A forklift is a vehicle operated by a driver. The basic forklift model is a truck with three or four wheels. Forklifts consist of a mast with moveable forks, a drive unit, a counterweight, and a driver's seat with control instruments. The stable chassis supports the driver's cabin and the motor. At the front, or in certain models on the side, is the lifting frame. The side opposite the lifting frame has a counterweight, which distributes the weight evenly when heavy loads are applied so that the truck doesn't tip over.
The forklift is operated using a steering wheel or joystick. The foot pedals are usually arranged similar to a passener car, so there is no need to relearn this when operating a forklift. The driver's cabin is constructed to give the driver maximum protection and good peripheral vision. Many models have a roof to protect against falling loads.
- Used for stowing and transporting loads within a plant
- Available in a variety of different forms
- Simplex, duplex, or triplex masts depending on the job
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The forks are manually or hydraulically adjustable, so they can be adapted to the lifting points of various loads. In all forklifts, the lifting frame operates hydraulically. Various drive systems can be used. The main types are electric, LPG, and diesel drive units. With zero emissions, the electric motor is excellent for use indoors. Small forklifts, particularly those commonly used in supermarkets, have an electric motor. Medium forklifts are often driven by a gas motor because the particularly mild emissions are suitable for use in enclosed spaces. However, you still have to ensure adequate ventilation because gas motors do produce CO and CO2. Diesel-powered forklifts are used in heavy industry. They have a lifting force of several tons, so they can easily transport coils, steel pans, and slabs. In order to lift, forklifts always require a certain gap between the load and the floor.
In most cases, this is achieved using wooden pallets. In modern forklifts, the lifting frame is constructed to allow the driver a clear view of the load. It is powered by a hydraulic unit integrated into the vehicle. Various models of lifting frames are available for short transport heights, such as vehicle loading, as well as the great heights in warehouses with high shelves. The various types of lifting frames, simplex, duplex, and triplex, accommodate different hight requirements. In modern forklifts, the driver constantly receives information about the operating conditions shown in a display. With cutting-edge computer-controlled operation, motor power can be used very efficiently. In newer models, speed is automatically reduced when going around curves in order to avoid tipping over. Although forklifts are mainly used indoors, special models exist which are designed for outdoor use. These particularly robust machines are called rough-terrain forklifts.
JUNGHEINRICH forklift in use