April 26, 2020

Material handling equipment

Different kinds of material handling equipment are used to retrieve pallets, packages, or items. A very simple and easy way to move and retrieve small items or boxes is by using a pushcart or trolley. A push chart or trolley can be operated by anyone and is easily maneuvered in aisles. An example of a trolley with a ladder can be seen in picture Figure 1. For heavier and bulky items or for items located at higher levels, it is more suitable to use a forklift
 Figure 1: Trolley with ladder and pallet jack

Forklifts are commonly used for in-plant transportation and there are many different variants. Depending on the type of goods and the location of goods, different forklifts are preferred. A pallet jack is preferable to use for short horizontal movements of pallets (see Figure 1). 

The advantage with a pallet jack is the low investment costs and the fact that the operator does not require any special training to operate it. An automated alternative to the pallet jack is the low lifter with a platform, where the operator can stand on the platform during the transportation. A counterbalance forklift uses its battery or engine to counter the weight it is lifting. The forklift has a maximum load capacity of five tons and can lift up to eight meters. To fetch pallets from higher locations it is possible to use a reach truck (see Figure 2). 

see Figure 2

None of the mentioned trucks can however operate in narrow aisle racks where the width is often as narrow as 1,5-2 meters. For the narrow aisles a selected narrow aisle truck is required, which may lift up to 14 meters and features a load capacity of two tons. The narrow aisle truck requires a particular guidance device, usually consisting of a rail or induction system. The forklift must lock its path during this guidance device before it can enter the aisles.

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