Everything you need to know about pallet trucks

Hyster Pallet Truck - Hiremech

What is a pallet truck?

A pallet truck, sometimes known as a pallet jack or a pump truck, is a trolley designed to be used for lifting and transporting pallets. It works by using tapered forks that slot beneath pallets, then workers use the pump handle to raise or lower the pallets. For this reason, this piece of equipment is commonplace in stockrooms, warehouses and other environments that use wooden pallets frequently.

So, you may now be wondering what situations pallet trucks are best suited to. Generally, they work best when used for relatively short distances. It is also worth noting that each and every pallet truck comes with its own weight capacity. This weight capacity should not be overloaded. The weight capacity exists to ensure that the pallet truck is easy to keep control of, as well as runs smoothly and easily – excess weight will affect these functions negatively.

Pallet trucks are generally designed for use with wooden pallets. To transport a load with a pallet truck, first place the load on the pallet and ensure it is secure with a suitable load restraint product. Once your load has been suitably restrained you can begin to move your pallet into place and slide the forks under the gaps that are provided exactly for this purpose. The user should then use the truck’s pump action handle, effectively raising the pallet off the ground.

Pallet trucks are great for making it easier to transport and manoeuvre loads around your premises, also eradicating many of the health risks and hazards that often come with having to lift heavy loads.

What are the different types of pallet truck?

There are many different types of pallet truck, each designed to suit different requirements. There are rough terrain pallet trucks or all-terrain pallet trucks that are specially designed to help you manoeuvre loads across rough terrain, mini pallet trucks for a compact and cost-effective solution for smaller loads and pallets, wide pallet trucks designed to accommodate loads of goods that are especially wide, and even electric pallet trucks that will remove most of the manual effort involved in lifting and moving especially heavy loads.

EP Equipment is a manufacturer of highly innovative products in the field of warehouse trucks, with over 20 years of experience in the material handling industry and a specific focus on electric equipment. When it comes to pallet trucks, EP Equipment sells three categories that include manual hand pallet trucks, pedestrian electric pallet trucks, and electric ride on trucks.

Manual hand pallet trucks are a common tool used for lifting and moving over short distances. A key advantage of hand pallet trucks is that they are generally the most cost-effective option. The trucks are available in a wide variety of lift capacities and fork lengths, they are easy to operate and no driving licence is needed.

Pedestrian Electric pallet trucks reduces much of the manual labour involved in lifting and moving due to the movement of the truck being electric. This is generally regarded to be the fastest-growing category of the material handling equipment industry, with many different types of electric pallet truck emerging in recent years. This category includes semi-electric machines that have electric drive and manual lift. This is such a broad category, especially at EP Equipment who manufacture electric pallet trucks to fit the needs of every customer.

Electric ride-on pallet trucks are an ideal option for transporting a load over a longer distance. With this style of pallet truck, the driver will experience less strain and heightened efficiency as he can drive the electric truck and its load to the intended destination. It is great for transporting loads across a large warehouse or for loading an HGV/lorry. The electric ride on trucks designed by EP Equipment have been made to suit a broad variety of operations, coming with either a foldable platform or a fixed platform. Those interested in investing in an electric ride-on truck for their warehouse or business site should remember that they require a driving licence to operate, and you may need to get the right kind of training and insurance for employees.

Hyster is a manufacturer of material handling equipment that prides itself on dependability and innovation. Hyster is one of the best-known names in the industry, offering a comprehensive range of equipment with the ideal type of truck for every application. Hyster designs, engineers and manufactures a wide range of products, operating in over 130 countries. As well as offering pedestrian powered pallet trucks and ride-on pallet trucks, Hyster stocks a variety of pallet trucks with a range of unique functions.

Compact and super compact pallet trucks offer a pedestrian powered pallet truck that can function effectively in congested and confined spaces. They are great for the internal transportation of closed and open pallets over short distances. With up to 1200kg capacity, these trucks are best suited to small to medium warehouse applications. The low effort controls mean that operator fatigue is reduced.

Shelf stocker pallet trucks are a style of pallet truck that offers extra lift. This style of truck is a pedestrian pallet truck that features supplementary lift, ideal for enabling the pallet to be positioned at the best working height to lift goods to and from the pallet. They are ideal for low-intensity order picking and low-level stock replenishment. These trucks are also well-suited to indoor transportation and unloading applications. Precise load positioning makes this style of pallet truck great for those who need assistance with multi-level shelves of heavy stock.

Platform and double platform pallet trucks have been specially designed to suit demanding warehouse and loading operations. These trucks come with a powerful AC motor to enhance performance and efficiency, made with the most proven reliable components. This style of truck comes with a typically low cost of operation, designed to optimise the process of loading and unloading and boosting transportation rates for both short and long distances. The double stacker range is constructed with welded fork construction that makes it ultra-resistant to torsion.

Heavy-duty pedestrian powered pallet trucks provide a longer shift life, lower costs and incredible reliability. These machines are an energy-efficient option, also offering one of the lowest lifetime costs in the market. These pallet trucks come with a powerful motor speed and a fast response, ensuring that operators can keep working hard through demanding operations. This pallet truck has been designed especially for intense indoor pallet transportation, vehicle loading and unloading. These pallet trucks have a capacity of 2500-3000kg.

Yale is one of the oldest and original manufacturers of lift trucks and warehouse equipment in the world, operating for over 137 years. Their products focus on making work more efficient for people and boosting productivity. Their unrivalled heritage in design and manufacturing has led to an impressive range of material handling equipment with a great emphasis on quality.

The Yale range of pallet trucks mainly focuses on electric, with many similar offerings to Hyster such as shelf stockers, rider pallet trucks, heavy-duty pedestrian powered trucks, platform pallet trucks, and compact as well as super compact pallet trucks. Yale’s pallet trucks boast several special features, such as angled grips and ‘butterfly’ controls that mean employees can exert minimal effort, reducing the stress often placed on the operator’s wrists, thumbs and fingers. Lower steps and cushioned seating helps reduce body vibration and fatigue. With Yale there is undeniably a priority placed on operator comfort and the productivity that it in turn promotes.

Which type of pallet truck is best suited to your business?

Before deciding on the right type of pallet truck for your warehouse or business site, it is first important to know the load carrier or weight that you will want to transport. Electric pallet trucks, in particular those from EP Equipment, range from 1000kg to 2000kg. Another important consideration is the length of your intended load, as pallet trucks can come with various fork lengths and fork widths.

The next consideration is how you intend to use the truck. Will it be used indoors on a flat surface, or outside on rough terrain?

Lastly, with electric pallet trucks, bear in mind the requirements of charging batteries. Many options of electric pallet truck do not require regular maintenance and can be charged opportunely. Charging times can vary from 2 hours to 8-10 hours, so bear this in mind and how it will fit into your typical operation schedules before purchasing.

The latest innovations and technologies in pallet trucks

For EP, Hyster and Yale there have been two main areas of innovation in pallet truck technology. These include driver environment and pioneering technology.

Driver environment has been improved over the years by all three companies in their pursuit of optimal operator ergonomics. The latest innovations and improvements provide truck operators with a more comfortable working environment, increased visibility and lower noise levels. Both Yale and Hyster have introduced anti-vibration isolators that reduce the vibrations and road shocks that travel through the wheels to the truck seat. The purpose of this is to minimise operator fatigue and increase the operator’s productivity. When it comes to operator visibility, Yale designs trucks with a ‘command’ driving position to ensure maximum visibility on the load and the operating area. Hyster has had an increased focus on weather protection technology in recent years, testing trucks in extreme conditions and temperatures, as well as offering bonus kits to increase operator comfort in tough conditions.

Pioneering technology has seen all three of these pallet truck manufacturers to give increased attention to reducing their emissions. All three work on designing trucks that not only meet the requirements of emission regulations but reduce fuel consumption too. Yale has made leaps with eco setting and load-sensing hydraulics that reduce fuel consumption. Hyster has made similar improvements, leading to improved fuel efficiency, enhanced productivity, faster engine response and cleaner, quieter operations with reduced CO2 emissions. EP has placed focus on lithium-ion batteries to lower emissions. Lithium-ion batteries may be initially more expensive; however, they have proven to be more durable than lead-acid options, lasting up to four times longer.

If you are looking for a pallet truck for your warehouse, please get in touch and we’d be happy to talk you through the best option for your business.

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