Forklifts have been around for a long time, almost 120 years to be precise. They were first invented in
1906 and since then they have become a truly revolutionary piece of machinery. They are used all over
the world in all kinds of industries for all kinds of tasks. They remain one of the most versatile materials
handling equipment to date despite the invention of hundreds, if not thousands, more types of
equipment. This is because of the simple principle behind their working and their straightforward
The simple physics that forklifts employ in the functioning has enabled numerous industries to save
billions of dollars in transportation and material handling. Forklifts are in fact so imperative in the
smooth working of an economy that there are more than 900,000 only in the United States today. The
business of buying and selling pre-owned forklifts is worth millions which is why you will almost find a
great deal of used forklift trucks for sale. Material handling businesses use forklifts for all sorts of tasks
and they are used in various industries as well. They are used for industrial as well as urban distribution
and are an integral component in the agriculture industry.
However, there are some things that forklifts are used for more than others. Their primary function, of
course is to lift and transport loads from one place to another. But which industries make the most use
of this and what are the functions forklifts perform most commonly around the world? These are the
questions we look to answer in the following article. This will give you a better understanding about the
nature of forklift functionality and how it is able to accomplish it on a daily basis.
How Forklifts Function?
Before we get to what functions they perform most commonly, let us take a brief look at how forklifts
function. A conventional counterbalance forklift has two forks in the front and generally four (or three
tires). The forks are used to lift loads while using the weight at the back of the forklift as a
counterbalance. This keeps the forklift stable and prevents it from tipping over.
The counterbalance forklift is the simplest and most widely used type of forklift. Other forklifts have
different working mechanisms such as the industrial side loader forklift. The side loader has forklifts on
the side instead of the front and is used to lift weights that would be difficult for the normal forklift to
The way a forklift is used determines whether it can be resold or not. Usually used forklift trucks are
bought and sold all the time if they are in a suitable state. It is advisable, however, to use a reliable
retailer such as Truck Forklifts for the buying and selling of pre-owned forklifts. Their expertise can help
you choose the forklift that is right for you.
Uses of Forklifts
Indoor Material Movement
The most common function of forklifts is moving material indoors. They are most commonly seen in
warehouses, storage facilities and distribution centers. They lift and move material such as stacked
boxes, crates, drums, equipment and other items. They often use attachments and pallets to lift loads
that have an awkward shape or ungainly dimensions. Industries that make the most use of indoor
material movement are retail and FMCG
The forklifts used for indoor material movement are usually small, agile and efficient. They have to
occupy less space in order to navigate through the restricted aisles of a warehouse or storage facility. As
such, a particular class of forklifts is used for this purpose; namely the electric motor narrow aisle trucks.
Outdoor Material Movement
The second most common use of forklifts is outdoor material movement. Rough terrain forklifts are
used most commonly for this purpose because they have large floatation tires for outdoor use on
difficult surfaces. As such, the industries that make the most use of outdoor material movement are
construction, agriculture, and poultry and sometimes for industrial distribution.
Forklifts used for this purpose are most commonly found on docks, container yards, junkyards, recycling
centers and similar areas moving pallets of materials and shipping containers. These forklifts also have
better safety features since there is more danger of an accident when moving over uneven surfaces.
Bet this comes as a surprise, but forklifts are also used as an efficient means of transport for employees
around the work site. The business owner has to get the written approval of the forklift manufacturer
for this. However, if the safety regulations are being complied with then forklifts can be used for double
duty as well.
These were three of the most common ways businesses use forklifts in the modern industries. Be sure to
read up on all the different uses of forklifts that businesses employ all over the world.