According to the French Labor Code, a worker cannot habitually lift loads greater than 55 kg (unless he has been recognized as fit to do so by occupational medicine); and never a load to be carried manually can exceed 105 kg”. To transport large and heavy palletized goods, the use of pallet trucks is recommended. In the form of a trolley fitted with a drawbar with handles, a frame, directional wheels, a hydraulic mechanism, rollers and two fork arms, this equipment facilitates the work of operators while saving time.
The different types of pallet trucks
Pallet trucks or pallet jacks are horizontal handling equipment for transporting heavy pallets in a warehouse or on a production site. Highly appreciated by industry and logistics professionals, they can be used in different circumstances:
- Lifting and moving heavy loads
- Transport pallets or containers over short distances
- Serve as an auxiliary during picking operations
- Supply the picking areas
Pallet trucks can be manual, semi-electric or electric.
The manual pallet truck
As its name suggests, the manual pallet truck is used manually. As a result, its handling requires a certain effort, in particular to raise and lower the pallets, but also to move the pallet truck (you must then pull on the drawbar). It is therefore more suitable in small and medium-sized warehouses where the loads are not very heavy.
The hand pallet truck can carry loads up to 2,500 kg with a speed of 5 km/h and have a lifting height of up to 1 m in rare exceptions. However, the maximum lifting height is generally 30 cm.
This type of pallet truck is lightweight and fits easily in a delivery truck.
The semi-electric pallet truck
The semi-electric pallet truck is partly manual and partly electric. It speeds up work and offers greater efficiency than the manual model. Indeed, depending on the model, it can be equipped with an automatic lifting device with manual traction or, on the contrary, have an electric motor with manual lifting. It can lift loads between 1,000 kg and 1,500 kg and offers a lifting height of up to 200 mm.
In addition to saving time, the semi-electric pallet truck also decreases operator workload while being more accessible than the electric pallet truck.
The electric pallet truck
The electric pallet truck is 100% motorized. As a result, the movement of the pallets is done more quickly. Likewise, lifting operations are easier and more efficient. This lightens the load on the operator’s arms.
Some models of electric pallet trucks have a fixed or folding platform located behind the drawbar on which the driver of the machine sits to drive it, raise or lower the pallets, etc.
The electric pallet truck has the same characteristics as the semi-automatic model, namely: a lifting height of 200 mm and a maximum load of 1,500 kg. However, some models may have a maximum lifting height of up to 800mm.
Other types of pallet trucks
Apart from these three main categories of pallet trucks, there are also different sub-categories.
The weighing pallet truck
The weighing pallet truck is a complete piece of equipment that allows three operations to be carried out at the same time. Indeed, it makes it possible to lift, move and weigh goods. Widely used in factories and warehouses, this type of pallet truck allows you to know the weight of the goods without unloading it. Some models go even further by being equipped with a printer to make weighing even easier.
The high lift pallet truck
The high-lift pallet truck allows handlers to place loads at the right height. Also called a forklift, this type of pallet truck has the advantage of simplifying work by preventing operators from having to bend over during each operation. It can support loads of up to 1,500 kg and has a fork length of approximately 800 mm.
The high lift pallet truck can be manual or electric.
All-terrain pallet truck
This type of pallet truck is used to transport pallets over rough, steep, muddy or uneven terrain. The all-terrain pallet truck can be manual, electric or even thermal. It can support loads of up to 1,500 kg and has a fork length of approximately 800 mm.
The quick-lift or high-lift pallet truck
This type of pallet truck is distinguished by its ability to quickly raise the forks in order to speed up lifting operations. It can be electric or manual.
What material for his pallet truck?
The pallet truck can be made of wood, galvanized steel or plastic.
The wooden model is durable and can be used both indoors and outdoors. As for the galvanized steel pallet truck, it is intended for a standard indoor environment. The plastic pallet truck is used in an environment with specific hygiene rules, as mentioned above.
In addition, the wheels of pallet trucks are available in different materials. The choice generally depends on the nature of the soil.
- Rubber wheels are suitable for slippery industrial floors, as they have good grip. Moreover, they are silent.
- Polyurethane wheels are ideal for sensitive and soft floors, as they leave no marks.
The criteria for choosing the right pallet truck
Several criteria must be considered when choosing the right type of pallet truck:
- L’working environment : interior or exterior, humid or corrosive, environment with specific hygiene protocols (pharmaceutical, food environment, etc.). In the latter case, it will be necessary to choose a plastic pallet truck, because it can be brought up to hygienic standards.
- THE dimensions and weight of the pallets : if the pallets are small, a pallet truck with short forks (800 mm) is the most suitable. For long pallets, a pallet truck with long forks (1800 mm) is ideal. If the pallets are of standard size, a pallet truck with standard forks (1150 mm) is preferred.
- L’product accessibility.
- The lifting height : a pallet truck with a good lifting height facilitates the work of handlers and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal disorders or TNS.
- The lowered fork height : generally 80 mm.