If you're purchasing new forklifts for your business' fleet, a good feature to look for is a side-shifter. A side-shifter allows the forklift operator to slightly move the tines left or right without moving the forklift, making it simpler to maneuver them into the correct position to safely pick up loads. Without a side-shifter, forklift operators are required to repeatedly back up and turn the forklift slightly until the tines are perfectly lined up with the pallet. Below, you'll find four reasons why you should strongly consider purchasing forklifts that include a side-shifter in the mast.
1. Reduces Fuel Usage
The primary reason to purchase a new forklift with a side-shifter is that it can significantly reduce your forklifts' fuel usage. When operators need to repeatedly reverse and drive forwards in order to position their forklift tines correctly to pick up a load, it wastes quite a bit of fuel.
With a side-shifter, the tines can be easily moved into position in order to safely carry the load. If your business uses forklifts with combustion engines, this means that you'll spend less on fuel costs. If you use electric forklifts, this means that you'll spend less time and electricity charging them up.
2. Lowers Risk of Forklift Accidents
In addition to wasting fuel, repeatedly backing up and moving forwards increases the risk of workplace accidents. Forklift operators may accidentally collide with objects on the floor or other employees while they try to position themselves correctly. Lifting loads in tight spaces is much easier when your workers are using a forklift with a side-shifter, allowing them to work more quickly and more safely.
3. Less Chance of Inventory Damage
In tight spaces, forklift operators without a side-shifter may be forced to pick up loads at an angle. This doesn't distribute the weight of the load evenly across the forklift tines, so there's more risk of the load tipping over or the pallet breaking apart due to the pressure caused by the uneven weight distribution. Using a side-shifter, a forklift operator can shift pallets into a location that doesn't require them to be picked up at an angle, which reduces the risk that the load will be damaged while it's being picked up.
4. Aftermarket Side-Shifters Impair Lifting Performance
Most forklifts can be upgraded with an aftermarket side-shifter that attaches to the forklift mast, but this usually isn't the best option. It's better to purchase a new forklift that has a side-shifter included. Aftermarket side shifters add weight to the front of the forklift mast, which pushes the center of gravity forwards. This makes it more difficult to safely lift loads since the weight distribution on the mast is no longer even. When you purchase a new forklift with a side-shifter included, the weight of the side-shifter is accounted for when designing the mast, resulting in a mast that's balanced.
If your business is adding new forklifts to its fleet, you should strongly consider purchasing models that include a side-shifter. A side-shifter makes it much easier for operators to pick up loads quickly and safely, as there's no need to reverse and turn the forklift in order to make tiny adjustments to the position of the tines. It's one of the most useful features to look for in a new forklift, and many manufacturers include it as an option.
For more information, contact a company like Lift Solutions, Inc.