All about Forklifts

All about Forklifts

Lorry mounted forklifts are pretty rare. They are often called Moffets after the British company that makes them. They tend to only be used for specific purposes. The main drawback is that they weigh about 3 tons which reduces the payload of the truck considerably.

Moffets are an all terrain forklift. They can pretty much go anywhere - even through mud and deep water. they are typically used for offloading bricks and blocks to building sites etc.

Counterbalance forklifts are the traditional variety. They are mainly used to move pallets and for loading lorries. The most common type used in pallet depots has a 2.5 ton capacity. Gas powered forklifts are used in the hubs. Diesel is most common in the depots as they often work outside. Counterbalance forklifts can be very big. Some will lift as much as 40 or even 60 tons and can even handle containers.

Electric forklifts have massive battery packs. These are made up of 2v lead acid cells that are usually wired to give 48V. These battery packs are massive and usually weigh about 900kg. A forklift battery charger typically puts out 48v 100 amp and takes about 8hrs to charge the forklift. In busy factories the battery packs can be quickly swopped out and spare batteries kept on charge.


Used forklift batteries are often used for solar and renawable energy projects. A forklift battery pack is a much cheaper alternative to Elon Musk's home Powerwall system.


Some of the biggest makers of forklifts are Jungheinrich, Mistsubishi, Toyota and Yale.


Reach trucks are used mainly in warehouses. They are usually electric. reach trucks typically lift 1.6 tons but they have a much higher lift than normal to reach high level pallet racking. Heights of 9m are quite common. In large warehouses like Amazon they use man up very narrow aisle VNA forklifts. These are quite specialist and have a lift height of as high as 14m for very high pallet racking.


There are a few special kinds of forklifts in use. Flexi or Bendi forklifts are quite common. They combine the speed of a counterbalance truck with the high lift and narrow aisle capability of a reach truck.


There is one very novel forklift on the market called the airtrax sidewinder. It uses special wheels made from cones. This means the forklift can crab sideways or pivot on the spot.



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