When people start a new business, they often begin with a minimum of material handling equipment – or none at all. At first, they might simply carry boxes or other goods by hand, placing them where they need to go.
If the business succeeds and grows, most people quickly realize that hauling objects by hand simply won’t do. A two-wheeled hand truck might be the first piece of material handling equipment purchased – and what a difference it makes! Now a stack of boxes can be easily wheeled across the floor.
Other items come next – platform dollies, hand carts – whatever is needed to get the job done. As growth continues, chances are that the business will start encountering pallets. Shipments may arrive on pallets, goods may be stored on pallets in the warehouse area, and then be shipped on pallets to customers.
That’s the time when the growing business probably purchases a pallet truck, also known as a pallet jack, and again – what a difference it makes! Numerous boxes stacked on a pallet can now be moved all at the same time, with no physical lifting involved: a few pumps on the pallet truck’s handle to raise the pallet, and away it rolls!
Eventually, the simple, straightforward pallet truck might not be enough to deal with all of the material handling situations that a growing business might have. Fortunately, the manufacturers of pallet trucks have designed many variations, to cope with almost anything.
The Challenge: Move a Load from a Pallet on the Floor to a Shelf 30 Inches High
Ordinary pallet trucks are great at raising a pallet a few inches, moving it across a floor, and then lowering the pallet at its destination. That’s fine, if the items on the pallet are to remain at floor level. But in the interests of using space efficiently, many business operators will add shelves or racks, and store items at higher levels, too.
To move a group of boxes from a pallet on the floor, to a shelf that’s 30 inches high (a typical height), the worker must bend and lift each box from floor level, onto the shelf. If this process must be repeated many times each day, the worker will grow tired quickly.
It would be great if the pallet truck could do the lifting – but the basic pallet truck can only elevate the load 6 or 8 inches.
The Solution: High Lift Pallet Trucks
To solve this problem, equipment manufacturers have developed high lift pallet trucks. For example, Douglas Equipment carries several models from Wesco. You can see Wesco’s manually operated models here.
When the forks are at floor level, the pallet truck operates like an ordinary one. The forks are slid under the pallet, the load is elevated, and taken to its destination.
To elevate the pallet, the worker pumps the handle, and a scissor mechanism under each fork begins to jack up the load, as high as 31.5 inches. The worker can set the pallet even with the shelf, and then simply shift the boxes horizontally from the pallet to the shelf – no vertical lifting required!
Depending upon how many times this operation must be performedeach day, the manual high lift pallet truck may be the perfect solution. However, raising the load to the full “High Lift” height may require as many as 63 – 69 pumps on the handle, depending on the model. (Or 35 pumps, with the Quick Lift option available on some models.)
The Advanced Solution: Electric High Lift Pallet Trucks
To eliminate the need to pump the handle up and down to raise the pallet, electric high lift pallet trucks are also available. Douglas Equipment carries several models from Wesco. You can see detailed information about them here:
With these battery powered high lift pallet trucks, the worker can raise the load in as little as 10 – 12 seconds, with the simple push of a button. Pumping the handle up and down is no longer required!
Accomplishing Multiple Tasks
We’ve described the basic problem that high lift pallet trucks were designed to solve – unloading a pallet onto a shelf higher than floor level. These pallet trucks can be used in other useful ways, too.
Moving Boxes from a Shelf to a Pallet – Boxes can be easily moved from an elevated shelf onto a raised pallet. For example, consider the effort required to move 50-pound boxes of nails from their storage position on a shelf, and onto a pallet: This could be very difficult if the pallet is on the floor, but much easier if the pallet is raised to shelf level for the first layer of boxes, or lowered 10 inches or so for the second layer; and so on.
Moving Products from an Assembly Line to a Pallet – Finished products often roll along a conveyor to a collection area. They must then be stacked on a pallet for shipment. With a high lift pallet truck set at the right height, workers can simply slide the products onto the pallet, for ease of stacking and transport.
Loading and Unloading Pickup Trucks – When a heavy object must be moved into or out of a pickup truck bed, and no loading dock is available, an electric high lift pallet truck can simplify the task. Set the height of the forks to match the height of the truck bed, and slide the load from one to the other.
For the Best in Electric High Lift Pallet Trucks – Call Douglas Equipment!
The high lift pallet trucks we’ve described above are available with fork widths of 21” and 27”, telescoping and non-telescoping variations; single stage or two stage pumps; polyurethane or nylon wheels – they’re even available in stainless steel!
Which options would be best for your particular situation? If you contact Douglas Equipment’s service department at 800-451-0030 (or 305-888-3700 in the Miami area), or online through our contact form, our experts will be glad to discuss your requirements and recommend the best solution. We hope to hear from you soon!