Choose The Right Forklift Solution For Your Business

The forklift selection process can be difficult – factors like work environment, shifts, and types of product or loads handled all impact the lift truck you use.

Matching the right forklift will increase productivity and maximize your profit – while the wrong forklift may do more harm than good. So, what key factors should you keep in mind? Read on for more information.

Understand Your Application

Every application is different, and different jobs require different needs. An experienced lift truck dealer can work with you to properly survey your application and help you determine the type of forklift and options you need to maximize productivity. Here’s a list of what your dealer will help you determine:

  • How many hours will the forklifts need to operate per day?
  • How much room space does your truck have to work in? What are the aisle widths and general set-up of your application? 
  • Will the lift truck be working indoors, outdoors or both?
  • What is the weight of the loads?
  • How high does your truck need to lift?
  • What are the size of your loads? (Consider load shape – and attachments needed.)

Forklift Types

Electric Warehouse Products 
(Such as order pickers, walkies, turret trucks and tow tractors)

  • Ideal for indoor applications and warehouses
  • Friendlier for the environment, since they don’t give off many fumes. 
  • Feature compact size for small spaces and maneuvering suitable for warehouses.
  • Recharging the battery tends to be much more cost efficient compared to replacing gas 
  • Less maintenance than IC forklifts - these trucks don’t feature a clutch or inching pedal and require less maintenance overall.
  • The cost of electric lift trucks can be higher initially due to the battery and charger. However, more advanced electric products can run for longer shifts, allowing customers to minimize these upfront costs.

Electric Counterbalanced Forklifts

Electric pneumatic tire forklifts are capable of working indoors and out, while still performing equal-to-or-better than traditional internal combustion tire forklifts. 

  • Flexible for use both indoors and out, depending on capacity requirements
  • Less maintenance costs than some IC lift trucks when offered with sealed components to protect from dust, debris and moisture
  • Zero fuel costs and emissions for a cleaner working environment
  • Capacities offered up to 11,000 lbs.

 Diesel Forklifts

  • Mainly used outside, not only because they are very large, but because it is easier for the fumes to escape and prevent health issues. 
  • Diesel engines offer increased power. 
  • Compared to electric lift trucks, diesel power can provide better acceleration and lift speeds. 
  • Maintenance and servicing costs are lower than a gas truck, and it only takes a matter of minutes to re-fuel the truck. 

Some disadvantages include extra noise during operation, exhaust fumes and bulkier size. The price of diesel forklifts initially are much less than an electric forklift, however they can be slightly more than an LPG-powered machine. 

LPG/Gas Forklifts

  • Most popular type of forklift historically due to the flexibility to use them both indoors and out.  
  • Able to work around the clock. 
  • Engines are similar to car engines, allowing for easy access to parts when needed. 
  • Compact gas trucks can be designed for easy of maneuvering in tighter aisles 
  • They are often quieter and emit less fumes than diesel forklifts. 
  • Travel speeds, acceleration, lift speeds and other performance characteristics tend to be superior to electric and diesel powered equivalents.

 Cushion Vs. Pneumatic Tires

  • Pneumatic tire forklifts are suitable for rough terrain and outdoor work environments. There are two types of pneumatic tires: solid or air. 
  • Cushion tire forklifts are recommended for indoor applications, such as warehouse use and on smooth surfaces.

Traction tires can also be added to the front of your forklift.

For more information on selecting the right forklift for your business, contact your local Jungheinrich, Cat lift truck or Mitsubishi forklift truck dealer.

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Let us help you find the right material handling solution for your business.