The need for pallet storage and pallet movement equipment is universal, but the market is diverse, and the needs of one manufacturer or distributor will be different from another.
For example, a small-scale second hand book distributor may not need a forklift or hi-low to move pallets of books; a small hydraulic lift like a pallet jack may be sufficient for that operation's pallet movement needs. On the other hand, a large scale apparel wholesaler with multi-level stock racks will need a mechanized pallet lifting system that can reach high racks and support heavy loads.
Manufacturers, service companies, distributors and all kinds of other industrial operations, as well as operations outside of industry, require access to pallets and pallet movement equipment.
Fork lift trucks, reach trucks and several other gas or electricity-powered, heavy duty hydraulic lifting systems are available in many configurations for such operations.
Pallets are storage platforms used by manufacturers to ship their products; they are also used by warehouse operations, retailers and many other operations to store and display products. They can be made of wood, plastic, metal and other materials. They are characterized by their semi-hollowness; each hollow area in a pallet is designed to allow access to a lifting tool. Because few if any pallets are designed with a specific lifting mechanism in mind, every pallet lifting tool resembles every other tool, at least in terms of the shape of its pallet lifting implements.
Manual pallet jacks operate by the same principle as larger, mechanized pallet jacks. A manual pallet jack features a forked lifting surface, wheels and a hydraulic lifting system.
When a manual pallet jack is used to lift a pallet, the forks are slid into the pallet's hollow area. Then, the user pumps the jack's handle, which forces hydraulic fluid into a cylinder in small amounts, gradually forcing up a piston in the cylinder, which is connected to a rod that is attached to the lifting surface.
When the pallet has been moved and must be set down, the user releases the pressure in the cylinder, which causes the load to be lowered gently. Mechanized pallet lifts operate according to the same principles.
They are distinguished, though, by higher mobility, higher lifting capacity and the ability to reach pallets in high places.