Though forklifts are common in material handling, not every warehouse, product, or business requires them for any and all material handling needs. Due to safety concerns associated with unsafe forklift driving and the potential to damage both products and people, it’s understandable to desire an alternative if forklifts just aren’t always the right fit. However, every workspace and application is different, so here are some things to consider when seeking the perfect solution to your transport problem.
Things To Consider Before Reducing Forklift Use
Of course, safety is the most important factor when it comes to implementing new equipment. Therefore, whatever you choose to purchase, ensure that it is adequate for your application by working closely with both a safety engineer and the manufacturer of your solution. Additionally, tight work cells, narrow aisles between storage shelving, or any other space constraint can make operating a forklift tremendously risky. Finding a motorized solution with a tight turn radius, remote control capacity, or safety features like a dead man’s switch for an emergency stop makes operating in small spaces safer and more efficient. The types of materials being transported can also present problems when using exclusively forklifts in material handling operations. For heavy, single-piece loads where a small loading crane isn’t already available on site, forklifts can still remain a convenient option for picking up and transporting materials. However, when loading lighter materials piece by piece, or particularly unique or fragile loads, using a forklift can be more of a problem than a solution.
Lastly, efficiency is an essential factor in remaining competitive. Where moving multiple pallets hooked up to one piece of motorized equipment can help keep costs down, using multiple carts to transport multiple pallets at once could also speed up your operation. Additionally, consider the surface on which the equipment will be operating. Some motorized solutions are better suited for gravel over concrete and vice versa, which directly affects the speed of transport. By using all of these factors in calculating the cost-benefit of your new equipment, you can choose the right solution to increase both safety and efficiency and stay within your budget, while reducing forklift use.
Motorized Material Handling Equipment Solutions
After considering your safety needs, workspace limitations, payload concerns, and overall efficiency variables, it’s time to see what tangible options are out there. For a general understanding of what kinds of equipment serve specific needs, here’s what we often observe after seeing motorized equipment in action for several years:
- Ideal for reducing up-front cost and utilizing one versatile tool to hook up to different loads.
- Allows for the continued usage of existing manual carts when hooked up to a tugger, decreasing equipment waste and environmental impact.
- Ideal when completely replacing old carts.
- Provide the best in maneuverability for tight workspaces.
- Work well when hand-loading multiple items to a cart, or to move loads between points serviced by other equipment.
- Scissor lift options eliminate potential strain from lifting materials to working height.
- Ideal for payloads up to 40,000 pounds.
- Allow for custom containers for delicate or uniquely shaped materials.
- Remote control options available, along with additional sensors and features to enhance safety.
The more you know about your application and the products designed to address it, the easier your buying experience will inevitably be. At Electro Kinetic Technologies, we focus on providing a total solution, and advise anyone looking for an ergonomic motorized solution to look for the same variables and considerations our engineers would before making a purchase. For any additional questions or concerns about replacing forklifts or unsafe manual transport equipment, contact us and one of our engineers will help guide you.