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What Are The Different Types Of Forklift?

One of the most crucial bits of machinery in the majority of warehouse and factory environments, the forklift has proved its value time and time again over the years. So much so, that a variety of different models have evolved out of the fundamental design of the equipment, suited to a range of different applications.

Among the common type of trucks for use in an indoor warehouse location is the industrial counterbalance forklift. These machines work on the general principle of utilising a counterweight at the back of the vehicle to balance the load being lifted on the forks, providing stability and safer operation when carrying heavy cargo. Although commonly 4 wheeled, there are 3 wheel options available in the counterbalance forklift design. This gives the vehicle greater manoeuvrability, which could be a huge advantage when working in narrower passageways that require sharp turns or unloading from large trucks in tight spaces.


Similarly, hand/pedestrian pallet trucks are a good alternative when moving only smaller, pallet-based loads around confined areas. These machines can be operated without the need for a seated driver (and with less training required), and are controlled by hand without any strain to the user. With wheels in the end of the stabilising arms, the trucks are easy to manoeuvre. However, they have limited height reach due to their smaller size, and are not appropriate for heavy loads or moving pallets over long distances.

Reach forklifts are another common choice; particularly due to their ability to lift loads to high up shelves or storage areas (although a larger load centre means a lower maximum lifting height). They operate using an outrigger mechanism at the front of the vehicle that can raise and lower the forks, with a hydraulic component controlling and stabilising fork movement. More useful for their lifting capabilities over their manoeuvrability, reach forklifts are available in a few different styles. Stand-up reach trucks are the standard model, while double-deep trucks have longer forks, allowing them to stack pallets at the back of wider storage units. Straddle carriers have the added ability of being able to load from the side as well as underneath, and are used in more heavy duty environments, such as ports. With most reach truck designs, visibility of the operator is always a consideration. Some may be fitted with optional cameras for driver use when the load is elevated, while the operators of straddle carriers are often positioned high up and in the middle for the best view.

If the majority of the work you carry out is outdoors, a rough terrain forklift is the best option. It is equipped with thick tread tyres for use on unstable ground, and has more power to allow them to take on steeper inclines and travel longer distances. They are counterbalance based, keeping the trucks stable even in bad weather or on uneven ground, and can lift much heavier loads of up to 3 tonnes.

Whatever forklift fits the nature of the work you carry out, here at East Midlands Forklifts we provide a wide range of trucks for hire and sale across the Nottingham, Derby and Leicester areas. Our hire options are flexible and offer great value, and we have gas, electric and diesel vehicles available.

For more information, or to discuss your forklift needs and arrange a hire contract, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at East Midlands Forklifts today.


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