Many companies use one of the various forms of pallet jacks (manual, powered walk-behind or powered ride-on) to move product horizontally throughout their facility. Some of the factors that influence their decision include workers comp claims, operator fatigue, productivity and product damage. Knowing the distance traveled by the operator and restrictions of the application will help also you select the right equipment.
Manual Pallet Jack
The manual pallet jack has no power and requires manual pushing and pulling. It is ideal for distances under 40 feet and does not require an operator to attend OSHA compliant training. Unless the movement of product happens at a very low frequency, maybe once an hour, someone shouldn’t expect operators to move loads greater than 2,000 lbs with a manual pallet jack. One back injury can be many times more than the expense of a powered pallet jack.
A powered pallet jack that you walk behind (“walkies”) is helpful when operator fatigue is a concern. Although the equipment moves at the same pace of the operator, it does not slow down with longer distances or excessive usage. Walkies are ideal for distances 40-100 feet and are often found in the back of stores, small manufacturing with low volume and delivery trucks. Customers purchasing walkie jacks often need few features but require a powered unit for one of the many reasons described above.
Walkie Rider Jack
If your application requires frequent use or longer travel distances, the walkie rider jack can help reduce operator fatigue and increases safety. With travel speeds of about 8MPH it is more than two times faster than a walking pace. Found often in warehouses and distribution centers with higher volume, this equipment can be used for low lever order picking. With a relatively low acquisition cost, if you are only looking for horizontal movement, it can be an economical replacement for a standard forklift.