With the economic growth of many major industries in Australia, businesses have found the need to quickly and easily transport products, raw materials or machinery within their factories and warehouses. While hand-powered lifts and powered pallet jacks can move cargo from one place to another, these simply cannot replicate what a forklift can do. Not only can these machines lift a substantially greater amount of weight, they can also traverse a variety of distances and terrain in order to transport products, machinery or material from one location to another.
A forklift is essentially a small powered truck that is used to raise and transport materials. There are a multitude of forklifts that come in every conceivable shape and size, and each one performs a specific task that other machines are unable to do. Forklifts generally have the same basic components: they have a truck frame where all other components are attached to; a cab that seats the operator and contains the control pedals, steering wheel, levers, and switches, as well as a dashboard that shows operator readouts; a counterweight attached to the rear of the truck frame; and a carriage that holds the truck’s forks. These forks go underneath the load, lifting them once the forklift’s hydraulic pistons are activated. The truck’s tires may be pneumatic or solid rubber tires, depending on the surface where the forklift will be driven on. For flat, smooth surfaces such as factory or warehouse floors, forklifts can have solid rubber tires. For outdoor use, such as in construction sites or agricultural fields, forklifts need pneumatic tires in order to have better stability and maneuverability.
In terms of fuel source, forklifts can be powered by batteries as with the case of electric powered forklifts, or fuels such as petrol, diesel, or LPG. Businesses use specific types of forklifts depending on their needs. Electric powered forklifts are smaller and are great for use inside the factory or warehouse, but outdoor jobs may require the bigger and more powerful diesel powered forklifts. Petrol and LPG powered forklifts have the flexibility needed for both indoor and outdoor use. Some diesel powered forklifts can also be used for towing because of their immense pulling power. Also, diesel and LPG powered forklifts require a higher level of skill from the driver as compared to electric powered forklifts.
Because of their sheer power and higher torque output, diesel forklifts are the preferred tool for lifting and transporting materials in an outdoor setting. Diesel forklifts also generally perform better than electric powered forklifts because they have better acceleration and lift speed. They are also more fuel efficient than their LPG counterparts, although diesel does cost more than petrol. They also tend to have a far longer lifespan than other types of forklifts because their engines are of sturdier construction. It is worth noting though that diesel forklifts are noisier and emit exhaust fumes that can be off-putting for some people, although many modern forklifts are equipped with exhaust catalysts and purifiers which can significantly reduce any noxious emissions.