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When it comes to material handling in a warehouse perhaps the most popular style of
forklift is the sit down models. However, in recent years, due to advances in logistics technology and equipment more and more distribution centers are cramming their shelves with products and practicing the concept of high density warehousing.
The result is that aisles are much narrower. Although warehouse managers see possibility of greater productivity due to having so many products available, the concept has resulted in issues pertaining to traditional forklifts. Forks face forward on the standard style of lift requiring the operator to maneuver into the proper position to pick or place a pallet. The smallest of this style of forklift needs aisles that can accommodate at least 11 feet across.
In order to accommodate warehouses that have narrower aisles, many forklift manufacturers have created a new style of lift referred to as a “narrow aisle forklift” or “standup forklift.” These lifts call for the driver to stand up and also feature the forks on the side. Dropping the seat results in a shorter width and the forks on the side cuts down the need for maneuvering the truck.
The Narrow Aisle forklifts are 3-feet up to 10-feet wide and can easily accommodate the narrower aisles.
The smaller lifts permit:
· Easier navigation in narrow aisles, mezzanines and tiers.
· Ensures safety.
· Improve handling.
· Increased operator productivity
· Faster stocking and picking.
· Increased capacity.
· Less damage and more accuracy.
· Less operator fatigue.
· More options and customization.
The stand up design allows for a simple and quicker step out, step in access and egress allowing the operator to perform frequent dismounting and remounting quickly resulting in higher productivity. The operator can drive the lift straight down the aisle and stocks or picks and then continue on his assignment. No turning is required.
The standup lift can be equipped with forks that can work with back-to-back pallets and use a telescoping or scissors action that accommodate two deep pallet storage. Since the operator is standing, he has better eyes on view allowing for easier picking and more accurate placement and removal of pallets. The operator can raise the platform up to 35 feet allowing for better visibility of top shelves.
Although it is true that the forklift operator is standing and must experience more physical effort, the focus of the activity is on the legs, not the back and lower spine. Moreover, the suspended platform on which the operator stands absorbs shock and vibration.
Finally, narrow aisle trucks cost less than the standard forklifts.