Choosing the Right Forklifts for Your Cape Town Business
The earliest machines to mechanise the lifting and transportation of heavy items took the form of lift trucks that had to be wheeled manually by the operator. The relatively simple but groundbreaking idea of adding batteries and a motor gave birth to the forklifts or pallet trucks now seen in warehouses from Cape Town to Cairo and throughout the industrialised world. That transition took place around a century ago and, since then, advances in technology have contributed to marked improvements in the design, performance, and capabilities of these vehicles. Today, there are several manufacturers and numerous models from which to choose and several factors to consider when making your selection. Before buying, ask yourself the following questions:
Will the trucks be used indoors or outdoors?
This is essentially a choice between electric and fuel-powered trucks. Typically, retail warehouses in Cape Town employ electric forklifts because they are quiet and produce no emissions that might prove harmful to personnel in an enclosed space. Conversely, the greater power of a fuel-driven model will often be the better choice for outdoor use, given that this can involve handling heavier loads such as building materials, as well as travelling over rough surfaces. The UniCarriers range of fuel-powered trucks has been designed with due regard to environmental concerns. Quieter than most and with minimal emissions, they offer owners a safe and practical means to combine outdoor use with occasional indoor use. When choosing forklifts for Cape Town businesses, running costs will also need to be considered. While electric trucks are considerably cheaper to run than fuel-powered models and are a greener option, they also require a fairly long time to recharge their batteries. This could limit their availability unless their use is carefully managed.
How heavy are the items to be handled?
To balance the load supported by the forks, a truck must have a counterweight that is greater than that load. If you are choosing forklifts for your Cape Town business, it is vital to take into account the maximum load they will be required to handle. With that figure mind, to ensure an adequate safety margin, you need to select a model with a slightly higher load capacity. The specifications for each of Bidvest’s UniCarriers models will show this figure as a range such as 1,25 to 2 t or 6 to 10 t, the more powerful models being fuel-powered.
How high will you need to lift those items?
Obviously, it is the height of the mast when fully extended that determines the maximum height to which a load can be raised. However, before settling on which forklifts to buy in Cape Town or anywhere else, it is just as important to consider the height of the mast when fully lowered. For example, when in the lowered position, will the mast be able to clear any low beams or light fittings in the work area? If this is not the case, you may either have to settle for a model with a shorter mast or consider making some structural changes.
If your storage facility has aisles, how wide are they?
If you are planning to use forklifts to negotiate the aisles in your Cape Town storage depot, you better check their width. Even if a truck is narrow enough to enter your aisles, unless you operate a drive-in racking system, you will need a model that can manoeuvre within the space available in order to pick and pack from the sides. In such cases, a 3-wheeler is one possible solution.
While these criteria are essential to ensure the right choice, quality, reliability, value for money, and expert support are equally vital. This must be why so many Cape Town users choose UniCarriers forklifts from Bidvest Materials Handling.