Forklifts are mobile devices that assist in important in-plant processes like material handling, material placement and storage space management. Forklifts, which are also known as lift trucks, are extremely maneuverable and hence enable rapid movement and accurate placement of both raw or in-process goods and finished goods. Forklifts are basically small vehicles, but quite heave, that are designed to lift, move and place boxes, materials, and pallets etc. They allow you to lift a load from one position and drive it to another position and place it in its specified area.

Standard forklifts that are found in most warehouses around the world weigh approximately 5,000 pounds and are generally used for lifts under 20 feet. However there other types of forklifts available such as: reach trucks that are designed for racked pallet storage; motorized pallet trucks, which are motorized versions of pallet racks; order selectors, which are used for manual handling of smaller-than-pallet load quantities in racking; and swing mast or turret trucks, which are designed to operate in aisles that are less than six feet wide. There are also a wide variety of attachments that are available for using with standard forklifts.

Forklifts can differ according to the type of fuel used. For example, electric forklifts are silent and are more useful for the indoor movement of goods. Diesel or propane powered forklifts are more suited for outdoor use where noise and emission level controlling is not as stringent. The load bearing capacity and reach also vary and are to be considered while choosing a forklift. The maximum reach of the forklift should be more than or equal to the highest storage rack that you will be loading or unloading. The dimensions of the aisles in the plants and the width of the lift tracks also influence the dimensions of the forklift to be employed for operation. Forklifts are an integral part of the material handling and storage system and facilitate the movement of goods, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the plant.

Forklifts can be very dangerous and only a trained, certified and qualified operator should drive one.

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