A forklift truck is a tremendously versatile piece of equipment used in a wide variety of industries and commercial businesses, but they are perhaps more useful in warehouses than in any other work environment. As such, many businesses find themselves in need of one or more forklift to streamline their order picking and transportation operations.
However, choosing the right forklift for warehouse order picking isn't a simple case of picking the cheapest model you can find. To work efficiently in the confining and sometimes dangerous surroundings of a densely-packed storage warehouse, our new forklift(s) should meet certain criteria -- be sure to ask yourself the following questions before picking out a new forklift, to ensure the new wheels you choose are up to the job:
Will the forklift be able to navigate my warehouse effectively?
Put simply, you'll need to figure out if your chosen forklift is sized correctly or the confines of your warehouse. This means taking the dimensions of the forklift into account, and you should compared the width, length and height of your chosen forklift model to the tightest confines they will be expected to work in within your warehouse. Remember to note down the forklift's maximum measurements i.e. measuring the forklifts height while its forks are fully raised, and measuring its width at the widest point of the forklift.
You should also make sure that your new forklift has a tight enough turning circle to properly navigate your warehouse, as even a small forklit can become trapped between closely-arranged shelves if it cannot turn tightly enough. Forklifts with short wheelbases are ideal for working in compact spaces, and for a slightly higher investment you can also get your hands on highly maneuverable forklifts with all-wheel steering.
Should the forklift be powered by petrol/diesel or electric motors?
Generally speaking, most forklifts used for order picking should be powered by electric motors. Cheap to run and quiet enough not to add significantly to ambient noise levels, electric forklifts are also most suited to warehouse use because the do not emit harmful emissions. However, you should bear in mind that these forklifts will require regular recharging, and you should be prepared to set aside a dedicated area for recharging your forklift (especially if you operate more than one).
Forklifts with petrol and diesel engines can be used in particularly large warehouses, as long as they emit a relatively low level of emissions and the warehouse is properly ventilated. If these forklifts are an option for your warehouse, they can prove to be very inexpensive to run and easy to maintain.
What type of tyres should the forklift use?
A variety of tyres are available for use on forklift trucks, and choosing the right type of tyre from a seemingly endless number of brands can be challenging. To help you know what to look for, keep the following key words in mind when checking the tyres of a prospective purchase:
- Non-marking: These tyres have a reduced carbon content that prevents black tyre marks being left on your warehouse floors. A necessary property for forklifts working in many grocery and cold-storage warehouses, these tyres also reduce floor cleaning requirements, but tend to wear out slightly more quickly than standard tyres.
- Cushion tyres: These tyres are made with a solid core instead of the air-inflated bladder present in penumatic tyres. Combined with their low profile, the extra rigidy provided b these tyres dramatically decreases a forklift's turning circle.
- Puncture-proof: These tyres use a variety of design features (such as solid cores, rigid tyre walls and foam injectors) to continue functioning safely even after a puncture. These tyres are highly prized for forklifts working in warehouses handling tools, glass and other objects liable to puncture tyres.