Narrow Aisle Forklifts
Narrow aisle forklifts are specifically designed to operate in constricted and congested areas. They are able to maneuver down isles 8 to 10 feet wide, while standard models need at least 11 feet to make turns. The forks are at a right angle to the truck’s body, and are therefore able to pick up loads to the side without turning.
Narrow aisle forklift trucks are commonly used in warehouse applications in constricted or constrained areas in which space conservation is an important factor. They are specifically designed to be used for offloading, material handling and storing within narrow aisles and as a result increase the amount of available storage within a space. Versatile models of narrow trucks are able to perform a variety of functions thus reducing the need for multiple forklift trucks and further saving costs.
Maneuverability, visibility and stability are all important considerations for choosing forklift trucks and will depend on the specifics of the application for which they are intended in terms of load size and weight and required motor power. Standard models of forklifts require approximately an 11 foot width to make turns, whereas narrow forklift trucks are able to complete turns in as little as 8 feet.
VNA forklifts, or very narrow aisle forklifts, are manufactured for spaces which are even smaller and these trucks have a potential turning circle of as little as 5 feet. More and more storage spaces such as manufacturing facilities, factories, storage warehouses and more are increasing space density by reducing aisle width, and forklift sizes follow accordingly.
Guidance systems in the form of laser measuring or computer technology assistance are often used to combat the mistakes made by narrow forklift drivers, or to effectively maneuver around the layout of the area. The reduction of working spaces makes industrial trucks more prone to collisions or errors. In order to avoid this, optical lines and wires can be used which run the length of the aisles and help keep the forklift on a consistent and straight path.
On many models of narrow truck, the forks are on the side of the truck’s body, allowing the loads to be moved without the truck having to turn around in small spaces, therefore further reducing the possibility of collision. Employee safety is imperative and therefore forklift truck operators should be well trained in the operation and maneuvering of the vehicles. Further safety precautions may include an overhead guard, good seating and bumper pads on the truck itself.
Tire choice also plays a role in the comfort of the operator and affects whether or not a forklift truck may be used both indoors and outdoors. Traditionally, engine-operated forklift trucks were most common, but today, electric forklift trucks are becoming more popular, especially in accordance with new emission standards.