Choosing the right forklift for your business




Understanding your specific needs

Forklifts are essential pieces of industrial machinery for businesses that need to move goods from one place to another quickly, efficiently and safely. But there are many types of forklifts out there to choose from, with scores of different designs and configurations.

Choosing the right lift truck for your business is a very important process. Every business has different needs, and it’s vital that you select a forklift that can handle all your material handling needs.

Every job application is different, and every requirement may need specific attachments. An experienced forklift dealer can work with you in properly accessing your needs and help determine the best type of forklift and options to maximise productivity.

So, to help your business find the right type of equipment, let’s consider a few essential points.

The power source

There is a wide range of choices to be made for choosing the right power source for your forklift needs. You can choose from different fuel-powered models such as diesel, electric and LPG, each equipped with their own power to weight requirements.

Electric forklifts are ideal for indoor applications because there’s no emissions and they run quietly, which is ideal for warehouse work.

LPG and Diesel fuel types tend to be far more powerful and suit outdoor applications.

What weight do you need lifted?

Next, it’s wise to consider what kinds of things need lifting.

In particular, it’s best to find out what the heaviest object you need lifted regularly is, as this will indicate the power requirements for the forklift that will suit your business best.

It’s vital that the access equipment you choose is powerful enough for what you want it to achieve and it suits the work environment.

Tyres, handling and height

With the power source and weight settled upon, you should consider how the forklift would operate in your day to day running of business.

Tyre type depends on whether you need the machine to operate outdoors or inside a building such as a warehouse. This, in turn, will decide its handling characteristics, such as the tight turning circle that’s more suited for a warehouse.

Finally, the height the machine can lift an object to is an important consideration. Measure the highest point you want the machine to be able to safely reach and choose a unit that can handle it with room to spare.

Choosing the type of forklift

Once you’ve decided on the power source, weight capacity and handling qualities, you’ve got a fair idea of what kind of equipment you’re after.

Now it’s a question of choosing the right kind of machinery for those needs.

To help you understand what’s available here’s a quick guide to the most common kinds of machines available.

Counterbalance machines

These are the most common kinds of forklifts, and you will see them used in businesses with indoor storage spaces or warehouses.

Powerful, flexible and able to handle plenty of weight, industrial counterbalance machines mostly use dual forks on the front end to transport and lift their loads, with hydraulic or electric systems to raise and lower.

These vehicles prefer smooth, stable surfaces to work on and offer plenty of manoeuvrability. While mostly four-wheeled, counterbalance forklifts can sometimes come in three-wheel models for accessing aisles that are narrow.

Rough terrain machines

Similar in layout to counterbalance forklifts, these machines are built much tougher equipped with larger tyres and thicker treads, a more powerful engine and stronger suspension and steering.

These beefed-up features allow rough terrain models to operate outdoors, lift heavier objects across rough ground with a large counterbalance weight to keep them stable.

Side loaders

Sometimes called warehouse forklifts, side loaders are perfect for shifting objects in narrow spaces like aisles.

The forks are mounted on the side of the machine so it can be shifted into position to pick up something lengthways or across its width.

There are two common types – a large version with an enclosed cab or a smaller unit that can be used by a standing operator.

Come see our range

So now that you know the main areas to consider and the most common types of forklifts available, you can make a more informed decision. Whatever your material handling needs are and whatever the load you need to be lifted, a forklift dealer will help you find the right access equipment for your specific application needs.

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