If you are a new employee for the procurement team of a warehouse, you'll need to learn as much as possible about the various material handling equipment that is used in the industry. Forklifts are the main power houses when it comes to moving product. The smallest forklifts are called pallet jacks. Pallet jacks are essential in warehousing and industrial environments where pallets need to be relocated for material handling, storage, and shipping and receiving purposes. In this mini-guide, you'll learn about motorized and manual pallet jacks.
Types of pallet jacks
Pallet jacks vary in styles, capacities, and designs. There are motorized pallet jacks, which are powered by electric motors that use rechargeable batteries. Of these, there are designs that you walk behind while operating, controlling, and steering the device by a handle and thumb levers.
There are also similar designs of motorized pallet jacks that are designed to be stood on and ridden while operating. These pallet jacks are ideal for larger areas with significant distances in the moving of product and pallets. These types of pallet jacks are considered to be more productive, as they are motorized and move with efficient speed.
There are generally two types of batteries for motorized pallet jacks. One type is the removable battery pack. When low, the drained battery gets removed and a fresh battery gets installed. The other type of pallet jack battery needs to be plugged into a charging station. Due to the mechanical components of a motorized pallet jack, the devices can be heavy to push if the batteries drain too soon. This is something to keep in mind when deciding on how many pallet jacks and batteries to order.
There are also manual pallet jacks, which serve the same purposes by using hydraulics instead of battery power. Manual pallet jacks are generally lightweight by design, yet very durable and are easily maneuverable by the operator. The wheels are designed in a tricycle fashion, which makes steering and guiding the pallet jacks into tight spaces easily accomplished.
Before choosing a type of pallet jack for your warehouse, its' a good idea to take maintenance into consideration. As was said earlier, motorized pallet jacks require fresh batteries. Therefore, you'll need a location in your facility to recharge batteries or plug the pallet jacks into. Manual pallet jacks have hydraulic fluid that needs to be checked occasionally.
Operation of pallet jacks
The jack is maneuvered into the openings of the pallet, and once the forks of the pallet jack are fully entered into the pallet, the operator moves a switch into the "lift" position. A motorized pallet jack will raise the forks automatically. With a manual pallet jack, the operator would need to pump the handle up and down until the pallet is lifted and the weight of the pallet is on the wheels of the pallet jack.
The operator then moves the switch to the "neutral" position. After this, the load can be easily rolled to a new location by pushing or pulling the jack. By design, the jacks roll easily once the load is lifted into position. Once the pallet is at the intended destination, the operator squeezes a hand lever to lower the pallet to the floor. The pallet jack can be removed from the pallet once the pallet is in place by simply pulling the pallet jack out of the pallet.
Pallet jacks are ideal for many environments such as small shops, retail businesses, warehousing and industrial workplaces where noise and standard forklifts' pollution are not tolerated. Pallet jacks are generally the smarter choice for short distance moving of products or items on pallets. They are great for docks in shipping and receiving areas to help load and unload trucks.