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Patio29Dadio

Forking Forklift Questions

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So, I am stuck in analysis paralysis for selecting a pneumatic or cushion tire forklift.  I think I am going with a newer model propane 5000 lb fork (we have lots of air circulation and I think that I don't want to deal with batteries and the charger, etc.).  Interested in opinions on THAT choice I am making... propane over battery.   Another tenant in my building wants to partner with us as he needs a fork infrequently and would rather not have one taking up space in his unit when he does not use it.

We have 8k sq ft in the building and the barrel room is long and narrow (17' x 75').   We have some other semi-tight spaces in the main tank/production room.  I am thinking that we will need another type of small lift for this barrel room given the lack of clearance (maybe a pallet jack will work to pull out the racks to be accessed by the forklift straight on)... so it might not play into the forklift selection in any case.

The building is 48" above grade with a common loading dock on the side of the building with a forklift corridor.  We have a 10% grade asphalt ramp in the back with only room for bobtail trucks.   The back yard space will be used for moving our waste products out to be picked up by ranchers for feed and for waste removal.   The flat space at the bottom of the ramp is hard-packed road-base gravel.  It is also likely that periodically we will need to drive around the side of the building on this gravel "driveway" to load and unload tractor trailers that cannot reach the back yard, and cannot connect to the common loading dock (it is a bit tight... especially if and when we have customers parked in the lot).

The trade-off is the larger size (10" longer plus 12% greater turning radius) of the pneumatic tire forklift vs the cushion tire forklift... and the mitigation of concern about the less frequent need to drive in gravel and also the use of the 10% grade ramp being problematic for a cushion (solid) tire forklift.   Someone told me that a cushion tire will put ruts in asphalt over time, so that also has me concerned going up and down the ramp.

Any thoughts and advice from those of you with distillery forklift operation and selection experience would be welcome!

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1 hour ago, Patio29Dadio said:

newer model propane 5000 lb

Pretty certain (say... 86%) there are regs requiring electric forklift.  The whole combustion engine thing and all that. We have battery. The charger sits where we park it nightly and has never been a big deal.  We leased ours, FWIW.

 

 

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Pretty certain (say... 86%) there are regs requiring electric forklift.  The whole combustion engine thing and all that. We have battery. The charger sits where we park it nightly and has never been a big deal.  We leased ours, FWIW.

Thanks.  I will look into that, although I don't think the electric forklifts are explosion proof, and so I don't understand how that can be a reg requirement.  Frankly, I would be more concerned with a big electric charge around the stills than I would an "internal" combustion engine... but I need to check it out from a reg perspective. 

Is your hard tire, or air-filled tires?

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1 hour ago, Patio29Dadio said:

Thanks.  I will look into that, although I don't think the electric forklifts are explosion proof, and so I don't understand how that can be a reg requirement.  Frankly, I would be more concerned with a big electric charge around the stills than I would an "internal" combustion engine... but I need to check it out from a reg perspective. 

Is your hard tire, or air-filled tires?

Hey, remember I said I was 86% certain!  Maybe it had to do with the size of our original building ( much smaller than our current ). Or maybe it was that since propane is heavier than air it could settle with ethanol vapors. I simply don't recall.

Our tires are hard, not air-filled. We have a 3,500 lb Hyster. Seems to do what we want.  Get fork extensions so you can carry two barrels.

 

 

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See this thread, has a link concerning OSHA regs for forklifts in a distillery environment. Spoiler: it doesn’t have to be explosion proof. 

We had a gas inside at the brewery I worked at and it was ok, we have a gas here but only for outside (mostly for hills).

Electric is nice if you remember to charge it because you don’t need to run to swap out tanks in the middle of something and the store is closed. 

Gas is nice if you are going to be on it non-stop as you can just swap out tanks if you have been using it for 9 hours straight (which we do during harvest).

 

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If you are going propane, play it safe and go with an LPS rated forklift. There are quite a few discussions on forklift selection on this forum is you use the search bar

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Oh one other thing, Our charger is 208 three-phase which everyone may not have. It's fairly large -- think of a 30"-sided cube.  

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Thanks for the assist here.  Did not think to read the OSHA regs.  Now I am educated and my forklift reps are looking for LPS, EE and EX-rated lifts. 

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We went with an Aerican Made Crown FC 5000lb electric forklift, lugged cushion tire. I was going propane but the electric just seemed better to us after a demo. with electric your turn radius is smaller because one wheel can counter rotate. we went with the small battery and it last us 2 weeks between charges. we charge at night while it isn't needed. Did i mention it is faster and smoother than propane. 

after having the forklift for a year the only thing I don't like is that the lugged tires bring gravel back inside. Should have went with the smooth non-marking option.

https://www.crown.com/en-us/forklifts/fc-sit-down-counterbalanced-truck.html

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@Patio29Dadio

     I would like to give you one other thing to consider as well in the scenario you shared above is you are thinking about buying this with a guy in your building.  That is all good and fine and saves money, but you need to think about insurance.  How will you insure it, who will be reimbursed if something happens to the equipment?  What happens if the other guy is using it and causes damage or injury and your name is on it as well?  There are a lot of things to consider when going in on purchases with folks outside your business.  There are solutions to all of these issues, but you need to keep them in mind when looking into joint ventures, for sure.  I have seen things like this come back to bite folks who did nothing wrong aside from having a co-ownership on something.

Best,

Aaron

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