Stopping just shy of a driver-operated forklift, pallet trucks date back to the late 1800’s, when a basic pallet rack was invented to lift loads just a few inches off the floor, but not to move loads from one location to another.
The pallet jack that most closely resembles the type we see today was manufactured in the 1920’s and they quickly became a versatile tool for moving smaller materials in small spaces.
Pallet trucks, sometimes referred to as “jacks,” are frequently seen in micro-breweries, manufacturing plants, warehouses and factories and can move loads of various sizes in small spaces, and on and off smaller trucks and vans.
Pallet trucks come in two categories: Manual, and powered.
Manual trucks are cheaper, not terribly complicated, and rely on an operator to push and pull the unit through the facility, and lift the load off the floor. Manual trucks are used primarily where materials are stored at ground level, or in small stacks.
Electric pallet trucks are slightly harder to operate than a manual unit and are best operated by an experienced employee. They require less effort to raise and lower materials, since they are electrically powered.
Generally, you will find powered pallet trucks in facilities where materials are stored in multiple layers, and can lift larger quantities of pallets.
Pallet trucks, either manual or electric, do have some advantages over traditional forklifts.
- They can maneuver in narrow spaces where forklifts can’t go.
- A pallet truck, as we mentioned, can be used to unload a smaller truck like a van or box truck.
- Pallet trucks are safer than large forklifts. Statistically, most workplace injuries come from handling heavy loads. A fleet of pallet jacks can help your facility operate more efficiently, and more safely.
If you think a pallet truck or two might help your workplace run more smoothly, give our experts a call at (704) 3242. We can find exactly the right truck for you.