Narrow Aisle Operations

October 4, 2016
Posted by: Justin Engel

Selecting a lift truck is a complicated and intensive process. With an overwhelming number of models and optional features, it is important to carefully consider what unit is best suited to your needs and material handling application. This process can be particularly difficult in warehousing and logistics, where lift trucks must not only perform all the necessary tasks, but also conform to the aisle widths and racking configuration as well.

While standard warehouse operations generally accommodate most 3,000 – 5,000 lb. counterbalance forklifts, it is a mistake to assume that these models are suited for all warehousing applications. One of the primary concerns here is the turning radius of the forklift in relation to the width of the facilities aisles.  The minimum width required for most sit down counterbalanced forklift models, for example, is eleven (11) feet (although the exact width required for each model depend on its overall dimensions, turning radius and load sizes).

In narrow aisle operations, where aisles typically range from six (6) to ten (10) feet in width, counterbalanced forklifts are often replaced with specialized vehicles like walkie and rider reach trucks. By replacing the large counterbalance weight found in standard forklifts with compact outriggers, which reduces the size of the unit and increases its maneuverability, reach trucks are uniquely suited to narrow aisle operations.

Since reach trucks must compensate for the added distance between the racking system and the truck caused by the stabilizing outriggers, reach trucks utilize a telescoping arm that extends to reach the storage racking. Depending on the depth of the storage system, reach trucks are available in either a standard single reach model, or as a double reach model to accommodate two pallet deep storage options.

At Stärke, our LiftMaxx line of reach trucks is available with a wide variety of options and features designed to meet a range of applications. For low volume applications, Stärke offers a line of 3,000 lb. walkie reach trucks in single or double reach model with maximum lift heights of up to 217”. For high volume operations, Stärke also offers a rider reach truck from 3,000 to 4,000 lbs. in capacity. Available with either a 2-stage or a 3-stage mast, Stärke’s rider reach truck is capable of lift heights from 118” to 255”.


Justin Engel

Justin Engel is the marketing specialist at Stärke Material Handling Group. In addition to content development, he also handles graphic and website design, SEO, PR and strategic planning.

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