Types of forklifts | Types of cranes

Forklifts are an essential part of industrial machinery. It allows to efficiently handle all kinds of products and heavy loads, transporting and placing them on racks or in specific positions.

In addition, forklifts favour industrial safety, preventing workers from exerting unnecessary effort and minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Types of forklifts, what are the most common types?

In an industrial environment, forklifts are classified by motor type, lifting mechanism, and weight distribution.

This way, there is a standardized classification consisting of 7 types of machines, which we describe below.

Forklift | BECOSAN®

Forklift type 1

It an electric forklifts with a counterbalance system supported by its own weight. When lifting heavy objects they use pallets or blades at the front as a support point for weight distribution.

This type of forklift is ideal for interior spaces without ventilation, since they lack of any polluting emissions.

Forklift type 2

Known as electric stackers, they are small forklifts designed for narrow spaces, for example, industrial warehouses aisles.

You can find different models of stackers, the best known are:

  • Reach trucks
  • Walkie stacker (walk behind)
  • Order pickers
  • Turret trucks

Forklift type 3

This type corresponds to manual forklifts, and is characterized by having levers at the back (or in the center). They have no mechanical ability to lift loads to high altitudes.

Forklift type 4

These are manual forklifts with an internal combustion engine, counterbalance system and solid tires.

Forklift type 5

These forklifts are practically identical to the previous ones, except that they have inflatable and reinforced tires.

Forklift type 6

They are large forklifts, manufactured to lift materials on surfaces with irregular an topography. They are mostly used in the agricultural industry.

This type covers vehicles like tractors and trailers.

Forklift type 7

They are all terrain forklifts, which are characterized by their loader. They are usually used on rough and stable surfaces.

Most used forklifts in industrial buildings

Pallet trucks are the most used forklift inside industrial warehouses and storage rooms in general, since merchandise is placed to facilitate its transportation and handling.

Industrial forklift
Industrial forklift | BECOSAN®

The pallet trucks feature a variety of mechanisms for loading objects and moving merchandise. In addition to the traditional manual lifting mechanism, they can also be:

  • Hydraulic pallet trucks
  • Electric pallet trucks

Other types of forklifts widely used in industrial buildings are:

Counterbalance forklift

It’s the second most common forklift in warehouses and is used to lift very heavy and bulky loads.

Counterbalance forklift
Counterbalance forklift | BECOSAN®

This is possible thanks to a weight distribution system that balances the load through its front and rear. These forklifts are vehicles that can have 3 or 4 wheels.

Stacker forklift

It is a machine that allows products and materials to be lifted to high altitudes. It’s very frequent in warehouses with especially high shelves.

Stacker forklift
Stacker forklift | BECOSAN®

Stackers can be controlled by an employee by foot.

Side loading forklift

This machine is mainly used in narrow corridors of industrial buildings.

Side loading forklift
Side loading forklift | BECOSAN®

The blades are located on the side of the forklift, and work to lift loads along or across aisles.

Types of cranes, what other machines are for industrial use?

Another widely used equipment in the industry is the crane. It allows moving heavy loads quickly and accurately, optimizing the organization in warehouses by using automated processes.

Cranes, like forklifts, have various mechanisms and systems to lift and transport loads in industrial buildings. The best known types of cranes are:

Bridge cranes

Bridge crane is a system composed of a single or double beam that is mobilized by a rail and is suspended thanks to supports fixed to the building’s structure.

Bridge cranes
Bridge cranes | BECOSAN®

Gantry crane

They are cranes that share certain mechanical and structural characteristics with the previous one, but they are differentiated by their vertical supports with wheels at the lower ends, as if they were mobile pillars, which move and position the loads held by the beam.

Rotating cranes

Also known as jib cranes, they are characterized by presenting a rotation mechanism that allows loads to be moved and positioned in circular areas.

Its mechanism includes a hoist that moves in a beam and is fixed to a wall or a mast.

Importance of good flooring for forklifts

Heavy machinery traffic, especially forklift trucks, is one of the main causes why industrial building’s concrete floors deteriorate.

Due to the heavy loads carried by the forklifts, cracks and deterioration of the joints occur in the flooring.

To stop the degradation caused by forklifts, it’s essential to carry out long-lasting repairs by sealing cracks and joints.

Furthermore, a floor which is in poor condition is detrimental to forklift operations, as these machines are sensitive to surface irregularities in the concrete.

In this way, any crack or unevenness in the concrete affects the efficiency of handling goods, increasing the risk of accidents during industrial activities.


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