CAT electric forklifts - Radnes Services Ltd

Electric Forklifts – Your Ultimate Guide

What are electric forklifts?

CAT electric forklifts - Radnes Services LtdIn the last few decades, electric propulsion has been the focus of huge amounts of investment and development, and for many good reasons. Electric cars are becoming more sophisticated, advanced, and affordable but it isn’t just personal and public transport that stands to benefit from the voltage revolution, as industrial vehicles and machinery like forklifts and counterbalance trucks are also prime candidates for electrification – but precisely what are the benefits for the manufacturer and, most importantly, for you the customer? How do these new models compare to more conventional diesel and LPG-powered forklifts, and what can they be used for?

To clarify, the ‘electric’ aspect of the name is referring to how the vehicles are powered, instead of their lift mechanisms which are typically still hydraulically controlled. Electric forklifts might be operated by pedals or hydrostatically, just like traditionally powered examples, and it really depends on which specific model you choose. What unites them all is the fact that instead of being powered by pistons igniting liquid, they all make use of silent but powerful electric motors.

What are the benefits of electric forklifts over other types?

For a start, there’s a much greater degree of simplicity when it comes to the inner-workings of an EV powerplant. Compared to a traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) that has a plethora of moving parts that all have to work together at once to turn fuel into motion, electric motors are extremely simple in how they operate. If a fan-belt snaps, or a water pump breaks and stops pumping coolant around a diesel engine, then the whole machine grinds to a halt, and then you’re left with a forklift out of action and a potentially costly repair bill.

There are a host of complex mechanisms and systems that an electric vehicle has no need for, which makes them much more streamlined in their design and operation. For instance, whilst a diesel engine needs a whole fuel system – a large tank to store the liquid fuel, pumps, injectors, and a heavy exhaust set-up – something like a CAT EP16-20A( C )N or similar forklift model simply needs a motor and batteries, a much more elegant solution.

Equally, transmissions are no longer needed. Electric vehicles, including road cars like the Tesla Model S or Porsche Taycan, don’t require a gearbox with multiple speeds in order to accelerate, and instead just need a differential. Transmissions are heavy, expensive, and extremely intricate pieces of engineering which they both cost a lot to produce and cost just as much to repair should things go wrong.

Electric motor drivetrains aren’t just easier for the mechanics who have to carry out maintenance on them, but they also make life a lot simple for the operator. The aforementioned lack of a transmission means that there’s no need for a clutch pedal, and no need to worry about increasing revs for an incline start.

It’s no surprise that electric vehicles, such as forklifts from CAT’s EP family, are much less harmful to the environment by a huge margin compared to a traditional fuel-burning equivalent. An electric forklift doesn’t produce CO2 emissions – in fact, they don’t emit anything at all. A diesel-burning variant not only belches out carbon dioxide but also a number of other chemical by-products, so not only do they negatively impact the atmosphere but also your local environment. This lack of emissions, noise, and fumes that can often be pretty unpleasant, makes electric forklifts ideal for industries handling food and drink such as fisheries, factories, or in supermarket warehouses to name just a few apt applications.

From a day-to-day practicality standpoint, it’s also much more cost-effective to charge up a battery pack than it is to continually refill up diesel or LPG tanks, especially as these resources become increasingly rare and increasingly expensive. Naturally, electric vehicles do still require power to charge, and that electricity does often come from powerplants that burn coal and emit CO2 themselves, but the levels of pollution overall are dramatically and indisputably lower overall for EVs.

Another thing that is notably lacking from electric motors is noise. All fuel-burning engines make a lot of noise, which is hardly surprising given how they essentially function from hundreds of small explosions per second. In a classic exotic car, that sound might be part of the sensational experience, but on a work site it can be a distracting nuisance and even potentially damaging to the hearing of employees. With no sound coming from the motor itself, electric forklifts and counterbalance trucks can help significantly reduce overall noise levels, making for a less chaotic and more focused environment.

What are they useful for?

Something that has previously been off-putting about electric propulsion, whether for public or commercial use, has been concerns about battery life. With very powerful motors, small battery packs would run out of juice extremely quick and battery packs that were big enough for a decent range would have weighed thousands of kilos. But manufacturers have moved way beyond that early stage, and now lithium ion battery technology is much more sophisticated. Charges now last for a much longer duration, and have also become far lighter, meaning that electric forklifts for sale today certainly have the endurance needed to keep powering on.

Not only are the batteries more advanced and more powerful than ever before, but it also eliminates the need to have on-site fuel tanks and other potentially risky flammable materials. Instead, only standard industrial electrical outlets can be used to charge your vehicles.

For the designers and manufacturers, electric motors and batteries are also more practical because it means they can make their products more efficient to make, which is good for both them and you. Where a traditional piston engine and drivetrain takes up a lot of room both vertically and horizontally, often in weird irregular ways, electric motors and battery packs can be packaged much lower and in a more regular shape. Not only does this make the centre of gravity lower (which aids manoeuvrability and safety) but it means they can use the same electric powertrain in other forklifts without costly redesign.

Electric propulsion is by no means the only forward-thinking piece of equipment or software that has been developed by the makers of these forklifts and counterbalance trucks. Most also come equipped with a whole shopping lift of extra tech all designed to optimise safety, operator control, and productivity. In the CAT EP range, many models come fitted with computerised systems such as RDS, which continually monitors pedal position to ensure the vehicles movements are as smooth and without jerkiness as possible, which would be especially useful when moving fragile goods and materials around warehouses.

Features such as magnetic brakes, advanced 4-wheel steering for maximum manoeuvrability in confined spaces, load-sensing self-adjusting hydraulics, are just three of many that CAT utilises to optimise the performance of its electric forklift range.

What types of industries/businesses are electric forklifts useful for?

For cars, planes, and other forms of transportation, there are some obstacles that engineers and designers are having to overcome with electric powertrains and those are long-distance range and top speed. But in the context of forklifts and other industrial machinery, these two issues really aren’t a hindrance whilst the major advantages of this type of propulsion are perfectly suited to moving and manoeuvring heavy objects.

One key strength of forklifts fitted with electric motors like the CAT Electric Forklifts EP range is their acceleration and manoeuvrability. Electric road-cars, such as the Tesla Model S, have been known to have extremely urgent acceleration and launch off the line that can embarrass supercars worth five times as much money, and there’s a reason for this. Unlike a traditional engine, electric motors can produce all of their torque immediately from zero RPM. Of course, a forklift is a piece of industrial machinery that you’re unlikely to take drag-racing on the weekend, but that instant torque is still extremely beneficial for zipping around warehouses and worksites with much greater ease.

Acceleration is useful, but how well can electric forklifts shift pallets or concrete blocks or other heavy industrial loads? Well, compared to diesel or LPG engines, electric motors produce a truly colossal amount of torque for their size, and that torque is what allows a forklift (or any load-bearing vehicle) to move heavy weights with ease. It’s this combination of acceleration and strength that makes electric propulsion a great solution to the problems a forklift or counterbalance truck needs to overcome.

When it comes to range, the development of battery technology means that the current generation of these vehicles on sale today have more than enough charge to travel a large distance around a warehouse floor, port, or manufacturing plant.

Just as their counterparts that use diesel or LPG, electric-powered forklifts have a wide and varied range of industrial uses. With a variety of models available with varying technical specifications, you could use an EV forklift in; food and drink production/distribution; warehouse operations; manufacturing; chemical plants; fisheries; moving machinery or other heavy equipment, and many other types of industry.

Electric forklifts are especially suited for indoor applications, thanks to their lack of emissions and the lack of engine noise. Not only that, but many of the CAT EP range are also compact enough to be highly manoeuvrable and smoothly operated in these confined busy environments. However, there are also models designed for larger, heavier loads, such as the EP40-50( C)(S)2, which has a more powerful motor, stronger chassis, and more durable tyres in order to achieve this extra capability.

The technology is becoming much more widespread and sophisticated, and the range of different models optimised for different tasks (as well as the optional customisation that is available) means that there is very likely an electric forklift or counterbalance truck on sale that is ready to take on whatever task you have in store for it.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you with CAT Electric Forklifts.

Radnes Services featured in Materials Handling World

Radnes featured in Materials Handling World: Impact appoints Radnes Services as part of London expansion

Radnes Services featured in Materials Handling World

We were so pleased to be featured in Material Handling World Magazine in January to highlight our new appointment with Impact Handling. You can see the original article here.

Impact Handling, the leading material handling specialist, has appointed Radnes Services as its official dealer for London and the surrounding areas. Radnes will now offer the full Impact portfolio of premium brands, led by the acclaimed Cat® range of lift trucks and warehouse equipment.

The move sees Impact further strengthen its support capabilities for customers with operations across London and the South East.

Peter Woodhouse, Business Development Manager at Impact says: “Impact has enjoyed a close working relationship with Radnes for some time now, and with clear synergies between the businesses we are delighted to announce their appointment as an official Impact dealer. It represents an important step in Impact’s commitment to expansion across the south east and will support the current strong growth we are seeing.”

Radnes, founded in 1973, has grown to be a leading supplier of material handling equipment across the London and South East region out of its Croydon base. Having built a strong reputation for service excellence, it now provides equipment sales, hire, maintenance, support services and training across a diverse range of industries and sectors.

Kevin McMorrow, Director at Radnes comments: “We are proud to be cementing our partnership with Impact through our appointment as an official dealer. Representing a world-class premium brand, in the form of CAT, enables us to elevate the quality of our offering to a new level. It really is great news for our customers, who will also benefit from the backing of Impact’s nationwide infrastructure, as well as its huge investment in equipment and parts inventory.”

Mr McMorrow continues “In Impact we are now working with a partner who shares our understanding of the importance of minimising unscheduled engineer call outs, yet who also, like us, successfully delivers first time fix rates in the very high nineties when the unforeseen does occur.”

Radnes will now also be able to offer its customers machines from Impact’s used and fully approved refurbished equipment programmes.

The partnership additionally sees Radnes invest in a comprehensive new short-term hire fleet, consisting entirely of the latest generation of Cat diesel and electric lift trucks and warehouse equipment. All of which will be available for immediate hire.

Contact us today to find out how we can work with you on your forklift needs.

Ongoing forklift Training - Radnes Services

A Focus on Ongoing Forklift Training

Although forklift training may seem like a considerable investment, it’s more than worthwhile when it comes to the benefits that your business will get, especially investing in ongoing forklift training. Having your staff go through forklift truck training ensures that you meet the set safety and health regulations, and you also get a more competent and skilled workforce. That means a reduced risk of accidental damage to equipment, stock, and your workplace and a safer and less costly future for your company.

What is forklift training?

Forklift training is a course that familiarises an operator about the way a forklift truck works. A new driver may have to go through general basics as forklifts operate differently compared to other machines.

The training also involves showing the novice how to operate the machine, which includes using the different functions like the horn, beacons, throttle, and the forks. Learning how to work a forklift is easy; the challenging part is knowing how to drive the truck safely.

An operator must know how heavy or light a load is when placed on the front forks. He/she should learn how to drive the forklift to avoid dropping the load. Failure to drive safely could lead to damaged goods and onsite injuries.

A forklift training course also covers retaining balance. Dangerous and fatal operator accidents occur when forklifts tip over. The operator needs to learn how to keep the load low to the ground and manage elevated loads to avoid tipping over. The course also covers the importance of not jumping off a forklift that has tipped. Staying buckled reduces the rate of injury.

Forklift training also entails knowing how to secure the load on the forks and understanding how loading and unloading work. Operators learn how to check the forklift to make sure it’s safe for use and the different driving principles like adjusting the driving style in adverse weather conditions. The type of training offered is more involved.

Why is ongoing forklift training essential?

Ongoing forklift training is vital as it helps:

Keep the driver happy at the job

One of the best things about regular forklift training is that it keeps the drivers happy in their jobs, which results in better performance. It shows the operators that you’re willing to invest in them a,s a business owner, and that makes them work harder as they see the effort you put in to keep them as part of your team.

Reduce accidents and damage

While working with skilled operators may help you cut down on training costs, you also need to invest in ongoing forklift training. That’s because qualified and accredited operators reduce the risk of damage to goods, equipment, and workplace accidents.

Having to deal with such incidents can cost your business huge sums of money, but this can be prevented with the right training. You can confidently raise profitability and productivity for your business by preventing these accidents and enhancing the efficiency of your operators.

Forklift truck training is essential when you need to have a professional and safe working environment. Ongoing training gives the operator the knowhow on proper risk awareness and assessment. It also equips him with safe driving tips.

Efficiency of operation

What’s more, the courses provided are designed for the equipment you use. The training also takes into consideration the environment you use the equipment in, something that ensures the operators’ train and qualify in the machines they will be using.

Ongoing training also guarantees the efficiency of the operation. The training allows operators to be competent in how they use the forklift and in the way they load and unload. Going through this training enables your business to grow.

Keeping up to date with the latest operating techniques

Another advantage of ongoing training is that it keeps your operators up to date with new techniques to operate forklifts and equips them with vital tips to benefit your business in the long run.

That can include knowing more effective ways of performing routine checks, learning improved methods of handling driving in unexpected weather conditions, and getting more methods of loading and unloading.

Over time, operators may find ways to cut corners to save time. However, this could be dangerous and can lead to loads being damages, accidents happening, and your business suffering ultimately. Ongoing forklift operator training continually refreshes the drivers on the right ways of operation, which they can stick to in the future.

Low insurance premiums

Your business can enjoy lower insurance premiums if you regularly train your drivers. Although this is dependent on your insurance carrier, the companies determine your premiums based on the level of perceived risk. Well-trained operators are considered as less of a threat, which lowers your premiums.

The benefits of onsite forklift truck training

Training your staff onsite gives you an advantage as the operates get to use the equipment and understand how the loads work daily without going to a different training centre. Moreover, you don’t have to spend extra money and waste time by sending your employees to training centres.

The best part is that the training company can work around your working hours to make training more convenient or to minimise staff downtime.

Forklift training courses

Some of the forklift training courses include:

Certification on the different types of forklift trucks

Operators need to undergo training and get certification for each type of forklift truck to run a forklift safely. Forklifts can be electric, diesel, or LPG based. Some common types of forklift trucks include:

-Counterbalance forklift
-Reach Forklift
-Telehandler Forklift

Counterbalance forklift

Counterbalance forklifts are standard in most environments, including storage depots and warehouses that have a reach of 20ft. The fork arms help to balance the forklifts, thanks to the counterweight.

The fork arms and load project from the machine’s front side. Loads can be lowered or raised vertically. Also, the mast can be tilted backwards or forwards up to 15 degrees. These forklifts have a variety of attachments.

Industrial counterbalance forklifts are of different types, but you’ll find the three-wheel models to provide excellent manoeuvrability, especially in narrow aisles.

Reach forklift

Reach forklifts have a mast that stabilises the whole machine. The mast looks like a vertical piece that holds the driver and cab on one side, with the lift and fork on the other side to balance out the loads and equipment.

The fork is perpendicular to the mast and goes through the front of the machine using a scissor mechanism. These forklifts are designed in a way that the operator stands while driving. You can drive the reach forklifts through aisles that are seven feet.

You’ll find these trucks in warehouses where space is limited. When travelling, the load is reached back and carried within the wheelbase to allow manoeuvrability. These forklifts can reach a height of forty feet.

Telescopic handler forklifts

Telescopic handler forklifts are popular in industries that require heavy lifting. You can also find them in agriculture. These forklifts have various features that make them convenient for use in different situations. Some people confuse the forklifts with small cranes.

Moreover, they have the advantage of a single telescopic boom, which allows the truck to be flexible and powerful. Find attachments like.a muck grabber, pallet fork, bucket, and a lift table on the telescopic handlers.

The attachments give the forklift fantastic lifting capabilities, something that allows the operator to complete work at higher heights that regular forklifts can’t reach. These forklifts are popular on construction and in agriculture.

Telescopic forklifts are fitted with a boom that is pivoted at the rear and raised/lowered by hydraulic rams. The boom extends or retracts to provide extra height or reach. The forklifts can be two or four-wheel drive.

Manual handling and kinetics course

Do your operators spend a lot of their time lifting heavy items and manually moving them? You need to ensure they get the right training to do their job efficiently and safely.

Manual handling involves movement or support of any load by carrying, lifting, pulling, pushing, and putting down. That can be done using trolleys or trucks.

The Manual Handling and Kinetics Course is designed for operators involved ib manual handling of any kind in the workplace. This course address the importance of good manual handling, looks at what manual handling is, explores the common injuries operators may suffer from in the workplace, explains the manual handling operation regulations, and teaches on excellent handling techniques.

The course intends to reduce the risks associated with manual handling operations and let the operators know the risks they can encounter in manual handling operations.

Novice instructor and refresher courses

Novice instructor is for operators who don’t have previous knowledge operating forklift tricks. The course goes over all the basics, which makes it lengthier than other levels of training. A typical novice training course takes four to five days, but this varies depending on the class.

Refresher courses target those who have already completed their training but are looking to update their skills or learn more about the changing industry regulations.

It’s recommended to undergo refresher training after every three years to be up to date with the new regulations in the industry.

Conclusion

A forklift training course is not only beneficial to the operators, but it also has numerous benefits for businesses. Companies can cut costs, save time, and enhance productivity in the workplace. Although ongoing forklift driver training isn’t mandatory, its benefits outweigh the initial cost of the investment your business will make. The best part is there are different courses in forklift training. You can opt to choose one that your operators need to ensure the efficiency of operation and maintain safety standards.

Get in touch today to discuss your ongoing forklift training and how we can help.

A Review of 2019 in the Forklift Industry

With 2019 now at its end, there have been plenty of innovations, launches and even events to look back on. Here at Radnes Services we are a registerd CAT dealer and have seen CAT celebrate a year stuffed with exciting new products, prestigious awards and more.

As we hurtle towards 2020 with only a few weeks left to go, it’s well worth looking back and seeing all that has been achieved in the last year.

New product launches

Modified CAT counterbalance trucks

One of the most exciting launches for CAT came towards the end of the year, with modifications to their popular CAT 1.5-3.5 and 4.0-5.5 counterbalance trucks, both in LPG and diesel forms. These changes offer clear benefits over the old models, both in terms of convenience and comfort for users and in terms of functionality and health and safety. A new seat, more modern styling and a brand-new speed limiter all serve to modernise this industry workhorse and make it more appealing to their chosen audience.

CAT lift trucks range extensions

Alongside the modernisation of CAT’s counterbalance trucks, the brand has also been working hard to produce additions to their lift truck range with practical electric hand pallet trucks. Designed to work in tandem with their innovative range of modern forklifts – which debuted the previous year – these lift trucks are easy to handle and higher productivity than ever before. CAT has made these models both ergonomic and cost-effective, making them a must-have for warehouses everywhere.

NOL10P second-level order picker released to order

While CAT’s new range of second-level order pickers was announced right at the end of 2018, these versatile and efficient pieces of equipment became fully available at the start of 2019. They are designed specifically for purpose, with LiftComfort features and high functionality included as standard, the NOL10P plugs a gap in the CAT range by allowing for better controls, faster picking and better comfort overall. The new model is also far more comfortable to drive and use in general, making it ideal for countless warehouses and locations. ECO mode is even included to reduce energy consumption, with a slight reduction in operations required.

Exciting technologies

Developing battery technologies

As part of their display at IMHX 2019, CAT took a closer look at the state of the energy industry when it comes to their vehicles – with some surprising revelations. While the company is moving towards electric machinery, away from their diesel roots, evidence suggests that acid batteries are here to stay, with innovations expected alongside the development of more efficient and powerful lithium-ion batteries. The future is looking greener, and it seems CAT are doing their part.

Newer safety and comfort features

In 2019 CAT has really doubled down on improving the safety and ergonomic nature of their product range, allowing for extended use and more productive working. The development of the newer CAT 1.5-3.5 and 4.0-5.5 counterbalance trucks, in particular, proves that the company is more committed to improvement than ever before. Limiting features, the use of SecurGate and similar technologies has helped to make 2019 one of the safest years for the brand yet. The use of increased comfort features, such as new seats, ensure that CAT remains the best option out there for long working days or extended use of forklifts, trucks or anything else from their range.

Awards and events

IMHX 2019

Amongst the most significant events in the industry calendar is IMHX, a show that takes place every two years at the popular NEC venue. This year, CAT brought their all with the full range of new CAT lift trucks on display, as well as emphasising safety in the workplace. Visitors were able to get up close and personal with some of the newest and most exciting innovations in lift truck technology, as well as explore the developments into powering these exceptional machines.

Red Dot Design Award

CAT has talked away with a prestigious Red Dot Design Award this year, specifically for CAT designers on the work carried out for the EP14 electric counterbalance forklift. This award that was presented in Germany in July continues to show why CAT is top-of-the-line when it comes to thoughtful, functional and high-quality design. Chosen for its ergonomic feel, responsiveness and customised functions, the CAT 48V lift truck was a popular choice to win.

What 2020 will bring

With 2020 less than a month away, it’s unlikely we will hear any new announcements on products or technology this side of the new year. But the following year looks like it could be an exciting one for the forklift industry as a whole and CAT in particular. With forklifts and trucks now competing with EV – electric vehicles – for lithium-ion batteries and technologies, it would come as no surprise if newer batteries or more evolved forms of existing energies appear on the market. This may mean that CAT becomes eco-friendlier and more effective than ever in 2020, alongside other forklift brands.

With recent truck updates in 2019, 2020 may see some exciting new launches to fill in the niches in the CAT catalogue, as well as bringing their existing machinery up to the latest standards set by the CAT 1.5-3.5 and 4.0-5.5 counterbalance truck range. With a design award under their belt for the exceptional quality of the current-gen EP14, there’s no reason why CAT wouldn’t continue to develop and improve upon what’s right in front of them.

Wherever 2020 might bring us, one thing is for sure: CAT continues to be at the top of their game when it comes to forklift, truck and pallet technology – and we can’t wait to see where they’ll take us next. To view our full range of current generation CAT technology, visit our online catalogue here or contact us directly to find out more about what CAT could offer your business.

Guide to Forklift Reach Trucks - Radnes Services

The complete guide to Forklift Reach Trucks and how they can help in your business

While manufacturing, agriculture and the importing and exporting sectors have always required masses of warehouse storage space, the steady rise of online shopping is increasing demand for large storage spaces year on year.

Despite the clear growing demand from many companies for more square footage to store goods, it can prove difficult as land expansion can require high levels of capital investment, and some businesses are simply land-locked and would require relocation to increase space for their products.

The forklift truck industry has been quick to cater to this trend by developing various different types of advanced commercial reach trucks which enable operators to reach items sitting on shelves many metres in the air.

Furthermore, these reach trucks have been designed to have as narrow a body as possible without compromising on navigation or stability. This gives the vehicle a very short turning radius compared with a traditional forklift, so it can be made to move easily in a small space. This means that companies are now able to expand their storage both upwards, stacking shelves ever higher to use the empty space that usually sits above their goods, and on the ground, filling up their warehouses with more aisles of goods packed closer together with narrower spaces in between. These vehicles have contributed greatly to increasing efficiency for companies all over the globe.

What is a forklift reach truck?

In short, forklift reach trucks are a kind of truck designed for reaching objects from high shelves in a narrow space. They’re most commonly used in warehouses where items are stacked up high on shelves without much room to manoeuvre around them. In that sense, they are made to reach places where other forklift trucks cannot.

What are the features of a forklift reach truck?

Standard counterbalance forklifts are generally between 4 and 7 ft wide and 8 and 10 ft long and require around 13 ft of space between shelves to safely navigate and move pallets. Narrow aisle forklift trucks on the other hand, such as side loaders and walkie stackers, can be less than 5ft wide and need much narrower aisles to manoeuvre and move items.

Designed to fit in much smaller spaces than standard counterbalance forklifts, reach trucks have a much more compact shape. While the narrow base and long reach might make reach trucks appear unbalanced, they are carefully designed and constructed in a way that balances the load they carry, with two legs and a set of one or two small wheels on the back legs, underneath where the operator sits or stands, which keeps the vehicle stable.

With this narrow body, the trucks have an extremely tight radius when turning, which allows them to be manoeuvred into small spaces while achieving maximum reach height. When the operator is ready to move a load, it is moved backwards to sit within the wheelbase, ensuring the load is not sticking out. This enables the operator to move the truck without knocking things off the other shelves around it.

The truck moves by turning at a right angle to the shelving, to get up close and then use a scissor mechanism, called a pantograph, to allow the forks and the load to move back and forth, to reach into shelves and pick up items.

What types of reach trucks are available?

While all reach trucks are designed to be able to lift and manoeuvre goods at a great height, there are different types of reach truck which make them suitable for different warehouse scenarios.

Stand-up trucks

Stand-up trucks are the most popular types of reach trucks and are commonly used where there will be only one load per bay. They have two forks on the front which slide under pallets to lift them and transport them elsewhere.

Double-deep or deep-reach trucks

While similar to stand-up trucks, double-deep trucks have longer forks to allow them to operate successfully in places storing loads in multiple pallets in each bay, as they can reach far enough to the back of the bay.

Straddle trucks

The types of reach trucks also have long forks which enables them to slide under a load, plus they are built to be able to grip the edges of the load for greater stability and increased ease of access. These are perfect for areas with numerous loads in a bay which you can reach from different angles, as these straddle trucks can grab the loads sitting further back.

Steering options

Many reach trucks offer both a 360° and 180° steering system and let the driver choose their optimum operating conditions. Each kind of steering has its advantages – 360° steering places less strain on the wrists, arms and shoulders while giving the operator the ability to change direction without reducing speed, which ensures great manoeuvrability in small spaces.

Visibility options

With many different goods picked so high from where the operator is positioned, seeing exactly what is going on could be an issue from the ground, so reach trucks come with a number of different options for improving visibility when in operation. Most are designed to allow a good upward view of the forks, plus an overhead guard and forward view protector which both help to enhance viewing.

Some come with a glass roof to allow greater visibility. The most advanced have a camera system, with a camera attached to the fork carriage, which relays signals to a display panel which is positioned in the operator’s view.

This helps ensure they are picking up exactly the right item.

Hydraulic controls

Reach trucks that come with simultaneous hydraulic control gives the operator a full range of movements, allowing them to lift loads, reach and side-shift all at the same time, boosting efficiency, and increasing productivity by reducing the time needed for each task.

Can reach trucks be used outside?

Reach trucks are mainly made for warehouse use and are not suitable for outdoor work. They are built low, with little under-carriage clearance, which can cause problems if used on uneven surfaces often found outside. An uneven surface can also cause knocks against the machinery which, if they occur repeatedly, can damage the electrical systems inside and lead to expensive repairs, which is another reason to keep them for indoor use.

What are the benefits of reach trucks?

They can reach high places

Aptly named, reach trucks are able to stretch the fork carriage far beyond their stabilising body, up to nine metres, enabling them to be used to reach further into high shelves or racks to collect items.

They can operate in small spaces

Warehouses are commonly packed until they’re full in order to use the space as efficiently as possible. However, this can cause problems if items need to be retrieved quickly from hard to reach places. Reach trucks can get to these packed away items with little fuss, even in extremely tight spaces, or at extreme heights far above what other types of forklift can manage.

They allow for more storage

Using reach trucks in a warehouse greatly expands the available space for storage without having to increase the actual square footage. Stacking items upwards using rack storage means you can fit more in and reach trucks ensure you can reach those items quickly, giving you much better value for money for your space.

No need for counterbalance weights

Forklift reach trucks are properly designed so their stabilising legs do all the balancing work, and no extra counterbalance weights are necessary.

They increase efficiency

Reach trucks are perfectly designed to work in areas of high-density storage where there is a need to pick up and transport goods quickly, which makes them ideal for boosting efficiency in a warehouse.

They are cheap to run

Reach trucks are extremely efficient in that they don’t need much fuel to run, and are designed to have low operating costs with minimal maintenance required. This means that after your initial outlay on the truck, costs are kept down.

They are easy to operate

The side-seat position gives the operator a clearer view of the forks than would be achieved otherwise. Some forklift reach trucks have a tilted cab mechanism which makes viewing easier, and others are fitted with open overhead guards as a solution.

They are quiet

Warehouses can be very noisy places, and workplace noise can disrupt the flow of work and require special equipment to protect workers. Reach trucks are electric which makes them relatively quiet, and many include mast technology to reduce operating noise even further, minimising disruption.

What industries, warehouses and sites are reach trucks good for?

Reach trucks are usually the best option for indoor working environments where high density of storage and quick retrieval of items are the main priorities. This is due to their narrow chassis, which means they are perfect for functioning in narrow aisles, plus their moving mast is specially designed for pallet storage.

Warehouses that employ selective pallet racking for storage, which is one pallet deep with a maximum of two racks placed back-to-back and the most common system of warehouse racking, require reach trucks to access the higher shelving. Reducing aisle width can massively increase storage capacity when using selective racking, which can be as little as 35% or reach up to 75% with the right choice of forklift reach truck.

Similar to selective racking, double deep racking instead stores pallets two rows deep, rather than one. Forklift reach trucks can be ideal for this kind of racking equipment and as such is most commonly chosen for warehouse storage systems like this.

Find the right reach truck for your business

Now you know more about the different options and benefits of these kinds of trucks, you can probably see how hiring or purchasing a forklift reach truck could maximise storage capacity, enhance your business practices and increase productivity.

Get in touch to chat about how reach trucks can help your business and which ones could best suit your needs.

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.