The primary purpose of a forklift is to move items that are to heavy or numerous to carry by hand. This movement will in all probability involve lifting the load as well. The question how high and under what circumstances.
The purpose of a mast being fitted to a forklift is to lift the load. Masts come in many different configurations from a standard 3m 2 stage mast that will lift the load to maximum of 3 meters from the ground, to a quad (4 stage) 14 meter mast that would be able to lift the load as high as 14 meters (that’s a long way up!).
There are a number of factors one needs to take cognisance of i.e. will the forklift be unloading a container and driving inside the container to do so – if that is the case you will more than likely need a 3 stage container mast as opposed to a 2 stage mast. A 3 stage container mast will lift the load a least a meter off the ground (and more) before the top of the mast starts lifting out – it thus has free lift. Conversely, a standard 2 stage mast will very soon after it has started lifting the load start protruding from the top, the consequence being that this mast channel that starts protruding straight away will collide with the roof of the container rendering the operation ineffective. The amount of free lift the mast has is thus an important consideration depending on the type of operation.
A further issue to consider is the mast closed height i.e. what the total length of the mast from the ground when it is fully lowered. This measurement is important because you may want to travel under overhead restrictions such as water pipes for fire suppression or doorways within the warehouse, etc. If the closed height is too high you may not clear some of these overhead restrictions.
Yes there are many factors to consider when selecting the correct mast for your forklift – make sure you obtain advice from a professional forklift company.