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Options

Here you can find basic information about different options and their uses.

Masts

What is a mast?

The mast is the part of the forklift or truck that enables it to lift and lower loads. It is attached to the truck on one side and a fork carriage with forks or other attachments on the other. All lifting trucks have a mast of some kind, but the design and capabilities can vary a lot.

The mast itself contains several parts:

  • Outer mast: Supports the weight of the load.
  • Inner mast(s): Extends when the load is lifted. Can be between one and three depending on the type of mast.
  • Lift cylinders: Push the load and inner mast(s) upward.
  • Chain: Works with the lift cylinders to lift the load.

Counterbalance trucks, that can tilt their mast, also have tilt cylinders.

What are mast stages and what do I need to know about them?

The biggest differences between mast types are how many stages, or inner masts, they have. In general, this has the following effects:

  1 stage 2 stage 3 stage 4 stage
Lowered height High Medium Low Very low
Free lift Low Medium High Very high
Lift height Low Medium High Very high
Extended height High Medium Low Very low

But the number of stages is not the only factor affecting these measurements. There are, for example, one-stage masts available that have some extra free lift and so on. Also, note that all masts are not available for all truck types.

Which measurements are important when choosing a mast?

There are four measurements that are important to consider when choosing a mast:

  • Lowered height is the height of the mast (from the top to the floor) when completely lowered (or collapsed). It is important if your worksite has sections with height restrictions, such as doorways, where your truck needs to pass under.
  • Free lift is how high a load can be lifted before the mast starts to extend. This is important if you need to use and maneuver your truck in confined spaces, such as inside trailers. The amount of free lift depends on the type of mast and varies from none to so-called full free lift.
  • Lift height is the height of your forks when the mast is fully extended. Simply put; how high you can lift your goods. You want your lift height to be at least 15 centimeters above your highest storage shelf.
  • Extended height is the mast's highest point, when fully extended. This can be either the top of the mast or load backrest. It is important on all worksites with height restrictions since you do not want to risk driving into beams, ventilation, or sprinklers.

Attachments

What are attachments?

Attachments are add-ons to the material handling system on the truck. They are used to perform specialized operations either in tandem with forks or by replacing the forks.

  • In tandem with forks: drum clamps, hinged forks, bale clamps, load stabilizers, push-pulls, rams, full-rotating clamps, and more
  • Replacing the forks: sideshift forks and fork shifters
How do attachments work and what else do I need to know?

Attachments connect to the truck's hydraulic power to function. The number of hydraulic valves on the truck must therefore match the number of valves on the attachment. It's also important to know that all attachments change the weight - and therefore the permissible load - of the truck.

Forks

What are forks?

Forks are the metal prongs that support the load itself. They are made of high-quality metal to make them tough and durable enough to withstand heavy loads.

Their simplicity makes them highly versatile and the most commonly used material handling system. Forks excel at handling goods transported on pallets but can be used for most lifting and transporting applications.

Forks can be seen as the standard attachment to the truck's material handling system, and they come in different sizes. On some truck types, they can be switched to other attachments such as clamps and cranes.

Wheels and tires

What's the difference between a wheel and a tire?

The short answer is that all trucks have wheels, but only a few models have tires.

  • Wheel: a round object mounted on an axle beneath a vehicle or other object to make it move more easily.
  • Tire: a rubber covering, placed around a wheel to provide traction and absorb shocks.

Counterbalance trucks and some towing tractors have tires. They need them to be able to handle varying surfaces and gain traction. All wheels, and some types of tires, are solid. Only a few types of tires for trucks are air-filled.

What types of tires are there and how do they differ?

There are four different types of tires, each designed for a more or less specific purpose:

  • Air-filled tires, also called pneumatic tires, are similar to the ones found on cars. They absorb shocks from the road surface creating a comfortable ride but can be punctured by sharp objects.
  • Cushion tires are solid construction and cannot be punctured. They hold their shape under heavy loads but are less shock-absorbing than air-filled tires.
  • Pneumatic-shaped cushion tires look like air-filled tires but are solid like cushion tires. This gives a softer ride without the risk of punctures.
  • Solid tires. There are other types of solid tires available for more specific purposes. For example, applications that need an additional grip, ride comfort, or other needs.
What are treads and how do they differ?

The tread is the visible pattern on the tire. It affects the truck's performance on different surfaces.

  • U-lug tire: features a U-shaped lug pattern tread. They provide a good balance of traction and drive power and perform best on smooth, well-kept road surfaces.
  • J-lug tire: features a J-shaped lug pattern. They are ideal for driving on rougher or less-uniform road surfaces due to their ability to deliver superior traction and drive power.
  • Rib-lug tire: have tread running both vertically and horizontally. They offer superior drainage performance and driving stability but are less resistant to turns.
Why do tires and wheels have different colors?

Truck wheels come in a variety of colors, used for different purposes. The most common wheel color for trucks is black, but there are other colors available, such as white or green. The reason for this isn't aesthetic but practical.

Trucks are prone to leaving skid marks because of their repeated tight turns in small spaces, which can be a problem for businesses where it's important to keep surfaces clean and sanitary. One solution is simply choosing a light color (white) or matching the wheels with the color of the floor.

These special colored wheels are primarily used in businesses that handle food, pharmaceuticals, or precision equipment.