Narrow Aisle Lift Trucks
The kind of electric truck which is made to operate within narrow aisles is called a Narrow Aisle Lift Truck. A counterbalanced lift truck could turn within the aisle because standard storage aisles are only 3.6 meters wide and this is adequate space. However, narrow aisles can be 2.4 meters wide to as little as 1.8 meters. The narrow area requires specific lift truck models that are small, capable of tight turns, can put away loads without pivoting. The common kinds of narrow-aisle trucks are reach trucks, turret trucks and orderpickers.
Narrow-aisle reach trucks
Reach trucks were the first narrow-aisle lift truck to be manufactured for warehouse applications. These small trucks can easily turn within narrow aisles since their design has eliminated the requirement for a big counterweight. Instead, stability is provided by outrigger arms that extend in front of the truck. The downside of this design is that the outrigger arms can hinder access to the storage rack as the truck cannot get close enough. These types of trucks work well in a warehouse that is well lit, has even, clean floors, ample turning space and good flow of traffic.
The design of a turret truck has turning forks on side of the truck. The forks pivot 90 degrees and move from side to side. The load faces forward whilst the operator drives down the aisle. When stopped at the designated storage location, the truck's forks turn to the storage side and lift the load to their full extension, and then smoothly deposit the load before resuming their original position. Turret trucks could come with a wire guidance system which keeps the truck on its path in really narrow aisles. Operators remain at floor level in man-down trucks.