Different kinds of Material Handling Equipment (MHE) have been used commonly in factories or warehouses for the handling of material carefully. Material handling equipment is mechanical equipment used for moving, storing, loading, and offloading materials.
A pallet truck is the most convenient type of MHE, therefore, a significant piece of warehouse equipment used to safely transfer materials from one location to another. It works on the principle of Pascal's Law and is usually used for ground storage purposes; warehouses or factories that use racking systems can use this for transport material in ground locations of racks.
No doubt, it's the best invention so far by George Raymond and Bill House. Their pallet jack model was simpler than the present model of it. They used mechanical linkages to lift folks and loads, but recent versions of it have a hand-pumped hydraulic jack to lift. Still, their invention proved profitable for warehouse equipment manufacturers and was a major relief for warehouse workers. As they no longer had to transfer goods on their backs! This invention was followed by a major fall in warehouse injuries.
Commonly Used Pallet Trucks
1. Manual Pallet Truck
A manual pallet truck or hand pallet jack is operated by using manpower. Workers do not need any kind of specialized training to use it. They can operate it with even minimal knowledge. It is mostly used for storing and moving palletized goods but can also be used for moving non-palletized ones.
Components of a Manual Pallet Truck
A manual pallet truck has the following components:
· Handle: It can rotate left and right, playing a key role in adjusting the direction of the steering wheel. It is from where operators hold the equipment to control it and stand on the platform in case of an electric pallet truck. It can be moved downward to move material easily.
· Control Lever: It is located at the inner right-hand side of the handle. It has two possible positions:
Raised position: The control lever, when compressed inside, lowers the lifting cylinder and folks. The more you compress the liver, the faster the folks will lower.
Lowered position: this position is attained when the control lever is pushed forward. Now when the handle is pulled downward, folks are lifted proportionally.
· Hydraulic Pump: It is the base unit of equipment. It implies the principle of Pascal's Law.
· Steer Wheels: Hydraulic pump and steer wheels are controlled by the handle and control lever. They can be nylon, polyurethane, rubber, or steel.
· Folks: Two folks, linked at the base, constitute the steel frame of the pallet truck. Different sizes of pallet trucks are equipped with different sizes of forks, consumers need to see clearly when buying.
· Load Wheels: Load wheels, also called load rollers, are present at the lower tip of each folk. They must be small enough to enter the opening of the pallet to be moved.They mostly don’t swirl as pallet jack moves back and forth only.
2. Powered Pallet Truck
Heavy-duty powered pallet trucks have a load capacity of 2000 to3000kg. In ideal conditions, and fork dimensions are the same as that of the manual one.
Though manual pallet trucks had brought a major relief for workers, operating a load of more than 500kg for 3 hours can prove harmful to workers' health. Moreover, manual pallet trucks consume more time to cover a distance than powered ones, saving both time and power. Some powered pallet trucks have a platform for operators to stand on, prioritizing it more on the manual one.
Components Of a Powered Pallet Truck
A powered pallet truck has the following components:
· Control Head: With it, the equipment can be handled conveniently. It is used to control the direction of wheels. It has an electricity meter and switches on it to ease the use of equipment.
· Key Switch: It functions as the main switch of the pallet truck and is used to power on and off it.
· Emergency Disconnect: it's a red-coloured button on the control head and is used to instantly stop the pallet jack from running over anything. A pallet jack, when loaded, has a weight approximately equal to that of a car.
· Battery Indicator: It indicates battery power. The battery must be charged when it shows a low battery indication. The powered pallet trucks will automatically slow down when power is below 10%.
· Battery Compartment: It is the place where the battery is placed. Mostly used batteries are lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries. Later one is more convenient to use, and the world is shifting toward it.
· Drive Wheel: They are used to drive the pallet jack and are controlled by the control head. They can be of polyurethane or nylon, etc.
· Folks And Load Wheels: Their folks and load wheels have the same specifications as that used in manual ones.
3. Lithium Pallet Jack
The most advanced pallet jack model is the lithium pallet jack. It's because lithium-ion batteries are more convenient to use than lead-acid batteries. They work 45% longer than that lead-acid batteries. You don't have to have to water them. They charge faster and don't produce much heat compared to lead-acid batteries.
A pallet jack has countless advantages, and its demand is also hyping up day by day. Though there are different pallet jacks, lithium pallet jack have been prioritized overall!