly run forklift can place materials where they must go, no matter how highly stacked, and retrieve materials with out human intervention.

Pro Trainers UK excel in educating workforces in the safe use of Forklift trucks, and we welcome those with questions to contact us here, or on the social forms below.



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