How to choose the right forklift for your business?
It’s a common mistake for anyone inexperienced in warehousing or related industries to say that you can use any kind of forklift to do any job. This assumption couldn’t be more wrong. There is, in fact, a wide range of forklifts that should be used according to several different, and relevant factors associated with each lifting task.
When it comes to choosing the right forklift for your operation, there are a number of things to remember. First, consider which kind of job will you use it for? Depending on your business, you need to tailor fit the specifications of the lift truck according to the work you intend it to do.
The right lift for the right job
The most basic application a forklift has is to use it to carry heavy material such as pallets, crates and boxes, so you would need a machine that can carry the required amount of weight safely and at all heights required with no issues. Plus, a safety margin.
You also need to consider how many items the lift can carry at one time, you’ll need to look at the type of material that will be moved around. Ask yourself how much time is required to move the items, and how easy the forklift is to operate and find out about productivity levels and load capacity.
Indoors or outside, you decide
If you plan on using the forklift outdoors, you need to consider the right tyre type to make sure that traction is not an issue. If, on the other hand, you plan on using the lift machine indoors, you need to consider entrance and side entrance width, maximum lift height and gross load capacity. Are there any obstructions? Would you prefer non-marking tyres?
For hygiene purposes, some industries require different tyre types because they don’t want their floors marked by standard rubber tyres. You’ll also need to decide on which kind of fuel your forklift will run on.
Let the forklift do its job
Overlooking any of these factors and you could create a limit to what you can do with the forklift, limiting what your supposedly multi-use vehicle can do.
You need to analyse the layout of the work environment, where you plan to use the lift and check if there are things that could hinder the operation. This includes forklift mobility, the layout of the pallet or load racking, and allowing for pedestrian access in a shared environment.
Also, consider mobility vs load capacity. If you have a location that does not have a wide enough movement area for bigger forklifts, look at which fuel type will save you money. You may think that an electric forklift will be automatically cheaper to run, but this isn’t always the case.
Electric, gas or diesel?
Each forklift type has its strengths and weaknesses. While the electric is the king of fuel economy, the actual value still depends on the job you plan on doing. Electric forklifts are fuel-efficient, green and pollution-free to use. They are ideal for warehouse lifting tasks because of their compact size, or in situations where hygiene and cleanliness are essential, such as food factories and refrigerated warehouses.
However, electric forklifts require a lot of charging, and unless you have a fleet, will not be available when plugged in. This means that battery costs and maintenance can be significant factors. Also, diesel forklifts are better suited to external applications with harsh environments and are generally extremely reliable. The problem with diesel forklifts are the fumes which makes them unsuitable for inside use.
Gas forklifts are a good option between the electric and diesel. They cause minimal pollution similar to the electric-powered forklift and come with the loading capacity and robustness of diesel machines. And while they are great for indoor and general use, the changing of LPG cylinders can be of concern in workplaces with sensitive health and safety environments.
On-site advice from W Hall – The Forklift Centre
If you are in any doubt as to your requirements, we will be more than happy to come and have a look at your site. We have been helping companies and businesses in Northern Ireland with all their forklift needs for over 40 years.
We have the experience and expertise to detect possible problems that you might not even have thought of, and we can offer advice and make suggestions for different, more efficient types of lift machines than the one you might have in mind.
Let us know how we can help
Remember, all workplaces are different, so make sure you get the right machine for the job. One really good option is to rent a forklift for a trial period to see how it operates in real time, and in the real work environment before you commit yourself to a purchase.
Our friendly staff can help you find out more about which is the best new, used or hire forklift solution for your situation. We supply a wide range of gas, diesel and electric forklifts for a wide variety of applications and we back up our trucks with service, maintenance and spare parts.
Call today on 028 9084 1444 and tell us how we can help or contact us here