Pallet Trucks – everything you need to know about this simple solution to efficient warehousing
A common sight in warehouses and storerooms worldwide, pallet trucks – sometimes called pallet jacks or pump trucks – are simple yet essential vehicles in logistics, designed to transport goods quickly and safely. Reliable, robust and easy to handle, these trucks got their name because of their traditional integration with wooden pallets; the tapered forks slot easily into wooden pallets which can then be lifted and lowered with ease thanks to hydraulic pumps. Pallet trucks are a great option when it comes to transporting and manoeuvring loads safely while removing many of the risks that come with physically lifting and carrying heavy or bulky loads.
What types of pallet trucks are there to choose from?
When it comes to pallet trucks, there are a number of different types on the market. These include;
Hand pallet trucks
Standard hand pallet trucks are a popular tool for manual handling across a range of industries and it’s easy to see why. These types of trucks are versatile and easy to operate, reducing the risk of operator injury by taking the weight of the load and allowing easy manoeuvrability. Varying fork sizes and weight capacities allow these trucks to be adapted to suit the environment they’re operating in or tailored to handle specific loads.
Electric pallet trucks
Sometimes referred to as powered pallet trucks, electric pallet trucks require even less physical exertion on the part of the operator than a standard version. The lift and drive functions are electrically powered, allowing for faster and more consistent operation over time. Electric power also means that these types of trucks can carry much more weight than is safe to attempt with a manual truck. STILL’s range, for example, can handle loads of up to 2.5 tons – something that just cannot be done safely with manual operation. Models like the STILL ECH-12 and the STILL ECH-15 operate on Li-Ion battery technology which ensures reliability and high performance.
Low lift pallet trucks
Low lift pallet trucks raise loads clear of the ground so they can be transported over both long and short distances. These trucks can be manually controlled with a tiller or electrically powered to safely move heavier loads, and they are available with a seat or platform for on-board rider operation. This versatility makes them well suited to a wide variety of warehouses tasks.
Ride-on pallet trucks
Ride-on pallet trucks combine the efficient handling of a traditional pallet truck with the ride-on ability of a vehicle. Particularly useful in large warehouses where loads need to be transported across greater distances, ride-on pallet trucks are manually driven and controlled, so it’s worth remembering that the operator will likely require additional training. These types of trucks reduce operator fatigue while increasing efficiency and can be equipped with a host of additional safety features like automatic stop functions and Curve Speed Control, which adapts speed to steering angle when driving around corners.
What are the benefits of pallet trucks?
They’re easy to operate
Manual pallet trucks remove a huge amount of strain from your workers when compared to physically transporting goods from one point to another, and electric trucks keep this strain to an absolute minimum. Pallet trucks can often be deployed without the extensive training that is required for traditional forklift trucks and are one of the simplest warehouse vehicles to operate. Exact training requirements differ by model and specification so make sure you consider this when choosing a pallet truck.
They’re powerful and versatile
Pallet trucks have compact dimensions, particularly when compared to forklift trucks, and are often no wider than a standard wooden pallet itself. Their design and focus on lighter loads make it easier to handle materials in confined spaces like loading bays or compact storage areas. They also have high manoeuvrability and STILL’s models in particular boast excellent handling performance and tight turning circles which makes them flexible enough for almost any operation.
They enhance worker safety
As with any form of MHE, correct use of pallet trucks can massively reduce the chance of accident or injury in the workplace. As well as reducing the physical demand on the operator, who would otherwise be required to manually lift and move heavy loads, pallet trucks can be fitted with a variety of additional safety features to make them as safe to use as possible. This not only reduces the potential hazards to the operator themselves, but also to other workers around them. STILL’s pallet trucks come with added ergonomic operation and safety features specific to each model.
They increase warehouse efficiency and reliability
By removing the need for employees to handle materials directly, teams can save energy and reduce fatigue. Not only does this allow operators to perform at higher levels across their entire shift without the drop in performance that is bound to happen after intense physical labour, using a pallet truck saves a lot of time when it comes to unloading, loading and transporting goods.
How to choose the right pallet truck
Choosing the right pallet truck for your business application can help streamline your operations, increase efficiency and protect your employees from injuries and accidents. In order to determine the right truck type and model, you first need to consider the weight of the loads you want to transport. Smaller, lighter loads may be well suited to hand pallet trucks, whereas powered pallet trucks can transport loads of up to several tons. Something else to consider is the size of the loads your team are likely to be handling. Pallet trucks are available with forks that vary in length and width, and these will need to be suitable for the loads the truck is going to be carrying. Taking the time to determine the best fit for your business needs will ensure your warehouse is equipped with the tools needed to ensure long-term efficiency and quality delivery.
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