Selecting the Right Motive Power of Forklift Trucks

Forklift truck is one of the most important material handling equipment in our daily life. One can see forklift trucks operating day and night in road construction activities, repair activities, at various places like airports, shipyards, railway stations, manufacturing plants, bus repair workshops or any other places where materials are to be lifted, carried, unloaded, pushed and pulled. Forklift trucks are the life of all those activities where materials are to be handled. They are not only convenient and easy to operate and maintain but have the ability to do variety of activities in the industry. One cannot think of an industrial activity without the forklift trucks. Some of the operations involve very heavy loads while in other operations, either medium or light loads are handled. In manufacturing units forklift trucks are used to handle heavy machine parts, components and packets. In warehouses, the forklift trucks are used in handling usually relatively light loads.

Types of forklift trucks

Two types of forklift trucks are in use. First type of forklift trucks are internal combustion engine driven whereas the second type of forklift trucks are battery operated. Battery operated forklift trucks are used for handling light loads and are of small sizes, which can operate in small areas or narrow aisles for example in warehouses. These forklift trucks are also known as ‘reach truck’ and are basically used for indoor activities.

The internal combustion operated forklift trucks are used to handle heavy loads and are known as ‘counter balanced trucks’. These types of forklift trucks are used for outdoor works. The manufacturers of forklift trucks are working on new developments of operating systems such as operating on hydrogen gas. In addition there are special purpose forklift trucks such as order pickers and turret trucks.

Pros and Cons of battery operated forklift trucks

Battery operated forklift trucks are environment friendly as they do not produce harmful fumes and do not make noise. They maintain clean operating conditions and have lower downtime due to less moving parts. The cost of operation of electric forklift truck is lower than the Internal Combustion (IC) engine driven forklift trucks.

Some of the negative factors of these forklift trucks are their excessive cost, need for recharging of the batteries for long hours, need for keeping a set of stand by batteries, and an additional space for battery charging station. The availability of battery operated forklift trucks is relatively lower due to need for high quality maintenance of batteries. Battery operated forklift trucks are not suitable for use in heavy rains.

Pros and Cons of IC engine driven forklift trucks

The IC engine driven forklift trucks use diesel or liquefied petroleum gas as fuels and have enough power to handle large and heavy materials easily and safely, especially in places where forklift truck has to go on a gradient surface. These forklift trucks can be used for longer hours of continuous operations. They can be used in rough conditions. The initial cost of IC engine driven forklift trucks is lower than electric power driven forklift trucks.

They are less environmentally friendly, generating fumes and noise both. Because of this, these types of forklift trucks are not preferred for indoor use. In addition, they need refueling facilities. There is a need for better ventilation to manage the toxic fumes generated in their operations. It is reported that exposure of workers to the concentration of propane (100.000 ppm) in case LPG operated forklift trucks can result in some dizziness due to propane acting as an asphyxiator. In some cases, it may result in suffocative environmental conditions even. The maintenance and operating costs are higher in comparison of battery operated trucks.

Choice for motive power of forklift trucks

The choice of the motive power depends upon the type of activities, load and size of materials to be handled, environmental factors, initial and operating costs and safety aspects. Each requirement and application should be studied in detail to come out with the most suitable option. The indoor activities like in a warehouse, workshops or small areas with higher density of working people should use battery operated trucks. Large open terrain with rough surface and high slope should use IC engine driven trucks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>