Essentially, a forklift truck is a type of industrial vehicle equipped with a power-operated platform at its front. These trucks are named for their fork-like prongs that can effectively be raised or lowered and inserted beneath cargo, allowing it to be lifted and moved.
Today’s forklifts use different power sources to operate, with some employing traditional combustion engines while others run on electric battery packs. Forklifts come in an extensive range of models built for different working environments and to suit specific tasks they need to perform. Some fork trucks allow drivers to sit, while other models required operators to stand. As a rule, the key use of forklifts is to transport materials from one place to another, but the diverse fleet of fork trucks currently available can do much more.
If you’re currently considering hiring or purchasing forklift trucks for your operation, you’ll want to understand their full capabilities to ensure you’re making a wise investment. In the next sections, we’ll take a look at some of the services that our wide range of fork trucks available to own and hire can deliver.
One of the main uses of forklifts is to lift heavy loads that are way beyond the limitations of a human being. The majority of warehouse forklifts can easily pick up 5,000 pounds in weight, and heavy-duty models can manage five times this load. Industrial forklifts have even greater lifting power and can raise between 30,000 and 36,000 pounds. For this reason, forklifts can save companies money on manpower, but also offer a safer way to pick up heavy goods without any chance of harm coming to employees.
Cargo may be lifted down safely from logistics vehicles or raised from stacks on the warehouse floor but, either way, forklift trucks can tackle such tasks more effectively than manual labour. Different types of forklifts have been designed to handle different shapes and sizes of load. Side loaders, for example, can handle longer loads like pipes or timber and operate sideways, allowing them to navigate narrow warehouse aisles.
Once loads have been lifted, the next job of forklifts is to transport cargo from one place to another. Again, the average walking speed of a person carrying nothing is around three to four miles per hour, while a forklift truck can travel safely at six miles per hour indoors, 12 miles per hour outdoors, carrying heavy loads. This mobility and the ability to shift weighty materials means that forklifts can be exceptionally useful, saving enterprises time and increasing productivity.
Forklifts are often used for their exceptional manoeuvrability, which can be essential when navigating warehouses with limited space. Smaller models of fork truck, such as pump trucks, often offer the greatest levels of agility and speed but are not able to carry as great a weight as their more heavy-duty counterparts.
Forklift trucks can not only give their operators the ability to lift great weights and transport them quicker and more safely, but they can also enable them to extend their reach.
Mainly used in indoor areas like warehouses, dedicated forklifts have been specially designed to extend their forks and perform tasks that standard forklift trucks are unable to. Built with an open-style compartment to provide operators with excellent visibility, these forklifts feature stabilised legs and forks that extend forwards. These assets allow operators to use them to precisely pick pallets from high multi-tiered racks when they must select a specific stock to fulfil orders.
Reach trucks are often designed with a narrow profile so they can be used easily between warehouse aisles that are close together.
Like reach trucks, order picker fork trucks are used to easily access stock that is located in hard to get to areas. However, unlike reach trucks, order picker forklifts have a platform with a second set of controls that allow the operator to ride upon the fork to collect smaller volume units. Additionally, the order picker’s forks can also lift heavier items up to be stored or down for distribution as required.
Most order pickers have the capacity to reach a height of 32 feet and, due to their design, can handle more versatile loads than reach trucks, for example, items of different shapes and sizes from pieces of furniture to auto parts.
If your firm is looking for short or long-term forklift hire Essex locals trust, you can count on Fork Truck Direct for all the equipment you require.
Our current hire fleet consists of over 300 vehicles and includes both refurbished and brand-new trucks, all LOLER certified and in top condition. Whether you need counterbalance and combi-lift trucks or narrow-aisle and reach trucks, we can supply the vehicles you need with contract lengths to suit your schedule, ranging from one day to six years.