The specifications of a particular forklift have got to match the particular space where it’s going to be used. This is especially important for larger businesses that require a large number of forklifts, as they often have a number of different facilities to contend with – each with different structural features, and therefore different forklift needs. Aisles can be narrow, which will dictate the overall size of the equipment. And whether the facility is indoors or outdoors will dictate the fuel source too (battery electric or diesel).
As well as knowing the space, you must also consider the application of the forklift. When used indoors, you will need to consider aisle width, weight, maximum lift height and overhead obstructions; when used outdoors, you will need to consider the type of tire. Some applications may also require speed lifting, whereas this is less important for others.
A good forklift truck dealer will spend the time learning about your bespoke needs and will help to pinpoint a machine that meets them all. Some of the key points that will be covered include: forklift class, weight, dimensions and packaging of the material to be lifted; height to which the material will be lifted; whether the operating environment is indoors, outdoors or both; the condition of the operating surfaces; and the projected hours of use on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Any special needs will also be taken into account on the recommendation of a forklift.
It is important to bear in mind that local rules and even government policies can dictate certain specifications that your forklift is required to possess. Occupational Health & Safety regulations for your area may require that a strobe light is fitted, that backup alarms be present, or that other safety equipment is used.
You should be aware of these regulations at the very beginning, as it can be expensive to fit out your forklift with these accessories later on. Information on local laws and incentives can be found on your council website or by contacting them directly.