What is a Forklift?

what is a forklift

A forklift is a heavy-duty powered vehicle that is used to lift and move materials over short distances. Forklifts were invented in 1906, and have been used on sites around the world, where they’ve become a staple for most warehouse and factory operations. The machinery is named after their forklike prongs, which slide under a load to pick it up. Forklifts vary in load capacity and power supply, with some powered by LPG gas and petrol, diesel, and even electricity.

Forklifts are a small vehicle with a rear-wheel drive and a raisable fork at the front, where cargo and materials can be placed for transport. The ability to vertically lift and lower the forks by the operator is achieved through a lever that controls pressure within the machine’s hydraulic cylinders. On the technical side of things, forklifts are powered by two intertwining mechanisms, hydraulic cylinders and roller chain pulleys, which utilise pressure to raise and lower cargo on the forks.

As different industries have started to use them over the years, forklifts have been customised to carry different materials and traverse different ground materials. Now forklifts are used to move shipping containers and transport construction materials on infrastructure projects as well as their normal warehouse uses. Forklifts for hire are an extremely popular machine, both for wet and dry hire, as their ability to lift and move large quantities and weights of material in small spaces is special to them alone.

What is a Forklift used for?

Forklifts are used in a wide range of industries as they are the perfect machine for lifting, transporting and loading materials and cargo. In construction, forklifts are utilised to carry heavy materials or loads, both horizontally and vertically. Their ability to seamlessly lift heavy loads to a more elevated ground makes them ideal for constructing buildings.

Forklifts are also essential in warehouse operations. They are used to stack materials in places that cannot easily be accessed by humans. Aside from carrying goods and materials, forklifts can be used to transport large and hefty equipment. For example, many heavy haulage firms now carry truck-mounted forklifts with them, which can be quickly off-loaded and used to remove the delivery from the truck and transport goods.

How do forklifts work? 

A forklift works like a golf cart but with rear-wheel drive and a raisable fork at the front, where cargo and materials can be placed for transport.  The ability to vertically lift and lower the fork by the operator is achieved through a lever that controls pressure within the machine’s hydraulic cylinders. On the technical side of things, forklifts are powered by two intertwining mechanisms, hydraulic cylinders and roller chain pulleys, which utilise pressure to raise and lower cargo on the fork. Lifting power is created by pressure in the hydraulic cylinders, whereby an air pump draws air into the hydraulic cylinders which is then filled with gas. As the pressure builds it is focused across the forklift’s piston head, resulting in a net upward force. This results in a physical equilibrium where the force from the gas equals the downward force of the forklift's load.

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What are the different types of Forklifts?

Diesel-powered forklifts are cheap to run, fuel-efficient, work well on gradients, and are also the more powerful option for towing duties. Forklifts powered by diesel have a capacity of up to 50 tonnes and are often used in large projects and outdoor jobs as they generate a large amount of noise and fumes due to their larger size and powerful engines. The diesel powered forklift offers superior performance compared to electric options, with better lift speeds, and acceleration. Servicing and maintenance costs are also lower compared to gas forklifts.

On the other hand, forklifts powered with LPG are quieter than their diesel counterparts, and the exhaust fumes are also less offensive, making them more ideal for indoor environments and long-term operator safety. LPG forklifts also have the advantage of greater lift speeds, travel speeds and rates of acceleration compared to diesel-powered and electric equivalents, due to their more responsive engines.

While electric powered forklifts have less power and lower capacities than diesel-powered and LPG-powered forklifts, they offer greater mobility and are much quieter to operate than their diesel and gas powered equivalents. The one aspect to consider when looking at electric-powered forklifts is the need to charge them daily. Electric forklifts typically offer 8 hours of operational time from 8 hours of charging time, so they are ideal for warehouses and sites that can leave the machine on charge overnight.

How much do forklift costs to hire?

Forklift hire rates vary depending on your location, forklift type, length of hire and attachments. We legends at iSeekplant have put together this easy to read pricing guide to give you an estimation of forklift hire costs. This is a list of generalised rates, which may vary considerably. Be sure to get a few rates through our system so you can get the best value for your project.

Diesel Forklift Hire Rates:

  • 1.5 Tonne Forklift Hire - $85 / Day
  • 3 Tonne Forklift Hire - $145 / Day
  • 4 Tonne Forklift Hire - $150 / Day
  • 5 Tonne Forklift Hire - $160 / Day
  • 6 Tonne Forklift Hire - $170 / Day
  • 8 Tonne Forklift Hire - $200 / Day
  • 10 Tonne Forklift Hire - $220 / Day
  • 12 Tonne Forklift Hire - $250 / Day

Electric Forklift Hire Rates:

  • 1.5 Tonne Forklift Hire - $100 / Day
  • 2.5 Tonne Forklift Hire - $110 / Day

Gas Forklift Hire Rates:

  • 1.5 Tonne Forklift Hire - $85 / Day
  • 3 Tonne Forklift Hire - $120 / Day
  • 4 Tonne Forklift Hire - $150 / Day
  • 5 Tonne Forklift Hire - $160 / Day
  • 6 Tonne Forklift Hire - $170 / Day

Where to hire a forklift in Australia?

Our directory offers a variety of forklift hire services from suppliers throughout major cities including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, and Darwin, along with hundreds of regional centres throughout Australia. If you’re looking for expert advice about the best forklift hire available for your next project, get in touch with iSeekplant on 1300 691 912 or check out our forklift supplier listings on our website. There you can browse through different forklift suppliers and find where has the best rental rates for forklifts for your project.

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