Lift trucks are used to lift, engage and transport palletized loads in manufacturing, warehousing, material handling, mining and construction applications. There are 3 main kinds of forklifts: a fork truck, manual drive and motorized drive. The load movement or travel is powered manually or by walking at the rear of the machinery with manual-drive forklifts.
The motorized forklift models come complete with a motorized drive and in many cases have a seat or protected cab in their design in order to keep the operator safe and comfortable. Fork trucks are a different type which are motorized and comprise features such as backup alarms and cabs. In order to prevent the machine from overturning, several forklifts are counterbalanced. Other models comprise safety rails, a rotating element like for instance a turntable or different kinds of hand rails.
Important specifications to take into account when selecting forklifts include lift capacity and stroke. 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 fuel type and tire.
Forklifts consist of various fuel options such as: liquid propane or LPG, CNG or compressed natural gas, propane, diesel fuel, gasoline and natural gas. There are 2 basic types of tires utilized for operating fork trucks and forklifts: pneumatic and solid. Cushion or solid tires need less maintenance compared to pneumatic tires and do not puncture. The solid or cushion tires do provide less shock absorption overall. Air-inflated or pneumatic tires on the other hand offer great drive traction and load-cushioning.
For forklifts, there are 7 classes. Class 1 forklifts incorporate electric-motor rider trucks, stand-up or seated 3 wheeled units. Normally, rider units are counterbalanced and could have either cushion or pneumatic wheels. Class II lift trucks are electric motor units which are used for order picking or stock applications in narrow aisle setting. These models provide extra swing mast or reach functions.
Forklift Class III lift trucks include standing-rider or walk-behind operated electric-motor trucks. Automated pallet lift trucks and high lift models are often counterbalanced units. Class IV forklifts have cabs and seated controls. These models are rider fork trucks with IC or internal combustion engines. Furthermore, this class utilizes cushion or solid tires.
Rider fork Trucks are incorporated in Class V. These equipment will have seated controls and cabs, pneumatic tires and IC or internal combustion engines. Similar to Class IV lift trucks, they are normally counterbalanced. Class VI lift trucks are tow tractor lifts which are designed for a sit-down rider. This class is supplied with IC or internal combustion or electric engines.
Class VII forklifts are the last classification and consist of rough terrain lift trucks, which are usually used in logging, agricultural and construction applications. Class VII forklifts consist of all burden carriers and employee carriers.