Are Electric Forklift Controls Different to Gas Forklifts?
Electric forklifts have been a revolutionary type of machinery in the warehouse and transportation industry. They help businesses greatly reduce their carbon footprint and make sustainability targets much more achievable. The beauty about electric forklifts is that they also offer the same, if not better, performance output than their fuelled powered counterparts. However, some of you reading may have never come across an electric powered forklift and may be asking questions like “Are electric forklift controls different from gas powered forklifts?” Well, within this article we will happily answer that question for you.
Electric Forklift Controls:
If you were to step into an electric forklift, you will be pleased to know that the electric forklift controls are no different than a regular fuel powered forklift with only one major difference which will be discussed later. They are generally manufactured to contain universal controls so that existing forklift truck operators have no problem whatsoever when driving these pieces of machinery. This obviously reduces down time of the trucks (for operator training) and makes it so forklift driving can be conducted across the globe without any confusion.
However, it must be mentioned that there are different types of forklift trucks available in today’s market which will have different controls. See our blog to see the difference between a reach truck and a forklift as an example. In addition to this, we have listed just some of the other types of forklift trucks you may see in warehouse and transportation businesses:
- Industrial reach forklift trucks
- Industrial counterbalance forklifts
- Rough terrain forklifts
- Industrial side loader forklifts
- Telescopic handler forklifts
- Manual pallet trucks
With this in mind, and for the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the controls for the counterbalance electric forklift. This is because this type of forklift is the most common and primarily used indoors and on smooth surfaces within warehouses and also comes in three-wheel varieties which are useful in tighter spaces. Now that we have clarified this, we have listed the similarities electric forklifts have to their fuel powered counterparts with one notable difference.
Forklift Controls – Similarities:
Similar to a lawnmower, the directional controls of an electric forklift are your typical standard forward or backward movements. On forklifts, these controls can be mounted on the steering column or operated via foot. Foot-operated controls are a mirror image of a gas pedal like you would see in a car, but function as a shifter.
Hydraulic Lift Mechanism
The lifting mechanisms are essential for a forklift to function correctly for its intended use. Thankfully, electric and fuelled powered forklifts have the same controls when lifting a load. Without these controls, the machine can’t raise or lower its forks for pallet transportation effectively so it is beneficial that both types of forklift have the same controls.
As a further point of advice, it is best before operating take the time to look over the hydraulic lift controls to ensure that they are working and show no signs of malfunctioning. The hydraulics failing during a lift creates a hazardous work environment which will reduce efficiency of your workplace. Always conduct your checks before operating!
In order to operate this nifty vehicle, you need pedals. These pedals are similar to those you would see in everyday vehicles like the ones you see when travelling to work. Furthermore, some forklifts also operate using a clutch which shifts the vehicle into higher gears for greater speeds. This is particularly useful when needing to transport loads on the public roads.
Another standard feature all forklifts have is a parking brake. The parking brake (very similarly to a hand break you would find in a car) should be set if you’re not operating the forklift or if you’re parked on an incline. This is to prevent the forklift from unintentionally rolling down an uneven surface which will no doubt cause a major accident/obstruction in the workplace.
One Major Difference
Now that we have listed the similarities electric forklift have when compared to their fuelled powered counterparts, it’s time to disclose their major difference.
If you inspect the vehicle from all 4 sides, you will soon realise that there is no petrol cap to insert your petrol pumps when you go to refuel your forklift. This is where electric forklift controls differ from their gas powered alternatives. Instead, you will notice that you will need to lift the seat of the forklift by either unhooking the latch on the seat of the truck or by prodding a lever/switch usually located under the steering wheel to pop the seat open. This is how you access the battery system. If you require more information regarding how to charge an electric forklift battery, we have also published this on our website.
While we have listed how similar electric forklift controls are when compared to fuelled powered forklifts, why not consider purchasing one today? For more information regarding our product range of electric forklifts, give us a call on 0121 314 3735.