The cost of a new Forklift can vary between $15,000 to in excess of $ 150,000, dependent on the model adn in particular the capacity of the Forklift. The most common Forklifts are typically gas powered and have a capacity of between 2 and 2.5 Tonnes. The cost of these varies form around $ 18,500, for some of the less well known Chinnese manufactured Forkilifts, up to around $29,000, for the German Forklifts from well-established manufacturers, it is important to take into account fuel and maintenance costs when calculating the total cost of ownership.
Picture 1. A straight mast container handler at Haikou Xiuying Port, Hainan, China.
At the other end of the spectrum from the counterbalanced Forklift trucks are more ‘high end’ specialty trucks:
- Ariculated Counterbalance Trucks
These are, unlike most lift trucks, front wheel steer, and are a hybrid VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) truck designed to the both able to offload trailers and place the load in narrow aisle racking. Increasingly these trucks are able to complete in terms of pallet storaf\ge density, lift heights and pallet troughtput with guided very narrow aisle trucks, while also being capable of loading trucks, which VNA units are incapable of doing.
- Guide Very Narrow Aisle Trucks
These are rail-or wire-guided and available with lift heights up to 40 feet non-top-tied and 98 feet top-tied. Two forms are available : ‘man-down’ and ‘man-riser’, where the operator elevates with the load for increased visibility or of multilevel ‘break bulk’ order picking. this type of truck, unlike articulated narrow aisled narrow aisle trucks, requires a high standard of floor flatness.
Omnidirectional techno;ogy (such as Mecanum wheels) can allow a Forklift truck to move forward, diagonally adn laterally, or in any direction on a surface. Omnidirectional wheel system is able to rotate the truck 360 degrees in its own footprint or strafe sideways without turning the truck cabin. One examples is the Airtrax Sidewinder. This Forklift truck has also made an appearance in the TV series called ‘Mythbusters’.
- UL 558 Safety Rated Trucks
In North America, some internal combustion powered industrial vehicles carry Underwriters Laboratories ratings that are part of UL 558. Industrial trucks that are considere “safety” carry the designations GS (Gasoline Safety) for gasoline powered, DS (Diesel Safety) for diesel powered. LPS(Liquid Propane Safety) for liquified propane or GS/LPS for a dual fuel gasoline/liquified propane powered truck.
UL 558 is a two-stage Safety standard. The basic standard, which is G, D, LP and G/LP is what Underwriter’s Laboratories considers the bare minimum required for a lift truck. This is a voluntary standard, and there is no requirement in North America at least by any Government Agency for manufacturers to meet this standard.
The slightly more stringent GS, DS, LPS and GP/LPS, or safety standard does provide some minimal protection, however it is extremely minimal. In the past Underwriter’s Laboratory offered specialty EX and DX safety certifications. If you require higher levels of protection you must contact your local Underwriter’s Laboratory Office and check ask them what the correct safety standard is for your workplace.
- UL 583 Safety Rated Trucks
UL 583 is the electric equivalent of UL 558. As with UL 558 it is a two-stage standard.
- Explosion Proof Trucks “EX RATED”
These are for operation in potentially explosive atmospheres found in chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food an drink, logistics or other industries handling flammable material Commonly referred to as Pyroban trucks in Europe, they must meet the requirements of the ATEX 94/9/EC Directive if used in Zone 1, 2, 21 or 22 areas and be maintained accordingly.