If you run a 3PL business or a warehouse where moving heavy products is a vital part of your daily operations, then you know just how important safely and efficiently transporting heavy items from point A to point B is. Most of the time, this needs to be done with some sort of manual labor. The most efficient, and the safest way to do it, however, is with the help of trolleys, dollies and hand trucks, depending on the items that need should be transported.
When picking the ideal type of material handling equipment for your facility, there are a couple of different factors you’ll need to take into account in order to make sure you make the right buying decision. And of course, you should also be familiar with the different features and uses of dollies, pallet jacks, trolleys and hand trucks.
Dollies consist of a platform and four wheels with two axles. They come in various sizes and designs and can be used to move pretty much anything. With them, you can move boxes in a warehouse, transport luggage in a motel or hotel, or even push around heavy, oddly-shaped items with ease. Most dollies are small in size, but they can still handle a lot of weight and are easy to maneuver. Depending on the brand, dollies are usually quite affordable, which makes them a worthy investment for any 3PL facility, as well as smaller retail stores and warehouses.
The biggest advantage of dollies is that you can move even the heaviest or immovable objects from one point to another. Their main disadvantage, however, is that since they have four wheels, they’re only slightly elevated from the ground, which means you’ll need to pick up the object and put it on the dolly yourself.
When looking for trolleys for sale, you’ll come across manual and powered models. These units can be used for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. Some models feature two, while others feature four wheels. They’re also quite small in size, so they require one operator. Trolleys differ greatly in style and application, and the key things you need to consider when buying a trolley are its dimensions, the materials that should be handled, the platform type and load capacity. These material handling devices are usually used as utility and stock carts that carry materials or parts between processes.
You’ll come across various types that are meant for certain applications. For instance, warehouse trolleys come in the form of scissor lift, stock panel, stock picking, cleaning and drum trolley models. On the other hand, there are also stainless steel platform models suitable for hospitals, medical centers, schools, food prep areas, dental facilities, etc. These trolleys also feature drawers with optional rails for easy storing and transporting of items.
Hand trucks are quite similar to trolleys, except they usually come with two wheels. The front of the industrial hand truck features a toe plate or nose that slides under the load, and a frame which supports the load once the truck is tipped back during transport. Some of the key specifications are the load capacity and the type of truck. There are industrial hand truck models that are specifically designed to handle cylinders or drums that are also fitted with casters to provide easier transport and to help stabilize loads.
There are also models, such as pallet trucks, that are designed to lift palletized loads and pallets and move them around grocery stores, warehouses, etc. The key specifications are again, load capacity, truck type, power source, dimensions, and lift range. Also known as pallet jacks, these trucks can also be used for loading and unloading trucks, trailers, etc. They feature forks that slide under the pallets and raise them with the help of a hydraulic jack. Pallet trucks are available as manual and powered models. The powered models are usually propane or battery-powered.
Dollies are manually-operated and they’re suitable for industrial and commercial use. They have a large carrying capacity, so you’ll mostly need to consider the type of dolly that’s best suited for your application and workspace. Dollies are usually divided into drum dollies, flat equipment moving dollies, and oddly-shaped moving dollies. Due to their simplicity, you’ll only have to consider the types of tires they use, the load capacity and physical size. All of this information is usually available on the specification sheet.
You can pick between manual and powered trolleys for sale, depending on your budget and personal preferences. Obviously, powered models are more expensive, but they also considerably reduce the necessary manual labor to move products around. Regardless of what type you end up going for, you’ll have to pick from single, two, three and even four shelved models, and consider features like cages for extra security, folding models for convenient storage, etc. Again, you’ll need to keep in mind the physical size of the unit, its load capacity and the materials it’s made from.
Industrial hand trucks are manually operated for the most part, although there are some exceptions. They consist of handles, a supporting frame, a lift platform and two wheels. There are some specific features or add-ons that can make them suitable for specific tasks. For instance, some hand trucks can have a set of extra wheels installed on them so that they’re effectively converted into a trolley. Other hand trucks come with straps for securing loads, etc.
Pallet jacks are typically limited to lift heights of up to a dozen centimeters, but there are exceptions. There are high-lift pallet jacks that can lift pallets and loads a few metres into the air, allowing you to stack one pallet on another. Typically, pallet jacks are manually propelled with the help of a hand pump. However, most people prefer electric models as they don’t require any manual work and can perform tasks more efficiently. Some pallet jacks are rideable, and most electric models have deadman controls that will brake and stop movement in case the operator releases the controls. Hand-operated models, on the other hand, employ brakes that deploy automatically when the handle is pulled down.