Lift trucks are utilized to lift, engage and transport palletized loads in manufacturing, warehousing, material handling, construction and mining applications. There are 3 basic types of lift trucks: a manual drive, motorized drive and fork truck. The travel or load movement is powered manually or by walking behind the machine with manual-drive forklifts.
The motorized forklift models come complete with a motorized drive and in a lot of cases have a protected cab or seat in their design in order to keep the operator safe and comfortable. Fork trucks are another kind which are motorized and include features like for instance cabs and backup alarms. In order to prevent the equipment from turning over, some forklifts are counterbalanced. Other models consist of safety rails, a rotating element like for example a turntable or different types of hand rails.
When selecting lift trucks, essential specifications to take into consideration include lift capacity and stroke. Stroke is defined as the difference between the fully-raised and the fully-lowered lift positions. Lift capacity is the supportable, maximum load or forcforce or load. Other specifications for forklifts include their type of fuel and tire.
Forklifts consist of various fuel options such as: LP or liquid propane, compressed natural gas or CNG, diesel fuel, propane, natural gas and gasoline. There are 2 major types of tires for operating forklifts and fork trucks: solid and pneumatic. Cushion or solid tires require less maintenance compared to pneumatic tires and do not puncture. The cushion or solid tires do provide less shock absorption overall. Air-inflated or pneumatic tires however provide great drive traction and load-cushioning.
There are 7 classes of lift trucks. The first class of lift trucks, Class I, is either seated or stand-up 3 wheeled units that are electric-motor rider trucks. Typically, rider units are counterbalanced and may have either cushion or pneumatic wheels. Class II lift trucks are electric motor units that are used for stock applications or order picking in narrow aisle setting. These models offer extra swing mast or reach functions.
Forklift Class III lift trucks consist of standing-rider or walk-behind operated electric-motor trucks. Automated pallet lift trucks and high lift models are normally counterbalanced units. Class IV lift trucks have cabs and seated controls. These models are rider fork trucks with internal combustion or IC engines. In addition, this class has cushion or solid tires.
Rider fork Trucks are incorporated in Class V. These machines will have cabs and seated controls, pneumatic tires and IC or internal combustion engines. Similar to Class IV lift trucks, they are usually counterbalanced. Class VI lift trucks are tow tractor lifts that are designed for a sit-down rider. This particular class is supplied with internal combustion or IC or electric engines.
Lastly, Class VII forklifts are the perfect choice for use on rough terrain areas. They are a common feature in agricultural, construction and logging applications. Class VII lift trucks consist of all burden carriers and personnel carriers.