Within a production environment’s storage facility, most of the stocked items are often stored on pallets. Whether large or small, items are stacked, transported and moved around on large, square wooden trays that have become the industry standard.
Most pallets are moved around using pallet jacks. These familiar items typically have two prongs on casters and a lifting/maneuvering handle. The prongs are inserted under the pallet and then the handle ‘pumped’ so that the pallet is lifted off of the ground. Once lifted, the pallet and the items held on the pallet become mobile, and can be safely transported to wherever they are needed.
The only issue with most pallet jacks is that they require human effort to use them – the transport and the lifting action are both manual. Someone spending all day moving several pallets from multiple locations will soon become fatigued, and there is of course always the chance of injury.
The best solution is to invest in an electric pallet jack. There are many types of electric pallet jacks, that gives rise to the question, which is the best pallet jack to purchase for use in your warehouse?
A Brief Explanation of the Various Types of Pallet Jack
There are a variety of pallet jacks that are currently available on the market. All are designed to make any load that is stored on a pallet easy to maneuver. Here is a quick run-down of the most common types of pallet jacks.
· Manuel Pallet Jack
The first thing you need to consider is whether a manual, non-motorized pallet truck may be the best option for your organization. A manual pallet jack is simply a steel frame that’s combined with a hydraulic pump. You pump the handle to raise the load, and then release a lever on the pallet to release the pressure in the pump. Manual pallet jacks are great for operations where they will receive infrequent to semi-frequent use, and are typically capable of raising loads up to around 5,500 lbs.
· Electric Pallet Jack Walk Behind
This item is also known as a walkie-pallet jack. These are powered machines that are typically battery-operated. So they require charging on a regular basis. There is no pumping action required to lift the pallet – you simply press a lever and the battery-operated motor performs the pumping action for you.
The battery also provides power to the wheels to aid the movement of the pallet, although the jack is not strictly ‘driven’. The power is there to simply aid in gaining traction. Such jacks have a load-bearing capacity of around 6,000 lbs. and are particularly suitable for use on staging areas and loading docks.
· Ride On Pallet Jack
This type of jack is the next step up from the walk-behind jack. Again, battery power is used to provide the lift and power to the wheels, and the pallet user has a seat on the jack so there is no need for them to walk behind. This piece of equipment is one step down from a forklift truck, but only has a load capacity of around 4,000 lbs.
A pallet jack is perfect for operations where the loads that are moved are light, but are also moved on a frequent basis, or in scenarios where large numbers of small loads are transported throughout the day.
· Fork lift
Not strictly a pallet jack, but if your employees move heavy loads that are packed on pallets on a frequent basis, then you will need to invest in a fork lift truck. Pallet jacks simply are not up to the task, especially if your loads are consistently over five thousand pounds. If you expect your employees to move heavy loads on a continuous basis with non-electric or low-spec electric pallet jacks, then you are heading for trouble and possible litigation issues if your employees are injured as a result of you not investing in the proper equipment.
The issue though is that fork lift trucks are not cheap, and there are always maintenance issues to deal with as well as fuel costs. If you do decide to invest in a fork lift truck, make sure you do your research so that you find the best and most cost-effective deal possible for your unique needs.
Which Pallet Truck Manufacturer is Most Often Recommended?
For pallet trucks – both motorized and non-motorized, the team at Douglas Equipment often recommends equipment manufactured by Wesco. This Philadelphia-based company has been around since 1928, and has been one of the leading pallet truck providers of all types of industrial products, including steel hand trucks, drum handling equipment and of course, pallet jacks and trucks.
The pallet jacks that we can supply via Wesco come in all sorts of sizes, configurations, and colors too! From simple manual pallet jacks to fully-motorized pallet jacks, the products supplied by Wesco really do have all the bases covered when it comes to moving pallets from point A to point B. No matter what your business does that involves pallet-laden transportation and storage, there is something that is guaranteed to significantly increase your company’s efficiency.
Here at Douglas Equipment we are always available for you, and not just when it comes to closing a sale, but we are also standing by to answer any questions you may have about finding the right piece of material handling equipment to add to your arsenal. Talk us through your business application and we’ll make our recommendations. Call us today – you’ll be glad that you did.
We can be reached toll free at 800-451-0030 or 305-888-3700 if you are in the Miami area. For your convenience, you can also use our online contact form and a member of our customer support team will get back to you as soon as they can.