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Flameproofing Forklifts

Forklifts August 9, 2017

flameproof forklifs

Flameproofing forklifts, is actually a very common requirement in the necessary environment. Flameproofing of material handling equipment is the science of reducing the risk of an explosion or fire by means of specialized principles and technologies.

The risk occurs wherever a flammable or combustible material is handled. This is not only confined to the mining but also petrochemical, oil platforms, paint, grain handling and food industry to name a few.

It is essential that all equipment used in these areas comply with the appropriate government rules and relevant standards.  If you are looking for information or and guidance on area classification, it can be obtained from the Australian Institute of Dangerous Goods Consultants (AIDGC).

When inquiring about or ordering a flameproof forklift from a dealer it is important to specify the area classification, and the type of hazard and its temperature class.

The general phases of the flameproofing conversion are analysis and design, manufacture, installation, duty cycle testing and specialized after sales service. Certification testing, when required, is conducted by one of Australia’s three internationally accredited testing facilities.

Forklift trucks, tow tractors, sweepers, scissor lifts and boom lifts ranging from 1 ton to 32 ton have all been flameproofed. Both diesel and battery electric powered materials handling equipment can be flameproofed.

Something to remember when you are looking for Flameproofing, LPG and Petrol vehicles are not permitted in any hazardous areas.

Flameproofed Materials handling equipment are designed and manufactured in such a way as to remove or reduce the risk of the equipment becoming the source of ignition.

Sources of ignition include flames and sparks from exhaust systems, arc and sparks from electrical equipment, hot surfaces and static build up.

Modifications are required to the basic equipment to ensure it complies with the relevant requirements for the specified hazardous zone that it will be operating in.

If you are still unsure if the area has been correctly classified in accordance with AS2430 series, you can ask a third party to perform an audit on your hazardous area mobile equipment is not only a good idea but a must to ensure correct and safe operation.

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Tips For Buying Used Forklifts

buying, Forklifts July 19, 2017

If you are out looking at used forklifts to buy, there has never been a better time in the materials handling market.  There are plenty of bargains you can pick up, weather its a 2.5T Yale forklift or a 16T SMV Forklift, but as always there are some things you really need to be aware of when looking at used forklifts.

Warranty

Does it have warranty.  It use to be very common to buy a used forklift with no warranty.  Well these days its fair and reasonable to expect some comfort in knowing that if you buy a used forklift you won’t get it home and have the engine blow up in the first week.

Most businesses will offer a 30 or 90 day standard warranty, if they don’t bring it up, ask them.   We’ve also started to see 12 month warranties being offered on used equipment.

Most new forklift manufactures will offer a minimum 12 month /1200 hour warranty on a new forklift, so getting a 12 month warranty for a used forklift might seem fantastic.  But read the fine print, a lot of these warranty policies, are bought for a few hundred dollars.

The policies are generally very tight, and don’t really allow for much, and you might fine that you get stuck with additional expenses like freight.

Beware the Liquid Overhaul

A lot of forklift dealers will tell you its been overhauled.  It might look shiny with a new coat of paint, but pop the bonnet and take a look underneath.  If you can see a dirty engine with visible oil leaks, its had a liquid overhaul  Ask for service records, most forklift dealers won’t mind giving these out at all.  Take a look at the last 12 months, if you can see service and breakdown jobs, you know it’s been well maintained.

Shop it around

With the internet people have gotten a lot smarter, with 20 minutes work, you are able to compare pricing for most things on line.  Used forklifts are no different, take your time and look.  If you like a Hyster H2.50DX model that you’ve looked at, compare the pricing on line, if you are thinking  you got good value at $20 000, you might be in for a rude shock if you see them advertised online at for $10 500.

 

Buying Used Forklifts at auction

We see so many people burnt doing this, you think you can get a good deal at an Auction, and this really comes under point 3.  We see people spend 10 or 20 thousands more then what they should, find that the used forklift has a problem and then want to sell it, and can’t get a return.

If you are going to an auction to buy, make sure you do your homework before you get there.  Most auction houses will let you inspect the forklift and start it before you start to bid on it.

Used forklifts are just like use cars, there are plenty out there, sometimes you can buy a lemon.  The trick to buying value is to do your research, and make sure you are buying something that has been well maintained, with a little bit of warranty on it. You won’t go wrong.

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Learning To Walk With Pedestrian Operated Forklifts

Forklifts February 7, 2017

When you start to  look at forklifts there are so many different types shapes and sizes out there on the market.  One class of forklift is more unique then most, the pedestrian operated forklifts range.

What makes then unique in Australia is the fact that you do not need a high-risk work license, which means it becomes easier for businesses to train their operators on how to use them, as well being a cheaper option for a business to consider.

Types of Pedestrian Operated Forklifts

There are a wide range of pedestrian operated forklift in this range including the walk behind pallet jack and walk behind stacker range.

Walk Behind Pallet Jack

Very much like a manual pallet jack, there are also battery electric operated pallet jacks.  Ranging from a small 1500 kg Battery electric walk behind pallet jack through to a 3000-kg walk behind battery operated pallet jack, as well as ride on models.

As we construct bigger and bigger warehouses, ride on pallet jacks are becoming increasingly common with both end rider types and side standing types of pallet jacks, being used.  As it allows the operator to ride with the pallet jack and load over greater distances very quickly.

Of course, there is also the Sit on Pallet Jack as well.  Again, very useful for when pallets need to be moved greater distances in large warehouses.

Types of Walkie Stackers

There are many different types of walkie stackers, the best way to describe them is, if you think a battery electric pallet jack with a mast you wouldn’t be far wrong.

Walk Behind Straddle stacker

The most common type of walkie stacker with general capacities ranging from 1200 kgs through to 1600kg, and lift heights from 2500mm to 4500mm.

The mast will only travel straight up and down, they are designed so they have outrigger legs so they can straddle a pallet, as well act as a stabilizer.

There are also leg over walkie stackers where they are designed for special pallets that don’t have a bottom board configuration like the popular Australian Chep Pallet.

Walk behind Reach Stackers

The walkie reach stacker is growing in popularity with the ability for the carriage to reach out in front of the machine.  So, it can pick up and move a pallet jack back toward the operator.

This type of function is very popular when needing to unload trucks or pick up a pallet that might be a little out of reach.

The walkie reach also has stability legs protruding from the front of the forklift,

Walkie behind counter balanced stacker

These types of walkie stackers are longer than normal as they don’t have stability legs out the front, they have more counterweight in the back of the unit to counterbalance the load.

pedestrian operated forklifts

The benefits of Pedestrian Operated Forklifts

No Forklift Ticket Required

Despite popular opinion there is currently no forklift license required to operate a walkie behind forklift at all.

All that is required is familiarization training given to the operator which is usually a short 15-minute run down on how to operate the walkie stacker.

This makes these type of pedestrian operated walk behind forklift very popular, in the back of loading docks where younger people are employed. Such as a supermarket that employ school children after school hours.

Lower maintenance cost

Due to the nature and design of these types of forklifts there is less maintenance required on a pedestrian operated walkie then a ride on 2.5T Internal combustion forklift.

They are designed with electric drive motors, and usually come with a large type industrial battery.  As always, we recommend servicing as per the manufacturers recommendation.

Reduces manual handling

Especially the pedestrian battery electric pallet movers, if your business needs to move pallets around a warehouse.  Instead of your employee moving 2 ton pallets with a manual pallet jack you can use a battery electric pallet mover to move them from A to B.

This reduces the need for the operator to physically move pallets around with a manual pallet jack, reducing the manual handling effort and the likely hood of back strain.

The Limitation of Pedestrian Operated Walkies

Limited lift heights

Due to the design limitations of walkies particularly the walkie stacker range.  The Mast lift heights are limited to how high you can go.

Although in both a 2 stage and 3 stage configurations, they will generally lift no higher than 5000mm. If you are wanting to lift higher, then that you need to consider a ride on reach truck.

Tiller Handle

Designed with an operator tiller handle, when operating in a tight space this can sometimes take a knock that can damage the handler.  Or if operating in a tight area, it can be difficult for the operator to maneuver around.

Which way should you go

In deciding which walkie, you should go for your business, it depends on what type of warehouse you have.  Talk to your local forklift dealer about what is the best option for your business.

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Do You Have The Right Forklift Tyres ?

Forklifts, Safety February 4, 2017

forklift tyres

Forklifts have so many different specifications, when it comes to capacities, lift heights and attachments.  Well its no different when it comes to forklift tyres, you have a few different options such as cushion Tyres, pneumatic tyres, solid tyres or polyurethane.

Well there there is also the option of solid filling your pneumatic tyres.  It basically includes ‘In-fill’ materials (for Pneumatic Tyres) and ‘In-fill’ materials include sprays, rubber foams and urethane fills.

Along the way in developing these fill products, there have been many problems associated with these types of fillings,  they have tended to leave voids in the material. The latest urethane/rubber fillings, which are not a foam, are put into the tyre as a liquid, then pressurized and cured.

Over the last 10 to 15 years a number of proprietary items have been marketed to prevent punctures in pneumatic tyres, but very few have been successful until recently.

Advantages of ‘In-fill’ materials

The advantage of ‘in-fill’ materials is that the tyre —

(a) can operate at higher speed ratings than the resilient type of tyre;

(b) gives similar ride characteristics to the pneumatic tyre; and

(c) completely avoids ‘down-time’ on expensive machines which operate on difficult sites and away from a service point. Obviously you don’t get punctures with a Solid Filled Pneumatic forklift tyre, so it will save you from down-time with less tyre punctures.

Disadvantages of ‘In-fill’ materials

The one biggest disadvantage of ‘in-fill’ materials is that once the tyre is pressurized it cannot be altered to obtain more or less flotation.

With the above in mind, before you are looking to solid fill your pneumatic forklift tyres, you should always talk to your Industrial tyre supplier before you go down the solid filling route to ensure it’s the right thing for your operating environment.

You also need to way up the cost of solid filling vs. buying a solid puncture proof tyre, as its usually charged by the Kilo and can get quote expensive.

Once you wear out the tyres that has been solid filled, it can also be a problem and getting the remaining tyre off the rim so a new tyre can be fitted.  You can potentially damage the rim.

So there you are, if you are looking at solid filling your pneumatic forklift tyres, we are not saying don’t do it, we are just saying be aware of what you are doing it for.

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6 Things You Need To Consider For Forklift Hire In Your Business

Forklifts, Rental January 26, 2017

Forklift hire

As much as we want to say forklifts are sexy, forklifts really are a business tool.  Forklifts are designed to do a function and forklift hire is no different, instead of outlaying your capital and buying a forklift.

You have another option and that is to think about forklift hire and paying a fixed rate per day or week, instead of buying a forklift outright.  That’s right you get to leave your hard earned capital in the bank.

Here are the 6 most common things you need to consider when hiring a forklift.

Length of Time of hire

If you are looking to hire a forklift, you need to be very clear on the length of time you will be hiring it for.  If it is a short time (generally under 12 months) or a long time (over 12 months up to 7 years), can really change the price of forklift rental you will be paying.

It can also decide whether the forklift you will be hiring is a new forklift or if it has some years on it.

The Application You Will Be Working In

Always a big thing to look at when considering forklift hire.  When talking to a forklift rental business, they will ask you about the application it will be working in.

  • Is it clean ?
  • Is it a dirty ?
  • Is there hazards ?

If it’s a building site, you can expect to pay more than if the same forklift is working in a clean warehouse on concrete floors.

Can you Expect Service/Back-up

As in any industry there are pirates, you know what we are saying the types of service businesses, that once they have your money you never hear from them again.

When you call them because the forklift you are hiring has broken down, they take a week to turn up and repair the forklift.

Make sure you are dealing with a reputable forklift business, unfortunately there still are plenty of shady back yard businesses out there.

How Many Hows Per Week – Utilization

Forklift utilization is all about how many hours will it be doing.  If you are only using it a few hours a week, then you can expect to pay less.

However, if you are wanting to operate it multiple shifts per day, 7 days per week. You can and should expect to pay a lot more.

How much will I have to pay

That really is affected by the above points, forklifts are an expensive outlay of capital, especially for a business that specializes in forklift hire.  So you can expect to pay a rental fee that really is commensurate with the forklift you are hiring.

But as always you should shop it around for the best price you can get. After all its your money that you are parting with.

Does a forklift brand really matter ?

That’s a funny question, as long term people in the materials handling industry. We know the “reputable” brands from the “less then reputable” brands.

Considering the factors above, if you are looking to hire a forklift for a short time, its probably not that much of a issue.

If you are looking to hire a forklift of 5 years in your business. We always suggest getting a demonstration of the forklift on your site.

Forklift dealers will generally be keen to demonstrate their forklift on site and usually free of charge.  Then it’s best to let your operators trial the forklift and give you feedback.

If you think about it like a car, do you prefer driving a Mazda or a Hyundai ?  They both have plenty of features and benefits, but both cars will get you to where you want to go.

Always remember that a forklift is a tool to be used, and forklift hire is no different, you need to think about the above, and the requirements that you have for your business.

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Learn About Hyster Forklifts in Australia

Forklifts January 21, 2017

hyster forklifts

With out a doubt Hyster forklifts are well known throughout Australia for being a tough and reliable forklift for the Australian market. Hyster have been making forklifts for over 80 years now, so you would expect them to get it right., with one on the biggest ranges of forklifts available in the market.

Hyster’s Parent company is NACCO Industries, which is a Cleveland Ohio (USA based public listed company, with the control and management of the Hyster brand being through NMHG, short for Nacco Materials Handling Group.

NMHG, sold out of their retail operations in Australia, in 2009, with the Hyster forklift retail operations being bought out by Adaptalift.  The Hyster acquisition turned Adaptalift into one of the biggest forklift companies in Australia.

Founded in 1982 Adaptalift started as Forklift Engineering Australia, designing and manufacturing forklift attachments.  Adaptalift has grown to become the largest Australian privately owned and operated forklift company, with a fleet of over 10,500 units nationwide.

Hyster forklifts, have a complete range of forklifts available, from powered pallet trucks to 50 tonne reach stackers, with a variety of fuel types including LPG, Battery Electric and Diesel.

Although the Hyster brand is American owned, and building forklifts throughout manufacturing factories across the world,  They have recently made the decision to bring a Chinese made Forklift into the Australia Market.  So the UTILEV is now supported by NACCO Materials Handling Group in Australia as the cheap alternative to a fully optioned Hyster branded forklift.

If you have looking for a decent quality used forklift, and are starting to look around, you will most likely find more Hyster forklifts than any other brand available, this is mainly due to the length of time that Hyster has been making forklifts.

With parts readily available, through the Adaptalift dealer network or After Market Parts Sellers like TVH.  But talking to any dealer you will most likely get parts to suit your Hyster forklift.

If you are in the market looking to buy a new or used forklift, and if you haven’t made your choice yet to which forklift brand you want to choose then, you really should give the Hyster forklift some decent consideration.

There is more than a decent chance it will suit you environment and application very well.  With the back up and support you need and can expect from a forklift manufacturer with over 80 years experience.

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Buying a Used Forklift V’s Buying a Chinese Forklift.

Forklifts November 27, 2016

Chinese Forklifts

Its been the last 8 or 9 years or so in Australia that we’ve seen a explosion of Chinese made forklifts on the market.  We’ve taken a look at the Chinese made Forklifts before, and the guiding principle here as with anything is, you get what you pay for, weather you are looking at buying second hand or new

We wanted to take a look at a few things you might want to consider when buying a second hand forklift or buying a Chinese forklifts.

Its really important to compare apples with apple when you looking at purchasing a new Chinese forklift model or a refurbished second hand model.  So make sure you know what you need the forklift for so consider lift height, fuel type e.t.c when looking at your purchase.

As an Example

A new 2.5T Chinese made forklift, with a 3000mm mast, petrol, will retail for about $17 999 at the bottom end and up to $23 000 at the top end of the Chinese product market, and will generally come with a minimum 12 month warranty, (Ask first about what warranty to expect).

A refurbished Hyster H2.5TX model (which is approximately 5 years old) with a 4000mm mast will retail for about $15 000 and you could generally expect a 90 day warranty with it.

There are a few things you need to consider when making the choice

Reliability

Chinese manufacturing is light years ahead of where it was 5 years ago, with most if not all major brands bringing out a Chinese equivalent (Yes think Toyota, Linde, Hyster).  With a lots of smaller forklift companies now running Chinese forklifts in their rental fleet. So are they reliable well in the right application, well yes they can go the distance.

Depreciation

Depreciation is the true hidden cost of a forklift.  Buy a good condition second hand brand name forklift such as a Hyster, you will still get a decent resale figure when you go to sell it down the track.  Meaning that generally they will hold their value.

A new Chinese unit, whilst is cheap, will quickly loose its value at the end of 5 years, you could loose up to 70 % of its value from new.

Backup and Spare parts

There seem to be a never ending number of different forklift companies importing Chinese brands of forklifts to Australia over the years, a lot of that have gone out of business, or have stopped selling Chinese forklifts.

These companies are normally around for 2 to 3 years or until their warranty issues become too much and the Chinese manufacturing company moves on to another importer, you see alot of these companies selling on Ebay.

A forklift is a business tool, and should be viewed as such.  You need to make sure you are buying for the right reasons, and knowing what application you are wanting to use to you forklift in. New Chinese or refurbished second hand, its still an investment, just make sure you look for the obvious things, you need .

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Bolzoni Auramo release the Stainless Steel Coated Fork Tyne

Forklifts, Selling November 21, 2016

bolzoni-auramo

The Best Option –  for the Spark Free Areas

The stainless-steel-cladded forklift forks are the best option for areas that must be kept spark free. These areas include explosive environments where paint, chemicals and explosives are handled.

These forks are also a great choice for food preparation areas for hygiene purposes and when you need to avoid risk of spark generation due to rubbing between similar metal materials (i.e. between fork steel and the load steel) or rusty and light metals (i.e. between rusty fork and an aluminium or magnesium load).

Bolzoni Auramo cladded forks are covered under all the relevant Australian Standards with  AISI 304 L stainless steel as indicated by UNI EN 1127-1 regulation (6.4.4 paragraph) and are manufactured to  be used in Category 2 and 3 of European Directive 94/9/CE.

The forks are also equipped with a certificate, that testifies the execution by the rule book of the cladding and the quality of the material.

The Production Process

  • Before starting with the coating all the edges are eliminated from the outer perimeter of the forks and the painting is removed from the tip and back side. These are the areas where the coating is anchored.
  • The stainless steel plates to be applied on the forks are prepared;  the standard thickness is 2 mm but even a special 3 mm thick plate on request can be used. The plates are bended according to the fork’s geometry and they are then applied on the surface, so that the load surface is perfectly smooth and bald, without obtruding elements and without being influenced by welding processes, that could compromise the features and properties of the material.
  • A reinforcement stainless steel plate is realized to be welded under the heel of the fork.
  • The plates and the heel reinforcement are then welded on the forks with TIG welding; the standard plate covers the forks till 20 cm height of the back side (possible full back side coating on request).
  • All the surfaces are perfectly polished, in order to grant a smooth contact with the load.
  • An accurate check is moved forward to ensure the total lack of breaking areas in the coating.

Bolzoni Auramo Stainless Steel Cladded Forks Advantages

  1. The geometric and chemical properties of the original forks are kept completely unaltered.
  1. Excellent resistance to corrosion thanks to the quality of the material and thanks to the fact that all the loading surfaces are not interested and influenced by welding processes.
  1. The internal surface of the fork (the surface under the coating) is protected by the painting, which has not been undermined by the temperature raising.
  1. The reinforcement plate applied on the lower part of the fork’s heel grants a sensible reduction of the coating wear in this critical area; when worn out it’s possible to replace just the heel reinforcement plate.
  1. The perfect load surface finishing avoids the risk of scraping and the detaching of coating parts.
  1. The certification testifies the quality of the material and all the specific production processes.

On request:

  • Special 3 mm stainless steel plate thickness (instead of 2 mm);
  • Back height fully coated and covered (instead of standard 20 cm of the back height);
  • Coating for food and beverage environment with AISI 316 L, the best quality of stainless steel.

If you are interested in a quote contact Bolzoni Auramo direct or talk to your local forklift dealer

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Having The Right Forklift Tyres, Can Save Your Business Money

Forklifts November 15, 2016

Having the right forklift tyres on your forklift, is something that forklift owners often don’t think about. But it is one thing on a forklift that can save your business a lot of cost.

The most common types of forklift tyres are solid or pneumatic.

Pneumatic – Think of these being just like your car tyres. They have tubes and are filled with air.

Solid – These tyres are generally referred to as Puncture Proof, and are a solid rubber filled pneumatic profile tyre

Different forklift tyres from different manufacturers will vary, with different ply ratings, made from different compounds and will have a different tread.  When choosing your forklift its important to make sure that the right tyres is used in the right application.

By making sure your forklift tyres remain in good shape, it can really help reduce wear and tear on the forklift transmission, fuel efficiency is improved and the forklift driver will have a much more comfortable ride.

Application and Your tyre

Depending on what application your operating your forklift in, will dictate what type of tyre your forklift will be running.

There are several different types of forklifts tyres

Pneumatic tyres

These are just like your car tyres, filled with air, and are made from thick wear resistant rubber.  They are generally best used on uneven or rougher surfaces.

Solid tyres/Puncture Proof

A solid tyre, is now one of the most common tyres.  Generally a pneumatic profile tyre that is solid.  The great thing about these types of tyres is that they will usually last 2 – 3 times longer than pneumatic tyres, and being solid means they won’t get punctured.

Cushion tyres

A cushion tyre is a thin rubber tyre that is pressed onto a metal band.  Generally these types of tyres are found on forklifts, that are used in warehousing or places with concrete flooring.  The forklifts are designed in a way that they will have a lot smaller turning radius.

Non-marking tyres

Are exactly the same as solid/puncture proof tyres, but instead of being made from black rubber, they are made from white rubber.

The difference being that the white rubber tyre will not leave Black scuff marks on a otherwise clean concrete floor. The only downfall with these types of tyres are that they have a shortened life span.

Polyurethane wheels

Are almost exclusively used on warehousing and indoor forklifts, like walkie stackers or reach trucks.  They can range from a small castor wheel found on the front of a straddle leg to the large drive wheel on the back of a reach truck.

Foam Filled

Are basically a pneumatic tyre that is filled with a special resin.  They can give slightly more cushioning then a Puncture Proof tyre on the forklift.

Way to Make sure your tyres last

When it comes to storing forklift tyres, it is best to avoid storing them for longer then a few months at a time.  They need to be stored in a cool and dark dirt and oil free area.  Just like your car tyre, the hard and faster you drive them, and spin your tyres the  quicker your forklift tyres will wear out a lot quicker.  Maintain them, drive you forklift normally and you will get maximum life out of them.

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Chinese Forklifts Value or Not, Here’s The Truth

Forklifts November 13, 2016

In the last five years sales of Chinese-made forklifts have exploded throughout Australia, now Chinese Forklift are almost 20% of unit sales.  But the truth is the Chinese have been selling forklifts here in Australia for nearly four times as long.

The reason why so many people think this is a recent phenomenon is a simple matter of pacing. In the old days Chinese forklifts arrived in drips and drabs, but nowadays, of course, the Chinese don’t do anything in small measures. In fact, China has grown so much over the past decade, and at such an unprecedented level, that it’s almost impossible to remember a time when China wasn’t the massive manufacturing and export powerhouse that it is today. To put it bluntly, it’s looking like China is going to take over the world.

Are they going to take over the world of forklifts? Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about that right now. Chances are you’ve heard of people who’ve bought Chinese forklifts in the past. There are more then a few out there right now selling Chinese-made cars and more still selling scooters and motorbikes, they’re cheap alright, but they’re also quite flaky.

Many of these dealers have begun to stock Chinese models because they know they can sell them off quickly and turn a good profit. And the reason they sell so fast? Simple, because they’re just so damn cheap. 

And it’s the same thing with forklifts – some Chinese models sell for nearly half as much as the more tried and trusted brands, and as a result people have built entire businesses out of selling Chinese models.

Is there any thing wrong with this? No, nothing at all. It’s a free market, right? And clearly there’s a market out there for cheaper Chinese models.

If you are among those who’ve been enticed by these low prices you need to remember the first rule of purchasing; “let the buyer beware.” As with anything in life you get what you pay for, so if you pay for half the price of a quality brand don’t be surprised when you get half the quality too.

Now, before we continue I think it’s important that we differentiate between the two types of Chinese forklifts that are available on the Australian market.

The First

Is the type of unit that is specifically made for the domestic Chinese market. They usually have Chinese engines and Chinese transmissions – Chinese everything, basically – and tend to suffer from severe malfunctions once they arrive here. Transmission and engine failures are common, because, quite frankly, these models are simply not built to cope with the often harsh extremes of the Australian environment.

The problem then is a scarcity of parts, because, unlike a popular brand name where you can find parts just about everywhere, you’re left searching for parts for an obscure Chinese engine from a company whose name you’re not even sure how to pronounce properly.

And if you’re really unlucky you might well discover that the company that made your forklift doesn’t exist anymore. In other words they’re a risky venture. No wonder, then, that these types of forklifts are usually sold at the cheap end of the market.

The Second

These are the ones that are made specifically for export to the Australian market. They usually have a standard OEM engine and OEM transmissions, parts are readily available in Australia and although they are more expensive than their strictly-domestic Chinese cousins, they are still much cheaper than established brands such as Toyota or Nissan or Hyster – for the same reason, of course, they’re built cheaper.

 So which one is the better option? Well that’s really a decision that you need to make as the buyer, but here are some tips we recommend you consider:

  • Always keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Every purchase we make is based on a sliding scale between quality, reliability and service on the one hand, and price on the other, so you need to carefully consider which you deem to be most important.
  • Getting the cheapest forklift available isn’t an issue, nor should it be. The issue is more about peace of mind and quality of service. So make sure you are dealing with a reputable dealer and also that you can get parts for the forklift in Australia in case anything goes wrong.
  • Consider what hours you are really going to be putting in, be honest and realistic about it. Do you need something cheap and cheerful that you’re going to be using on and off, or do you need a rugged, reliable workhorse?

The last point is key, I think. If you have a small company, for example, and you just need something cheap and cheerful to move pallets around the factory floor for an hour or two a week, well then maybe one of those cheap, domestic Chinese models is just the ticket.

If, however, you need something that can take the strain and brave the elements on a daily basis and yet keep going, month after month, year after year, then really you need to be looking more at an established manufacturer. And if you’re unable to budget for a brand new model, then you might well discover that a well maintained second-hand forklift of a known and trusted brand can well withstand far more punishment than a brand new Chinese model ever could.

So, whilst there’s no doubt that China is now a global superpower, if their tanks are anything like their forklifts I wouldn’t worry about them taking over the world anytime soon. The proof is there to see around all those big, bustling ports like Shanghai, where all the loading and unloading is still done by Japanese models like Nissan’s, Toyota’s and Mitsubishi’s.

Of course people used to say the same things about the Japanese some sixty-odd years back. It took them over twenty years to really build their place and reputation as manufacturers of quality vehicles and machinery. Americas industry, too, had its dark days back in the 19th Century, before men like Henry Ford arrived on the scene and changed manufacturing forever. Not all too long ago people used to say unflattering things about Korean cars too, but nowadays they’re getting great reviews and selling like crazy, because the quality has improved tremendously.

So if China wants to take over the world, with its forklifts at least, then it’s going to have to work at it too. Though something tells me that the Chinese are more than willing to take up that challenge and do in ten years what took the Japanese and Koreans twenty. I might be wrong, of course so ask me again in 2021. But right here, right now, in 2016, when it comes to sheer ruggedness and reliability Chinese forklifts still have a long way to go.

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