The lift truck has become such an invaluable piece of machine found and utilized in most warehousing and industrial operations, since its introduction to the market more than 90 years ago in the 1920's. One of the forklift's pioneers, Clark has grown to become an industry leading supplier in the material handling industry. Other popular names in the manufacturing of these machines include: Toyota, Mitsubishi, Cat, Yale, Hyster and Nissan.
The Hyster brand of forklift has become amongst the industries most popular manufacturers. In fact, in some regions, the word "Hyster" is synonymous with forklift. Different other names for this industrial lifting equipment consist of: stacker truck, fork truck, jitney, high/low and lift truck.
The ancestor of today's equipment was initially made in the early 19th century. At this time, battery-powered, small units were invented for the purpose of transporting traveler's baggage within Pennsylvania at the Altoona train station. During the First World War, some different types were made within England specifically to be used in the material handling industry. These equipment evolved as a solution to the manpower shortage at that time.
Today's machinery come in many sizes and configurations. Sod loaders are large truck-mounted lift truck units and some of the bigger equipment, while the smaller machinery consist of hand truck models. There are also a line of automated versions known as forklift automated guided vehicles that are basically robotic in nature. These models were developed to improve productivity and as a means of lowering operational costs.
Attachments have been made to fit onto lots of regular lift trucks, giving them the capability of performing a wider selection of tasks. The motors can be internal combustion or IC models, working on propane, diesel or gasoline, or there are battery operated options which need regular charging. Standard warehouse units would usually be rated to raise between approximately 1 and 5 tons.
The lift truck has become a priceless part in the material handling business. Many of these units are utilized on a daily basis all around the world to perform jobs which used to require much more man-power. Operators need to take stringent training programs in order to safely and legally operate these heavy machines. Many employees have longer careers now and better health overall due to their not having to raise items by hand anymore because the forklifts could handle those situations now instead.