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Narrow Aisle Forklift

Benefits of a Narrow Aisle Forklift

narrow aisle forklift

Narrow Aisle (NA) and Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) reach or lift trucks are classes of forklifts designed specifically for use in high density warehouse/distribution environments. They are a perfect example of how manufacturers respond to changing requirements in their marketplace.

For decades warehouse operations relied on the standard sit-down forklift to stock, pull inventory, and work the loading dock. They were the go-to solution for lifting and moving almost anything and you could see them trundling along on construction sites just as frequently as in warehouses.

But then times changed.

Advances in logistics technology and equipment presented distribution centers with the opportunity to significantly increase their productivity through the practice of high density warehousing. High density simply means a distribution center can store more than before by narrowing the aisle space.

Narrowing aisle space created a very real problem for standard forklifts. Their forks faced forward meaning they had to maneuver to pick or place a pallet. The smallest of these beefy lifters required aisles that were at least 11 feet wide.

Forklift manufacturers responded to this challenge with the Narrow Aisle truck. This vehicle has the fork mounted on the side and the operator standing up. The loss of the seat shortened the length and the fork on the side meant there was no maneuvering required.

These Narrow Aisle forklifts require a maximum of 10 feet and some can operate in slightly more than 3 feet. Take a savings of 2 feet per aisle times the number of aisles in the warehouse and you can appreciate the value that Narrow Aisle forklifts afford.

The right tool for the job!

Allowing the expansion of productive storage space is just one of the benefits that NA and VNA reach trucks offer. When considering adding narrow aisle forklifts to your fleet keep in mind that they:

  • Increase operator productivity. The standup design of the NA truck allows for a step in step out access and egress. If your operation requires frequent dismounting by the operator, the Narrow Access forklift will save a significant amount of time over a standard sit-down forklift.
  • Faster stocking and picking. Because the fork is side mounted no maneuvering is required when using a NA truck. The operator drives straight down the aisle, stocks or picks, and then continues straight or reverses and backs out of the aisle. No turning required.
  • Increased capacity. Narrow Access forklifts can be equipped with forks that accommodate back to back pallets and use a telescoping or scissors action that enables 2 deep pallet storage.
  • Less damage more accuracy. With a "man-up" system, the operator's platform will rise with the fork for positive "eyes on" identification of picks and more accurate placement and removal of pallets. The man-up systems can raise the platform up to 35 feet making visibility of top shelves a snap.
  • Less operator fatigue. A standup forklift does require more physical exertion than a sit-down truck but the focus of the exertion is on the legs not the back and lower spine as in standard forklifts. Part of that exertion is mitigated by the suspended operator platform that absorbs most of the everyday shocks and vibrations that come with the job. Net result is an operator who is "fresher" at the end of shift and less likely to develop back injuries.
  • Customization. Compared to their big brothers, the Narrow Aisle reach trucks have a cornucopia of options and customization features. Buy only what you need for your specific operation rather than trying to work around a generic forklift package.
  • Affordability. Generally speaking Narrow Aisle trucks will cost less than comparably equipped standard forklifts. This lower cost is also reflected in used and lease costs.

If you are ready to learn more about Narrow Aisle forklifts and their cost/availability, start by completing the form located here.