Warehouses thrive when throughput is high. The product needs to be moved from delivery, in and out of storage, into shipping and off premises in an expeditious, efficient, and safe manner.
Warehouses receive large quantities of their goods on pallets. The contents of some pallets can be distributed from the receiving dock. Many pallets contain a load of identical items, however, all going to the same place for storage. It makes sense, therefore, to transport the entire loaded pallet for storage.
The pallet truck is ideal for this type of transportation. Pallet trucks, which operate either manually or electrically, allow a single worker to move a fully loaded pallet from receiving to the storage bay, at which point the pallet truck’s full-blown sibling, the forklift, can hoist it into place.
Pallet trucks, sometimes called pallet jacks, use hydraulic action to lower and raise the lifting fork into the pallet. The manual trucks require some pumping to lift the load, while the electric ones use power to provide the lift.
Manual pallet trucks are less expensive and do not require as much training to use them. Manual pallet trucks are intended to be pulled over level surfaces. They may need to be pushed on an incline.
Electric pallet trucks can lift heavy stacks and ideal for high use applications. Because of the greater technical requirements, workers should be trained how to use them by experienced handlers before being allowed to operate them solo. Some electric pallet trucks have small riding platforms allowing the operator to travel with the load. A co-worker should be in attendance if the load is high enough to block the operator’s vision.
Using Pallet Trucks
Some pallet trucks are used in specialty environments, including laboratories and clean rooms, stainless steel pallet trucks, galvanized pallet trucks resist moisture and prevent rust/corrosion.
Manual and Electric pallet trucks are available with scales built into the fork to weigh the load without having to place it on the scale. Some are built with small printers on them, allowing for a paper trail.
Manual pallet trucks have forks from 30” – 60” long, widths are 20” and 27”, capacities are from 4,500 – 6,000 pounds. Electric pallet trucks can save time in moving product by handling two and even three pallets with 96” or 144” long forks.
Most pallet jacks do not have brakes, especially the manual ones. Electric pallet jacks will frequently have a dead-man switch installed if the rider needs to abandon the truck quickly.
All-terrain pallet jacks are also available. They have large wheels for transport and a wheel which helps steer the truck. All-terrain pallet jacks are suitable for construction sites and nurseries. Small tractors can tow some of them.
Low profile pallet trucks for uses that require a low height to pick up the load.
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