Pallet Trucks: How They Work And Their Types

A pallet truck, also known as a pallet jack or pump truck, is a type of material handling equipment used to move palletized loads from one place to another. It typically consists of two forks for inserting into the openings in the pallet, a hydraulic pump, and a handle for maneuvering the truck.

How do Pallet Trucks Work?

Pallet jacks are commonly used in warehouses, distribution centers, and other industrial settings where large quantities of goods need to be moved quickly and efficiently. To use the pallet truck, the operator positions the forks underneath the pallet and uses the hydraulic pump to lift the pallet off the ground. The operator can then move the pallet to a new location by pushing or pulling the handle. They are designed to be operated by a single person, who uses a hand pump or electric motor to raise and lower the forks.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how they work:

  1. Position the pallet truck: The first step in using a pallet truck is to position it alongside the pallet you want to move. The truck should be facing the pallet with the forks (the two metal prongs) aligned with the openings on the pallet.
  2. Lower the forks: Once the pallet truck is positioned correctly, lower the forks until they are as low as possible and fully inserted into the openings in the pallet.
  3. Pump the handle: To lift the pallet off the ground, pump the handle of the pallet truck up and down. This action pumps hydraulic fluid into a cylinder, which raises the forks and lifts the pallet off the ground.

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  1. Move the pallet: With the pallet lifted, you can now move it to a new location. Simply push or pull the handle of the pallet truck in the desired direction.
  2. Lower the pallet: Once you have moved the pallet to its new location, carefully lower the forks back down to the ground by releasing the hydraulic pressure. The pallet truck is now ready to be used again. It is important to note that pallet trucks are designed for use on flat, level surfaces and are not suitable for use on slopes or uneven ground. Additionally, you should never exceed the weight limit of the pallet truck, as this can be dangerous and lead to injury or damage to the equipment.

Types of Pallet Trucks

There are two main types of pallet trucks: manual and powered.

  1. Manual Pallet Trucks: Manual pump trucks are the most common type and are powered by the operator pushing or pulling the handle up and down to lift the load. They are ideal for short-distance transport of relatively light loads.
  2. Electric Pallet Trucks: Electric pallet jacks are powered by a battery and are designed for heavy-duty lifting and transport over longer distances. They are ideal for use in busy warehouses or distribution centers.

Pallet trucks come in a variety of sizes and weight capacities to accommodate different types of loads. They are typically made of steel or other durable materials to withstand the rigors of heavy use in industrial settings.