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What are the Types of Platform Trucks and What Determines their Needs

What are the Different Types of Platform Trucks and What Determines the Type Needed?

industrial-platform-truck-flatbed-cart-akro-mils-versa-deckThere is such a wide variety of needs among different businesses when it comes to moving product from place to place with the use of a platform truck. Yet, there are many more commonalities in the transport of product and materials than there are differences.

So, what are the types, dimensions, and capabilities of platform trucks and what influences the various needs of different businesses? The two most important factors in determining what type, dimensions, and capabilities of platform trucks a company needs are the size, weight, and dimensions of the product that needs to be efficiently and safely transported and the logistical environment of the facility in which the product and materials will be moved. Specifically, the design of the space – the width of the transport pathways, the dimensions of entrance and exit points, the product dimensions, and the size of the product storage place.

Fortunately, platform trucks come in a wide variety of sizes and dimensions, product stacking features, load capacities, and maneuverability characteristics that virtually any business facility or transport need characteristic can be met with the variety of platform trucks that are available today. Most platform trucks are designed with a mechanical advantage allowing the movement of a large number of materials with a relatively small amount of force, and ergonomically designed to be comfortable to move and with low risk of injury, especially to the low back region of the body.

Most transport trucks are designed so that the decks are rectangular in shape, and scale in increments of 6 inches, for both width and length. However, some are more square or wagon shaped.

What are some of the other features or types of transport trucks and their unique product transport capabilities and configurations?

  1. Traditional platform truck: The traditional platform truck is designed rectangular in shape, the platform deck is flat and without sides, there are four (4) polyurethane caster wheels or mold on rubber casters designed to roll easily under heavy loads, and a handle on one end. Other additional features that may now be included on platform truck decks are:
      • A removable handle that can be easily removed for placement on either end of the truck.
      • The platform deck may be made of metal, steel, aluminum, wood, and plastic. It may solid or grill in its design.
      • Some handles can be adjusted for height and slant and may even pivot for better maneuverability.
      • Expandable or telescoping platform decks with another set of wheels that engage if expanded.
  1. Platform truck with sides: Platform trucks with sides could be labeled a cart. However, removable or adjustable side panels have often been included as an optional design feature.
      • Sometimes these side panels, as well as front and back panels, are only 2 inches in height and range up to 3 feet in height. Odd shaped or oval materials can be moved effectively contained during movement with sides.
  1. Platform truck with a top tier: This configuration makes it easier to portion out different size packages with the smaller ones usually placed on the higher tier and the larger ones placed on the platform deck.
      • Sometimes the platform is placed at a height that makes it possible for the truck to serve not only as a transport vehicle but also for a workstation.
  1. Platform truck with panel separating bars: When long flat sheets of wood, glass, metal, or any similar size and shaped material is being moved, separating bars, usually pipe-shaped, run end to end along the length of the truck and serve to support and separate the various components in a more manageable way for transport.
      • Sometimes the separating bars are the same height and sometimes they come in different heights to aid in carrying sheets or panels of varying sizes and shapes.
  1. Combination platform models: Often separated down the middle with each side configured in a different way to carry different items, these platform trucks enable a person to carry a variety of materials as well as tools, all necessary components for completion of a specific task.
      • An example would be carrying sheets of paneling or glass and the tools to install the panels.
  1. Off-road version. Knowing that not all facilities transport product on a flat surface or even indoors, a relatively new form of platform truck that includes large traction grip tires and a self-propelled battery operated, rear single wheel drive mechanism for power drive and enhanced maneuverability over rough terrain.
      • The specifications of these off-road types of platform truck come with specifications for both smooth and rough terrain, with capacity reduced for the rough or inclined terrain.
  1. Folding platform model: To make the storage of platform trucks more compact and to occupy less space, some come with the ability to fold down the handle(s).
  2. Wagon cart model: Engineered to look and function more like a wagon, these models may include:
      • Large inflated or solid rubber wheels
      • Sides of varying heights
      • A single bar handle located in the middle of the cart, similar to a wagon


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