Choosing a forklift can be difficult, with so many types and models to choose from. Whether you want to rent, lease or even buy a forklift for your next project, this page will help you understand the different types of forklifts and the benefits of each.
There are specific forklifts for each type of load. The following types are the most common on the market:
Below you'll read about the differences between the different types of forklifts, so you can make the right choice when buying a forklift. But before we explain the types of forklifts, let's answer some frequently asked questions about forklifts.
A forklift is a small industrial vehicle with a lift at the front that can be moved up and down. The lift can be placed under a load to lift or move it. Lift trucks meet the needs of various industries, including warehouses and other large storage facilities. The most common type of lift truck is the standard forklift.
Forklifts are powered by an electric battery or an internal combustion engine. Some forklifts allow the operator to sit while driving and operating the machine, while others require the operator to stand. The machines are widely used throughout industry to transport materials and goods.
It is said that Leonardo da Vinci was the first to draw a type of forklift, but the first real forklift was built by Lester M. Sears in 1919. He founded the company Towmotor Corporation and produced the so-called "Towtractors" until 1933. This was a type of tow tractor used to push railroad cars, among other things. This was followed by the "Cantilever Forklift", which was the first forklift that could be sat on.
Towmotor Corporation was sold to Caterpillar in 1965.
Operating a forklift is actually quite simple. With proper training, operation is not as complicated as it may seem at first glance. However, it does require knowledge and attention to detail to ensure smooth operation.
To lift the mast, the forklift operator pushes the control lever forward and fluid is forced into the hydraulic cylinders. The fluid enters the hydraulic cylinder through a special valve that allows pressure to build. This pressure increases as more fluid enters the cylinder. As the fluid fills the cylinder, the gears of the pulley system are turned clockwise and the mast rises. When the mast needs to be lowered, the control lever is pulled back and the fluid pressure slowly decreases. It takes experience to know how fast the pressure builds up and decreases. This is different for each type of forklift and this knowledge can be gained through forklift training and practical experience.
A forklift truck is steered by the rear wheels because it is much easier to work accurately with the forks. Steering with the rear wheels gives the truck a small turning radius, making it easy to maneuver. It also reduces tire wear. A win-win situation!
A forklift truck with a short turning radius allows the operator to load and unload faster. In addition, this steering axle provides greater stability when driving over uneven ground. The advantages of a short turning radius forklift are:
One of the features of a forklift is the forks, which are commonly referred to as the spoons. These are two flat metal bars that protrude from the front and can be slid under a pallet or other object, then lifted by a lift mechanism, scooping the load from the ground. Officially they are called forks, named for the shape, but the word spoon (to scoop up the load) is also correct.
Most forklifts have a plate with a capacity chart. This shows not only the lift capacity, but also the maximum weight that can be handled at a given lift height. A capacity chart shows:
The center of gravity of the load is the distance from the center of the load to the heel of the fork. If any of the elements on the load diagram exceed the guidelines, lifting with the forklift becomes dangerous. It is important to note that the greater the distance from the load center, the less weight can be lifted.
Since there are often several brands of forklift in a company, or different drivers using the same forklift, it is important that everyone knows how to read a load chart. This will prevent the truck from tipping over due to an excessive workload.
Knowing how much a forklift weighs is very important. By knowing how much a forklift weighs, you can be sure that your forklift can be safely transported or moved to a job site. In addition, you can verify that the weight of a forklift does not exceed the weight of the structure where the forklift will be used. This will prevent cracks in the floor, or worse, a forklift that sags through the floor.
The weight of a forklift and the capacity of a forklift are not related. In order to operate a forklift safely, it is important that workers understand the difference between the two terms.
While lift truck weight refers to the actual weight of the lift truck, lift capacity describes the amount of weight a lift truck can carry. Typically, lift truck capacities range from 1,300 kg. to more than 30,000 kg.
A forklift truck is also heavier at the rear. This is because the forklift's counterweight helps to balance the weight of the load on the truck's forks. This counterweight is located at the rear of the forklift and prevents the forklift from tipping forward when lifting heavy loads.
The average weight of a forklift truck is approximately 3,000 kg. For comparison, an average car weighs about 1500 kg.
No weight should ever be added to the counterweight of a lift truck. This is because all the components of a forklift truck are precisely matched and calculated. This is why a forklift truck works optimally and can lift extremely heavy loads. If anything is changed in these proportions, the calculations change and accidents can happen.
The tires on a forklift truck are essential for moving the truck around its work area. But the tires do much more. The tires transfer the weight of the forklift to the ground, ensuring proper stability. Because of this critical function, it is important to choose the right type of tires for a particular application.
There are 3 types of tires used for forklifts, these are:
Solid rubber tires (cushion tires) are generally best for indoor use on smooth, level surfaces. They are puncture resistant because the tire is all rubber and does not require inflation, and they have a high load capacity.
Solid tires are available with or without a tread. Solid tires also have disadvantages. For example, these tires give the truck less elasticity, resulting in higher vibration loads on the truck and operator.
All-rubber tires (also called super-elastic tires or solid pneumatic tires) are solid tires mounted on rims that can also accommodate pneumatic tires. They combine many of the properties of cushion tires with the comfort of air-filled tires. For areas where there is a risk of tire damage, super-elastic tires are usually recommended.
Because these tires are not air-filled, they have the same puncture resistance as solid rubber tires. They have a multi-layered tread pattern and are slightly harder than pneumatic tires, but much softer than solid rubber tires. Therefore, they can partially absorb shocks and impacts.
Pneumatic tires are the same type of tires typically used on automobiles. On a forklift, these tires can provide more comfort to the operator due to their good shock absorbing properties. They also offer good ground contact and are ideal for outdoor use due to their tread pattern. However, tire pressure must be checked regularly and even minor tire damage can cause problems.
Forklift certification is not required. However, employers are expected to be able to demonstrate that their personnel are competent enough to operate a forklift or reach truck. If an accident occurs, the employer must be able to prove to the OSHA and the insurance company that the employee was aware of the safety rules and laws. For this reason, most employers require their employees to have a valid forklift certificate.
The basic training for the forklift certificate takes 1 to 2 days. The training consists of a theoretical part and a practical part, which is assessed by an exam. Once the forklift certificate has been obtained, the trainee can start work immediately. After obtaining the certificate, the trainee can work independently with forklifts and reach trucks. The forklift certificate is important because it ensures safety in the workplace.
The cost of training to obtain a forklift certificate is an average of between 200 and 300 euros. Renewal of the certificate is less expensive and costs approximately 150 euros.
If you are a holder of a forklift certificate, you are probably wondering how long a forklift certificate is valid. The forklift certificate is valid for 5 years. After that, you will have to take another test to renew your certificate. The validity of the forklift certificate is determined by law. The certificate is obtained by passing an examination. This examination consists of a theoretical and a practical part.
The minimum age to drive a forklift is 18. However, under certain conditions, a certificate can be obtained at the age of 16. The certificate can be obtained without a driving licence. Young people under the age of 18 may only drive under the expert supervision of an adult.
Employees aged 16 or 17 (e.g. helpers and holiday workers) may drive a forklift truck if they
In general, forklift trucks are only used on private property. Sometimes, however, you may find yourself in a situation where the forklift has to go onto the public highway for a while. If the forklift is wider than 130 cm, the driver must have a T-licence. In any case, the truck must not be used to pull trailers or interchangeable machinery. These rules apply to public roads but also include other public areas such as a car park.
The requirements for driving a forklift on public roads are
In addition, the forks should be removed or properly shielded. The forklift must not exceed 25 kilometres per hour and must be driven by a forklift operator over the age of 18 with a forklift licence.
Under certain conditions, forklifts can travel up to 20 km/h without compromising safety.
However, where there is heavy traffic, trucks - especially those with loads - should not travel faster than 6 km/h (walking pace). On sites with little or no other traffic, a truck can safely travel at 10 km/h, while on outdoor sites with little or no traffic, a speed of 20 km/h can be achieved.
However, it is important to stress that these speeds are always dependent on the specific conditions in the workplace. Safety regulations can change from day to day and even from hour to hour. It is therefore extremely important to know what is going on around you before moving a forklift.
A forklift truck is often used inside a building or on a construction site. There may be times when the truck is needed elsewhere and needs to be moved. Sometimes this can be done within the site or building where the truck is already in use. However, this is not always possible and a truck must cross public roads. In some cases this is allowed under certain conditions.
Often, however, the forklift needs to be transported. But how do you transport a forklift? This is often done with a trailer or semi-trailer. It is important, especially with the larger forklifts, to pay close attention to the weight of the forklift and the maximum weight that the trailer or semi-trailer can and may carry.
If the forklift is large or very heavy or has other abnormal characteristics and the company does not have a suitable vehicle to transport it, a specialist company may be called in. Some forklifts fall into the category of abnormal loads and must be transported by companies with special trailers and technical expertise.
A forklift truck is a motor vehicle because it is equipped with electric motors or internal combustion engines. Internal combustion engines are also known as internal combustion trucks (IC trucks). They usually run on LPG or diesel fuel. For this reason, the forklift truck is also subject to the MLA (Motor Vehicle Liability Act) when driving on public roads.
The cost of a forklift truck depends on a number of factors. A heavy and very powerful truck will be more expensive than a lighter and simpler one. The drive system, mast type and operator comfort also affect the price.
The cost of a forklift truck can vary considerably depending on the exact specifications and needs of the customer, but there are a few ranges to consider.
A new standard capacity electric truck will cost between €20,000 and €45,000 or more, plus €2,500 to €5,000 for the battery and charger. A standard capacity internal combustion truck will also cost between €15,000 and €50,000 or more.
These price ranges may seem far apart, but that is because dealers tailor the specifications of a new truck to find the right solution for the customer.
As with all types of machinery, there are different brands of forklift trucks. As well as personal preference, a particular brand can also be chosen on the basis of the job to be done. The load, size and conditions of the site where the forklift will be used are of great importance.
The most common forklift brands are
If you need a forklift that is easy to use in narrow aisles, a mini forklift is an option. The mini forklift is specially designed with a low tare weight to be used in places where standard forklifts are too large. An example of a mini forklift is the Marriotti mini forklift. An electric forklift is also a compact forklift that can be used in small spaces.
There are different types of forklift trucks, each with different characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. To give you a good idea of the different types, we have listed them below.
There are two main types of lift truck drive: electric and internal combustion. Electric trucks are powered by an industrial battery, while fuel powered trucks are powered by an internal combustion engine, which can run on different types of fuel. The most common types of fuel are
Forklifts are the workhorses of powered transport equipment. Their serviceability and expected lifespan are extremely important for efficient operations. After all, you need to be able to estimate your total maintenance costs.
Whether you choose a petrol or electric forklift, there are certain advantages to both that can help you save money and stay within your budget. Below we look at the advantages and disadvantages of the different drive systems.
LPG forklifts are extremely flexible, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. More environmentally friendly than diesel-powered models, these forklifts offer the power and performance needed for heavier work. Like electric forklifts, LPG forklifts are clean and quiet, but do not require hours of recharging between shifts.
There is also the financial issue. The initial cost of an LPG truck is much lower than an electric truck.
With a gas truck, there is no need to buy expensive batteries and chargers, or pay to dispose of old batteries. There is also no need to install charging points, which can be expensive and take up valuable space. In addition, an LPG forklift typically costs much less to run than a diesel forklift, making it an ideal halfway house between electric and diesel.
Diesel forklifts are some of the most powerful machines in the transport industry, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. These trucks can take a beating and can withstand wet and bad weather conditions. They are powered by a fuel that is not only readily available, but also easy to use.
Electric forklifts are the most environmentally friendly compared to diesel or LPG forklifts. Their design makes them both fast and easy to manoeuvre. They are particularly suitable for indoor use and for handling a wide range of goods such as pallets, box pallets and trestles.
One of the factors that determines the lifespan of a forklift truck is whether it is electric or has an internal combustion engine. In general, electric forklifts last longer than ICE (internal combustion engine) forklifts, mainly because electric forklifts have fewer moving parts. This means that an electric forklift's battery can be recharged on average about 1,500 times, or about five years. Of course, the lifespan of an electric forklift depends on how it is used and the conditions in which it is used. The battery is then economically depreciated, but the truck itself is not.
A front loader is a lifting device that can be attached to a tractor. It allows a tractor to do work that would otherwise require a new machine. If you equip a front loader with a pallet jack, it can work just as well as a forklift.
However, the lift height and lifting capacity are much less than a rough-terrain forklift or telehandler. A front loader is therefore a good choice if it is used infrequently or only occasionally.
Common brands of front loaders are Stoll, Mailleux, Quicke and Faucheux. Many tractors are now equipped with a front loader from the factory.
A forklift truck is a type of small forklift truck that can move weights from 500 kilograms up to 2 tonnes. A good forklift truck is an indispensable tool for daily lifting and stacking tasks in the warehouse or other workplaces.
As well as transporting and stacking goods efficiently, a good forklift truck will also ensure that workers are ergonomically supported at every stage of the process and do not suffer from back, neck or shoulder problems. The machine does much of the heavy lifting.
Common truck brands are: Crown, Atlet, Jungheinrich, Toyota/BT.
A forklift truck is a lift truck that is mainly used to transport goods on a pallet. Using the forks, the forklift can easily lift and/or move a pallet. These forklifts are powered by an electric motor, often for indoor use, or an internal combustion engine for outdoor use.
Industrial trucks are usually used in warehouses and shops, although they can also be used outdoors on stable, level surfaces. They are easy to operate and have two forks at the front of the truck, which are used to lift and move loads.
Several types are available, including models with three wheels, which offer better manoeuvrability and are ideal for narrow aisles.
Common forklift brands include Linde, Toyota, Hyster, Still, Yale, Cesab, Mitisubishi, Caterpillar, Hyundai.
Narrow aisle trucks are known for their large lifting height, making them ideal for any warehouse with racking. The narrow aisle or high rise truck is a warehouse truck with a lift height of more than 16 metres.
There are two types of stacker: the man-down and the man-up stacker. In a man-down truck, the driver remains in the cab, while in a man-up truck, the cab is raised with the driver. This allows the driver to easily pick orders at height.
Common forklift brands are: Jungheinrich, Still, Toyota/BT, Crown, Atlet.
Advantages narrow aisle forklift/ high-rise truck:
Disadvantages narrow aisle forklift/ high-rise truck:
Side loader trucks are ideal for working in narrow aisles. This is because the forks are mounted on the side of the truck, allowing it to pick up wide or long loads that would be awkward or inaccessible with a normal forklift truck driving straight ahead.
There are two types of side-loader truck: the enclosed cab, which is usually used outdoors, and an upright version, which is more suitable for working inside buildings. There is also a multi-way version, where the wheels all turn 90°, so they can easily be moved in any direction. This makes them particularly useful for lifting and transporting pipes, tubes and sheet material safely and efficiently. Side loaders are also very popular in the timber industry as they can transport long, heavy loads in narrow aisles.
Common sideloader brands include: Baumann, Combilift, Hubtex.
Side loader advantages:
Disadvantages side loader:
Mobility is essential in the transport industry. The four-way forklift truck is a mobile truck that can move in four directions. More and more like a normal forklift truck, it is mainly used for loading and unloading building materials on pallets, as well as timber and sheet metal.
Due to its construction, this truck is more limited than the traditional forklift truck, but is almost always adequate for loading and unloading loads.
Common brands of four-way forklifts are Still, Jungheinrich, Atlet, Combilift, Hubtex.
A rough terrain forklift is ideal for outdoor work and difficult terrain. Coarser profile pneumatic tyres make these trucks more stable on uneven terrain, and their more powerful engine allows them to reach higher speeds and be more manoeuvrable, making them more robust and durable.
This means that these machines are perfect for transporting heavy loads over rough terrain, with some models handling up to 3 tonnes per load. The carefully balanced counterweight at the rear of the truck prevents overloading. The forklift can also be used in mud, ice and even snow.
Common brands of rough terrain forklifts are Manitou, JCB, Merlo, Magni.
Rough terrain forklift
Telehandlers are ideal for use in agriculture and any industry that requires a lot of lifting. They offer a wide range of features that make them much more useful in all sorts of situations, so much so that they are often thought of as small cranes rather than forklifts.
Telehandlers have the added advantage of a single telescopic boom, making them a much more powerful and flexible machine. A range of useful attachments are available, including a lift table, bucket, pallet fork and manure grab.
These attachments, together with the ability to extend the lift capacity using front outriggers, allow the telehandler to work at heights that normal forklifts cannot reach. Telehandlers are also widely used on construction sites and in agriculture, and have largely replaced rough-terrain forklifts in both sectors due to their greater flexibility.
Common brands of telehandlers include Manitou, JCB, Merlo, Magni.
A reach truck is used in warehouses to store and retrieve pallets of goods from racks. A reach truck is therefore mainly used in areas with narrow aisles and racking. The mast of a reach truck can be extended and retracted, also known as reaching. The reach truck is powered by an electric motor.
Common brands of reach trucks are Linde, Toyota/BT, Jungheinrich, Still, Hyster/Yale, Atlet.
Reach truck benefits:
Disadvantages reach truck:
Pallet trucks are specialised forklifts. These pallet trucks, also known as pump trucks, are not able to lift large and heavy loads due to their small size.
However, their small size allows them to be used in confined spaces and lift small loads well. Despite the loss of strength and manoeuvrability, the purchase cost of a pallet truck is much lower than that of a large forklift truck.
Common brands of pallet trucks are Toyota BT, Still, Jungheinrich and Weldon.
Benefits pallet truck:
Disadvantages pallet truck:
An order picker is a type of forklift used to pick and deliver materials from warehouses. These machines, which can reach heights of up to 3 metres, are designed to lift operators to warehouse racks and carry individual goods.
These machines are suitable for warehouses and storage facilities where customers place specific orders, as they can pick one or two units rather than bringing down whole pallets and loads. Due to their versatile design, order pickers can handle items of varying sizes, from car parts to furniture.
Common brands of order pickers include Linde, Toyota/BT, Jungheinrich, Still, Hyster/Yale, Atlet.
Benefits order picker truck:
Disadvantage order picker:
Order picker truck
The transportable forklift is a Dutch invention of Hessel Kooi. A transportable forklift truck is a truck that can be towed behind a lorry/semi-trailer to facilitate loading and unloading at the customer's premises. The transportable forklift sticks its forks into tubes mounted on the body of the truck. The truck pushes itself up, lifting the wheels off the ground so that it can be easily transported.
Truck mounted forklift benefits:
Truck mounted forklift disadvantages:
Truck mounted forklift
When choosing the right forklift truck from all the different types, it is important to consider how the truck will be used. Below are some general criteria that can be used when choosing a forklift truck:
Forklift trucks differ in many ways, from fuel type and tyre type to lifting capacity and (maximum) height. It is important to consider these different factors when choosing a forklift truck.
Their ability to lift and move objects of varying sizes makes forklift trucks valuable assets in any workplace.
Are you a business owner in need of a used or new forklift truck? Then consider leasing. Leasing forklift trucks has many advantages for your business. Undecided between leasing and renting? Or would you like to know what leasing is and how it works? At Beequip we understand the industry and are happy to work with you to find a leasing solution that suits your needs. So that your business can continue to grow.
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