What Type of Equipment Do I Need? 6 Ways to Tell:

Forklifts are the most essential tool in warehousing and manufacturing facilities today.  Understanding the types of forklifts and material handling equipment best suited for your business can make all the difference in productivity and profitability. Some preliminary questions that should be asked are:

1)     What type of surface will the machine operate on? (hard surfaces such as concrete, or black top, soft or uneven surfaces such as gravel, or soil)

 2)     What is the maximum fork height required?

 3)     Are there any overhead obstructions that may create overall down height restrictions such as doorways, ventilation piping, etc.?

 4)     What is the aisle width to determine turning radius of equipment?

 5)     What is the overall dimension and type of product being moved or stored?

 6)     And one of the most important questions is “what is the capacity requirements”?

Once these questions are answered, the decision of what type of equipment will work best in your application, and when to contact a material handling distributor to inquire equipment availability will be much easier.

For a short video called “Selecting the Right Forklift” click here, or feel free to contact one of our specialists to assist with the right solution for your specific application. We offer free assessments to provide you Solutions of Excellence in Material Handling.

What are Wet Disc Brakes?

Having forklifts equipped with wet disc brakes keeps coming up more and more in the material handling industry.  What does this mean?  …It means a better braking system.  Wet brakes run in oil. The oil keeps them cool, especially in heavy braking applications (Also referred to as oil-cooled disc brakes).  Wet brakes will last longer and require less adjustments and replacements over time.  Most wet brakes are a multiple disc set-up, providing more stopping power, and improving all around safety.  Dry brakes are mostly single disc or drum. These types of braking systems heat up quickly under heavy use and wear out fast, costing more in parts and labor over the lifetime of the truck.  Dry brakes are are a bit quicker to replace, but don’t offer as much stopping power or durability as a wet disc braking system.  Overall, wet disc brakes are the better set up between the two.

For more information, call or email us to discuss which lift trucks come standard with wet disc brakes and which brands offer this feature as a beneficial option to include in your next lift truck investment.


Tires are one of the most overlooked components on a forklift.  Distribution and warehouse facilities typically run forklifts relentless to ensure product moves quickly from point A to point B, taking a toll on tires.

Even though they are the main source of cushioning and support for your operators and loads, tires are often forgotten about until there are major problems resulting in costly downtime. Taking a more proactive look at the way tires are used in a facility and what contributes to their failure can help prevent these costly situations from occurring.

 Why Forklift Tires Fail:

1.    Operator abuse – such as excess spinning, stopping, ramming, overloading or throwing into forward or reverse without stopping first.

2.    Dock Plates- If improperly driven over dock plates, spiking in the plates can cause shredding.

3.    Poor bond construction- in manufacturing, the rubber is bonded to a steel band which is the pressing component that presses to the hub.

4.    Heat build-up – if too much heat occurs, primarily in long forklift runs, the rubber compound turns to a gel and blows out the sidewall of the tire.

5.    Uneven floors- when a warehouse or factory has uneven floors this will cause the tire to increase the wear at certain areas of the tire and make the tire wear out faster.

6.    Incorrect rubber compound- if the application requires a specific compound like oil resistance, smooth or traction tread, etc., it will make a tire prematurely wear out. The correct tread type or compound is needed to have a longer wearing product.

7.    Improper tire pressure in pneumatic tires – When running on underinflated tires you can easily overload the tire, running the risk of sidewall separation, blowouts, rapid tread wear and bead failures.

8.    Non-Marking tires- these tires are needed when the application requires floors to not be marked and typically in cleaner environments. However the chemical that makes up the non-marking does not last as long as a black inked tire and will need quicker replacement.

Protect your equipment investment by reviewing this list of reasons why forklift tires fail and save by replacing tires less often. The impact tires have on fuel consumption, vehicle downtime, lost productivity, as well as replacement, disposal and maintenance costs all add up. Also remember, the wear and tear on your machines will not be offset by trying to save money on tire replacements.

In order to reduce avoidable maintenance costs in the future, have your lift truck fleet’s tires inspected today. We offer free, no-obligation tire surveys, as well as mobile tire press services to keep you up and running.


It is not what you have…it is what you need that truly matters!

One of the most fun and entertaining segments of our business is the point at which a potential customer is contacted by a salesman or perhaps contacts us on their own to purchase a forklift. All the fun questions start to come out on the initial conversation and some of these responses can actually be alarming. I want to take  5 minutes of your time to illustrate some of the do’s and some of the don’ts on both sides of a sales transaction. I will start by using a factual conversation between a Jr. salesman and a customer that is inexperienced in buying forklifts.

Customer: “I need a 5000lb lp gas forklift.”

Salesman: “So you are lifting 5,000lbs?”

Customer: “No, that is what we have currently so that is what we want you to quote.”

Salesman: “Ok, how high are you lifting”

Customer: “About 15ft”

Salesman:  “Ok, do you need side shift”

Customer: “I think so, go ahead and put it on the quote”

Salesman: “Ok, what is your budget?”

Customer: “My Boss is super cheap…low price only!”

Salesman: “Ok, can I drop the quote off for you this week?”

Customer: “No, please email it to me I have to get her these numbers right away to buy this.”

Salesman: “Ok I will send it tomorrow”

Obviously, to save time, I omitted many other questions that get asked, but I think the point is clear; this is not the way you should go about buying a new or used lift truck. All too often, equipment buyers believe that they need to replace what they have now, with something exactly the same. This is unfortunate because there are so many advances in the way materials get handled in business these days. For instance, you might be surprised to know that well over 60% of the forklift market is now electric, and that number is only going to rise in coming years. The LP gas forklift is being replaced in many applications with an electric unit that is lower in cost to operate, cleaner to run and emissions friendly. Not only this but many advances in safety, options and capacity have been made in the Internal combustion or LP Gas engine operated forklifts as well.

             Some key things to remember for the customer:

  • Ensure that you understand what your true goals are for the project,(replace, have the new lift do a new task, be safer, more fuel efficient, save operating cost, Etc.)
  • Look at what you are handling and be exact (many companies guess at what the weight of their product is or just assume it is so wide or tall)
  • What areas of your facility must you access (shortest point you need to drive through and tallest point I have to reach to, how wide are aisles)
  • Do you have any obstacles like ramps, uneven areas or outside storage
  • What safety equipment does your company require on the truck
  • Is there a different method to handle your product than current that would save time, effort and money
  • Ask to have your account manager to come out and spend 30 minutes minimum looking at what you do

Some Key things to remember for the sales person

  • Make an appointment to do a survey at the facility
  • Ask questions the customer won’t or doesn’t ask
  • Do not forget your tape measure (measure twice and cut once…no guessing)
  • Take the time to observe and process the flow of what is going on in the facility
  • Understand the customers true goal in this project
  • Do not be afraid to suggest something they do not have

Don’t get caught in the trap of getting what you’ve always gotten, ask your dealer many questions, have them come and do surveys to help design and tailor a solution for your specific application on what you need, not what you have. This is the true professional approach to finding the right solution for you and your company.

Unique Lifts for Confined Spaces: Big Joe & Marriotti

In the material handling industry, there is always new equipment coming to the marketplace. But how do you know if this new equipment is valuable to you and your business? It is important to stay informed and be aware of what benefits the equipment holds for you. We are proud to offer not only forklifts, but also industrial vehicles of many brands, including Big Joe and Mariotti. Recently, both of these brands revealed new models that are sure to benefit your workplace.

Big Joe recently announced a new Task Support vehicle suitably named the J1 “Joey” Task Support Vehicle. Designed for simplicity, this vehicle is compact and makes working at an elevated height safe, easy and productive. The Joey is electric and runs over 4.5 hours on a single battery charge. Since it is electric, there are fewer moving parts, resulting in less maintenance upkeep for you. In addition, the Joey can carry a capacity to 1000 lbs. and has a 16ft working height, giving you improved productivity thanks to the elimination of stock ladders. The Joey has great steering, and can complete a full turn in a 72” aisle.

Mariotti is known for producing the most compact electric rider forklifts on the market and their newest model of AC forklifts are no exception. Mariotti’s new line of AC sit-down forklifts are able to work in tight, compact spaces where no other forklift can normally operate, each possessing capacities of lifting between 750lbs to 2,300lbs. This allows you to complete your work in different environments. These forklifts can drive through aisles as narrow as 31 inches, and heights as low as 75 inches. In addition, they can also maneuver through elevators and doorways and successfully distribute a heavy load. The Mariotti AC forklift has mast heights from 113” to 224,” with side shift and power steering. As with the aforementioned Big Joe, the Mariotti AC lift also has fewer moving parts and less maintenance needs. For added operator safety, the Mariotti  comes complete with a strobe light and back-up alarm as standard equipment.

Both of these models are designed to operate in tight, confined spaces. They are ideal for hospitals, universities and smaller warehouses in metropolitan areas. If your business is planning on expanding its fleet this year, contact us to learn more about the benefits of these unique lifts!

Check out the videos below for more information!

Big Joe J1 Joey

Mariotti AC sit-down forklifts

How to Know When to Rent vs. Buy a Forklift

Renting a forklift for your in-plant projects has many benefits.  For example, while you are renting the forklift, any repairs for equipment you currently own can be addressed. Another benefit is that it allows you to try the latest advances in equipment technology with our late model rental fleet. At Wisconsin Lift Truck, we will even come to your jobsite to provide you with insight on which piece of equipment would work best for you. Try equipment out before you buy it…that just makes sense. However, renting often has a higher long-term cost, so consideration should be given. Because renting is more expensive than leasing; it’s more costly than buying, so each angle should be examined. If your project is going to be short term, renting could be a great option.

If your warehouse or work site uses your forklifts every day for many hours, buying is more likely the better option to consider. The cost of renting a forklift is offset in some margin by the benefits mentioned here but long term renting should be discussed with a material handling professional that can help guide you in the correct choice given a specific requirement. In addition, owning a forklift is considered an asset—if you wish to sell it in the future to upgrade, there in most cases is a value to that towards the purchase or lease of your upgrade.

To make your decision, call the professionals and schedule a free consult to help your company figure out the best and most cost saving option. Contact Wisconsin Lift Truck today!

80 Volt Lift Trucks: What You Need to Know

So, you’ve seen our promotions for high efficiency 80 volt electrics trucks and you’re intrigued, so you asked your current forklift supplier about 80 volt electrics and they told you there was no advantage to going with 80 volt trucks other than for opportunity charging…..are we correct?    Well your current vendor was only half right…..there may not be an advantage with THEIR 80 volt truck because all 80 volt trucks are definitely NOT created equal.

Continue reading

Scheduled Maintenance Program: Why It Matters

For businesses like yours, guaranteeing that a forklift fleet is functioning smoothly is vital to maintaining a company’s productivity and efficiency levels. But choosing the right forklift based on the company’s operations is not enough. A carefully chosen service plan is also necessary to prevent costly downtime and unnecessary repair bills that can affect your bottom line. Continue reading

A Forklift’s IP Rating: What Does it Mean to Our Customers?

An IP rating – Ingress Protection – is an indicator composed of two numbers that describe the level of protection an electric forklift has against environmental situations. The first digit refers to the protection against dust:

0 – No special protection

1 – Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand (but no protection from deliberate access); from solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter

2 – Protection against fingers or other object not greater than 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter

3 – Protection from entry by tools, wires, etc., with a diameter of thickness greater than 1.0mm

4 – Protection from entry by solid objects with a diameter or thickness greater than 1.0mm

5 – Protection from the amount of dust that would interfere with the operation of the equipment

6 – Dust tight

 While the second digit is the level of water protection:

0 – No special protection

1 – Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand (but no protection from deliberate access); from solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter

2 – Protection against fingers or other object not great than 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter

3 – Protection from entry by tools, wires, etc., with a diameter of thickness greater than 1.0mm

4 – Protection from entry by solid objects with a diameter or thickness greater than 1.0mm

5 – Protection from the amount of dust that would interfere with the operation of the equipment

6 – Dust tight

Simply put, these IP ratings are guidelines for customers wanting to know how well protected an electric forklift is against dirty and wet environments. For dust protection, the highest number is 6; and for water protection, 7. As an example, a forklift rated as IP54 offers a good level of overall protection from solid and liquid objects.

Each individual electrical component of a lift truck has its own IP rating.  The overall IP rating of a truck is therefore equal to the lowest IP rating of any individual component.   For example, the motors and controllers on a truck could have a very good IP rating of IP65.   However, the key switch, because it has a hole to accept the key, might be only rated at IP44, therefore the whole truck would be rated at IP44.

Bottom line: IP ratings allow us to easily identify a truck’s ability to perform when exposed to dirt and moisture as well as the ability to be washed down which is crucial in industries such as food and beverage. To learn about IP rating’s of our electric forklifts, please get in touch with Wisconsin Lift Trucks today.

Forklifts: Safety Tips for Operators

Every year, many workers are killed and others severely injured in forklift accidents. Although the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has strict guidelines on how to safely operate forklifts, the number of accidents and injuries workers suffer is still unacceptable. Continue reading