Pallet trucks also refereed to as pallet jacks are manual or electrically operated forklifts used to transport one or more pallets at a time. They are useful for a multitude of tasks and give a lot of advantages to the businesses that use them. But first let’s go more in depth of what they are.
What Are Pallet Trucks?
The first pallet jack was designed during the 19th century industrial revolution to aid in safe transport of small goods. But the most popular design we use today was improved in the 1920’s and is still been improved today.
Pallet trucks can be divided into two main categories; manually operated (pump pallet jacks) and electric (powered pallet jacks).
Manual (Pump) Pallet Jacks
This is the more commonly used type of pallet trucks as they are cheaper and can still easily move smaller good and stack them. You can see them being used in your local shops, as they are very compact and can move in small spaces (between the aisles in our case). They need to be manually operated by an employee.
Their design features a steel core body with a tricycle wheel base (two in the back and one connected to the handle), they have a control handle connected to a piston and pressure valve. They get their name for their manual pump input to raise the fork. Their capacity is around 2500 kg.
Electric (Powered) Pallet Jacks
Compared to the manual pallet trucks, these trucks are way more complex in design and use, so they require an experienced worker to operate them. They have a bundle of upgraded uses, one such thing is the ‘scaled pallet truck’ which weighs the products on the pallet jack and can print out the resulted weight. There is a variety of electric power trucks such as walk-behind and stand on (rider).
This is a battery-powered version of the manual pallet truck. And unlike the manual the lifting of the fork and moving around is all mechanical. To raise and lower the fork lift all you need to do is press a button and the worker doesn’t need to use force to pull or push the latter jack.
Stand on (rider)
The rider is a bigger version of the walk-behind pallet jack. Behind the pallet truck there is a platform on which the worker can stand and operate the machine the same way he would operate the walk-behind truck, with buttons. This is a great option for a large warehouse, where a lot of space needs to be covered to transport goods.
Uses of Pallet Trucks
A well equipped facility would have both the manual and electric pallet trucks as they have different uses and benefits. And depending on the product and distance that needs to be moved, the weight capacity range is from 500kg to 2500 kg.
Manual pallet jacks are a great option for small workshops, store, manufacturing business or warehouse. It can aid such businesses by increasing productivity, saving time and preventing injuries. Most importantly it keeps your workers refreshed since they wont tire so easily.
For bigger factories or warehouses the electric pallet trucks can aid in longer distance transports, helping your workers by minimising the strength they have to use for pulling the weight of the pallets. Unloaded rider jacks have the speed of around 7 Km/h saving you a tremendous amount of time, allowing for a much higher productivity rate and bigger company budget.
How to use a fork-lift:
Lower the fork, move the two parallel blades inside the pallet, push the handle to lift the pallet and blades off the floor, insure stability, move the pallet to the designated location.
Safety Tips and Uses
As with any machine, you should strongly advise caution with pallet trucks as well. To minimise any injury and insure a safe work environment follow these precautions:
- Trained operators: Correct use of the pallet trucks will minimise any damage or injury. To do so a trained individual needs to operate the machine. New employees should be trained by an experienced worker in correct pallet truck use before independent usage.
- Load limitations: When buying a pallet jack you should always check the loading limit and train workers to abide by it. Never exceed this limit as it can cause the pallet jack to tip over and greatly injure the employee and goods.
- Recreational riding: Some workers ride pallet trucks for fun, this is strongly ill-advised as you can lose track control or your feet can get caught in the blades.
- Speed control: Do not rush when the pallet truck is full, as the speed force can push the stacked pallets and cause damage. A steady, controlled speed is best.
- Designated spotter: When loading or unloading pallets in hard to see, tight places, a spotter can come in handy as they can tell the driver how best to pick up or put down the load.