An In-Depth Look at Pallet Trucks

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

A pallet truck, also known as a pallet pump, is a routine tool in any warehouse or manufacturing operation, that regularly involves lifting and moving high volumes of goods in what is sometimes a difficult environment. They make the movement of heavy objects from one location to another easier and faster. The pallet jack is always manoeuvring in restricted spaces which means that its design should enable it do this without compromising on its performance. It should also be able to deliver power on demand and offer controlled operative performance. The tool is built with blades that slide under the pallet then gently rise with use of a hydraulic motor to allow movement. The goods moved using the machine are often packed in a pallet as a pallet is standardised and can easily be carried using the machine.

How it works

The pallet trucks are equipped with a piston system that raises and lowers the pallet skids. They are manoeuvred by a lever almost similar to a tiller that functions as the pump handle for raising the jack. To lower the forks, a small handle on the tiller lets loose the hydraulic fluid. The front wheels on the inside end of the forks are put on levers that are attached to linkages that extend to the levers attached to the jack cylinder. When the hydraulic jack at the tiller end is moved upwards, the links pushes the wheels down, raising the forks vertically above the front wheels. This allows the load to be raised upwards until therefore is no contact between it and the floor.

The pallet is only raised slightly above the floor to allow for successive travel. This ensures that even in the absence of a forklift, pallets can still be moved and organised.

Types of pallet trucks

Currently, there exist numerous designs of this tool. What mainly distinguishes them is how they are powered. The common and simplest form of the pallet jack is the manual jack. It is ideal for ground level operations. It resembles a dolly that features forks on the front end. The person operating it walks behind it controlling the direction it takes through a basic steering mechanism.

For more hefty tasks, the powered pallet jack is used. It uses a motor to make the lifting and moving of heavy and stacked pallets easy. Other powered jacks have a place for the user to sit in or stand while moving the pallets. This type of pallet jack is basically moved by a throttle on the handle to move it forward or to reverse it. It is steered by swinging the handle in the direction wanted. Others have a dead man’s switch instead of a brake that is used to stop the machine in the event that the user needs to stop abruptly or has to leave the machine while it is in use.

There are various brands in the market of this tool and they all have their advantages and limitations. It is therefore up to an individual to make the right choice.

Posted in Manufacturing