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What's a Pallet Jack?

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A pallet jack or jacks are also known as pallet trucks, pallet pump, pump truck or jigger. All those names refer to a tool that is used to lift and move pallets. We can also define them as manually operated device for lifting and moving pallets. Pallet jacks are the most basic type or form of a  forklift. Their main purpose is to lift and move pallets around a warehouse. Oftentimes, pallet jacks are used to move and organize pallets inside a trailer, especially when there is no forklift truck access or availability.

Pallet Jacks

How Pallet Jacks work

The pallet truck is designed for moving loads down narrow aisles and allows the truck to move not only forwards and backwards but also from side to side. As we know, pallet jack doesn’t have an engine, it’s all down to manpower. If you need or if you are assigned to operate pallet jack, you need to know how to operate with care and efficiency. After reading this article you will be familiar of the components of a pallet jack, understand how to operate one and understand the dangers of unprofessionally operating one.

The jack is steered by a 'tiller' like lever that also acts as the pump handle for raising the jack. A small handle on the tiller releases the hydraulic fluid, causing the forks to lower. The front wheels inside the end of the forks are mounted on levers attached to linkages that go to levers attached to the jack cylinder. As the hydraulic jack at the 'tiller' end is raised, the links force the wheels down, raising the forks vertically above the front wheels, raising the load upward until it clears the floor. The pallet is only lifted enough to clear the floor for subsequent travel.

Most often, the handle has only one leader that can be set only up or down. When the leader is set in Down position, it is locked and ready for pumping to lift the pallet. When it is in Up position, it unloads the pallet back down to the floor.

Pallet Jack parts

This essential information will make your operating a pallet jack much safer, not just for you, but also for your colleagues as well as your equipment and your material.

Also, here are some common mistakes that can occur when operating a pallet jack or pallet truck. When moving a pallet, you should pull the cargo for better control. You should not push the pallet jack because you can easily lose control and run into things and cause major damage. Also, carefully slide pallet jack under the pallet while making sure that the wheels are remained on the floor. Never place the wheels on top of the pallet. This can cause some damage to the pallet and will be very unsafe. A very important rule to remember is to always be sure that feet are clear of the pallet area when unloading a cargo to the floor. And try not to play or ride on the pallet jacks which is very popular between warehouse employees. And the last but not least, always remember to put the pallet jack where you got it from.

Powered pallet jacks

Powered pallet jack is also known as electric pallet truck or walkie. They are powered by electric engine to allow lifting and moving of heavier pallets. Operational principles are almost the same as with regular pallet jack, the only difference is in the fact that they are powered by electricity. Some models also have a standing platform so operator can stand while moving pallets. Control dashboard is near the standing panel so that that the operator can easily maneuver where needed. This type of powered pallet jacks also have emergency stop brake similar to those you can find on regular forklift.

electric pallet truck

Typical classification

Pallet Jack is designed to meet and exceed the demands of your toughest workplace environments with ergonomically pleasing features such as a large hand grip and precise control. That’s the main principles every manufacturer tries to accomplish.

The industry seems to have standardized pallet jacks in several ways:

Pallet jacks with width of each of two Forks: 7"; then we have fork width as dimension between the outer edges of the forks 20¼" (51.4 cm) and 27" (68.6 cm); Fork Length: Available as 36" (91.4 cm), 42" (106.7 cm), 48" (122 cm); Lowered Height: 2.9" (7.5 cm) and Raised Height with at least 7.5" (19.1).

Their lifting capacity is up to 5000lbs (2.2 tons) for pallet trucks while some powered pallet lift trucks can lift all the way up to 8000lbs (3.6 tons).

From hand pallet trucks to electric rider pallet trucks, almost every manufacturer offers a lift truck model for every pallet-handling application. Innovative design, better materials and solid construction ensure long-lasting value and versatility.

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