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As warehouse fleet managers know, forklifts are not the only type of commercial truck that is involved in materials handling. There are also vehicles called walkie stackers that can perform the task.
A walkie stacker is also known as a pedestrian walk-behind stacker. It is a walk-behind pallet truck that features a mast that lifts pallets to a particular height.
There is an assortment of these vehicles, each designed to handle a specific function. Either powered or manual, they are typically used to carry pallets when a forklift is not necessarily the perfect tool. They are often used in storerooms, small warehouses, concentrated warehouse areas, or as a substitute for more expensive forklifts.
Their small wheels make them ideal for indoor use and most often than not they are used on flat concrete floors. Variations of the machine come with customized requirements including larger wheels.
Advantages of Walkie Stackers
There are a number of advantages of using walkie stackers over forklifts. Except for ride on walkie stacks, the operator of any other walkie stack does not need a forklift license. Moreover, they cost less than other materials handling vehicles and they operate under very little running costs. Like electric-powered forklifts, they don’t emit any polluted exhaust and they produce less of a carbon footprint.
In addition, these machines are easy to maneuver and are ideal for operating in tight spaces. Due to their smaller size when compared to forklifts and other materials handling vehicles, they offer greater visibility for the operator.
Styles of Walkie Stackers
There are five types of walkie stackers. Each style is designed for a particular application. The major difference between them is how each distributes the load. For example, one may have front legs, another straddle legs, and a third counter-balance weight.
The five walkie stacker styles include:
• Walkie Straddle Stacker
• Walkie Reach Stacker
• Counter-Balance Walkie Stacker
• Standard Walkie Stacker
• Ride On Walkie Stacker
Walkie Straddle Stacker
A walkie straddle stacker features straddle legs that distribute the weight of a load. The legs permit this machine to straddle a pallet. This allows the machine to drive up close to a pallet without the need of a lot of space.
They are ideal for low to mid-level selective racking in storerooms, small warehouses, and customer zone racking areas. The straddle legs feature also allows the machine to perform closer pallet stacking when pallets are stacked on the floor. The straddled legs move around or underneath the bottom beam of the rack supports.
They can lift a load from 2,642mm to as high as 4,826mm.
Walkie Reach Stacker
Similar in design to the straddle stacker, the walkie reach stacker features a pantographic scissor mast. The mast is designed to move loads forward away from the stacker.
They are used to load trailers, utility vehicles and trucks as well as mid-level racking similar to straddle stackers.
Their lifting heights are from 2,565mm to as much as 4,547mm.
Counter-Balance Walkie Stacker
Counter-balance walkie-stackers feature a counter-balance weight to assist in distributing loads. They don’t have straddled legs outside their bodies. So they are ideal for operating in narrow aisles. They are able to lift standard pallets because they don’t have front legs. These machines are longer than other walkie-stackers because of the counter-balance weight. So they have a larger turning circle than the other styles of walkie-stackers.
The counter-balance stacker includes the highest lifting mast of all other walkie-stackers. They can lift a load from 2,642mm to as much as 5,817mm based on capacity.
Standard Walkie Stacker
The standard walkie-stacker features legs that are located under the forks. The legs assist in distributing the load weight and allow the standard walkie-stacker to lift and carry two pallets at one time. So they are ideal for both transporting and stacking pallets. They also have the smallest turning radius of any of the other walkie-stackers. They are used for medium-level tracking and has a lift height from 1,845mm to 4,255mm.
The one disadvantage to this style of walkie-stackers is that the legs prevent them from lifting bottomless pallets or bottomless containers.
Ride On Walkie Stacker
Similar to standard walkie stackers, the ride one walkie-stacker includes a platform and special controls that allow the driver to ride on the machine. For a driver to ride a ride on walkie-stacker, he must have a license that permits him to operate a forklift. Walk behind units do not require the user to have a forklift license.
As you can see, walkie-stackers offer a variety of benefits for any warehouse operation.