CAT Warehouse Stacker - Forklifts for Sale or Hire - Radnes Services

What are the different types of warehouse stacker?


A warehouse stacker is a specialised tool used for lifting and moving pallets around a warehouse. There are various types of warehouse stackers available for different industries and applications. They are generally considered a cheaper alternative to investing in forklifts and other similar equipment. They require a little more physical work than a forklift, and this varies depending on the type of warehouse stacker you use. They are ideal for warehouses of restricted size, where workers use them to lift products onto racks for storage, or into vehicles for transit. Here is a guide to the various types of warehouse stacker available.

Manual stackers

A manual stacker is the most simple and affordable type, and typically has a load capacity of 5,500 lbs. It consists of a steel trolley with a hydraulic pump and lifts pallets and heavy items by manually pumping the handle up and down. The operator works the manual stacker by positioning its two forks under a pallet and raising it off the floor using the lifting mechanism. Once the load is off the ground, you can manually steer it to its destination using the handle.

An advantage of the manual stacker is that it can be easily loaded into the back of a vehicle due to its small size and lightweight. However, it isn’t ideal for moving a load over longer distances, as it is quite labour-intensive for the operator. In smaller spaces, where lift height is not too high, the manual stacker is a perfectly adequate solution.

The electric walkie behind

These are also known as walkie stackers, and they are twice the size of manual warehouse stackers. They are powered by an industrial battery or an on-board battery pack. The word ‘walkie’ refers to a stacker that the operator has to walk behind or beside, and this type has a typical load capacity of 4,500 – 6,000 lbs. The advantages of using a walkie stacker mainly revolve around the electrical assist for both driving and lifting. It also enables the operator to lift loads at the touch of a button, rather than by pumping a handle. Without needing to manually push the full weight of the load or pump the lift, this is a far less labour-intensive solution. It is also still fairly small in size, so manoeuvrability is still good.

The main disadvantage of this type of warehouse stacker is that its battery has to be charged regularly. It also requires more maintenance, because there are more moving parts and the electronics to think about. As with the manual stacker, it is often a poor choice for moving loads over longer distances because the operator still has to walk. The maximum speed is low, so the risk of collisions is minimal compared to a rider warehouse stacker. The walkie stacker is most often used at loading docks or staging areas, and for mid-distance moving of loads.

The rider stacker

A rider warehouse stacker is similar in many ways to the electric walkie behind but it has one additional feature, a riding platform. It is powered by an onboard industrial battery. Its key advantage that sets it apart is the fact that the operator can simply step onto the riding platform, rather than having to walk behind or alongside it. This makes the rider warehouse stacker a better choice for shifting loads over longer distances, in comparison to walkie or manual warehouse stackers.

The disadvantage of the rider stacker is the lack of protection afforded to the operator. Because of the way it is designed, operators have a somewhat awkward stand and are exposed to environmental hazards in the workplace. The rider warehouse stacker is heavyweight, so it has the potential to cause injury or damage to any structures it collides with. They are an ideal solution for frequent movement over longer distances and are most often found in large warehouse environments and manufacturing plants.

The centre rider

These are sometimes known as front rider warehouse stackers. They are similar to rider stackers, but with more safety and ergonomic features incorporated. They enable the operator to fully face the front or back, rather than just sideways. There is less likelihood of injury to the operator because the whole machine is protected by its chassis on two sides. However, the centre rider stacker is less manoeuvrable than the others listed so far, and the operator protection is still only partial since he/she will be exposed to the lifting mechanism.

The centre rider is best applied to environments where the machine is driven in straight lines most of the time, particularly when space is limited. Industries like general warehousing, general manufacturing and the handling of beverages are common applications for the centre rider.

The weighing scale stacker

A weighing scale stacker is quite unique because it includes a feature of displaying the total weight of the load it lifts. This is a useful feature for many loading bays and factory floors, catering to a specific niche of any industry that needs to keep track of the precise weight of each load. In some cases, a printer is also incorporated with the stackers, so that the weight and other specifications can easily be printed.

The counterbalanced walkie stackers

This advanced machine is a high lifting, electronically-powered unit with a heavyweight chassis and a lifting mast. It is designed to avoid tipping over by using the industrial battery, steel and machine components as a counterbalance to whatever load is being lifted. It is able to life loads to 100+ inches, and the counterbalanced design is compatible with use in narrow aisles as compared to a straddle stacker. This is because it doesn’t include outrigger arms that extend outside the body.

Of all the different walkie stackers, the counterbalanced one has the highest lifting mast. They typically range from around 2,600mm up to as high as 5,800mm. You can expect the counterbalanced walkie stacker to have the greatest total length, so it requires a large turning radius. For this reason, it is suitable for certain general warehouse of manufacturing environments and is often used in pharmaceuticals and cold storage outlets.

The walkie straddle stacker

This type of stacker is quite similar to the counterbalanced one, except it features outrigger arms aimed at further reducing the risk of the machine tipping over when it lifts a heavy load. There are modifications available for walkie straddle stackers, including a reaching carriage for use in narrower aisles.

Walkie straddle stackers are typically used in low- to mid-level selective racking applications, such as in a small warehouse. The lifting heights of these stackers generally range from 2,600mm to around 4,800mm, and there are various different models to choose from.

The all-terrain stacker

An all-terrain warehouse stacker is designed to carry loads up to 2,000 – 2,5000 lbs. It is lightweight but extremely robust with a strong tubular frame that can handle an even-distributed load. With large wheels, it is able to move over the majority of surfaces. It includes a 3-position handle that can lock in the up, down and neutral positions, and is mostly applied in gravel pits, plant nurseries and construction sites.

Design variations

There are different variations on the design of warehouse stackers that make them suitable for specific applications. Here are 4 of the most common options you’ll find.

  • Adjustable: with an adjustable stacker, the forks can be moved into broader and narrower widths. This is particularly useful for industries where the pallets come in different sizes. Various brands offer models with an adjustable design.
  • Stainless Steel: Some pallet jacks are specially made from stainless steel. These are galvanised to make them more resistant to moisture. This is particularly important when your stacker is frequently exposed to the elements, or when corrosive materials are being handled. For this reason, the stainless steel variant is often used in laboratories, clean rooms and all manner of outdoor environment.
  • Narrow: Narrow warehouse stackers are designed to have the same loading capacity of a manual stacker; around 5,500 lbs. But with this variant, the overall width is considerably less – perhaps knocking off as much as 9 inches from the width. These are useful for special applications in tight spaces or where smaller pallets are used.
  • Mini: The mini variant is designed to be supremely lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. It can weigh as little as 31kg, which means it is easy to carry and compact enough to load straight into a vehicle. There is no hydraulic pump on this type, so it is primarily used for moving loads around but not lifting it up high. This also means there is minimal maintenance, and you won’t experience oil leaks or need to replace seals. The typical load capacity of a mini stacker is around 1,100 lbs.

So there you have it, a basic guide to the types of warehouse stacker and pallet jack that are available. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, so you will have to weigh up the needs of your specific environment to ascertain which type of jack will be best for you. In any case, they are an essential tool for moving heavy loads around your facility and lifting them to stack on top of one another.

If the expense of a forklift truck is too prohibitive for your budget, a warehouse stacker or pallet jack is a good compromise. We hope this rough guide will serve as a good starting point for you to begin your search, and we can offer further advice on what the best solution might be for you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for stackers for sales or hire.

Warehouse Forklifts - Everything you need to know - Radnes Services

Your guide to Warehouse Forklifts

Forklifts are an essential piece of equipment for any warehouse, but they are also one of the most expensive! So, making sure that you choose the right forklift for your warehouse requirements is essential. Depending on the kinds of products you will be handling, the warehouse environment and the type of shelving you have, the most suitable forklift will differ. So, continue reading to discover the most popular and widest used forklifts available and what environments they are most suited for.

1. Counterbalanced forklift

This is one of the most popular and versatile types of forklift. They are used in a wide variety of settings but are mostly used indoors and on flat surfaces. This is the ideal piece of machinery for warehouses, due to its ability to help you move heavy loads across relatively short distances.

Counterbalance forklifts are able to move extremely heavy objects because of the massive weight at the rear of the machine which counterbalances the weight of pallets and materials loaded onto the frontal forks.

Available in electric, diesel or gas models, counterbalanced forklifts are an excellent choice for warehouses with extensive inventories. They are especially handy for loading and unloading pallets and transporting items to/from delivery vehicles.

Some models come in a three-wheel variety, which is helpful if you are short on space, as the four-wheel models can sometimes be challenging to manoeuvre in tight spaces since they have a large turning circle. However, in most situations, this is not a problem, and the benefits of having a powerful, versatile and robust piece of equipment like this vastly outweigh any potential issues with limited manoeuvrability.

2. Sideloader forklift

Sideloader forklifts are not suitable for all your warehouse needs, but they are an absolute blessing in certain situations! If you regularly store long or wide items, then the sideloader is a fantastic choice. They are designed to carry their load sideways, which makes them great for transporting long items such as tubing, sleepers, sheet metal, timber and pipes. The sideloader forklift is also suitable to use in narrow aisles; its unique scissor mechanism of extending forks means that it does not have to turn.

Loading and unloading awkward heavy objects can be a nightmare when using traditional forklifts, but the sideloader makes short work of navigating narrow aisles and handling long products. Sideloaders feature a compartment for the operator and can even be the width of your aisles as they do not need to turn to load or unload.

3. Industrial forklift

Large capacity forklifts or industrial forklifts are capable of shifting heavier loads than the average warehouse forklift. They come in a variety of reach heights and weight capacities but operate similarly to the counterbalance, in that they have a heavyweight at the rear of the machine to counteract heavy loads.

Depending on your requirements, you will be able to get an industrial forklift to suit the needs of your warehouse. It is especially suited to taller shelving systems as they are capable of lifting loads off much higher off the ground than a standard warehouse forklift. However, industrial forklifts are only necessary for a narrow range of situations, as it usually is rare for such power to be needed.

4. Rough terrain forklift

This forklift is absolutely essential if you work in rough outdoor conditions, such as a builder’s merchants, farm, construction site or garden centre. Rough terrain forklifts are capable of working on rough ground such as gravel, rocks, pebbles and uneven earth due to their robust structure. This forklift features durable pneumatic (inflatable) tyres, heavy tyre tread, high ground clearance and a powerful engine. Ideal for outdoor work, these machines are not designed to be used indoors – especially as most are diesel-powered.

If your warehouse is indoors, and the only outdoor transportation required is between shelves and lorries or offloading vehicles, then you would not need to go to the expense of a rough terrain forklift. The only circumstance in which you might consider it is if the path leading to vehicles is rough, although, in this case, it would probably be cheaper to resurface the road or pathway rather than buy or rent a rough terrain forklift.

5. Pallet jack

Pallet jacks are designed to be used in smaller locations, with lower capacities. Also known as pump trucks, they can be operated manually or with an electric battery. Due to their small size, they are perfect in a vast array of settings such as shops, warehouses and stockrooms, where space is at a premium, and you need a forklift to access pallets in the tightest of spaces.

If you need to move floor level items, then this is an essential tool, but bear in mind that this is not suitable for heavier loads or for loading/unloading anything from higher than ground level. It is also only suitable for transporting pallets, and will only be able to lift loads a few inches of the ground.

Pallet jacks are relatively inexpensive, so make a worthwhile investment in most warehouses, even if you only need to use it occasionally. This kind of forklift does not have the power to move quickly, though, which may be an advantage in some settings, especially those tight on space.

6. Telescopic handler

Sometimes known as a telehandler, reach forklift or cherry-picker – the telescopic handler is the ultimate high-reaching forklift. The boom and extendable arm mean that it can be used as either a forklift or a small crane. Ideally suited to construction or agricultural settings, the telescopic handler can also be used in warehouses which require forklifts to load and unload products at extreme heights. The telehandler is also able to manoeuvre pallets and payloads into tight spaces and at odd angles, making this perfect if you want to maximise space.

Available with a range of attachments (aside from lifting forks) they can be helpful in a huge number of circumstances. These powerful machines don’t come without a downside, though – they can be pretty costly! Due to their power and size, they are also less easy to manoeuvre and have a large turning circle. However, their power, durability and strength as well as their suitability for use on rough terrain, makes them an indispensable tool for moving around heavy items into hard to reach places.

7. Walkie Stacker

Similar to a pallet jack in that they do not have a cab for the operator to sit or stand in, a walkie stacker is steered by a worker using a handle attached to the back of the stacker. The main difference between a walkie stacker and a pallet jack is that pallet jack is only suitable for moving things at floor level whereas a walkie stacker is able to reach further up off the ground to load and unload pallets. Like the pallet jack, this product is not particularly powerful or fast, and it also doesn’t have a large counterweight to counteract the weight of the material being transported. For this reason, the walkie stacker should only be used to carry lighter loads.

8. Order picker

An order picker is a type of walkie stacker or reach forklift, but instead of using them to load pallets onto shelves or unloading materials from lorries or trucks, they are used to lift an operator up to the warehouse’s shelves/racks so that they can pick the correct item and bring it down again.

Order pickers are essential for warehouses which ship out individual items, where you do not want or need entire pallets to be brought down to ground level. Normally, reaching heights up to 32ft, an order picker is a versatile and handy tool to have for almost any industry whether you store washing machines or sofas.

Most order pickers are battery-powered and come in a variety of capacities, lift heights and platform sizes. Obviously, if items are quite large, e.g. an armchair, the type of lift you pick will need to have a big enough platform size and power capacity.

9. Pallet Trucks

Palet trucks come in two main types, manual and powered. Similar to pallet jacks, a pallet truck usually has a larger platform size allowing for the transportation of more than one pallet at a time either horizontally or vertically. They operate in much the same way though, by slipping the fork under the pallet and using a hydraulic jack to lift the payload. Manual pallet trucks are hand-operated and powered trucks are motor-powered and more suitable for moving heavier items. Powered pallet trucks are also much more speedy and are ideal for loading and unloading pallets from a truck or other delivery vehicle, for distribution across a large warehouse.

10. High rack stackers

Sometimes warehouses have super tight aisles, and where this is the case, a narrow high rack stack should definitely be considered. Many models of high rack stackers have a large storage capacity and a clear view for the operator, which makes it a safer alternative to many traditional types of forklifts in tight quarters.

The use of specially designed high rack stackers has become more popular in recent years as retailers and manufacturers attempt to maximise space in their warehouses. Forklifts designed to be used in tight spaces, allow for more shelves to be built and more product to be stored. High rack stackers that can operate in narrow spaces are particularly helpful as not only can they work in narrow spaces, they can also reach higher than ordinary forklifts, so space can be maximised both off the ground and on the ground!

High rack stackers are different from traditional reach or telescopic forklifts as they are often designed with advanced technology to be semi-automatic – in some cases, this can even mean that no human operator is necessary. However, the most efficient option (prone to less error) are stackers, which allow for an operator to be lifted up and down with the machine to ensure easy (and correct) pallet retrieval.

Whatever your needs for warehouse forklifts, we’d love to have a chat. Get in touch and talk to our friendly staff today about what you need for your warehouse and how we can help.

A Complete Guide to Forklift Safety Inspections - Radnes Services

A Complete Guide to Forklift Safety Inspections

Forklift safety inspections are vital in ensuring the safety of both the operator and those that surround them and, as such, are now a legal requirement for anybody wishing to use or drive a forklift truck in the UK.

In many ways, the safety inspections are not dissimilar to an MOT for a car. Without them, a forklift truck may not function to the best of its ability, resulting in the potential for deadly accidents in the workplace. However, safety inspections for forklift trucks should ideally occur more frequently than an MOT check – usually a few times a year.

Forklift trucks must pass the ‘National Thorough Examination’ procedure. This procedure, which is practised across the UK, is designed to meet the requirements of several safety legislations, including LOLER 98 and PUWER 98 which dictate that all forklift trucks must pass an annual safety check to ensure their safety and suitability for use.

This guide will discuss the standards required in order to pass the examination and also the steps you can take to ensure that your truck or company passes the test.

The standards

Professional safety inspections should ideally occur a few times a year and should also always be carried out before a truck is used for the first time. In addition, operators should also complete their own pre-use survey prior to driving the vehicle. In general, a safety inspection will:

1) Test whether or not the truck is safe to operate – Is it functioning correctly? Are there any obvious malfunctions or errors?

2) Prove that the truck is operating in the way that it was designed to work – both when lifting and travelling.

3) Locate any defects which could affect the overall safety and functioning of the truck and specify when changes need to be made to rectify this issue and stop it from escalating further.

4) Test the functioning of all safety implements within the truck such as the brakes, the tyres and the lights.

5) Make sure that all warning labels on the truck are properly displayed, visible and easy to read. In addition to this, all personnel should be familiar with safety procedures before use.

6) Ensure both owners and drivers are aware of any possible limitations of the truck itself and know what can be done to change this.

After the inspection, a report will be generated detailing the findings. There is usually some form of checklist given, which shows exactly what needs to be changed and when giving the operator an idea of what to do next should their truck fail the inspection.

These standards clearly dictate that a forklift truck should function in a certain way. For example, the requirements of the truck vary depending on the work that is intended to carry out (i.e. what is being lifted – cargo, people etc). Though this varies from truck to truck (and company to company) there is often a sense of cohesion in the requirements. To put it simply, the truck ought to be strong enough to carry out its intended purpose, which includes baring the weight of its load and anything that may be attached to it.

Safety procedures must always be carried out in full when a forklift truck is in operation. These include ensuring that everything is correctly positioned to minimise the risk of injury during use (such as something falling from the lift). All safety labels and instructions must be clearly visible and anybody operating the truck should familiarise themselves with them before use.

It is the responsibility of the owner or leaser to ensure that all operations (regardless of what the task at hand is) are carried out by people who are familiar with the truck and its safety practices.

Ideally, all equipment will be regularly examined by the user. Usually, this means that the user should perform a small safety examination themselves before use. Additionally, lifting equipment ought to be professionally examined every 6 months.

How to pass inspections

As mentioned previously, the standards required to pass the safety inspections are rather straightforward and are in place, quite simply, to ensure the safety of both the user and those around them. With this in mind, they should not be taken lightly or treated as a nuisance. After all, a forklift truck or vehicle that does not pass the safety inspection is not fit for use. Strict penalties apply to ensure that forklift trucks deemed unsafe for use are taken off the road.

Though the testing process for a forklift truck is understandably rigorous, those who take proper care of their truck and follow safety guidelines are usually able to meet the requirements easily and without worry. There are several things you can do to ensure that your truck meets these requirements.

The best way to ensure the regular upkeep of the vehicle (and therefore ensure it will pass the safety inspections) is to regularly assess the truck before use – perhaps by filling in a daily checklist of requirements or even taking photographs. Pre-use inspections such as this are now commonplace in many businesses and companies across the UK. In fact, it is against the law for an operator to use a forklift truck without having first completed a pre-use check. They are easy to do and are not particularly time-consuming and can drastically reduce the risk of accidents occurring. Completing a pre-use check will simply allow you to track any changes and address any issues that may arise quickly and efficiently.

These tests are largely at the responsibility of the operator, who should begin the inspection by performing a short visual assessment. Sometimes, an issue that presents itself may be very obvious and easy to spot such as clear exterior damage to the forklift, oil leaks and spillages, or damaged and deflated tyres. Small damages such as these can easily occur during regular day-to-day use and are often inexpensive to resolve if they are found quickly. The longer a problem goes unnoticed, the more expensive it will be to resolve.

Afterwards, you should then ensure the truck is operating safely by following this simple ‘5 step’ checklist.

1) Test the handbrake to ensure it is working.

2) Inspect all controls (inching, hoisting, lowering and tilting etc.) ensuring they meet their various purposes to a high standard.

3) Test the horn/alarm systems – ensuring that they make appropriate noise that can be heard in an emergency.

4) Check the lights on the truck. Are they bright enough? Do the bulbs need replacing?

5) Check the fluid levels (coolant, fuel, brake and hydraulic levels) ensuring they are all up to standard.

Generally, it also recommended that you clean the forklift thoroughly after each use. Though this can seem something of a hassle, proper maintenance and upkeep help the forklift to function.

Regular maintenance on the forklift will ensure that it meets the safety inspection requirements – especially when you are proactive in encountering any issues that arise, resolving them promptly. Often, this means fixing issues as and when they occur. After all, it is both incredibly dangerous and irresponsible to send out a forklift that has an error or fault until appropriate repairs have been completed. Not only does this drastically increase the risk of an accident occurring, but it can also actually do more damage to the truck by continued use after the damage has occurred.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you will pass safety inspection test is ensuring that everybody who works with or around the forklift trucks is highly trained and aware of the safety procedures put in place both by the company and by law. Though they do not need to be engineers, they should be familiar with how the forklift truck should function. Companies must never allow a person who has not been trained to operate the truck or complete the pre-use survey as mistakes can be easily made and some things may go unnoticed to the untrained eye.

In conclusion, it is vitally important to remember that there are always risks involved when operating heavy machinery such as a forklift truck.

By their very nature, certain hazards occur during their use both in and out of the workplace. However, there are many things you can do to minimise risks and ensure the safety of employees and operators. From appropriate and regular training of staff or personnel to enforcing that pre-use checks are completed before each use. So long as these guidelines are followed, it is highly likely that the forklift truck will pass their inspections and be fit for use.

Safety inspections are the responsibility of the user but can give peace of mind to those using them when they know the truck is properly functioning. On occasion, the inspection will be looked over by an independent inspector to ensure all standards are being met.

Remember, if your forklift truck fails its inspection, this does not mean it will be out of use forever. Usually, there are systems in place to help resolve any issues. It is always worth spending the money to fix any problems with the trucks as opposed to the alternative, which is using unsafe equipment that may result in harm to others. Safety should always be a priority in the workplace.

At Radnes Services Ltd, we are highly trained in and competent at carrying out the new ‘National Thorough Examination’ procedure as well as machine patience and repair. Eliminate some of the pressure by allowing our expert servicemen to support your business and ensure your forklifts are always operating to the best of their ability. Contact us to discuss safety checks for your fleet now.

Radnes Forklift Maintenance

Forklift care and maintenance – how to keep your forklift fleet moving

At Radnes Services, we’re a family-owned company that provides forklift services across Kent, London, and Surrey. Established in 1973, we sell, rent, repair and train on how to safely operate forklift trucks. We also provide clear guidelines on why and how to maintain forklifts to ensure efficiency and longevity. In any case, a well looked after forklift is likely to serve you longer and is less likely to break down in the middle of a job, while a neglected one, on the other hand, will require replacements sooner or even put workers at risk. Let’s look closer at forklift maintenance so you can make the most of your fleet.

Inspection frequency

The inspection frequency depends on a variety of factors, including hours of operation; service record; the severity of services; past maintenance; wear and getting out of adjustment; safety requirements and age and condition. To enhance efficiency, it is important to adhere to an inspection program. The most effective way to implement these checks is to use the HSE standards which will ensure that every area of your forklift has been examined.

Daily maintenance

Daily maintenance helps to identify typical issues such as leaks or faults in breaks. Before working with a forklift, operators should visually carry out an inspection to assess the condition of the parts which are prone to damage easily. For instance, they should check the mast, radiator, engine oil, and fuel to make sure everything is in order. Tire damage is also quite common, especially if the forklift uses the same path to traverse around the warehouse. The movement causes wear and tear, which can make them deflate over time. Ensure that you check for pressure leaks or any damages that can alter the functionality of the forklift.

Monthly maintenance

Typically conducted after 200 hours of service, a monthly maintenance plan may include cleaning your forklift’s air filter element and inspecting its cap and rotator, drive belt, spark plug, and lift and tilt cylinder. During these maintenance checks, the engine can be changed, and the engine idle speed should be adjusted. It’s also worth considering lubricating the chassis and the mast components.

Quarterly maintenance

Quarterly maintenance is conducted after 600 hours of service. Some of the things that are checked here are draining the water-diesel, replacing hydraulic filters, cleaning of radiators, an inspection of the carriage rollers, hydraulic oil pump, PCV, hand brake, and mast operation.

Semi-annual maintenance

After 1200 hours of service, it is crucial that you assess the condition of the forklift by checking the brake booster operation, replacing the brake fluid, fuel filter, water separator, grease, and trucks.

Maintenance tips

Communication

Operators, technicians, and management can be reliable sources of information since they interact with the fleet more often. It is their responsibility to note down any issues regarding forklift, such as the number of repairs, parts that have been replaced, and repairs that are covered by insurance or warranty. Through such information, one can assess the expenses vis-à-vis profits to determine which changes need to be made.

Cleaning

This is an important part of maintenance since only through cleaning can you identify some problems, such as blocked radiators. Besides improving the aesthetic appearance of the forklift, cleaning helps in getting rid of combustible materials and other foreign material that hinder the operation of the machine. Enforce weekly cleaning where you can remove any dirt and mud on the forklift, blow the radiators, and change filters. By sticking to a regular cleaning schedule, you are sure to keep your forklift safe, efficient, and more importantly, you will not have to use a lot of money replacing items now and then.

Deal with issues immediately

In the course of operating a forklift, you are likely to foresee a problem even before it manifests. For example, you can notice when the clutch becomes too soft or tines break in the middle of work. It is recommendable that you deal with such issues before they escalate to costly repairs or accidents. Encourage employees to report any minor issues so that they are taken care of promptly. Additionally, be keen to notice any strange sounds or leaks which might be an indication that a forklift needs attention.

Inspections

Due to the risks involved with forklifts, just like all other machinery, it is recommendable that inspections are done by qualified technicians, preferably those with the required certification. In the same vein, forklifts should only be deemed fit to work when a qualified person says so.

Sign up for a plan

Signing up for a comprehensive maintenance plan with a reputable company can save you the trouble of worrying about the state of your forklifts. Such companies take responsibility for cleaning, repairing, and replacing worn-out parts, meaning you don’t have to invest a lot of time following up on it. You can also be assured that your forklifts are being attended to by experienced technicians since the company will work to keep the standards of work as high as possible.

Check safety features

Safety features, including turn and back signals, are essential in ensuring safety and preventing accidents from happening. Moreover, they are part of the requirements of HSE, which means that failure to observe standards in this regard can put you in legal and financial problems.

Check hoses

Do not ignore a leaky hose, no matter how small it might appear, as it will only get worse with time. Moreover, leaks pose more harm to employees who may slip on the oil and hurt themselves. If not sure of how to go about a leak, one should consult the manual or report to the supervisor immediately.

Tyre pressure

Forklift maintenance begins from the tyres. Tires with improper pressure can lead to load shift and accidents that might result from falling loads. Typically, one should keep the pressure at or just below the recommended PSI rating. However, this depends on the current weather; in cold weathers, one should keep full pressure while in warm weathers, one should aim to keep the pressure below PSI since air inside is expected to expand due to hot air.

Read the manual

It is only through reading the manual that you can get acquainted with how to maintain a forklift properly. Every industrial truck comes with a detailed and comprehensive manual which every operator should take upon himself to understand its contents. Accordingly, you will be in a better position to ensure a safe workplace for all.

Why you need to maintain your forklift

Preventing accidents

Most accidents caused by a forklift are attributed to lack of maintenance. For instance, some operators do not concern themselves with checking the conditions of the tires or radiators which, due to neglect, get worn out and ineffective. A well-maintained forklift is not likely to cause accidents since everything is functioning how it is supposed to.

Overall safety

This includes a combination of well-trained drivers and forklifts that are functioning correctly. Properly maintained forklifts are easy to use and not likely to put the lives of workers at risk. In any case, ensuring safety in the workplace should be a culture that people adopt for their own good.

HSE requirements

HSE’s only role is to enforce safety, and they have a specific guide on how one can achieve that in their specific industry. Forklift operators are expected to observe these requirements or else be liable for fines. To avoid all the unnecessary costs you are likely to incur if you are caught breaking the rules, just ensure your forklifts are always taken care of at all times.

Ensure efficiency

With a well-functioning forklift, you can work faster and with ease as opposed to working with a faulty one. Consequently, you are bound to realise more productivity. Doing a lot of work within a short timeframe can guarantee you better returns since you are maximising on the resources you have. As mentioned here, learn to regularly check some of the parts that tend to wear out faster (such as brakes, tires, and radiators) as this can adversely affect operations.

Preventing sudden failure

Forklifts are used to lift heavy objects around a warehouse. Since they carry heavy equipment, they are bound to wear and tear, and as such, they can cause accidents. Masts and tires are more exposed to pressure and therefore are more likely to tear, as such, they need more attention. When repairs are done on a regular schedule, accidents can be avoided.

Reducing the costs of repair

Preventative maintenance helps to identify potential damages on a forklift which prompt immediate repairs depending on their nature. One can save costs significantly, for example by repairing a leaking hydraulic pump, rather than waiting until it has to be replaced with a new one. One problem can lead to another, and you might be surprised by how much damage is done by the time you decide to look into an issue that you ignored when you first noticed it.

Identifying forklifts that should be cycled out

It is in the course of maintenance that you have the biggest opportunity to notice which forklifts are worn out and are no longer efficient as part of the fleet. You can weigh the cost of repair and maintenance versus the cost of buying a new forklift to decide whether it is time to cycle out the old ones.

In conclusion, forklift maintenance aims at increasing forklift efficiency and safeguarding the safety of the operators and other workers. Failure to observe safety regulations, for example, through neglect, can have negative consequences on your operations. It is therefore important that you observe the rules to avoid incurring costs which result from this.

Why not get in touch with the Radnes Services team to find out more about how to best maintain your forklift fleet?

Forklift training – What does it involve, and how can it benefit your workplace?

Companies that operate forklift trucks have a legal responsibility to ensure that all operators are properly trained and certified. For some, this red tape can put them off implementing forklift trucks altogether or risk employing operators without the necessary certification. But achieving certification really isn’t as difficult or as expensive as it sounds.

In this blog, we’ll look at what is involved in the training and certification process and what benefits having properly certified forklift truck operators will bring.

Why forklift truck training is important

According to data from the British Safety Council, forklift trucks represent the most dangerous form of workplace transport in the UK. Each year 1,300 people are seriously injured following forklift accidents. That amounts to more than 5 people each day suffering debilitating life-changing injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigates all serious accidents in the workplace, has found that the majority of these accidents are avoidable. While some accidents are attributed to poor maintenance, the vast majority are due to a lack of training.

Helps improve safety in the workplace

With forklifts posing numerous dangers to both drivers and pedestrians, it is important that all operators are trained and certified to use the equipment properly.

A certified forklift operator is trained to assess the risks before each type of manoeuvre, which can help to prevent accidents and injury to both operators and pedestrians.

This not only helps to improve safety in the workplace: it also reduces the risk of damage to delivery vehicles and buildings and protects you from litigation in the unlikely event that an accident does occur. It will also allow you to obtain public and employer liability insurance for your operations. Operating a forklift without having certified staff will most likely void your policy.

Forklift training requirements

Forklift truck training courses are designed for people with little or no experience operating a forklift. The course covers both theory and practical lessons to ensure operators have enough knowledge and experience to pass both the theory and practical test.

Before training begins, operators will need to ensure the following basic requirements are met:

– Must be at least 20 years old
– Had an eye test within the previous two years (proof is required).

What does forklift training involve?

To obtain forklift truck certification, operators will have to pass a written theory exam followed by a practical test for the specific type of truck they wish to operate. This ensures they can properly assess the risks of operating such machinery and can manoeuvre the vehicle safely in all environments.

Both of these tests can be completed the same day at any test centre across the UK. Alternatively, employees can be trained and assessed on site. At Radnes, we carry out our training at your premises, this allows our team to asses what equipment is being used and tailor our training accordingly.

While there is no legal requirement to obtain training before the test, it is extremely unlikely that new operators will pass without having some form of practical experience. That’s why we recommend our basic training course for all new operators and conversion courses for operators with existing experience on other types of trucks.

What types of forklift certification are available?

Operators will need specific training and certification for each type of forklift truck they wish to operate. In the UK, certification is issued by one of three licensing bodies; CPCS, ITSSAR and NPORS. Certificates are not transferable, but conversion training can be arranged for operators with experience operating other types of forklift.

Refresher courses are also available for employees who are already certified but may need extra training to meet new legislation. The HSE recommends that all certified employees take a refresher course every three years to maintain proficiency.

Most forklift trucks fall into one of the following 6 categories:

Counterbalance forklift – CPCS category A16

This is the most popular type of truck which is used in warehouses and storage yards across the UK. They consist of two fork arms at the front which is counterbalanced by a weight at the back. Loads can be raised or lowered by the forks which offer a reach of around 20 ft. The forks can also be tilted forwards or backwards by up to 15º. This type of truck can also be fitted with a range of attachments to increase flexibility.

Reach truck – CPCS category A18

Reach trucks are designed for use in warehouses with restricted space. They are called reach trucks because the mast moves independently of the chassis allowing it to reach into warehouse racking to collect pallets. They are extremely manoeuvrable and have a reach of up to 40 ft.

Rough terrain – ITSSAR category J1/J2/J3

This type of forklift is similar to a counterbalanced truck but is equipped with oversized pneumatic tyres which provide greater ground clearance, allowing the truck to be used on rough terrain. They are popular in the construction and mining industries and can be fitted with a range of attachments to suit different applications.

Telescopic forklift – CPCS category A17

This is a unique type of forklift where the forks are connected to a boom which can be extended to provide extra reach. They are available with a range of chassis configurations including two and four-wheel drive and can be fitted with two-wheel, four-wheel or crab steering. Training will have to be tailored to suit the specific type of truck you wish to deploy.

Side-loader forklift – ITSSAR category C2

With side-loader forklifts, the load is carried on the side of the truck instead of the front. This allows greater stability when moving or stacking long loads such as timber and pipes. They are available in a range of sizes and can be fitted with stabilisers to help provide stability for oversized loads.

Pedestrian-operated lift truck – ITSSAR category A1

With a pedestrian-operated truck, the operator walks beside the machine controlling it with a power handle. They are typically electrically powered and will need charging when not in use. These trucks have limited lifting capacity and reach which limits their use to moving goods around the warehouse floor.

What challenges will new operators face

Operators who have never driven a forklift before will be faced with a number of unique challenges. A good training provider will work with trainees to provide practical training to overcome these challenges.

Our experience shows that new operators will need time and practical experience to master the following concepts:

1. Load balancing

Unbalanced forklifts are one of the leading causes of forklift accidents, especially with new operators. At Radnes, we focus on helping operators understand weight distribution concepts and give them plenty of practical experience handling heavy loads. This gives them the confidence to operate a forklift safely under all loads.

2. Restricted vision

Due to their design forklifts have restricted vision out front. When a load is being carried it is often difficult to spot obstacles and pedestrians. It is therefore important that the operator is trained to spot potential obstacles before attempting to use the machine. At Radnes, we train operators to asses their field of vision before each task.

3. Uneven terrain

Sometimes it is necessary for a forklift to work outside in the yard. The surfaces in these areas are often uneven and sloped which can cause the forklift to become unstable. We train operators to compensate for these surfaces allowing them to work safely in all areas and terrains regardless of how much load they are carrying.

4. Fork control

Operators should have smooth control of the forks at all times to ensure the truck remains stable. This is one of the most difficult aspects to master and it can take a little practice for a beginner to become proficient. That’s why we allow plenty of time for practice and have developed lots of exercises to help new operators build the deftness required to operate forks smoothly.

5. Pedestrian avoidance

Forklift trucks can move quickly but have long stopping distances, particularly when carrying a heavy load. It is therefore important that the operator is trained to assess pedestrian traffic which is in and around the operation area before manoeuvring the vehicle. Failure to do so can cause injury and even death, so this is one of the most important aspects of training.

How long does forklift truck training take?

The amount of time it takes a complete beginner to gain enough practical experience to pass the assessment will depend on the type and complexity of the truck involved. But as a general rule of thumb, most training can be completed within five working days. This allows enough time for the operator to become proficient with all the different manoeuvres and gives them the knowledge they need to pass the theory exam.

Advantages for employers and employees

Ensuring staff are properly trained to operate lift machinery has many advantages for both the company and its employees. Here are a few benefits your company and its employees can expect from having staff properly trained to operate forklifts.

Employers

Lower insurance – Having certified forklift truck operators can help to reduce your public and employers liability insurance premiums.

Improved morale – Investing in your staff will increase staff morale helping you to build a more cohesive and efficient working environment.

Increased safety – Properly trained staff create a safer working environment and reduces the risk of accidents.

Greater efficiency – Staff trained to use machinery properly will ensure it is operated within its performance parameters. This lowers maintenance costs and increases efficiency.

Employees

Increased wages – Staff certified to use machinery can expect higher pay than non-trained staff.

More responsibility – More responsibility not only means more pay, but it can also help build confidence.

Greater employability – Certified staff are more employable which means more job prospects and better opportunities.

If you would like more information about the types of forklift training we provide, complete our contact form or give us a call on 0800 195 9831. Our team of expert trainers are always available to answer questions about the training services we provide. We can also arrange a site visit to check your equipment and premises are suitable for training.

Multi

Multi-way forklifts: What are they and how can they benefit your business?

Designed to transport heavy goods to specific locations, forklift trucks are an invaluable addition to any warehouse or racking environment. Whilst there are a variety of different forklift models available, multi-way forklifts are perfectly suited to the narrow aisles and confined spaces of a busy warehouse. Equipped with multidirectional drive, the wheels of a multi-way forklift truck rotate to enable the vehicle to move in any direction. This allows the driver to manoeuvre heavy loads and pallets down the long, narrow aisles without having to then turn around in a tight space at the end. When used correctly, multi-way forklift trucks are a safe way to transport heavy goods due to their robust nature and precision handling.

At Radnes Services, we boast a fleet of superbly serviced multi-way forklift trucks for rental or to buy. With varying speed, reach and weight capacity vehicles available, our experts at Radnes Services are able to match you with the most appropriate vehicle to suit your needs.

Multi-way forklift trucks in more detail

Typically able to carry between 1500 and 2500kg of weight, a multi-way forklift will accommodate for most of your business needs. With reach capacities that can lift up to 10 metres high, a multi-way reach truck will aid you in utilising the top shelf space in your warehouse. What makes a multi-way truck unique is that it also maintains a multidirectional drive that allows the vehicle to change direction without having to rotate. As a result, multi-way forklift trucks are an invaluable addition to any warehouse-based business. Whether you decide that a multi-way, counterbalance, flexi or turret truck is best for you, investing in a forklift is guaranteed to enhance the smooth running of your business.

Forklift trucks are known for the advantages that they can bring to a business. Whether you operate on a large or small scale, at Radnes Services we can help to find the forklift that is best for you. With a huge stock of machines waiting in our Croydon depot, we are able to despatch your vehicle for delivery immediately after an order is placed. Arriving fully serviced and having already passed a thorough examination, you can rest assured that your Radnes vehicle will immediately be good to go. Below, we have put together a list of the benefits you can expect for your business if you decide to access the help of a forklift truck.

Agility

Multi-way forklift trucks are known for their motion versatility. Equipped with various travel modes to enhance its manoeuvrability, the multi-way forklift truck is an agile piece of equipment that is able to move heavy loads to new locations with precision. A multi-way forklift truck is perfect for the easy handling of heavy loads within the confined spaces of a busy working environment.

Maximise your space

Using a multi-way forklift truck allows you to store heavy or unusual loads in previously difficult to reach locations. Whether you wish to stack pallets on high shelves or store boxes in an awkward to reach and unused space, a multi-way forklift truck is able to transport goods with exact movements. This enables you to maximise your available warehouse or shelf space, making the most of your business environment.

Increase productivity

By enhancing the precision and efficiency with which your business conducts the movement of goods, you will benefit from increased productivity. Incredibly powerful machines, forklift trucks can complete the work of multiple human workers in a much shorter space of time. Not only does this allow your workforce to crack on with other jobs, but the multidirectional drive means that using a multi-way forklift is even quicker and easier than other models. A multi-way forklift truck is, therefore, a worthy investment for any business dealing with heavy-duty loads.

Expand your workload capabilities

Utilising a multi-way forklift truck may allow your business to expand into areas that it was previously ill-equipped to handle. By increasing the weight of goods that you are able to transport and store, you will be able to accept larger freight packages. A multi-way forklift truck can be used to load and unload these large freight packages from delivery vehicles, allowing your business to accept heavier workloads without extra strain being placed upon the workforce.

A safer working environment

Forklift trucks revolutionised the warehouse working environment, improving the safety of workers as well as benefiting the business. When used correctly, multi-way forklift trucks are a safe and efficient way to transport heavy goods whilst also eliminating the physical strain on workers. By training workers to correctly operate forklift machinery, the working environment will become a much safer place to be. At Radnes Services, we pride ourselves on a comprehensive approach to safe forklift usage, with all our available new and second-hand trucks having been fully serviced prior to their arrival. We also offer a range of Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB) approved courses in which participants are able to learn the skills and procedures needed for safe forklift operation.

Speed control

Multi-way forklift trucks are equipped with varying speed settings and easy driver controls. This enables the vehicle to be adjusted to suit different environments, accommodating for safe passage amongst pedestrians or other vehicles. Equipped with varying speeds, a multi-way forklift truck is an adaptable, reliable and safe piece of machinery that you can trust to introduce into your working environment.

Environmentally-friendly options

Traditionally powered by diesel, petrol or propane, there are now alternatively powered forklifts available that run without producing harmful gases or vapours. In recent years, battery-powered and electrical forklifts have increased in popularity because they are able to run without producing these harmful gases. Not only does this benefit the health of your workforce and the environment as a whole, but it is also a cheaper alternative to the maintenance of a fuel powered vehicle. With the rise of eco-friendly forklift trucks, your business can thrive without having to emit harmful gases into the working environment.

Good traction

Multi-way forklift trucks are equipped with good traction that enhances the vehicle’s stability and precision movement. This allows the vehicle to safely move amongst a busy working environment with minimal risk of slippage or sway. Multi-way forklift trucks are suitable for typical warehouse environments, with no specialist flooring needed for operation, meaning that when your forklift arrives you are good to go.

Compact

Multi-way forklift trucks are compact vehicles. They are ergonomically designed to navigate small aisles without having to turn around in tight and dangerous spaces. Their compact design also allows for easy storage of the vehicle when it is not in use, without taking up valuable warehouse space.

Durability

Forklift trucks are incredibly durable pieces of machinery, so purchasing one for your business is a worthy investment. All multi-way forklift trucks are robust and hard-wearing, with different models able to carry varying degrees of weight. Purchasing a multi-way forklift is, therefore, a long-term investment that will pay off in the benefits it will bring to your business. All the new and second-hand trucks we have available to purchase from Radnes Services are fully serviced and MOT approved, arriving in top quality condition with long life spans ahead of them. Our experts at Radnes Services also specialise in the maintenance and repair of forklift trucks, regardless of the shape or size. The repair and maintenance of your vehicle is, therefore, easier than ever, with no call-out charges in the unlikely event that your vehicle needs a swift repair.

Try before you buy

With the option to rent a forklift truck available, you are able to test out which vehicle is right for you before committing to a purchase. Whilst investing in a forklift truck may seem like a daunting process, it doesn’t have to be. Our experts at Radnes Services will aid you in finding the perfect vehicle, offering you the option to rent one of our fleet before you commit to a purchase. At Radnes Services, we offer both short and long-term rental options, giving you plenty of flexibility with how you decide to use your vehicle. By utilising the rental service available, you can try out a variety of different features before deciding on the model of forklift that is right for you to buy.

Acquire a forklift through Radnes Services today

At Radnes Services we specialise in the hire, sale and repair of forklift trucks at competitive prices. Our expert staff are able to match the appropriate model of truck to your individual situation, recommending the vehicle that is right for you.

Whether you wish to hire a forklift truck for a short-term specific use or are interested in investing in purchasing your own forklift, at Radnes Services we have the model to suit you. Equipped with the most reputable brands, such as Hyster/Yale, Caterpiller and Mitsubishi, we are able to provide a recommendation from our extensive fleet of vehicles. No matter the layout of your site or size of your budget, our staff at Radnes Services will find the perfect truck to meet your needs.

At Radnes Services we pride ourselves in offering a personalised service that values its customers, operating across the whole of the South East of England. Get in touch with our Radnes Service experts today to acquire a superbly serviced forklift truck for your business.

How to operate a forklift safely

Health and safety is hardly the most exciting topic but, let’s face it, it’s important, especially when dealing with heavy machinery. Over time, it’s easy to let standards slip as you become more familiar with your workflow and environment. Shortcuts are taken, basic protocols ignored – this invariably leads to on-site accidents which could easily be avoided.

These accidents can have a transformative impact on employees’ lives and potentially ruin your business. So, why not take 30 seconds to refresh your memory on these basic forklift safety tips?

While you may assume some of these are “common sense” (and let’s be honest, they really should be…), the most dangerous thing you can do when operating heavy machinery is assume anything. These tips are an excellent starting point for following health and safety guidelines in the workplace.

 

Drivers must have a licence

Those operating forklifts should have the proper training and must have obtained the requisite licence to operate the equipment. This may seem obvious, but there are lots of drivers out there who have never had any formal training. Make sure you insist on verifying the license before letting anyone in the driving seat.

 

Appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) should be worn at all times

Operators must always wear a hard hat, high visibility jacket and safety shoes while operating the forklift. Operators must also ensure that all clothing is reasonably fitted, as loose fitting garments may get trapped in the forklift’s exposed mechanical components.

 

Always examine the condition of the machine before use

Drivers should always examine the condition of the forklift before undertaking any tasks in the vehicle. Key things to examine before using the machine including brakes, steering, controls, warning devices, mast and the tyres. If there is a noted fault with any of the above, the forklift must not be used and decommissioned for repair.

 

Consider your warehouse environment

Operators should always adhere to all worksite rules and guidelines. For example, observe clearly designated roadways for vehicles, height and weight limits. Operators should also be mindful of the overhead guard, load and mast when entering and exiting buildings.

Do not drive near any exposed edges as this may cause the forklift to fall over said edge, potentially causing serious injury to you and your colleagues.

 

Drive at a safe speed

The forklift is not a vehicle built for speed or performance. Ensure that you drive at a reasonable speed in the warehouse to lower the element of danger. Take all corners slowly to minimise the risk of tipping.

 

Ensure your load is stable, secure and not overloaded

Before undertaking your journey, check your load is free from damage and has been set up in a stable manner. If you decide to stack loads, check for any overhead obstacles.

Ensure that the load is tilting backwards with the forks low before setting off. This increases the stability and minimises the risk of tipping.

Do not, under any circumstances, lift loads that are unstable or you deem to be unsafe. Spread the load evenly across both forks and use securing measures, like straps, if necessary.

 

Ensure visibility is good

It is important to make sure you can see the racking in which you are positioning your load clearly. If visibility is poor, get the assistance of a lookout.

When your shift ends

After use, ensure that the forklift is parked in the designated area. Fully lower the forks and apply the parking brake, turn the forklift off and remove the key. Never leave a running forklift unattended.

 

And finally…

Send this onto a friend who you think needs a refresh on their forklift safety….

 

Are you looking for expert forklift training in the Croydon area? Get in touch with our friendly team now!

 

 

 

Manual vs Electric Pallet Trucks: what’s best for me?

Moving freight or items safely and effectively is a key challenge for any warehouse owner or industry professional. With a wide range of manual and electric pallet truck options on the market, which is best for your current workflow and processes and why should you potentially consider one over the other?

Pallet Trucks in the Modern Warehouse

Pallet trucks are an environmentally friendly and potentially safer alternative to deploying a forklift in your chosen space. They can be deployed with less extensive training and carry a minimised risk of accident and injury due to their design and focus on lighter loads, making it easier to handle materials in confined spaces and more effective when it comes to loading and unloading.

When it comes to deciding what option is best for your unique needs, there are a number of advantages for both.

Manual Pallet Trucks

Wide Choice: Manual pallet trucks encompass a wide selection of makes and models for your specific warehouse needs. This can include fully certified used models, up to date cost-effective options, and types that will suit your individual needs and the materials being transported. This can be for dedicated stocking, moving units from zone to zone, or a wealth of different options. If you’re looking for a tool to fulfil a specific purpose, manual trucks will almost always be a sure bet.

Increased Safety: By their nature, manual pallet trucks carry smaller loads and move slower than electric models. While their more advanced counterparts may have failsafes to prevent overloading, the hard limit imposed by a manual lift means that employees will be less at risk from heavy loads. Issues such as ‘mousetrapping’ or injury to others from mechanical forklifts can also be avoided entirely.

Cost Effectiveness: Due to a lack of moving parts or complex machinery and electronics, manual trucks can often be far more cost effective to run than electric trucks. This reduced cost can act as a powerful force multiplier when it comes to productivity, allowing you to get more ‘bang for your buck’ through acquiring more manual than electric trucks and allow more of your employees to pitch in and ensure that key targets are hit.

Reduced Maintenance: Manual pallet trucks are powered by a straightforward hydraulic lift, meaning that – aside from minor maintenance on wheels and the overall integrity of the unit – they will only require minor ongoing care. If breakdowns due to heavy or intensive use are a concern, selecting a model with a strong seal on its hydraulics can help ensure that breakdowns and risk of lost productivity are minimised.

Electric Pallet Trucks

Improved Capacity: Due to the additional power of a motor, electric pallet trucks have the ability to safely carry much more weight than a manual truck. This hugely increases the range of items that your employees can handle and can allow you to automatically check weight tolerances or deploy auto-locking mechanisms in cases of spillage or overload. If your business involves heavy goods handling, this can often prove to be a powerful value-add.

High Speed: Many electric pallet trucks are motorised which allows them to travel at speed in a loading and unloading area. This can often be much faster than a worker pushing a manual truck or even an individual operating a forklift. This can help you get more out of your team by increasing the amount of work that they can safely accomplish in a given timeframe and help improve the efficiency of your internal supply chain even when operating over large sites or warehouses.

Environmentally Friendly: A helpful alternative to operating with a forklift truck, an electric truck’s battery motor will produce no fumes and be more efficient and cost-effective to run than its counterpart. However, unlike the manual jack, the electric truck’s battery will need to be correctly disposed of over time, which is your responsibility as an owner to ensure is conducted safely and securely.

Flexibility: Given the nature of modern business, there may be a need to change your working practice, shipping methods, or focus of your business. Selecting an electric pallet truck means that you can future proof your business against change by selecting a durable piece of equipment that can accommodate a range of professional approaches, products, and aid compliance with any forthcoming green energy regulations.

Depending on your needs, an electric or manual pallet truck can be a powerful, cost-effective value add for your business. Taking the time to validate what specific role you need them for and ensuring that they suit your current resource and manpower needs will make sure you are fully accommodated every time.

If you want to learn more about the comprehensive range of manual and electric pallet trucks available to buy or rent, please do not hesitate to contact our team directly T: 0800 195 9831 and let us know exactly what you need.

Buying a used counterbalance truck? Here’s what you need to look out for

There are some great offers in the used counterbalance marketplace at the moment. However, to really get the best value from your new machine(s), you’ll need to do your research.

Similar to when you’re buying a new car, a lift truck’s owner may hold their cards to their chest: not telling you important details about your truck’s history or issues.

If you’re considering a secondhand lift truck, it’s crucial that you work with a supplier with a great reputation. And, just as with a car, it’s important to thoroughly examine the forklift before you purchase it.

It’s important to bear in mind that the decision to buy secondhand increases the danger of breakdowns. Before you commit, you should ask yourself three questions:

– How much will it cost your business if the lift truck is out of action?
– Is yours a hard-wearing or high-intensity operation?
– Will your truck be operating for four hours or more each day?

Have you answered yes to any of these? Then you just might be better off investing in a new lift truck or, as an alternative, you might benefit from purchasing a used machine which can be called upon when breakdowns occur.

Whatever your needs, here are some questions to help you get the best deal on a used truck.

1) Is it the right counterbalance truck for the job?

Regardless of whether you choose to buy new or used, it’s good practice to ask for quotes for new equipment, alongside used, from three or more suppliers. This allows you to identify any variances, such as mast height or capacity, so you get the right equipment for your application.

2) Is my dealer reputable?

Your dealer should be able to provide you with recommendations and references. It’s also worth asking for details of any accreditations they hold.

3) Do the details add up?

Make sure that the forklift bears the CE mark. This shows it’s approved for use within the EU. If your truck doesn’t have this, you may have problems when the time comes to sell it, access an operator’s manual in English or get parts for it. And, should that truck be involved in an accident, the lack of EU-approval may invalidate your insurance.

4) How many hours has the truck worked?

Just like your car’s odometer, your forklift’s hour-meter tells you how much is ‘on the clock’. Experts suggest that an hour of lifting is equivalent to motoring in a car at 30 mph. It’s good practice to verify the meter reading by requesting the machine’s service record. (This also lets you check its service history.)

5) How does it start up?

A forklift represents a significant investment for many businesses. That’s why it’s important to inspect the truck in person and take it for a ‘test drive’ before committing to purchase. If you have an in-house service engineer, it’s worth bringing them along for sound advice.

With counterbalance trucks, it’s best to begin with a truck that hasn’t been started recently. Because the engine is cold, it allows you to spot any issues with smoke levels. The engine should turn over easily. If it fails to, then this could be a sign of ignition problems.

6) Is the mast a smooth operator?

Test its mast movement – laden and unladen. It should operate smoothly without sticking. There shouldn’t be any movement within the mast channels or between the mast and the carriage.

When loaded, keep an eye out for the mast creeping forward. This may indicate problems with seals, rams or valves.

Under LOLER, your masts and chains must be examined – prior to sale – by a competent person. This can be confirmed by requesting a Report of Thorough Examination from the vendor.

7) How do the forks look?

Inspect the counterbalance truck’s forks carefully. Be on the lookout for cracks and damage, and look for wear by checking heel thickness. This is specified by the truck’s manufacturer. Where this isn’t available, please refer to ISO5057.

It’s important that the fork fits the truck well. If it fits loosely, this may mean there’s wear or damage to its hanger or carriage points.

8) Do the tyres match the truck?

Always make sure that your truck has the right tyres fitted – otherwise they may wear prematurely. Also keep an eye out for uneven wear. It can be sign of axle alignment issues which are expensive to fix.

We’ve prepared this helpful checklist to help you spot issues with used forklifts before you commit to purchase.

Be alert to:

  • Any damage to the overhead guard or load backrest
  • Low oil pressures
  • Wear to rings or valves
  • Damage to the radiator
  • Rust particles in the engine coolant
  • Discoloured transmission fluids
  • Bowed mast channels
  • Scored mast or cylinder rods
  • Leaky hydraulic control valves
  • No official CE mark
  • Damage to fork arms (cracks, welds, excessive wear)
  • Cracks or signs of re-welding to the chassis
  • Rusting of the chassis
  • Uneven tyre wear
  • Excessive motor noise when travelling fully loaded
  • Black, sooty residue from the exhaust
  • Harsh braking
  • Operator manual in a different language
  • No Report of Thorough Examination

Whether you choose to buy new or used, we recommend you give it the same time and consideration you would give to buying a car.

At Radnes, we are experts in the sale of new and used forklift trucks. Our wide range of counterbalance and warehouse trucks ensure that, whatever your budget, need or deadline, we can assist you.

For further information, please call us on 0800 195 9831 or email us at sales@radnes.com