Uses of Forklifts and Why Your Workplace Needs One
Forklifts can be extremely useful in the workplace, especially for those who constantly need to transport heavy cargo. There are several types, and they are versatile in function. So if you’re on the fence about getting one, continue reading to learn what a forklift is, its uses, and the benefits of owning vs. renting one. Once you’re finished, you should be able to come to a definitive decision.
What is a Forklift?
Forklifts are machines with large forks in the front that pick up and transport large, heavy objects. They’re often found in construction sites, warehouses, and dockyards. There are several types, and you can use them for multiple things. So you’re likely to find a model that works well in your line of work.
If you decide to rent or buy a forklift, ensure that you have or hire trained and licensed operators to get the job done. Trying to drive a forklift without a license can lead to hefty fines and ruin your reputation as a professional.
Where are Forklifts Used?
Many workplaces have revolutionized their storage and transportation processes by utilizing forklift trucks. Forklifts were invented in the early 20th century and have become the central machine in industrial workplaces, such as:
Dockyards – Forklifts have been used for years to unload and stack barges and ships. Forklifts are used as a means of transporting bulky cargo today, from delivery trucks to dockside storage areas to ships. Steel and wood shipments are typically transported with forklifts.
Forklifts can also be used at recycling facilities besides dockyards. Recycling containers and trucks are unloaded here before their loads are transported to sorting bays. Among these operations, forklift trucks are preferred because they are capable of loading and unloading railroad cars, straight trucks, elevators, and tractor-trailers.
Building sites – Forklifts intended for industrial purposes are also useful on building sites. Forklifts are used to transport heavy building materials to certain distances and even on rough terrain by construction workers. Forklifts are used both as lifting equipment and as vehicles on construction sites. In construction, forklifts are used primarily to unload pallets of blocks/bricks, steel joists, and construction equipment and materials, especially from the delivery truck, and to transport them to the construction site.
Warehouses – The use of forklift trucks is also common in warehouses. Transporting goods and loading and unloading trucks are commonly done with them. Warehouses can use a variety of different forklifts. Sizes and uses for each of them vary. Plates on forklifts determine how much weight they can lift.
Benefits of Owning a Forklift
Forklifts offer many benefits, and you’ll find that once you have one, your business can’t function without it. Some of the most significant perks include:
- Workplace productivity increases. Being able to move hefty pallets of material can save a considerable amount of time, improving the overall workflow of the entire company. Therefore, you can focus more on scaling your business.
- You’ll become more organized. When you’re not breaking down cubes for ease of carrying, you will find that everything is tidier and easier to maintain.
- Your employees will be happier. Once everyone can do their jobs more efficiently, you’ll find that the workplace morale will go up significantly.
Types of Forklifts
There are many types of forklifts, but some of the most common ones are:
- Counterbalance Forklift: This type is common in warehouses, and they feature forks in the front and weight in the back to counter the load size.
- All-Terrain Forklift: Often found on construction sites, this type is used to transport materials through rough terrain without causing damage.
- Warehouse Forklift: This is probably the most commonly seen forklift. It is often used to transport goods to and from a trailer and warehouse.
Who Needs a Forklift?
Many businesses could benefit from using a forklift, but several types of companies need them to complete daily operations, including:
- Construction: Construction companies often transport hefty loads of materials to areas of the work site, and many of them are too heavy to move by hand. Additionally, breaking them down to carry is a waste of time. So they rely heavily on forklifts.
- Warehousing: Workers rely on forklifts to carry goods to and from delivery trucks.
- Businesses dealing with a lot of cargo: Whether you work in construction, trucking, or warehousing, forklifts can be useful for any company that constantly has goods shipped to their store.
Forklifts are much more versatile than most people initially realize. So if you’re on the fence because you don’t think it will do enough to improve your workflow, consider how the following accessories can help your business in more ways than one.
Fork Extensions and Trailer Hitch
You can carry larger loads with fork extensions, so you don’t need to worry about any load being too big to transport. In addition, if you get a forklift trailer hitch, you can move entire trailers with your lift truck.
Steel dumping hoppers can be used to carry waste and other loose materials. They’re popular with construction companies because it makes waste management simpler than only using a dumpster.
Yes, you can even clean the floors with your forklift. In addition, you can quickly move through the warehouse with sweep and mop attachments to simplify daily cleaning.
Forklift safety is of the utmost importance. Everyone in the workplace should take safety training, regardless of whether they’ll operate the vehicle. In addition, anyone working in or around the lift truck should wear adequate safety gear like hard hats, steel-toe boots, and bright-colored vests.
Should you Rent or Buy a Forklift?
Choosing whether to rent or buy depends on whether you plan on using the forklift permanently. You will save significantly if you buy vs. rent if you need it for daily operations. However, renting will be the best route if you only need it for a one-time project.
A forklift is often used for transporting large pallets of goods around a workplace, and many companies use it daily to improve workflow. So buying one can be highly beneficial to your business, especially since you can use it for multiple purposes. So if you choose to get one, don’t forget to invest in the accessories that make it so versatile.
Thank you for reading!