It was in the beginning of the 20th Century when the very first forklifts were launched. These machines over the past 90 plus years has revolutionized the material handling industries and even the recycling business. The factors for safe utilization, the forklift's evolution and the many different types are discussed below.
History of Forklifts
These powered industrial trucks, also known as lift trucks and forklifts, were invented and introduced to the market in the latter part of the 19th century. At first, these units were low lift trucks which were just capable of raising platforms a few inches from the ground. Usually, these equipment were utilized for transporting supplies in a store, such as work-in-progress situations. During the late 1910s, high lift trucks first emerged and truck design improvements started to take root from there. The tier trucks eventually developed and this allowed for greater stacking of loads and storage effectiveness.
There were extremely difficult economic times in the 1930s. Nevertheless, throughout this specific time, labor was freely available but capital for investment was more and more difficult to come by. This situation really slowed the growth of lift truck usage.
Lift trucks became a very strategic part of the WWII war effort since the vast shortages in manpower in that time happened as a resulting of enlistment of thousands of men. It was found that its driver and the lift truck can deal with the work of numerous men and were extremely productive. As the War continued, many women operators filled the many demands. By the time the war was over, forklifts became a mainstay of the material handling industry. They were used a lot in the Pacific war efforts. Some of the leftover pallets and forklifts within Australia left behind by the United States Military became the basis for the CHEP or Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool, who today is known as the biggest pallet pooling company in the world.
There are numerous benefits to utilizing a diesel or gas powered engine. They are always available around the world; they are great for heavy duty workloads, they deliver consistent power throughout the shift and lots of operators are quite familiar with the source of power.
Some of the diesel and gas engines disadvantages consist of: they require a lot more maintenance compared to electric units, because of the emissions they release, they are not suitable for indoor applications, there is some difficulty and cost associated to disposal of oil and fluid and they need a re-fueling post on-site if they are going to be in continuous use.