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Ode to the Simple Hand Truck
Materials handling today has become high tech. There are forklifts powered by new fuels like hydrogen or fuel cells. There are digital apps that can track your forklift fleet and analyze operations to improve productivity and efficiency. There are even driverless automated guided vehicles that use robot brains to perform materials handling tasks without any human intervention.
But when in a lot of workplace situations, the best solution is often the simplest: Using a plain old hand truck to manually and lift and move a load from one place to another.
Hand trucks are decidedly low-tech. Most are simply a platform flanked by two wheels welded to a frame. Yet they can perform many warehouse or dock tasks just as effectively as the most high tech — and high-priced — materials handling equipment. Plus, they are fueled by the one energy source that is abundant in just about any workplace: Human muscle power.
Hand trucks harness leverage and weight to lift and move loads quickly and efficiently. If you have a stack of boxes, a vaguely box-shaped piece of equipment, or any other vertical load, all you need to do is gently tip the load forward, slip the hand truck’s platform plate underneath, then ease the load back so that its weight is centered over the hand truck’s two wheels.
Once the load is balanced, it can be steered and moved practically anywhere. What could be easier?
Hand trucks are essential equipment in just about any workplace and are widely used. They can be found attached to the back of beverage delivery trucks, inside practically any panel van, and sitting somewhere nearby most dock and warehouse operations. They are convenient to have around because they are nimble, compact, and versatile.
Having a hand truck on hand lets you move practically anything anywhere at any time. Even if you already have invested in a lot of other high tech materials handling equipment such as forklifts and power jacks, having a hand truck nearby is almost always a good idea. They are ideal for quick, simple tasks that don’t require more complicated movements.
Sturdy, Dependable and Affordable
Because they are so simple, hand trucks will almost never break down. Unlike other materials handling equipment, you can count the number of pieces on a hand truck on one hand in many cases. About the only thing that can go wrong is a flat tire, and even that is unlikely if you follow the manufacturer’s load limits.
Plus, they are affordable. Especially when compared to other materials handling equipment. A brand new hand truck generally will cost you less than a couple of hundred bucks. Basic models are even less expensive. And they last practically forever.
In a high tech world, hand trucks offer simple solutions to even the most complex materials handling challenges. If you don’t already have one in your workplace, you should probably get one.