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Stand-up Vs Sit-Down Forklift Trucks

Posted by: admin on December 12, 2018

Forklift trucks are a vital tool for companies that store and transport products and materials. They make it easy to move large amounts of products in a safe and efficient manner. They improve warehouse storage capacity by being able to reach pallets stacked high off the floor. Forklifts also come in different sizes and models. This versatility allows them to handle many different job tasks.

When most people think of forklifts, they think of an operator sitting behind the wheel. This is known as the sit-down model. Forklifts also come in standup models. Each has the same basic capabilities, moving loads from point A to point B. But they are used for different types of tasks. Before choosing a specific model, it helps to understand the differences between the two.

Sit-Down Forklifts

Sit-down forklifts come in 3-wheel and 4-wheel models. They are the preferred choice when the forklift operator doesn’t need to leave the driver’s seat during the job. Sit-down models also provide more comfort to the driver.

  • 3-Wheel Sit-Down Forklifts

Three-wheel sit-downs are best suited to indoor warehousing with flat, smooth surfaces. Their smaller turning radius makes them easier to handle during high-racking jobs in narrow aisles. They also tend to cost less than 4-wheel models. On the other hand, they can be less stable when turning with loads and have a limited capacity range. Three-wheels are popular in the supplies, plumbing, home improvement, garden center, and food and beverage industries.

  • 4-Wheel Sit-Down Forklifts

Four-wheel sit-downs provide more stability when turning. They also come with an articulated rear steer axle. This allows the forklift to handle rougher yard terrain and warehouse flooring. Their high capacity range allows them to lift heavy items, including machinery and tooling. However, retail outlets and hardware stores also use them for light-duty cycle work.

Other 4-wheel uses include floor stacking, medium-high racking and loading and unloading trucks. Four-wheelers are also well suited for high-intensity duty cycles and work sites with uneven surfaces and ramps. They can also handle longer, wide loads. This makes them a favorite in the manufacturing, transport and distribution, chemical, steel and wholesale fruit and vegetable industries.

Standup Forklifts

You may wonder why anyone would want to stand when operating a forklift. After all, it doesn’t seem safe. Standups are designed for work that requires the operator to frequently get on and off the truck. For example, when loading and unloading small amounts of different products. This makes the standup a popular choice for food and beverage distributors, grocery stores, light manufacturing and basic warehousing.

Also known as stand-on and electric riders, standup trucks are easier to maneuver than sit-downs and can work in smaller spaces. This makes them ideal for operating in narrow aisles. They also work well on jobs that require driving in reverse more than 25% of the time. Standups don’t require a seat belt. The operator’s sideways stance improves visibility and reduces neck strain.

On the downside, standups don’t offer the same comfort level as sit-downs. Also, the operator must learn to use a joystick to operate and steer the forklift. This requires a very different skill than forklifts with a steering wheel and hydraulic levers. Fortunately, it’s easy to certify standup forklift operators.

Which Type Is Right For You?

Having the right model forklift for your business can help improve safety and productivity. If you’re not sure which type to get, ask these questions:

  • What type of product(s) do you move?
  • How far does the forklift usually travel at one time?
  • Does the operator get on and off the machine on a regular basis?
  • How much space does the operator have to navigate?
  • Does your floor layout include narrow aisles and/or sharp corners?
  • How long does the operator stay on the forklift for each job?
  • Is your floor smooth or rough?

In general, sit-downs work better under these conditions:

  • The forklift travels long distances
  • The operator sits on the forklift long periods of time
  • Comfort is a priority
  • Little to no getting on-and-off the forklift
  • Plenty of space to maneuver

Standups work best when:

  • The forklift makes short hops rather than long hauls
  • Operator shifts are short
  • Space is limited
  • Operators need more mobility
  • Greater visibility is preferred

Forklift Safety

Whether you choose a standup or sit-down, forklift safety should always be a priority. Operators should be trained to operate the type of trucks they work on. They should also know the potential risks for each model. For example, twisting the body to gain better visibility on a sit-down can cause ergonomic problems. Constant standing and jumping on and off a standup can lead to operator fatigue.

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