Fork Lift Trucks

Basic description of fork-lift equipment. November 11, 2008

Reprinted with permission from MLS Machinery, Inc.

Fork lift trucks are used for many applications and are not specific to the woodworking industry; they are used in all aspects of warehousing and large super retail outlets. Fork lift trucks normally come in four basic formats: gas, propane, diesel and electric. Electric requires a charger to charge them and most of these are stand on style even though many are sit down versions. Electric is the quietest and the most friendly to the environment and are used in operations where there is not much noise, such as warehousing operations. Propane is the most common and gas and diesel trucks are used for exterior use, propane and electric are normally used inside. The tires on a fork lift truck for outside use are normally air filled like a motor vehicle and for internal use a solid rubber tire is used. Most propane and gas trucks are normal sit down style.

They range in weight lifting from 1000-30,000 pounds and up, and depending on the application, some have what is called a single, double or triple mast. A triple mast is normally used when very high areas have to be reached as an example 18-20' high as in some warehouses. Some trucks have side shifters that will move the piece sideways so the operator does not have to move the fork lift truck backwards and forwards so that it is easier to place a skid or pallet into a bay of a racking system. Fork lift trucks have a tilting hoist so that they can tilt a load backwards for stability. They are counter weighed from the back which is equal or greater to their total lifting capacity. Most trucks have a cage over the driver's seat to protect the operator should something fall.

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