Ways to Safely and Efficiently Transport Pallets Without a Forklift
Full pallets & less-than-pallet loads are frequently transported without forklifts
Forklifts are ubiquitous in warehousing and other industrial operations, but aren’t necessary in many other applications, such as small assembly shops, retailers, auto dealerships, and others that require materials movement but do not need a forklift, with its maintenance costs, safety issues, driver requirements and its footprint in a smaller facility. What methods can you use instead?
Ways to transport and elevate unit loads with no forklift
There are a variety of powered and non-powered materials transport tools available if you either cannot or don’t want to have forklifts in a particular area or function.
Among them are stackers, lift transporters, and powered lift hand trucks, all of which are more ergonomic and speedy than hauling materials on carts, trays, wagons and so forth. Ergonomic because they don’t require bending and lifting for loading and unloading. Speedy because they roll smoothly and have some form of lift for loading and unloading, thereby saving on loading time.
The common pallet jack is good for moving pallet loads around, but only after the pallet has been loaded off a truck. Facilities that don’t have a forklift or other means to move a full pallet from an elevated trailer to the ground must seek alternative means.
How Can You Go Forklift-Free? Fewer forklifts make operations safer. How can you handle pallet loads without one?
Can the pallet be conveyed?
If you frequently transport pallets over a defined distance, pallet conveying may be a solution. This allows you to build, load or unload pallets along a conveyor line and transport them either away from the process or toward the next one. This may reduce the need for forklifts to transit to and from an area constantly. Examples include progressive assembly, takeaway from loading and dock areas that require constant forklift egress.
Vertical Pallet Movement Options: Scissor lifts, vertical conveyors and other ways to load or unload pallets from mezzanines and elevated surfaces
Manual pallet transport
You can also consider mobile pallets, pallet jacks and other pallet transport methods for many applications.
You need forklifts, but you don’t need them everywhere
If your facility has narrow aisles and way too much pedestrian traffic for forklifts to be in the mix, you do have other options for getting materials from one place to another without using motorized vehicles. Whether powered lift hand trucks, lift transporters or some kind of stacker, there is a solution for most any transport issues you face.
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.