Stackers are considered junior forklifts and are applicable in all types of industries for an array of applications. These stackers save time and maximize productivity in warehouses because they can carry a wide range of load weights. However, lifting, lowering, and moving loads can be physically challenging for operators, especially when using undesirable equipment.
Choosing the right stacker to improve workflow and achieve better service standards is critical. Whether sourcing a new stacker or replacing an old one, here is a checklist for choosing the right stacker.
- Pallet Stacker Height
Every warehouse has limits to the stacking height for goods. When picking a pallet stacker, managers and operators must pick one that reaches the maximum height. The highest stacking for ground-level operations can reach 127 inches.
The type of mast determines the highest lifting of the stackers. Telescopic masts are great for higher lifts and have inner masts extending higher than external ones. They provide additional lift height for higher pallet racking facilities.
- Manual or Electric Operation
Electric pallet stackers offer more advantages, but manual ones remain great for basic operations. However, they require more effort to operate than electric machinery that works with the press of a button. Therefore, they are considered in minimal operations when carrying light loads.
- Load Carrying Capacity
The load-bearing/carrying capacity of a pallet stacker determines the type of task it can fulfill. Manual stackers are best suited to carry smaller pallets with light loads. They can also facilitate operations in shorter distances.
However, heavy-duty operations require the robustness and power of an electric pallet stacker. In addition, even electric stackers have different load limits, so checking the maximum load capacity before purchasing is crucial.
- Operation Environment
The effectiveness of a stacker can be affected by the operating environment. Uneven work environments need a pallet stacker with springs that maximize stability.
Checking for corrosion and rust-proof materials when working with harsh chemicals is crucial. Hardened steel pallet stackers are a great example of working in low-temperature environments.
- Fork Length and Width
A pallet stacker with shorter forks can suffice when handling smaller and lighter loads. Conversely, stackers with longer forks are better for loading and unloading longer pallets.
Incompatibility between the pallets and the fork length can make loading and unloading dangerous and tedious, leading to accidents. In addition, the fork length must be substantial to the warehouse space to factor in maneuverability.
- Size and Weight
The pallet stacker weight and size are a basic consideration, especially when working on limited space. Compact pallet stackers are great for narrow passageways, while bigger stackers are applicable in wider spaces.
The weight also affects the load capacity and stability of the pallet stacker, thus impacting the work environment. Therefore, operators and warehouse managers must settle on the appropriate stacker for basic operations without facing balance issues.
- Length of Operation
The operation frequency and duration should be considered when choosing a pallet stacker, especially when sourcing battery-powered stackers. Material handling equipment manufacturers provide lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid batteries, and gel batteries. Lead acid batteries last only a few hours, lesser suited for warehouse operations.
Others last longer and may be very expensive but require less maintenance. Therefore, it is considered that warehouses find a stacker with a battery that lasts through daily operations.
- Knowledge of Operators
Operators in a warehouse have skills and knowledge of working with a specific type of machinery. Some are great with heavy materials, while others are inclined towards simple machinery. Therefore, when a business considers purchasing a stacker, it must consider the operator’s knowledge.
Manual stackers are easier to use even with in-house trained employees as they do not require specialized training that takes weeks to months. On the other hand, electric stackers may be a little complex and need extra training for operators to use them efficiently.
- Type of Operating Floor
Not all warehouses have smooth floors compatible with different types of pallet stackers. Businesses must find a stacker that facilitates operations in their storage space. Manual stackers tend to have better ground clearance for uneven surfaces.
Some electric stackers like the Godrej Crown ES/ET 4000 series Electric Stacker also have higher ground clearance for handling surface incline to avoid shifting products during transportation.
- Stacker Features
After taking account of the basic stacker features in line with the warehouse operations, it is worth looking into additional features. Material handling equipment manufacturers add features to improve efficiency and productivity while maximizing employee safety.
Check for the handle ergonomics and design of lifts that guarantee comfortable operation. The Godrej Manual Stacker 1 Tonne offers comfort to the best possible extent, with a foot pump for fatigue-less daily operations. A system like the Godrej Electric Stacker 1.2 tonne has a foldable platform with protective arms that maximize flexibility in tight spaces.
By prioritizing these factors, businesses can find the best stacker in line with their operation. Although the equipment cost is a worthy consideration, focusing on other operational features can be beneficial. Once businesses have this checklist, they can collaborate with manufacturers to find the perfect mix for their industry.