pallet jacks are light weight and heavy duty pallet trucks that are used in
manufacturing plants, warehousing, and distribution centers. Many models can be
used both inside and outside to move materials stored on pallets to and from
attached to vehicles, docks, and pallet racks.
All pallet trucks are built with the same basic design: two forks that slip
into a pallet and lift it from the ground by means of a hydraulic, electric, or
gas powered pump controlled from a handle that the operator uses to steer. Newer
models sold now feature advanced ergonomic designs that eliminate the
strenuousness of positioning, elevating, and steering the device. Most also have
forks that can be adjusted laterally in order to more firmly grip the pallet
from within prior to lifting and moving it.
Standard industrial pallet jacks operate with a hydraulic pump that is
manually activated by a lever-action handle. The handle also acts as a steering
mechanism as the operator manually pushes or pulls the load. Powered pallet
jacks use a motor of some kind to raise and lower the forks and to also drive
the pallet truck so the operator does not have to apply physical force to the
load. Controls are located on the handle so that the operator can simply push a
button to raise or lower the pallet, and to move forward or reverse the unit.
Most powered jacks use electrical, rechargeable batteries. Some of the
indoor/outdoor models use gasoline power.
Many people ask us, “Which is better, a manually propelled unit or a powered
unit?” There is no pat answer to this question. Anything with a motor has a
greater potential to break down, so manual units are typically lower
maintenance. Also, they do not run out of power and fuel, so they can be used
for long periods of time without the risk of becoming temporarily inoperable.
At the same time, very heavy loads can easily result in an injury to even the
strongest of workers if they are improperly manipulated. Powered industrial
pallet jacks greatly minimize this risk by eliminating the need for the operator
to use personally push or pull a load. From the perspective of sheer ergonomics,
this is always advantageous to an organization’s margin of safety. Some
facilities prefer to blend benefits of the two designs by investing in a power
assisted pallet truck. This model applies a burst of power to get a heavy load
in motion, then lets the operator push, pull, or steer it manually under the
force of momentum.
From the standpoint of the bigger picture, it is always better to consider
ergonomics, safety, and efficiency alongside of unit cost and possible
replacement costs. Oddly shaped loads, and very heavy loads, are better moved
under the assistance of some kind of power. The less strain workers have to
exert in the use of a material handling product, the more accurately and rapidly
they can work.
For the best return on your investment, talk to an Easy Rack representative
about the details of your operation. We have a wide selection of standard,
powered, and specialized industrial pallet jacks that will no doubt meet the
requirements of your process flow.