Whether you're looking for your first forklift truck or looking to replace existing trucks, choosing the right type of forklift can be daunting. And the fact that- as in all industries- the financial, technological, legislative and environmental issues can change over time doesn't make your decision any easier. What will help is advice from the material handling professionals at MLA, the Australian distributors of the Mitsubishi range of electric and IC (Internal Combustion Engine) forklifts.
Accurately assessing your forklift application and your business goals is the key to choosing the right forklit.
The right questions to ask:
- What do you need your forklift truck to do throughout its working day?
- Does your current truck meet all you present and future requirements or have there been and will there be changes to your application?
- Will the forklit work indoors, and if so, is that all the time? If the truck will also work outdoors, then for how long each day?
- Conversely, if the truck will work outdoors for most of the day, will you still need to use it indoors some of the time? If so, for how long?
- What are the floor conditions like inside and outside? Do you have smooth floors, uneven floors or potholes or are they wet at any time?
- Will the forklift have to climb any gradients? If so, how steep are they and how many times a day will the truck need to climb them?
- What type of load will you be handling? How much does it weigh and what are the load dimensions? How high is your maximum lift height?
- How many hours will the truck work? How much of that time will be spent lifting, compared to driving?
- Will there be pedestrians or people working in the same area as the truck?
Once you've got your answers to these questions, MLA can weigh up the following pros and cons of electric and IC engine trucks.
IC engine diesel/ LPG- pros:
- Suitable for near continuous use
- No charging necessary- therefore the truck is always available even outside of normal working hours
- Initial lower cost than an electric truck
- Larger capacities available than electric
- LPG can be used in some indoor applications
IC engine diesel/ LPG- cons:
- Can be noisy
- Higher emissions
- Higher maintenance cost
- Higher fuel cost
- Higher lifetime cost
- Less adaptability than an electric truck
- Need to have fuel supply
Electric trucks- pros:
- Less maintenance, and lower maintenance and lifetime costs
- Significant reduction in fuel cost
- Electric trucks are more compact so will save space
- Better weight lifting capacity at higher lift heights than IC
- Environmentally friendly
- Quiet in operation
- Very adaptable: drive, acceleration, lift, tilt and auxiliary speeds can be set up to suit the applicaton or driver.
Electric Trucks- cons:
- Need to charge the battery nightly or when necessary
- Not suited to 24 hr per day operations without battery changing
- Maximum capacity around 3,000Kg
- Higher initial purchase price
You can see there are many different elements to consider however, armed with all this valuable information about your business our MLA advisors can draw on their expertise to advise the best type of forklift for your application and your business helping you now and into the future.