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What Is a Pallet Forklift?

Pallet forklifts are used in a warehouse to lift items stacked on pallets.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A pallet forklift is a device or vehicle designed to lift items that are stacked or otherwise stored on a pallet, which is a wooden frame designed to support the weight of various goods. The design of a pallet forklift can vary, as some designs are hand-operated and lack a motor, while others feature motors and drive systems that allow a user to drive the lift rather than push or pull it by hand. The forklift is named as such because it features a fork, or set of tines, that extend from the front of the truck to slide into a pallet and lift it.

A hand pallet forklift is designed for use by one person. It has wheels mounted on the bottom of the device, which allows the user to push or pull the pallet forklift in any direction. The handle usually swivels to make steering easier; it is also usually attached to a larger wheel that provides steering capabilities. When the lift's fork is inserted into a pallet, the handle is then pumped up and down to raise the fork using a hydraulic system. Once the pallet is lifted off the ground, the user can transport the pallet of goods. A release button is used to lower the pallet back to the ground once in place.

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A type of pallet forklift commonly used in warehouses and factories is the motorized pallet truck. This type of forklift is designed to lift much heavier loads than a hand truck, and it can transport goods easily over longer distances. The lift itself is often operated with a combination of hydraulics and chain drive systems for efficiency and strength. This type of pallet forklift is also usually designed to lift the pallets to much greater heights than a hand truck is capable of. This makes storing pallets of goods on high shelves possible, as well as loading pallets onto trucks with high clearances.

Some types of pallet forklift models, commonly known as moffets, are designed to be mounted to the back of a truck for transport to another location. This allows the forklift to be used for loading the truck as well as unloading it at another location. These are usually three-wheeled lifts that are mounted to the truck with an integrated design between the lift and the truck itself. In most cases, these lifts feature pneumatic tires to accommodate various types of terrain, whereas many lifts used exclusively in factories or warehouses usually use solid rubber tires.

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