The Beginner’s Guide to Purchasing the Perfect Electric Pallet Jack for Your Warehouse

Bulk Material-Handling Equipment Tools Warehouses Need to Succeed You may already be well aware of the old saying 'the right tool for the right job'. When it comes to warehouses and bulk material-handling equipment, it's appropriate to extend this saying a bit. Kind of like this The right tools for the right job maximizes efficiency. There are many different types of material-handling equipment, and the likelihood is that your warehouse will use a wide variety of them. We’re going to take a look at all of the major types of material-handling equipment and how the team here at Douglas Equipment can provide you with the right tool for the job at hand. Different Uses of Material-Handling Equipment • Storage and Handling The most important aspect of your warehouse is the potential it has for storage. The bigger the warehouse, the more inventory you can have. The more inventory you have, the less trips you have to make to suppliers. The less trips, the more money you save! Usually storage equipment only includes non-automated examples. You can include pallets, shelves and racking as important pieces of equipment – any items that help you to organize and stack your materials during storage before items are moved to a different part of the production process, or transported from the warehouse. The best tools are those that maximize the space you have within your warehouse. So efficient and reliable stacking frames, shelves, hoppers and bins are all of extreme importance. For mezzanines, conveyors, stairways, landings, ladders and cantilever racks, we recommend items manufactured by Bluff Manufacturing, and we are happy to carry a number of their products. Bluff Manufacturing has been in business since 1968, and has continually proven themselves to be among the leaders in quality dock and warehouse equipment. Bluff has several sites all across the United States, including their headquarters based in Forth Worth, Texas. ANSI-certified, Bluff Manufacturing is a two-time recipient of the MHEDA award for the 'Most Valuable Supplier', and we are both pleased and proud to be able to offer their products to our customers. • Engineered Systems While man-power is all well and good when you are moving items around your warehouse, engineered systems are much more efficient. Such engineered systems can include simple systems such as conveyors, or more complicated systems like automated delivery systems, and automatic guided vehicles. These systems will take a lot of backbreaking work away from your employees, leaving them free to work elsewhere. For engineered systems at Douglas Equipment we truly believe in the 'Omni Advantage' – this is the advantage gained by using products manufactured by Omni Metalcraft Corp, a respected company based on the shores of Lake Huron in Alpena, Michigan. This company has for many years helped us to supply our customers with an extensive range of heavy-duty conveyors (both motorized and non-motorized) for all types of applications. Their engineered systems can deal with all types of items – batteries, cases, drums, food and beverage items, glass, pallets, metals and much more. If you need an engineered system capable of helping you handle your materials, then contact us to ask us about the products manufactured by Omni Metalcraft Corp. • Industrial Trucks It's likely that industrial trucks form the main part of your fleet of bulk material-handling equipment. The term encompasses both motorized and non-motorized hand trucks, plus pallet jacks and trucks, walkie stackers, platform trucks, order pickers and side-loaders. Industrial trucks possess a variety of abilities that ensures they are suitable for any number of different operations. So an adaptable industrial truck is a very useful tool. Many such trucks will also have forks or some kind of flat surface by which allow the user to load and lift items, and some will even have powered lifts to make the stacking process even easier. Other types of trucks can be used purely for transportation without the ability to stack. At Douglas Equipment, we can supply you with the complete range of drum-handling trucks as manufactured by Morse, a reliable company that has been supplying US and overseas companies since 1923. We can offer your business two, three and four-wheel drum trucks, plus drum and pail heaters made to precise specifications. We stock a number of other products manufactured by Morse too, including drum rackers, drum lifters, and drum tumblers. Basically, if your business involves the transportation of drums, then we heartily recommend the products manufactured by Morse. • Loose Material-Handling Equipment While many items that a warehouse is required to receive come in neat packages, many other items do not. Such items generally arrive in loose form – minerals, foods (such as grain) or liquids for example. Special handling equipment is required to handle materials in this form. This equipment generally deals with the material in its loose form, using conveyor belts or elevators to move items in large amounts hence maximizing efficiency. Storage of such items is important too, as items need to be kept free of contaminates. Equipment of this nature can include conveyors, stackers, reclaimers, bucket and grain elevators, hoppers and silos. For any business, efficiency is key. The more efficient you are, the less you will waste in terms of resources, and the less you waste, the more profitable you will become. If your margins are tight then you cannot afford any wastage, which is why it always pays in the long run to invest in the very best, most reliable material-handling equipment that you can afford. Buying cheap is a short-term cost saver, but can create significant problems in the future. Reach Out to Douglas Equipment to Learn More Today At Douglas Equipment, we can provide you with all the best tools you need to ensure that your warehouse runs smoothly and efficiently. We're happy to answer any questions you may have, and a member of our specialist customer service team is always available to speak to you. You can call us toll free at any time at 1-800-451-0030, or 305-888-3700 if you are based in the South Florida area. You can also contact us online using our contact form if you’d prefer to contact us via email. We look forward to hearing from you very soon.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.