If you are in the market for a forklift, particularly if this will be your first heavy-duty unit, one of the best ways to make a good choice is to educate yourself on the basics. You will know what is available so you can compare them with your particular projects and find one that matches your budget and workload. This will help you get the most from your investment and will make the work as easy and convenient as possible.
Power Options For Forklifts
The first choice you will have to make is what type of power your equipment should run on. This mostly depends on the type of conditions where the work will be performed. For indoor lifting, electric powered models are one of the most common choices. They are a cost-effective option that only needs to be plugged in to power them back up. Best of all, they are relatively quiet in comparison to other models available. For outdoor applications, internal combustion or fuel powered varieties work the best. They can be refueled easily and have the power to pile through the terrain. These do give off harmful fumes.
These basic models are available with a specific set of features to better suit certain situations. For warehouses that have a limited amount of space, for example, some models are designed with a narrower frame and perpendicular forks for easy lifting in spaces as narrow as six feet. When it comes to outdoor models, uneven, soft, or unstable terrain is a common problem that can cut into productivity significantly and can add a heavy amount of stress onto the equipment. Special models called rough terrain forklifts are made with additional power, stronger transmissions, bigger tires, and other options to stand up and overcome these obstacles.
Many people underestimate the importance of tires when it comes to choosing forklifts. The right style of tire can make all the difference between getting the job done and having a huge expense and deep frustration. For indoor applications, the best choice is cushioned tires that are made of solid rubber. They are an affordable option that last longer and are more effective on interior flooring. Pneumatic tires are ideal for most outdoor jobs. They have a higher expense, but they make their way through the terrain more easily.
In areas like construction sites that pose a high risk of puncturing or popping a tire, a combination of cushioned and pneumatic tire is the best. Known as solid pneumatic tires, these are like a traditional vehicle tire with a thicker rubber exterior. This way, items such as metal or nails cannot ruin the tire and are still great at getting over a rough surface.
Other Design Options
Each brand has a wide range of options and conveniences that can be added to their forklifts. Safety is one of these areas. While most of them arrive with standard safety equipment already in place, there are additional items that can be added to increase their safety rating.
You can request other options and attachments to increase the number of jobs they can complete. Specially designed attachments can be purchased that can be added or put in place of the existing forks that make lifting things, such as uneven structures or round items, safer and easier. Tilting is another option that lets the driver tip the forks to get under difficult to load items or hold the item securely over uneven ground to keep them from falling off. Sideshifting lets the driver adjust the forks from side to side in order to make it easy to pick up offset loads without adjusting the position of the equipment.
These are just a few of the basic options available with forklifts that can increase the ability of the equipment. The best way to decide what you need is to match your budget with the choices you have to find one that will satisfy your needs.
Christine O'Kelly writes for the leading provider of the new TCM forklifts, RHI Lifts. In addition to the new TCM forklift, this independently owned provider also offers E-Z-GO Cars and commercial lifting equipment.