When it comes to performing order picking operations safely and efficiently, there are few more useful pieces of equipment to have on hand than a forklift truck. However, forklift trucks come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so whether you're choosing your first forklift truck or seeking to expand your lifting fleet it is equally important to choose the right forklift model for your needs. One of the more striking differences you will notice between different types of forklifts is the number of wheels they possess.
Conventional four wheeled forklifts are sold alongside three wheeled models, which generally feature a single wheel located at the rear. Though the loss of a wheel may seem like a hindrance at first glance, three wheeled forklifts can actually have a number of advantages over their four wheeled counterparts -- conversely, they do not perform as well as four wheeled trucks in other aspects, so it is important to take stock of your order picking needs before deciding just how many wheels your forklift should possess.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a three wheeled forklift?
As you can imagine, less wheels means less floor space is occupied, and three wheeled forklifts tend to excel when used in settings without much room to manoeuvre. As well as generally being more compact than four wheeled models, three wheeled forklifts also tend to have considerably tighter turning circles -- as such, they are ideal for use in tightly packed warehouses, and are capable of navigating closely-spaced rows of shelving and storage to find and pick orders quickly and safely.
Less wheels also translates to less cost, and the other key advantage of three wheeled forklifts are their comparatively low prices. This can make opting for three-wheelers an attractive option if you are seeking to add several machines to the forklift fleet of a busy warehousing operation, but they are equally useful for the small business operate seeking a single, simple forklift for transporting heavy merchandise.
Unfortunately, three wheeled forklifts do have some shortcomings to balance out all these advantages. Their cheif failing is their inability to work effectively on rough terrain, as three-wheelers are generally designed for use indoors or on flat, concrete outdoor surfaces. They generally lack the torque or the stability for more challenging terrain, and uneven footing or moderately steep gradients can both stop a three wheeled forklift in its tracks.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a four wheeled forklift?
Four wheeled forklifts are generally much more robust than their three wheeled counterparts, with greater stability, more powerful engines and greater maximum load capacities. They are also more capable of dealing with uneven terrain. This combination of qualities makes four wheeled forklifts ideal for use outdoors, and four wheeled models are often seen picking orders at landscape supply warehouses, lumber yards and other rough-and-tumble settings.
Sadly, this extra stability and strength comes at the price of increased size, and four wheeled forklifts are more cumbersome and less manoeuvrable than three wheelers. They are therefore less suited for use in high-capacity warehouses and other settings where more finesse is required to pick orders safely.They are also more expensive than three-wheelers, although unlike most three-wheeled models four-wheeled forklifts can often be purchased with less expensive, petrol-powered engines.Share
15 May 2017
Heavy construction equipment can be quite expensive to replace, so it's important to maintain it properly. That involves doing some regular maintenance according to the correct service schedules as well as making sure that your operators know how to operate the equipment correctly. If you maintain your equipment, this maintenance can end up saving your business a lot of money down the track when you can extend the usable life of the equipment that you rely on. This blog has some tips on how you can easily maintain heavy construction equipment, including how you can train operates to extend lifecycles with sensible machine operation.