Lift trucks are used to raise, engage and transfer palletized loads in manufacturing, warehousing, material handling, construction and mining applications. There are 3 main kinds of lift trucks: a fork truck, manual drive and motorized drive. The load movement or travel is powered manually or by walking at the rear of the equipment with manual-drive forklifts.
Motorized-drive model forklifts are complete with a motorized drive. In numerous instances, a protected cab or seat is part of the design to keep the operator comfortable and safe. Fork trucks are another type which are motorized and include features like backup alarms and cabs. In order to prevent the machinery from overturning, several forklifts are counterbalanced. Other models include safety rails, a rotating element such as a turntable or other types of hand rails.
When choosing forklifts, important specifications to take into account comprise stroke and lift capacity. Stroke is defined as the difference between the fully-lowered and the fully-raised lift positions. Lift capacity is the maximum, supportable load or forcforce or load. Other specifications for lift trucks consist of their tire and fuel type.
Different fuel options for lift trucks comprise: LP or liquid propane, CNG or compressed natural gas, diesel fuel, propane, gasoline and natural gas. There are 2 basic types of tires used for operating fork trucks and forklifts: pneumatic and solid. Cushion or solid tires do not puncture and need less maintenance compared to pneumatic tires. The solid or cushion tires do provide less shock absorption in general. Air-inflated or pneumatic tires on the other hand provide excellent drive traction and load-cushioning.
For forklifts, there are 7 classes. Class 1 forklifts include electric-motor rider trucks, stand-up or seated 3 wheeled units. Typically, rider units may have either pneumatic or cushion wheels and are counterbalanced. Class II lift trucks are electric motor units which are used for order picking or stock applications in narrow aisle setting. These types of forklifts provide extra reach functions or swing mast.
Forklift Class III lift trucks consist of walk-behind or standing-rider operated electric-motor trucks. High lift models and automated pallet lift trucks are usually counterbalanced units. Class IV forklifts have cabs and seated controls. These models are rider fork trucks with internal combustion or IC engines. Additionally, this class utilizes solid or cushion tires.
Class V lift trucks are rider fork trucks. They have seated controls and cabs, pneumatic tires and IC or internal combustion engines. Like Class IV forklifts, they are usually counterbalanced. Class VI forklifts are tow tractor lifts that are designed for a sit-down rider. This class is supplied with electric or IC or internal combustion engines.
Class VII forklifts are the last classification and consist of rough terrain lift trucks, which are usually used in construction, logging and agricultural applications. Class VII forklifts consist of all burden carriers and personnel carriers.