What Is a Reach Forklift?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2019
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A reach forklift is one of several different types of forklifts that are routinely used in warehouses, factories and other settings. Known in some countries as reach trucks, reach forklifts are equipped with lifting and squeezing mechanisms that are capable of moving into very tight spaces, often with the inclusion of some sort of extension capacity that allows the blades or forks to move directly into that space while the body of the lift remains just outside the tight area. The purpose of a reach forklift is to make it possible to place or extract items from tight spaces without causing any damage to other items stored in the immediate area.


While there are several different designs for a reach forklift, most involve the inclusion of a component known as a mast. This mast is a vertical component that can be tilted upward and outward in order to allow the forks or blades to be more easily inserted into a tight space. Along with the mast, there may also be a horizontal component attached to the forks or the scissors mechanism of the device that makes it possible to extend the reach of the scissors into a relatively tight space, enclose a pallet or a flat of goods, then gently lift and extract it from the space. Controls that are located on the operator’s console make it possible to adjust the angle and the movement of the reach equipment at will, limiting the potential for damaging the goods during the extraction.

One of the chief benefits generated by the use of a reach forklift is the opportunity to make better use of the space set aside for storage of goods. The ability of the lift to place or extract goods from tight spaces means that the layout of the storage area can include aisles or passageways that are narrower in dimension. This translates into the ability to add a few more rows to the space, increasing the storage capacity. The more efficient use of the storage space makes it easier to keep the goods organized while also making it possible to use more of the available space within a factory for production rather than storage needs.

As with all types of forklifts, it is important to schedule regular maintenance of a reach forklift in order to ensure the equipment remains functional. Routine servicing that involves inspection of all moving components, regular changes of oil and other fluids, and making sure that all systems are working properly will minimize downtime and in turn help to support the production effort. With the proper level of servicing, a reach forklift can easily provide many years of daily service, a factor that helps to keep the expenses associated with the operation within reason.


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