Top Tips for Pretoria Warehouse Owners: How to Choose the Masts for Forklifts
Pretoria has many industrial areas where warehouses can be rented. Choosing a warehouse in Pretoria must take into account considerations such as location, visibility, security, and space. Selecting the right forklifts for your new operations is just as important to reduce overheads and improve productivity. We cannot tell you which warehouse in Pretoria is best for your operational needs because everyone’s needs differ but we can share tips on choosing forklifts for your operations. To this end, we look at the factors to consider in selecting the masts for forklifts.
What The Mast Is
It is the front part of the truck. Forklifts can have different types of masts, each having unique features that make it suitable for specific jobs. The mast has a carriage to which the forks are attached. The forks and carriage are lifted and lowered by means of the mast. Forklifts can have any of the following types of masts:
- Two-stage mast with no free lifting. This type of mast has a single channel and a limited lifting height. It is not normally used to load trucks because it cannot lift very high. It is suitable for stacking lower shelves in smaller Pretoria warehouses.
- Two-stage mast with free lifting. This mast can lift higher than the two-stage unit with no free lifting. These types are often used for loading and offloading trucks with lower load beds.
- Three-stage mast. Many warehouses make use of forklifts with three-stage masts. Such a mast is made up of three sections to extend to its maximum height. In the middle section is a hydraulic unit that raises the forks and carriage almost to the top of the mast before the sections are staged upwards. These units can lift relatively high and are often used in the distribution centres where higher lifting is needed to get products onto the shelves.
- Four-stage mast. Forklifts featuring the four-stage mast have high lift capacity. With these units, the primary lift cylinder is used for raising the forks and carriage almost to the top, from where sections stage up. Because of the lift height, extreme caution is needed for safe operation. Four-stage mast units are used in Pretoria distribution centres and warehouses that have very high shelves.
Note that the mast’s collapsed height must also be taken into consideration to allow the unit sufficient clearance to move underneath bridges and warehouse doors. Choosing the mast type is dependent on the answers to questions like how high you need to lift the load, how low you need the collapsed mast height to be for your warehouse, and whether you need to stack loads double height when loading them onto trucks.
To determine the lift height required, measure the highest shelves in the warehouse. Add another 20 cm to the height requirement, as extra clearance is important to prevent the load dragging as the operator places the goods. To determine the lowest collapsed height requirement, measure the heights of the doorways in the warehouse. For loading onto trailers or trucks where double stacking is required, consider the free load and the load backrest. For stacking onto a truck or trailer, select a unit with full free lift. The backrest is the part that raises past the load. You need to consider the backrest height as well. To this end, measure the ceiling and clearance heights.
Many other factors must be considered when choosing equipment for warehouse operations. These range from aisle width to maximum load-carrying capacity, noise emissions, speed of travel, and safety. Get in touch with our team for more information on the forklifts we have available in Pretoria and for help to choose the units to fit your warehouse’s operational needs.