Types of Industrial Lift Trucks

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The material handling needs across diverse operations demand virtually limitless types of lift trucks to match unique applications. When an organization is ready to invest in a new lift truck, it must fit both their budget and operational requirements.

Some common lift truck attributes to consider include the load capacity and height, style, capabilities and other customizations specific to your process, operators and environment.

Many industrial applications are fulfilled by the available range of standard lift truck capabilities from our dealer partners. At RICO, we engineer and build custom material handling solutions when a customer’s needs extend beyond “off the shelf” product lines. Below we explore basic lift truck categories and their applications. And if your operation demands a specialty vehicle, we invite you learn more about our custom build capabilities.

Pallet Trucks

Available both as manually and electronically powered, pallet lift trucks are most often used in warehouses, storage facilities and by businesses like grocery stores for the easy movement of pallets.

Both manual and electronic models work the same, with forks sliding beneath the pallet and the use of either a hydraulic jack or electronic mechanism to lift the load slightly.

A wide selection of pallet truck designs and styles are available, and their load capacity is the biggest variance. Unlike other lift truck designs, that can raise a load to significant heights, pallet trucks move materials from one place to another at near ground level.

Counterbalance Forklift Trucks

Counterbalance lift trucks are some of the most common models, and usually the first that come to mind when people think of forklifts. Weight capacity can range from a few thousand pounds up to 10-15,000lbs depending on design.

The name describes exactly how this kind of truck operates. Using a counterbalanced design, weight at the rear of the truck will off-set the weight of the load lifted in the front. The forks often protrude from the front, allowing the machine to be driven right up to the load for easy and straightforward operation and maneuverability.

Counterbalance models can be electric, combustion or even diesel powered and are highly customizable. From load capacity to lift height, rider style, and even models with three wheels for tighter maneuverability, many aspects of a counterbalance lift truck can be changed based on the application.

Reach Trucks

To maximize every square foot of facility space, many warehousing areas will use storage shelving that extends to the ceiling. To load and unload materials from tall storage spaces, businesses need reach trucks.

Known for their extended lift height, reach trucks can have both seated and standing operation. Like other models, the build consists of forks that will slide under and secure a palleted load. Some reach trucks may feature longer forks for the capability of moving multiple pallet loads.

Side Loader Trucks

Side loader lift trucks are uniquely designed to work in narrow aisles.

With forks mounted on the side of the machine, the truck has the added capability of lifting wide, long or inaccessible loads that might be more difficult to reach for a traditional counterbalance lift truck.

Quick Die Change

In some manufacturing environments, quick die change carts are used to store, transport and efficiently change out machining dies to press.

Die and mold handling is a critical aspect of all quick die change systems and using quick die change carts can help achieve an 80% reduction in setup times while reducing labor and improving procedural safety.

These are just some of the most popular lift trucks styles. Other types of lift trucks, like RICO’s explosion-proof models, are more specialized for unique applications. If your lift truck needs extend beyond traditional vehicle capabilities, call RICO at 330-723-4050 or contact us to learn more.