What is a Narrow Aisle Reach Truck?
Updated: Dec 6, 2019
A Narrow Aisle Reach Truck is a loading device that is used by a number of different types of businesses that maintain a storage area which involves the organization of supplies and finished goods on pallets that are inserted into racking.
A basic reach truck has an out-rigging mechanism on the front of the truck. Mounted to the out-rigging is a set of telescoping forks that move up and down. The forks also include a hydraulic setup that allows the operator to pick up the load and re position it over the outriggers. This not only provides a more even balance of the load, but also makes it easier to maneuver the truck into narrow aisles between the storage shelves.
When the truck arrives at the shelves designated for the pallet, the hydraulics allow the forks to swing and lower the pallet into the shelving, sliding the pallet into place. Generally, these machines easily fit into an aisle that is less than 10ft across with no problem, assuming there are not pallets sticking out from the shelving.
Reach trucks were invented nearly half a century ago and evolved as the warehousing industry examined ways to increase storage space. The first reach truck mechanism was designed by Linde.
Soon to follow was The Raymond Corporation by introducing their Reach Truck to the North American market. The Raymond Reach truck featured a pantograph mechanism for which the company received a patent. The use of reach trucks would literally transform warehousing operations as more racked storage could be placed within the same amount of space.
Reach trucks are designed mainly for warehouse operation. They offer maximum lift height with excellent maneuverability. The name “REACH” refers to the ability of the fork carriage to
‘REACH’ out beyond the stabilizing legs and therefore ‘reach’ into racking. The combinations of this reach capability and the stabilizing legs, means reach trucks can lift to great heights (in excess of 10 metres) while still operating in very tight working environments. The stabilizing legs and batteries within a reach truck negate the need for any counterbalance weight within the truck construct.
While excellent for use indoors, reach trucks are not ideally suited to work outside. Their low under-carriage clearance can cause problems on uneven working surfaces, and their electric power systems can be prone to trouble if regularly shaken due to undulating working surfaces.
The most common style of reach truck built is a narrow aisle reach truck called a PANTO-GRAPH. The panto-graph comes with a scissor-like mechanism. This mechanism is what provides the panto-graph with a greater reach capacity. Panto-graph reach trucks can be designed with a single panto-graph to handle pallets in single-deep storage or with a double panto-graph to handle pallets in double-deep storage. The single-deep or single reach model is the predominant type of panto-graph reach truck used in North America today.
TYPES OF REACH TRUCKS
Stand-up Reach Truck
Is the simplest type of reach truck. It is designed to slide the forks directly underneath a pallet and transport it to another storage location and slide it back into place.
Double (Extended) – Reach Truck Operates in a similar manner to a stand-up reach truck but comes equipped with telescopic forks that extend long enough to retrieve and unload goods two pallets deep inside a single rack. Straddle Reach Truck is a reach truck designed to not only slide under pallets but also grab onto the sides of the pallet, essentially straddling it.
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