Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year - New Deals For Forklifts

Happy New Year. The new year brings new deals on LiftScience Forklifts, Counterbalance Forklift, Counterbalanced Forklift, Electric Fork Lift, Walkie Forklifts, Electric Forklift Trucks, Electric Pallet Jacks, and Forklift Extensions Forks.

You can buy all types of walk behind forklifts.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New LiftScience Forklift Website

Okay, so it's been a while since I posted anything. Summer was taken up with a lot of other things and now that it's Fall, it's time to get back to business.

LiftScience has totally revamped their website, new products, mostly in the area of walkie forklifts. They have a whole new product line called: Series X. Series X forklifts are a higher quality than their basic series and also carries a 2 year parts warranty rather than just 1 year

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

New Electric Pallet Stacker Walkie Forklift - LiftScience RS15045

24V Electric Powered Lift and Drive Walkie Stacker.

  • Rear platform for operator to ride
  • Straddle leg design
  • 3300 lbs lift capacity
  • 177" lift height
Charger uses 110V single phase service. Ergonomic handle control with forward and reverse variable speed control, up/ down control, horn and brake. Tapered fork dimensions: 42L" x 6"W x 2"H. Minimum mast height: 62"; drive motor 24V/1.2kW; lift motor 24V 2.0kW; loaded speed 2.6mph, unloaded speed 3.7mph; overall size 66"L x 56"W x 72"H. This item will be shipped via LTL freight. Optional Insurance is available for $75; Liftgate delivery is available for $150.

This is our highest lifting straddle leg powered drive / powered lift pallet stacker. This walkie stacker is a walk behind and will work perfectly both in both small and large warehouses.

This electrically powered forklift will lift a total of 3300 pounds to a height of 177". Its operation is smooth both in lifting and moving. The ergonomic handle easily allows you to control all of the motions.

Straddle leg pallet stackers allow the forks to lower directly to the floor with the stabilization legs straddling either side of the pallet. Advantages of this design are it allows you to pick up closed bottom pallets directly from the floor. Disadvantages are it is more expensive to purchase/ship and it takes up more space.

24-volt powered lift and drive system.
Deep cycle batteries with on-board charger.

Drive Unit
Drive unit is equipped with an electromagnetic disc brake that is spring applied and electrically released. Brake is activated by the control handle position. Regenerative motor braking assists brake effort and improves component life.

A clear-view mast and low-profile power unit allow operators to clearly see the forktips, providing excellent visibility and reducing product damage.

Control Handle
The control handle is designed to allow for an optimum turning radius with low-steer effort. All control buttons can be operated with either hand and can be accessed with minimum hand and wrist movement. An ergonomic forward / reverse thumb wheel allows for precise maneuvering.
This is our most popular powered drive / powered lift pallet stacker.

Pallet Stacker, Electric Forklift, Lift Truck Selection Guide:

The average empty pallet weighs approximately 50 pounds. Some weigh in at more than 80 pounds. Choosing an efficient method of gathering and managing pallets can mean the difference between profit and loss--employee safety and hazardous working conditions. And what about full pallets? If not moved properly, you risk product damage and steep drops in quality. When it comes to efficient storage and distribution, the pallet stacker you choose is critical. Its use will save time and money and also prevent needless injuries.

Key Specifications - Lift Height and Weight Capacity

  • You'll want to choose the pallet stacker lift truck that fits in best with your routine and warehouse set-up. The most basic questions are: How high do you need to lift? & How much weight capacity?
  • Pallet stackers will typically lift up to a maximum of 12 feet or lower and can handle up to 3300 lbs. More than this and you should probably consider a full blown forklift.

    Manual Drive or Electric Drive?

  • A manual drive pallet lift truck is the most economical in terms of purchase price and on-going repair and maintenace. A typical warehouse employee will be able to move a 2000lb pallet on a smooth warehouse floor, although if you will be handling more than 10 pallets/day you should probably consider electric drive.
  • Electric drive pallet stackers will be more expensive to purchase and operate than manual drive models but are better suited to high duty use, use in parking lots, and where the warehouse employees can't muscle the weight around. These models will all feature forward/reverse variable speeds and safety brakes.

    Stabilization Legs

  • Forkover design is where the forks of the pallet lift truck lower right on top of the stabilization legs. The advantages of this design are that it is less expensive, takes up less space and can maneuver in tight aisles. The disadvantage is since the forks are directly over the stabilization legs, you cannot pick up a closed bottom pallet directly from the floor; however, this is still an excellent choice for unloading trucks and this disadvantage can be overcome with either open bottom pallets/skids or blocks.

  • Straddle leg pallet stackers allow the forks to lower directly to the floor with the stabilization legs straddling either side of the pallet. Advantages of this design are it allows you to pick up closed bottom pallets directly from the floor. Disadvantages are it is more expensive to purchase/ship and it takes up more space.

  • Counterweight or counterbalance stackers offer some benefits of both of the previously mentioned styles but with some other drawbacks. Counterweight stackers can lift pallets direclt off of the floor since there are no stabilization legs to get in the way. The disadvantages are that the weight capacity and lift height will typically be less than the other styles.

    Self Propelled Pallet Stacker Trucks:

    Self-propelled stackers are an alternative to a full-blown forklift in a warehousing, manufacturing or particularly retail operation. Because most of the self-propelled stackers are powered by pollution free electric motors, they can be used effectively in major warehouse style retail stores to move heavy merchandise from shelving as much as 12 feet in the air. Vertical storage makes more effective use of expensive warehouse space and by utilizing a powered stacker, loads up to 3500 pounds can be safely lifted and positioned.

    Self-propelled stackers are similar to forklift trucks but not as large or as expensive usually. Yet, you can take a stacker to the loading dock, pick up a loaded pallet of merchandise, travel with it back to the retail store side of the operation, position your stacker unit at the shelf up to twelve feet in the air and smoothly lift the pallet and merchandise to the level of the storage shelf and remove the forks from the pallet, leaving the merchandise and pallet safely positioned on a shelf.

    Self-propelled stackers are usually constructed of steel with the wheels of polyurethane. The controls for raising and lowering the forks, forward and reverse speeds and the brake are generally located in the handle on the heavy duty models or as a separate lever for raising and lowering the forks on the medium duty units.

    The unit is steered with the aid of a butterfly handle which tilts and twists as well as lowering or raising as required. A double safety braking system is available on the self-propelled stackers. Not only does the dead man’s feature prevent riderless runaway vehicles, but the unit ensures protection from dropping carriage, forks or mast.

    The mast is the upright portion of the stacker on which the carriage rides that does the actual work of raising or lowering the forks. The mast also serves as protection for the operator from loads falling backward onto the stacker.

    The stabilization legs and the forks may be adjustable for different pallet sizes or support needs. Stabilization legs may be straddle type, fork over or in some instances there will be no stabilization legs, being replaced by a counterweight sytem.

    Although the self-propelled stackers are not capable of a high rate of speed—most have a top speed of around 5 miles per hour—they can still travel fast enough to create some safety hazards. Pushing the top limits of speed, especially with the load extended can create top-heavy conditions and may lead to longer stopping times in an emergency stop situations. Although visibility is excellent on the empty stackers, when loaded they have almost no front visibility. Particularly in high traffic areas, care must be taken to avoid running into or over other employees.

    Other common safety issues with equipment of this type is running over feet.

  • Sunday, March 18, 2007

    What is a Dock Board?

    Dock Boards

    Forklift and tractor trailer operators can benefit from using dock boards for lifting heavy equipment or supplies more securely. Dock boards are used to overpass the opening between the forklift and the dock. This permits for safe transfer o heavier loads of equipment and/or supplies.
    Dock boards are usually flat boards with strong aluminum or wood construction. Other resources may be used to design the dock boards, although strength and moving weight are issues of definite importance. Dock boards are a place where the forklift is loaded and unloaded.

    Dock boards are also known as dock platforms or dock plates. Dock bumpers are used to guard the docking area of a building and forklift from the force of any impact. They may be mounted onto the building, right below the dock opening, or to the forklift. Dock boards can be moveable. When dock boards are portable, it is attached with the forklift. The supplies on the forklifts are loaded and unloaded with this way. There is additional height in the ramp. It allows the forklift to unload securely from a level position. About 15-inch tread plate lip extends into the trailer or over the dock edge for smooth transitions. There is an ordinary safety chain that attaches the deck boards with the trailer. For use on the ground, there are often optional chain brackets.

    Costs of dock boards vary from dealer to dealer and depend on the materials used to design the dock boards to determine the price. If saving time is more important for you than saving money for quality made dock boards then you can opt to buy online from various websites. Dock boards can be purchased online, but be prepared to pay for expensive shipping charges, unless the dock boards are light-weight aluminum.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Tough Questions For Astronics Management

    First – as a matter of record, I have zero financial interest in Astronics. I am simply an interested industry observer, a past employee (left 5 years ago) of a company that was subsequently acquired by Astronics, and independent businessman. Since the company I own is also in Redmond, WA, I have a perspective to be able to integrate together many different public data sources and maybe analyze some of Astronics’ operations a little better than a typical analyst.

    The recent rise of questionable accounting techniques seems to have found a home in the IFE industry; the result for this company is almost 20% of its market capitalization or $30 million wiped out. News from Astronics Corp with its announced delay in filing required SEC documents, subsequent restatement of financial results covering 2 fiscal years and it’s profit decline on a 43% sales surge offers us an unusual window into the finances of an industry supplier. Most suppliers within the IFE industry are either very small privately held firms or operating units of much larger companies which don’t segment their financial reporting to a fine enough level. In the case of Astronics, a little analysis of their reports can yield some pretty interesting data.

    Apparently, their problems began during 2005 when some executives got a little too aggressive with taking sales credit for hardware deliveries that never left the factory. Astronics announced the same type of accounting transactions were reported throughout 2006 and only raised the eyebrows of its auditors in the last month. Interestingly enough, these anomalies occurred within the portion of the company that produces and sells EmPower In-Seat Power Systems and was attributed to an arrangement with a single airline.

    Astronics announced today that sales totaling $2.3 million and net income of $0.9 million have moved amongst various quarters in their restated financial reports. Presuming that their other expenses remained unchanged, this implies these sales had a gross margin of 39%. On its face, a gross margin of 39% might not seem too interesting, but look at their overall reported gross margin over the same time periods of ~19%; EmPower appears to be paying all the bills (note to airlines: Did you leave too much money on the negotiating table?).

    So why is Astronics able to sell EmPower at a 20% premium? Is it the result of their 1995 patent? Maybe it is time for the industry to start thinking about life after this patent protection expires in another 8 years. With the replacements for the 737 and A320 now in the thinking stages, it might be time for other industry suppliers to propose lighter, better, more cost effective solutions.

    I think there are some tough questions that need to be asked of Astronics’ management; here are a few:

  • With a 49% sales increase, gross margin was only up 1 point? What happened to economies of scale, operating leverage, etc.?
  • A ~30% increase in SG&A costs seems excessive. Is this a case of management giving itself rewards for performance during 2005/2006 that has now subsequently been restated?
  • Given that the Advanced Electronics Systems’ management was responsible for putting the series of events into motion that wiped out $30 million of market capitalization in 3 weeks – how have they been held responsible?
  • Sure, their sales growth looks great, but look a little deeper, their book:bill ratio has dropped over the past year. Over the past 12 months, they have barely maintained their backlog. Given the data they have made public regarding their planned 2007 sales, they will need to increase new orders by 40% just to stand still.
    a. Now, take a look at their product pipeline: and notice many of the past announced programs are either disappearing or sliding to the right. Three major examples A380 – sliding to the right and losing sales, Eclipse – sliding to the right, V-22, JSF. Aviation programs are notoriously risky.
  • Astronics announced they are virtually doubling their facilities and a quick check of Internet job posting sites uncovered many ads to fill those new offices with expensive engineering and management bodies.

    a: Given typical productivity increases of 3-5% annually, a few percentage points of synergy from the acquisition, and 5% price inflation they should be able to easily accommodate 10-12% sales growth annually without any net increases in facilities/personnel. Instead, the facilities are doubling, personnel being added and capital expended which will soak up the equivalent of all their 2006 operating income.

    b: Successful businesses find ways to stretch in times of growth through overtime and outsourcing to avoid over-capacity; this is especially true of highly cyclical industries such as aerospace.

    c: Does the Redmond facility still take Friday afternoons off?

  • Where is the strategy to harness the power of the Internet with on-line spares ordering, document delivery, and service bulletins? Companies like Rockwell Collins and Boeing have been making these investments for years and are reaping productivity gains and increases in customer satisfaction.
  • Where is the China out-sourcing strategy? Airbus will be assembling A320s in China, Boeing has outsourced 747 freighter conversions to both China and Taiwan. Maybe there is a strategy to outsource production to China and skinny down the facility growth in the US.

    These are just some of the questions begging to be answered.

  • Friday, March 9, 2007

    3D CAD Models of Pallet Stacker Lift Truck Forklifts

    Seattle, WA (PRWeb) March 12, 2007 -- New and smaller businesses are continually searching for Best Value solutions to their material handling needs and LiftScience is positioned to meet these requirements with both a complete product line of light to medium duty equipment and the tools to help them manage their businesses and reduce the cost of ownership.

    The first of what will become a complete set of 3D CAD models of LiftScience equipment was released today and is the P10030 Electric Pallet Stacker Walkie Forklift and used with the various Google tools. These models, along with the other resources available will assist customers in the selection of the appropriate lift trucks and layout of their warehouses.

    All ListScience products are available on-line through ForkliftDeals Material Handling Equipment and FastForklifts.

    About LiftScience Material Handling Equipment:

    LiftScience was established in 2004 to fill an empty market niche for high quality/best value equipment for the Internet economy, LiftScience is positioned to bring together the "Best In Class" technology and quality components from the US, Europe and Asia designed into economical medium duty material handling systems assembled in China. Key products include electric forklifts, pallet stackers, pallet lift trucks, dock plates, aluminum dockplates, steel dockplates, dock boards, dock levelers, drum deheaders, drum lifts, drum lifters, drum rotators, digital floor scales, self propelled stackers, walkie stackers, work positioners, pallet trucks pallet jacks and wheel chocks.

    Sunday, February 25, 2007

    Material Handling Equipment Review

    Item: Walkie Pallet Stacker Forklift

    Model: P10030

    Brand: LiftScience

    Similar to: Crown ST 3000 Series

    The P10030 is a medium duty lift truck for use in small and medium sized warehouses and factories. I have had mine for a little over 2 years and overall am pretty pleased with it. I can recommend this model.

    It can lift a total of 2200 pounds to a height of 122” that is a little over 10 feet. However, in reality, when you factor in clearances and pallet overhang, the top shelf in your warehouse should be at approximately 9’ 8”.

    This lift truck has about the smallest turning radius I have ever seen. Similar to a pallet jack, it will turn within its own length so it works very well in the narrow aisles I have. It takes about 30 seconds to lift to it highest point and lowers down at about the same speed. The control handle is easy to hold and has a fully variable butterfly speed switch which is really accurate. I’ve seen some other brands which only have either forward or reverse.

    This lift truck can easily go up reasonable grades in our parking lot even with a full load and the brakes stop it quickly.

    I don’t operate it too often except for when we get a container in, then it gets used non-stop. I find that the batteries will last a full business day of use and I then plug it in at night to recharge.

    I looked at several other brands before I bought this one. I had previously have a manual drive LiftScience M10030 lift truck and was happy with it, except that I was getting tired of pushing it.

    There are probably two things I think they could do better with this model – the standard batteries only last about 1-2 years – a higher quality battery would be a good idea. However, I was able to replace the batteries at Costco for $130 and the replacements have an even higher capacity and a guaranteed for 4 years. The other thing would be adjustable width forks.

    Friday, February 23, 2007

    ForkliftDeals is Expanding 300%

    I'm pretty excited! We just made the decision to expand our website by 300% to sell 3 times the number of products.

    Here are some of the items we are adding: drum dollies, steel dockplates, drum racks, drum grip, drum cradle, drum wrenches, drum lifters, electric lift tables, hoists, floor scales, platform trucks, dock bumpers, fork extensions, pallet pullers, cargo slings, and 3 new models of pallet stacker.

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Drum Lifters Are Hard To Sell

    Boy are drum lifters hard to sell.

    It would seem as if you had a drum and you needed to lift it, that the natural thing to look for would be a drum lifter. Many, many industries use drums for bulk chemicals, raw stock of powders, small parts, mixing bins and shipping containers. There have to be thousands of drum lifters and rotators sold every year in the US. I've been selling several different models for the past 2 years and they are HARD to move. As contrasted with dockplates or walk behind pallet stackers, I get very few inquires regarding drum lifters.

    I'm still working on this and I'm not ready to give up on them yet, but....stay tuned.

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    OK - Really Boring - Material Handling Equipment Industry Terms

    Number of transactions used for financial, efficiency or lean manufacturing purposes as measured by: # of picks in line items or amount shipped in dollars.

    A fork lift truck's load capacity at a specified load center, measured in pounds at a specific fork height

    A support structure for forks or attachments on a lift truck, generally roller mounted, travels vertically within the mast of a fork lift truck. Typically made of high strength steel.

    The point at which the load mass is balanced. On a forklift truck, this is typically specified in inches from the base of the forks.

    Dimension in a storage aisle, from rack to rack, less pallet overhand, load overhang or other obstructions. Also, see pallet and load overhang.

    A fork lift truck equipped to lift and transport the load in front of the load wheels. This is accomplished by putting heavy counterweights at the back end of the truck.

    An aisle used for travel. Typically no storage is put in this aisle, which crosses the end of pick aisles and serves as the main travel route for forklifts, pallet stackers and pallet trucks.

    Batteries which are capable of being run down to less than 20% of the rated capacity of a cell or battery and then being recharged.

    Vertical distance from the floor to the top of the forks with mast vertical, and in the case of reach trucks, with the forks extended.

    Vertical distance from the floor to the top of the uppermost structure of the truck (mast, carriage, load handler) in the highest position.

    Attachment that extends the load-carrying surface of the forks on a fork lift truck or pallet stacker. Extreme care must be given to realize that both the weight of the fork extensions and the increase in the center of gravity will decrease the effective load capacity.

    Horizontal tine-like projections, normally suspended from the carriage for lifting loads. Typically made of high strength steel.

    The percent (%) of grade that a truck can ascend or descend.

    Measure of the rate of ascent or descent of a ramp. It is calculated and is numerically equal to the vertical distance by the horizontal distance, multiplied by 100, and stated in percent (%).

    Average speed in feet-per-minute when raising the load carriage (forks) on a fork lift truck or pallet stacker throughout its operating range, specified for empty and loaded conditions.

    Average speed in feet-per-minute when lowering the load carriage (forks) on a fork lift truck or pallet stacker throughout its operating range, specified for empty and loaded conditions.

    Support structure that provides vertical movement of the carriage on a forklift truck or pallet stacker. It is usually constructed out of C-Channel high strength steel uprights that provide a load path for the carriage rollers.

    An electric fork lift truck or pallet stacker that can operate in aisles smaller than counterbalanced or counterweight trucks, typically 8 to 10 feet clear.

    US Government agency which establishes and enforces standards to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. Many states also have similar departments.

    Width of fork lift truck, pallet stacker or pallet truck when measured in direction of fork width.

    A structure usually built with wooden stringers, top and bottom decks with openings that allow pick up and transportation by a fork lift truck, pallet stacker, or pallet truck. Some pallets are also made from plastic.

    A load supporting structure, similar to a pallet with an open bottom.

    A high-lift truck with a wide enough stabilization legs to straddle either side a pallet and lift the load.

    Aisle used to stack loads, materials or pallets.

    A fork lift truck or pallet stacker mast assembly comprised of one stationary main frame and two moving telescopic assembly. This type of mast allows for a higher lifting capability while maintaining a low minimum mast height.

    The ability to change the angle of the forks or the mast of a fork lift truck.

    A fork lift truck or pallet stacker mast assembly comprised of one stationary main frame and one moving telescopic assembly. This type of mast allows for a higher lifting capability while maintaining a low minimum mast height.

    Forklift trucks and pallet stackers that can operate in clear aisles of approximately 5 feet.

    A category of fork lift trucks and pallet stackers controlled by a walking operator.

    Similar to a Walkie, but equipped for the operator to ride, typically on a rear platform.

    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    WOW, Chapter 8 Is Named After Me

    Everyone should Google their own name once in a while. You just never know what will show up.

    I tried it last night and I was surprised to see there is a new book coming out in April with my name and company as chapter 8. The name of the book is: The eBay Billionaires' Club: Exclusive Secrets for Building an Even Bigger and More Profitable Online Business by Amy Joyner. Now, I spoke with Amy a year ago and was interviewed for the book, but I had no idea I would become the subject of chapter 8! After all, who is really interested in forklifts, material handling equipment, pallets, stackers and the rest. Apparently people are interested in walk behind forklifts.

    Now, I'm waiting to see what the chapter even says about me or ForkliftDeals. Did she give away any of my secrets about how I sell material handling equipment over the internet, or how I market drum lifters or drum deheaders. I guess I'll just have to wait like everyone else.

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    You Sell Forkifts on the Internet?

    I just got off of the phone - a potential customer called to ask about one of our walkie stackers he saw on the website. He asked some of the typical questions and then commented that he was local to me and wanted to come look at one of our pallet stackers. I told him that I don't run a showroom, I only sell over the internet..........there was some silence.

    So why do I only sell over the internet? The answer is pretty easy - this is what I want to do. I'm not interested in running showrooms, staffing it with salesman, lending out demonstrator units, and all of the rest. When I started the business, I decided I wanted to offer the best medium duty material handling equipment I could find at a great price. The main part of the business concept was to reduce the overhead and markups associated with local dealers. That's what we do.

    The customers who know what they want and are comfortable with buying over the internet love it! Give it a try.

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    Yes, The Subject Is Wheel chocks

    Wheel chocks are devices which are intended to prevent movement of wheels on equipment and vehicles. At times when prevention of even the least amount of movement for a wheeled vehicle is critical, wheel chocks are the answer.

    Wheel chocks are most commonly made of one of the materials such as rubber, steel, urethane or aluminum. Generally the top surface of the chock is an arc shaped to fit the arc of the wheel or tire, while the outer surface is squared off. The bottom of the chock often is engineered in such a way as to grip the ground. The arced top surface may also have markings which increase traction of the wheel against the wheel chocks. Wheel chocks come in sizes to fit many different types of wheels as well as one-size-fits-all designs. A handle on the side of some brands of wheel chocks makes it easier to place into position without the need of touching either the wheel or the pavement surface.

    Once the wheel chock is wedged snugly against the lowest angle of the wheel, it is almost impossible for rolling or even slight movement to occur. The double traction of chock against pavement and chock against tire is a added safety feature when loading or unloading trucks or trailers.

    Trucks and trailers often use wheel chocks when backed up to the loading dock since the access to the loading dock is often at an incline. The chocks prevent the truck or trailer from moving slightly at an inopportune moment creating a situation where there could conceivably be a forklift rollover accident with disastrous results. Even a small gap in the surface between loading dock and truck can cause unnecessary jarring.

    Since trucks and trailers rarely can find a perfectly level place to park, wheel chocks are commonly used any time a truck or trailer is parked. They are also used anytime the driver is required to do work around or under the truck or tires. Wheel chocks for eighteen-wheelers often have small warning signs attached, reminding drivers to “chock your wheels” or conversely, reminding them that wheel chocks need to be removed before leaving the area. Wheel chocks are used on railroad cars to prevent unwanted rolling backward or forward when not being used or during loading.

    In manufacturing operations or at a warehouse, whenever a pallet truck, stacker or forklift is in use, wheel chocks are recommended for safety. The additional time required to place a pair of wheel chocks into position is much less than the time required to pick up a toppled pallet of inventory items should the loading equipment slip.

    Other common uses for wheel chocks include stabilizing motorcycles during trailer transport or while doing mechanical work on the bike. Chocks are also used to prevent small aircraft from moving around when parked. The wind could otherwise lift and move the planes to the extent that they could be damaged.

    Mechanics and experienced drivers both know that placing a wheel chock in place when changing a tire or working underneath the vehicles helps to prevent accidents.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Tell Me Again What A Drum Lift Is For.....


    A drum lift is intended to lift usually 55 gallon fully loaded drums or barrels easily, safely and quickly. This product generally uses one of three ways to lift the drum once it is grasped. The drums can be lifted by a forklift. With this method, usually an attachment of some type is fitted onto the forks which will securely grip and lift the drum. These attachments have a range of difficulty in the procedure for attaching to the fork truck. The preferred type is easily attached and detached, does not require electrical or hydraulic connections or special tools and allows your fork truck to be used for other purposes as well.

    In additional to the capability of lifting the drum, the equipment should be able to rotate the drum a full 180 degrees in order to empty the container in the required location. A drum lift attached to the fork lift may use mechanical jaws to tighten around the drum; it may lift and support from above or below, or it may use a belt or chain around the drum which is lifted by the regular action of the fork lift.

    Mechanical operation is usually provided by pull chains or hand cranks. A pull chain can be operated from the seat of the fork lift while a hand crank usually requires dismounting the lift truck. Special holders with additional support at the base are designed for plastic or steel drums. There are additional accessories for handling fiber drums.

    An item of note for the type of drum lift which includes tilting is that the weight of the drum must be taken into consideration. A half-full drum which is naturally bottom-heavy will require more power to lift and tilt than a full drum even though the weight is less.

    The second type of drum lift is by hoist. The lift consists of a saddle around the drums and additional support under the drum. This type of drum lift can handle drum diameters from 22 to 23.5 inches and heights from 23 to 38 inches. Fiber, plastic, and steel drums are easily lifted and transported by means of a crane, chain block or monorail. Another type of hoist drum lift is intended for use with steel drums. Its jaws lock down over the lip of the drum which is them moved by crane or rail to the desired location. The lock is not released until the drum is set down.

    A hydraulic drum lift which has an optional motorized version is set on a v-shaped base which is movable. The user can control the lifting height and pouring angle. Typically, the drum is secured by a top clamp, a saddle and bottom support. Fiber, steel and plastic drums can be moved and tilted with this type of drum lift, and the job is easily handled by one person. This type of carrier is also capable of lifting and tilting partially filled drums up to the rated weight. Safety features with this type of drum lift include a lock features to prevent undesired moving or swinging of the drum once it is in position.

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    I Don't Sell Forklifts-But I'm Asked All the Time About....


    A fork lift truck is a small motorized vehicle typically used in a manufacturing concern, loading dock, retail store or other operation where movement of goods or supplies is needed. Usually there is a confined space involved, although a fork lift truck can also be used outdoors in logging or mill operations.

    The concept of the forklift was first developed in the 1920’s by Clark Material Handling Company and Yale & Towne Materials Handling Company. Today it is generally considered to be an indispensable piece of equipment in any warehousing or manufacturing concern.

    A number of different designs and types of the fork lift truck have been designed over the years, to suit one specific purpose or another, but generally there is two different types of unit. It is either powered by an internal combustion engine fueled by LPG, diesel or gasoline, or it is powered by an electric motor with battery or fuel cells.

    In addition to the power unit, a fork lift truck consists of the truck body which is propelled by either tracks or wheels, depending on the use. The mast is the part of the lift truck which does the actual lifting. The vertical assembly which raises and lowers the forks is usually hydraulically operated. The carriage is attached to the mast and is a flat metal plate moving up and down the mast as needed to position the forks. The L-shaped forks attached to the carriage on the short leg either with a hook, clasp or sometimes they are shaft mounted.

    Safety features include a load back rest which prevents the load from falling onto the cab when the load is lifted and tilted to the rear before moving. The cab is protected by a steel cage for safety and contains the controls. Most, but not all fork lift trucks are rider-driven. Finally the counterweight on the rear of the fork lift truck is necessary where there is a heavy load on the forks. The battery can serve this function in electric trucks.

    In a warehouse setting, a typical fork lift truck will be capable of moving one to five tons, although lift trucks capable of moving 50 ton loads have been used, depending on the application.

    The operator of the fork lift truck has the capability to raise and lower the forks, to tilt the mast backward in compensation for the slight downward angle of the forks. Some units have the ability to rotate the tines or to side step the tines to allow for easier load handling. The fork lift thus equipped has some ability to work on uneven ground.

    While a skilled operator understands and uses the unique handling characteristics of a fork lift truck, there are safety issues for the inexperienced operator. The entire unit and load must be considered as one whole when moving the load. The center of gravity for the loaded fork truck is low and is constantly changing. When the load is raised, a tight turn can result in a serious roll-over mishap.

    Friday, February 9, 2007

    Why Would I Use a DockPlate In My Warehouse?


    A dockplate is another name for the platform which stretches from the loading dock to the receiving truck or trailer where the goods will be placed for transport. Although only a few inches typically separate the height of the truck bed and the height of the loading dock, these few inches would create a significant increase in the amount of work involved in loading a vehicle, were it not for the use of a dockplate.

    A typical truck height is 55 inches from ground to the bed of the truck or trailer. Refrigerated trucks will more commonly be 59”. If the height of the loading dock is 48”, the height differential is 7”. By using these calculations, you can determine the appropriate length for the dockplate. For instance, if using a pallet jack on the dockplate to transport the load, a 7 inch height differential would require a dockplate of 60 inches. If a fork truck is used to move the load, in this same example, a propane forklift would require a dock plate of 36 inches and a electric forklift would require a 48 inch length. The length differential is a function of the incline level and the power required to move the load up the incline. Obviously the propane forklift would have the most power available and so could climb a steeper slope.

    Most manufacturers recommend using a dockboard rather than a dock plate when motorized loading equipment is used. The dockboard has side rails, or bumper rails to prevent the wheels of the loading equipment from slipping off the side of the platform.

    The standard width of a dockplate will vary according to the width of the load or of the equipment. For instance, a standard pallet size is 48 inches. If moving the pallet with a pallet jack is the normal method, you would need a dockplate six inches wider than the pallet size or 54 inches. If using a motorized forklift, you would need a platform 6 inches wider than the width of the forklift wheelbase.

    Added traction for the equipment and for the foot traffic using the dockplate is provided by etching, grooving or ridging of the platform surface. This makes the equipment more efficient and prevents costly and painful falls or slips.

    A dockplate is commonly constructed of aluminum or steel, but sometimes a combination of the two is used. Steel is less expensive to manufacture but the finished product is heavier and more expensive to ship. A steel dock plate may require a forklift to move it into position. Aluminum costs more for the manufacturing process but costs less to ship and is much easier to move about on the loading dock. A common practice is to construction the frame of the dock plate from steel and use a platform made of aluminum plate.

    A key feature of any dockplate is the ability to use the safety legs and the security fastenings to make sure the equipment doesn’t slip out of place while in use.

    When Should You Buy an Electric Drive Pallet Stacker Forklift or a Manual Drive

    I get asked all of the time whether someone should buy and electrically drives or self propelled pallet stacker forklift or a manual drive (push) model.

    My first reaction is - how should I know?

    Manual drive models are of course less expensive, usually ~40% cheaper than a fully powered model, require less maintenance, and are more reliable - these are all good things for working in a warehouse. A manual drive model is a good choice for:

    • small warehouse (under 5000 square feet)
    • warehouses with smooth concrete floors
    • used for lifting pallets onto racks or off of trucks as opposed to moving pallets
    • operators who are average to above size
    Keep in mind - an average manual pallet stacker weighs in at 1200-1400 pounds vs 200 pounds for a pallet jack. So it is obviously going to be harder to move a pallet stacker than a pallet jack. Add on a 1500 pound pallet and you are now moving 3000 pounds (the weight of a small car).

    An electrically driven pallet stacker forklift is a good choice for:

    • larger warehouses
    • anytime you are planning to take the stacker out into a parking lot which might have dirt, pebbles, cracks to obstruct the wheels
    • going up or down ANY incline
    An electrically driven pallet stacker is EASY to move. Many models will have a speed control operated by a thumb switch that allows you to precisely set the forward or reverse speed.

    Thursday, February 8, 2007

    Advantages of Using a Pallet Stacker Lift Truck as Opposed to a Forklift

    There are many advantages to using a pallet stacker lift truck as opposed to a forklift in smaller warehouses.
    • A pallet stacker is smaller which means your warehouse can have smaller and narrower aisles.
    • Pallet stackers are almost always electrically powered instead of propane or gas. This means they are friendlier to the environment and quieter.
    • A forklift typically requires on-going training and licensing per OSHA and state authorities whereas a pallet stacker rarely does.
    • The cost of buying a pallet stacker is usually lower, including lower shipping costs.
    The most important questions you have to ask yourself is who much weight will you be lifting, how high and how often?

    Pallet stackers will probably be the preferred solution for smaller warehouses where you will be lifting up to 3000 pounds to a height of no more than 15 feet. If your pallets are heavier and your racking higher, than you should probably buy a forklift.

    Tuesday, February 6, 2007

    What is the difference between a Forklift and a Pallet Stacker

    I get asked this question all of the business has "forklift" in the name, but I don't sell any forklifts.....

    Ok, here is the story. Several years ago, I needed a way to lift heavy pallets onto pallet racking so I went out and looked for a forklift. What did I know, I never worked in a warehouse or on a dock before. I called the local Crown and Hyster dealers and asked questions about buying a forklift. All I wanted was to lift a 2000 pound pallet to a height of 10 feet. The dealers were quoting me prices of $10,000, $20,000 and even $30,000 for a forklift.....I passed out. That was more money than I started my first business with.

    Well it turned out, I was asking for the wrong piece of material handling equipment, I really wanted a pallet stacker. I wouldn't know the difference if I tripped over these.

    I looked at several material handling association websites, OSHA, and manufacturers, but I couldn't find any real definitions. So I made my own up.

    • A forklift (sometimes incorrectly spelled as fork lift) is a lift truck used in warehouses, factories and loading docks which the operator sits down and drives. They are typically powered by either gasoline, diesel, propane or electricity.
    • A pallet stacker is also a lift truck with many of the same uses as a forklift, but the operator walks behind or rides on a platform while standing up.
    In a few days, I'll write about the advantages and disadvantages of each of these pieces of equipment.

    Monday, February 5, 2007

    More Material Handling Equipment Inbound

    I'm getting excited, our first shipment of pallet lift trucks, stackers, forklifts and dock plates are on their way to our Chicago warehouse.

    Also in this shipment is our new model of a digital floor scale. On my last trip to Asia, I found what is probably the most sophisticated manufacturer of load cells and have contracted with them to design and develop a new heavy duty digital floor scale for weighing pallets up to 5,000 pounds.

    Sales were very strong at the end of last year, so our inventories are low. These two containers will help a lot.

    Ok, so this isn't the most interesting topic in the world.......unless if this is how you make a living and feed your family.

    Yes, I own a growing manufacturer of electric pallet stacker forklifts and other material handling equipment. I started the business several years ago after I had a need for a walkie pallet stacker. I looked at both new and used forklifts, pallet lift trucks and stackers, but I was shocked at the prices of the equipment. So I started LiftScience Brand Material Handling Equipment and an now the fastest growing brand of material handling equipment in the US.

    So I sold a model P10030 Electric Walkie Pallet Stacker and our new JPL Hi-Lo Pallet Lift Truck today to a company in Florida. It was the same old story, they looked at some other brands and practically passed out at the prices. They found LiftScience after searching on Google and now their newly purchased equipment is on its way.