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Getting the right counterbalance forklift

Author: Paul Wheater

Counterbalanced forklift trucks has a large weight located at the rear of the truck to counterbalance the weight being lifted at the front, obviously the counterbalanced weight will only work up to a certain limit. Hence the term ‘counterbalance forklift truck’.

When it comes to specifying a counterbalance forklift there are so many variations to choose from that you can sometimes be left confused, following is a brief guide on the few types of counterbalance forklift available to you.

Walkie Pallet Trucks

The Walkie Pallet Truck is at the lower end of the forklift scale and is a piece of equipment that is used for getting into tight and smaller places. Because of the maneuverability of this forklift, you can use it almost anywhere you need to.

Walkie Stackers

The Walkie Stackers are very similar to the Walkie Pallet trucks. The main difference between the Walkie Pallet Truck and the Stacker is that they are suitable to lift product much higher than the Walkie pallet trucks. They are still easy to get into tight places, but are made to lift extra high for the stacking capability. Walkie stackers are enormously multifaceted and are built to be used in a collection of applications. Stackers can lift up to 2.0 tonne with mast heights reaching a maximum of 6.0 metres.

Standard Walkie Stackers are are used extensively in warehousing and storage environments for moving low volume pallets.

Rider Pallet Trucks

Rider Pallet Trucks, different from the Walkie type of lift, operate with somebody seated within the truck as opposed to walking behind it. The Rider Pallet Trucks are used extensively for dock loading and unloading.

Sit Down Counter Balanced Trucks

The Sit Down Counter Balanced Trucks are known for their different designs. They feature a three wheel as well as a four wheel forklift. They are made to be ridden, and are tough as well as durable trucks.

A typical counterbalanced forklift truck is manufactured with the following features:

The Truck Frame – The truck frame is the base of the forklift to which the mast, axles, wheels, counterweight, overhead guard and power source are all attached. The fuel and hydraulic tanks may or may not be built as part of the truck frame.

The Counterweight – The counterweight on counterbalance forklifts are as a rule a heavy cast iron weight joined to the rear of the forklift truck frame. The sole reason for having the counterweight on the fork truck is to counteract the weight of the load being lifted, obviously this is within the lift capacity of the forklift and should not be exceeded. If the forklift is powered by an electric motor then the heavy lead-acid battery itself may serve as part of the counterweight.

The Forklift Cab – The cab is the area that contains a seat for the driver in addition to the control pedals, steering wheel, levers switches and a dashboard containing operator readouts. The cab area may be open air or it may be fully enclosed, but it is always surrounded by a steel cage-like overhead guard assembly.

The Overhead Guard – Designed to protect the driver from falling objects the overhead guard is a metal roof support by posts at each corner of the cab, any objects falling from a height onto an operator would be extremely dangerous. The Overhead Guard helps to minimise any risk to the forklift operator.

The Power Source – The source of power to the forklift may consist of an internal combustion engine that can be powered by LP gas , CNG gas, gasoline or diesel fuel. Electric forklifts are powered by either a battery or fuel cells that provide power to electric motors. The motors may be either DC or AC types, and there are many different advantages and disadvantages of all types of fuel.

The Mast – taking on the work of raising and lowering the load is the forklift mast. The mast is made up of interlocking rails that also provide lateral stability. .

The Carriage – The foklift carriage is the component to which the forks themselves or other attachments are mounted. The carriage is mounted into and is raised and lowered on the mast rails by means of chains or by being directly attached to a hydraulic cylinder.

Attachments – There are many different types of fork attachements available, these may include extensions, sideshifters, carton clamps, multipurpose clamps, rotators, fork positioners, carpet poles, pole handlers, container handlers, roll clamps and many others.

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