Forklift Crash Course

By Western Material Handling - April 29, 2019

    Part two of this series talks more about less common forklifts. These lifts are extremely useful when you have a nonconforming warehouse or situation. 

Here are some more information on some of those lifts: 

     Very Narrow Aisle Articulating
forklift can work in aisles as narrow as 6'6" and are 4,000 lb capacity and lift heights up to 374".  We are the dealer for Flexi electric that has a 3 year warranty on the articulating gear assembly.  This type of forklift will go into a trailer and work outside in parking lots.  Other manufacturers offer a LP gas version and capacities up to 10,000 lb.

Class 2 Very Narrow Articulating Walkie Stackers come in capacities up to 4,000 lb. and mast heights of over 200".  These lifts will work in a 8 to 9' aisle and are very popular with start up businesses or small operations.  Because of the outriggers on the straddle version they can get hung up if operated in rough parking lots and room has to be provided for the outriggers.  Some versions come with a reach mechanism so that you do not have to straddle the load.  We handle the Blue Giant line. 3 Electric Walkie Straddle Stacker

Walkie Stackers are almost as expensive as a new forklift and used ones bring a high price because of their popularity.

Class 3 Electric Walkie Stacker Reach
Counter balanced Walkie Stackers can move right up to the load so that you don't have to contend with outriggers.  Because there are no outriggers they require a counterweight and are longer so they require a wide aisle to operate in.

Class 3 Electric Walkie Counterbalanced Stacker Walkie pallet jacks will move a pallet with ease and come in capacities of 3,000 to 8,000 lbs. with special units up to 12,000 lbs.  They lift the load around 7-8" and move from a crawl up to a fast walk speed.  Some versions have a rider platform or a center compartment for the operator.  Only the type pictured will turn around inside of a truck which is what many customers desire.  We are the Blue Giant dealer.

Class 3 Electric Walkie Pallet Jack

Rough Terrain Forklift are used on rough terrain or soft surfaces.  These are known their wide floatation or tractor type tires.  These units come in 2 or 4 wheel drive.  They work best in soft lots but require quite a bit of room to turn around and are too large to use in the warehouse.  The cost is high compared to a regular pneumatic tire forklift.  Capacities from 5,000 to 30,000 lb. We are the Mastercraft dealer.
Class 7 Rough Terrain
A Telehandler
is used if the customer needs a lot of lift and forward reach.  These units are typically 4-wheel drive, have three way steering which allows them to maneuver in an area tighter than their size would indicate.  These units weight from 10,000 to 30,000 lbs. and are normally in 5,000 to 12,000 lb capacities but they can be built up to 30,000 lbs. or more.  Lift heights of 19' to 55' are common. Telehandlers are very versatile as you can install dirt buckets and other attachments on the quick change carriage.

Class 7 Telehandler

Truck Mounted forklifts allow a company to take a forklift along on the back of the truck when making a delivery.  Capacities up to 6,000 lbs. and lift heights of up to 15'.  Many models have a reach function that allow removing both pallets from one side of the truck.  2 and 3 wheel drive, diesel engine, and hydrostatic operation are the norm.  We are the Navigator dealer.  The lightest weight unit is the Donkey.

Class 7 Truck-Mounted Forklifts (sod loaders) and 4-way forklifts help move a long load through a narrow door.  LP gas, diesel, and electric power.  Capacities up to 30,000 lbs.  A reach mechanism allows the forks to extend to the load and then retract it to rest on the platform for travel.  Some electric versions can travel all 4-directions for versatility.

Class 2 Internal Combustion Sideloader

Class 2 Electric 4 Directional Sideloader lifts are very popular, especially used, and come in "slab grade" for interior use and 2 and 4-wheel drive "rough terrain" versions.  Most electric slab grades will fit through a 3' x 7' door and will lift from 12' to 26'.  Rough terrain models are electric, diesel, gasoline, LP gas, or dual fuel gas and LP.  350 lbs. to 1,000 lb. capacities.  We are the dealer for Genie, Skyjack, and Condor.
Scissor Lift or Boom lifts come in heights from 30' to 185' and are electric, diesel, gasoline, LP gas, or dual fuel gas and LP.  Capacities are usually around 500 lbs. in the basket.  We are the dealer for Genie, Skyjack, and Condor.


Forklift Crash Course

By Western Material Handling - March 28, 2019

Forklifts have been in existence since the 1920's and the imports, like Toyota have been made since the mid 1950's.  The first Toyota was brought into the US in the late 1960's.

Forklifts or Industrial Trucks are designed to lift and carry loads, not to push and pull.

Here are the most common types for forklifts: operations will usually want a cushion tire forklift.  A cushion tire forklift will work in a tight warehouse operation because of its compact size.  They will get stuck in soft dirt. They have a shorter wheel base and are narrower and shorter than the same size pneumatic tire forklift.  Cushion tire forklifts have a press-on tire that can be non-marking (white or gray) or regular black (will leave marks on the floor) and the tires can be smooth or traction tread.  The tires need to be replaced when they are worn down to the tops of the numbers on the sides of the tire.  Cushion tire forklifts will work in an aisle width of around 12'.  They come in a 3,000 to 8,000 lbs. capacity normally but are made up to 30,000 to 50,000 lbs.  All fuel types are available.  We are the Tailift dealer.
Class 4 Cushion Tire applications will usually need a pneumatic tire type forklift.  The actual tire may be air filled, foam filled, or be solid rubber but they all have a pneumatic tire appearance.  Pneumatic lifts will work best on softer ground, rough surfaces, or on slick surfaces.  They are wider, longer, and have a longer wheel base than a cushion tire forklift which is why they are better on rough or slick surfaces.  For the same reasons, they do not work as well inside a warehouse and will require additional aisle width to operate in. Diesel, LP gas, gasoline, dual fuel (LP and Gasoline), and even electric fuel types are available. Capacities range from 2,000 to 90,000 lbs. and higher.  We are the Tailift dealer.

Class 5 Pneumatic Tire Electric sit-down forklifts are more compact than their IC powered counterparts so you can sell a larger capacity electric to work in the same place as an IC powered lift giving you more flexibility in meeting the customer's space requirements.  They can work in an aisle width as narrow as 10-12'.  Cushion press-on tires are normal. Electrics are quieter than an IC truck, climb steeper ramps, and they leak less since they do not have an IC engine oiling system or a transmission. 
Class 1 Electric Sit-down 4 Wheel wheel Electric sit-down forklifts are very compact and work in a narrow aisle as they turn in
less than their own length due to their inside tire turning opposite in a tight turn due to their dual drive motors.  Capacities from 3,000 to 5,000 lbs. and they will work in an aisle width of just 10'.  Normally have cushion press-on tires.
We have the Tailift line.

Class 1 Electric Sit-down 3 Wheel tires come on Three wheel and Four wheel sit-down electrics as well as internal combustion (IC) powered trucks.  Tailift makes pneumatic 4 wheel sit-down electric with 48V-80V AC system and battery.  Pneumatic tires are an option on Tailift three wheel sit-down forklifts and most other brands as well.  24v, 36, and 48v battery and systems.

Class 1 Electric Pneumatic electric Counter-Balanced Stand-Up is one of the most versatile of all forklifts.  This forklift enjoys the tight turning radius of a three wheel electric sit-down with it's dual drive motors and three wheel design and will work in around a 10' aisle.  It has adequate ground clearance to allow it to go across a dock plate and into a trailer, and it will go out into a parking lot and traverse moderate height differences.  Capacities from 3,000 to 5,000 lbs. and lift heights over 200".
Class 1 Electric Stand Up End  Control (Docker)

Narrow Aisle Forklifts Order Picker forklifts are used to build loads in a warehouse.  The operator goes up with the pallet and moves items from the rack to a pallet or platform on his forks.  Some applications like a furniture warehouse may have a platform up to 3' x 8' to move furniture and other bulky items.  Typical units have a 3,000 lb. capacities and lift heights up to 400".  Operators must wear a body harness and tether themselves to the unit in case of a fall.  This type of lift works well in narrow aisles but this type of lift is limited as a regular forklift.
Class 2 Electric Order Picker electric Narrow Aisle Single and Double Reach stand-up forklifts are designed for smooth concrete floors and because they have outriggers they are shorter and will work in an aisle as small as 9'.  The outriggers move the fulcrum (tipping) point forward and eliminate the need for additional counter weight but it also limits where the forklift can travel as they have almost no ground clearance.  They cannot go outside unless it is very smooth and cannot go across dock plates.  Capacities of 3,000 to 4,500 lb. and up to 400" lift heights are available.

Class 2 Electric Narrow Aisle Single Reach single reach version will reach the carriage out to the end of the out riggers to pick up the load and then the load is retracted to the mast for travel.  The double reach version will extend into the middle of the pallet behind the first pallet so the pallets can be double stacked increasing the storage capacity of the warehouse.

Class 2 Electric Narrow Aisle Double Reach

Very Narrow Aisle Forklift Swing Mast forklifts will work in an aisle width around 4’6”.  They are limited to smooth floors and will not travel over a dock plate and into the back of a trailer and do not work well in parking lots.  They do allow the racking to be set very close together to increase the capacity of the warehouse.

Class 2 Electric Man Down Swing Reach Turret Man Up Swing Mast forklifts allow the operator to go up with the load to see what is being picked up which comes in handy when you are 30' or so off the ground.  These forklifts are expensive and very specialized and are usually guided by a wire buried in the concrete that the lift follows.