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Pallet Jacks Information | Engineering360


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Pallet Jacks Information
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Pallet jacks, also known as pallet trucks, are mechanical tools used to haul and maneuver items of freight. They are best suited for short
distances and usually only elevate a load high enough for unobstructed travel. They are often used in conjunction with a pallet or skid, but many
types of loads can be supported by the jack's forks.
Less than 2,800 lbs
Less than 8 inch Operation
Length: As the name implies, pallet jacks are frequently relied upon to transport pallets of materials. Pallets are used to provide a structural foundation
Less than 34 inch and common footprint of various materials requiring transport; items on the pallet are usually secured via shrink wrap or bundling. This
Width: containerization makes shipping and handling more efficient across many industries. Pallet jacks do not replace the elevation or hauling
Less than 26 inch capabilities of a forklift, but often supplement a forklift in warehouse situations as they are more nimble and manually-powered models do not
Lift Drive / Actuation: require recharging/refueling. They are often used in retail stores because of their relatively low hazard risk.
Electric Motor
More Specifications >>

Image credit: SEM Metalworks Co.

Size and Capacity

Pallet trucks almost always have fork widths of 7" or 9", but the measurement between the furthest
edges of the forks can range between 20--47". The load-bearing span is known as the carriage.
Models with a width above this range are used in specialty applications and some models come with
an adjustable carriage width. The length of the forks is imperative to a pallet jack's ability to safety
transport loads. Lengths often range from 32" to 90" depending upon the intended application.

The dimensions of the load-carrying components rarely determine the capacities of pallet jacks,
which come in ranges of 1,000 to 15,000 lb. Higher-capacity pallet jacks are more likely to have
additional components, such as a hand brake, reflectors, or motorized locomotion, to safely transport
heavy burdens.

Elevation is always a product of a hydraulic or pneumatic input. Manual versions require the operator
to pump the handle to supply fluid to the high-pressure piston; a purge valve lowers the forks back to
the ground. Motorized versions will incorporate a hydraulic pump to supply lift. Stroke is the
measurement of elevation that a pallet jack can provide and while most versions will have strokes of just several inches, some are capable of
strokes calculable in feet.

Hydraulic unit of pallet jack

Image credit: Ok Ok China

Freight Handling
While the pallet's intention is to ship materials in a widespread footprint to ease handling requirements, most parts of the world do not conform
to a single pallet design. A pallet jack should accommodate the pallet size that is most utilized in the market and industry in which it serves.
Recall that the pallet's overall dimensions are less significant than the span between fork entrances. It may also be important to consider the
pallet's type and material. Few pallet jacks will incorporate an adjustable fork to better fulfill inter-market functionality.

Selected Pallet Sizes and Markets

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Pallet Jacks Information | Engineering360

Products & Services

Pallet jacks rely on four wheels to transport materials and are polyurethane, nylon, or rubber in composition. Smaller wheels recess into the
jack's forks for loading (called load wheels) and unloading while larger, swiveling, tandem wheels are positioned around a hinged handle (steer
wheels). This allows the operator to steer the pallet jack with a high degree of turning arc, typically up to 270°. For use outdoors, pallet jacks will
have foam-filled or solid rubber tires to navigate terrain.

Load wheel (urethane or nylon); Steer wheels (urethan, nylon, or rubber)

Images credits: Global Industrial ; Service caster

Motorized pallet jacks usually incorporate a throttle for speed adjustment as well as a dead man's switch. Steering is still accomplished by
handle positioning, but may utilize power steering. Motorized jacks tend to have a lower turning arc as well as a standing platform for the
operator, both of which can restrict maneuverability.

Power Supply
The large majority of pallet jacks require the physical input of the operator for locomotion, braking, turning, and lift. This is an inexpensive and
reliable option, but successive loading can fatigue employees.

For situations where very heavy burdens or repetitive loading is required, motorized pallet jacks may be more suitable. These types of pallet
jacks are most commonly supplied with variable speed electric motors and heavy duty, rechargeable batteries. Outdoor-only, gasoline powered
pallet jacks exist for extreme loads and rough terrain; they are common in lumber yards and construction sites.

Outdoor pallet jack

Image credit: Vestil Mfg.

Uncommon designs and attributes are integrated to improve a pallet jack's faculties in certain applications.

Single fork These designs have a single fork of abnormal width. They are recommended for
moving irregular, cumbersome objects such as safes, ATMs, and vending

Image credit: LiftMate

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Pallet Jacks Information | Engineering360

Products & Services

Angled forks These jacks are retained for the hauling of large rolls, reels, and large sections
of pipe. The aslant forks are capable of cradling round objects so they do not roll
or shift during transport.

Image credit: Astha


Corrosion Pallet jacks that are stainless steel or galvanized have an enriched structure to
resistant maintain functionality in corrosive environments. These jacks may have grease
fittings and a specialized hydraulic pump.

Image credit: Forklift


Low profile These pallet jacks are designed to transport low clearance pallets. The forks
have very low resting heights.

Image credit: Vestil Mfg.

Four-way With long and low profile forks, the jack is designed to pick up a four-way pallet
from any direction.

Image credit: Wesco


After accepting a burden, the forks can lift and rotate the load 90°. The tilt may
Tilting forks
be toward the operator or the sides. This is an ergonomic solution to prevent
worker fatigue/injury when distributing cargo off the pallet.

Image credit: Carry Lift


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Pallet Jacks Information | Engineering360

Products & Services

Scale An integrated analog or digital scale calculates the weight of the pallet jack's
load. The scale will have a user interface for calibration and display.

Image credit: Global


Scissor lift A scissor lift mechanism is used to provide a higher stroke than what is supplied
by a common hydraulic piston. This is used to provide ergonomic access to a
pallet's content.

Image credit: Bernards


Skid deck A pallet jack that utilizes a high-gauge, solid steel deck rather than forks to lift
and haul its burden.

Image credit: Pallet Mule

Pallet Jack Standards

A-A-59333 -- The USGSA's guide to hand lift pallet trucks
BS ISO 509 -- Pallet trucks, principle dimensions
ISO 22915 -- Industrial trucks, verification of stability

Global Industrial - Pallet Trucks & Jacks

Wikipedia - Pallet jack; Pallet

Image credits:

MHW Magazine | Hulst Import and Export

Related Products & Services

Dock Lifts
Dock lifts are platforms used to raise and lower material, personnel and workpieces for loading and positioning.

Forklifts are used to engage, lift and transfer palletized loads. They can be divided into eight numbered classes and categorized by drive
type. This product area also includes fork trucks.

Lift Tables
Lift tables are devices used to elevate cumbersome materials or workpieces to an ergonomic and reachable height. Capacity, mobility,
and elevation are some of the main factors determining its capabilities.

Lifts are used to raise and lower material, personnel, vehicles, and workpieces for loading and working positioning.

Material Handling Carts and Trucks

Industrial carts and industrial trucks are used to transport equipment or materials within the premises of a facility. They are frequently
manually propelled, but motorized version are manufactured. An assortment of carts and trucks are available for a multitude of
cargo operations.

Material Handling Manipulators

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