The art of handling long and bulky loads
Handling long and bulky loads hides safety pitfalls but also opportunities to optimise a company’s logistics system.
Handling a special load incorrectly can have important consequences both from the point of view of safety and logistics efficiency. All this can lead to mistakes that can be very costly for the company. It is therefore easy to deduce how choices motivated by apparent savings can actually turn into serious economic damage. An example of this is the handling of long and bulky loads, which requires the use of forklifts specifically designed and manufactured for this purpose.
In many companies, in a short-sighted move to reduce costs, ‘classic’ front-end forklifts are in fact used for this type of transport. The use of these machines requires the operator to move with the load lifted to a certain height to avoid obstacles along the way. This incorrect use creates significant potential risks for both the operator driving the machine and the warehouse workers operating in the same area. Not to mention the integrity of the products being transported, which in this way are perpetually at risk of damage.
In addition, the use of front trucks for handling long and bulky loads results in a significant loss of logistical efficiency. It is a well-known fact that manufacturers of long materials, such as steel, plastic and wood, often have large warehouses organised with pallet racks or cantilevers. The use of fronts results in a waste of enormous space, as these trucks require wide aisles to turn and manoeuvre the load. Forklifts with a low centre of gravity and multidirectional drive, on the other hand, guarantee the possibility of more precise, faster manoeuvring in smaller areas, thus doubling the capacity of any logistics facility.
So which forklifts are suitable for handling long loads?
There are many solutions in the area of handling long and bulky loads, which can meet different technical and economic requirements. They start with electric stackers walk-behind with or without a retractable mast, which are an economical and versatile solution for all companies that need to move long loads in narrow aisles without ground guidance.
Then there are the 4-way or multidirectional reach trucks, which do the work of a traditional side carriage by moving in all directions but maintaining extremely small dimensions. They can be equipped with a large-opening fork positioner for transporting bulky loads and with cushion wheels for operating inside and outside production facilities. Lastly, we would like to mention the sideloaders (4-way and multidirectional), which are larger and more costly machines but which allow the transport, storage and picking of long and bulky material weighing a significant amount.
Which manufacturer to rely on?
As we have been able to highlight, the handling of long and bulky loads requires considerable specialisation and technical and design expertise. OMG, thanks also to the re-launch of the Fiora brand, has a complete range of products for transporting and storing this type of load that includes all the forklift truck models mentioned above. Machines that guarantee an increase in storage capacity, an improvement in safety during handling and a reduction in the risk of damage to the transported products.