Forklifts: The Early Days
TheTructractor, invented in 1917, is generally regarded as the very first forklift. The machine, basically a tractor with an attachment, bore only a minor resemblance to modern lift trucks. But by the 1920’s, lift truck manufacturers added hydraulics and a vertical lifting mast.
Forklifts in the 1950’s and 1960’s
By the 1950’s and 1960’s, forklifts could lift loads up to 50 feet, and additional operator safety features were added. Specialized forklifts, such as those designed to work innarrow-aislesbecame available along with battery-powered lift trucks.
This 1972 ToyotaFB7 is a battery-powered electric forklift with a capacity of 1,500 pounds.Toyota started selling forklifts in the US in 1967, and Perin Company (now TMHNC) was one of the first dealerships. You can see this piece of forklift history at ourLivermore showroom.
现代叉车可以由压缩natural gas (CNG), diesel, an electric battery, gasoline, or liquid propane (LPG). Lift trucks also use different tires: cushion for primarily indoor use, and pneumatic for outdoor applications. To organize all of these options, forklifts are classified into one of seven different types.
Different Types of ForkliftsA forklift’s class is based on fuel type and how the lift is used. Each forklift operator must be certified to use whatever class of forklift that they operate.
Class 1 - Electric Motor Rider Trucks
Class 2 - Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks
Class 3 - Electric Motor Hand Trucks/Hand-Rider Trucks
Class 4 - Internal Combustion Engine Trucks - Cushion Tires
Class 5 - Internal Combustion Engine Trucks - Pneumatic Tires
Class 6 - Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors
Class 7 - Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks
The Future of ForkliftsForklifts and other material handling equipment are becoming increasing efficient and environmentally-friendly. In the last ten years, the majority of new forklifts purchased wereelectric forklifts(according to the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association).
Automated material handling equipment is another innovation gaining momentum in our industry. Forklifts,tuggers, etc. use computerized guidance systems to move through a warehouse without human assistance. These machines can pick up objects and deliver loads using magnetic sensors, a wire and antenna system, or laser guidance.Learn more about Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)and Manufacturing Automation.
Forklifts powered by lithium-ion batteries have been around for awhile, but haven’t become commonplace yet. But times may be changing. A food and beverage distributor recently worked with Toyota to switch to an all lithium-ion forklift fleet.The results were impressive.
East Bay - Livermore(510) 675-0500