There are various types of forklifts available, which type is the best for your business needs? How do you know if a diesel-powered forklift is the one for you?
Forklifts can be powered by fuels such as liquid propane gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), and diesel. There are also electric forklifts available. All these different types have varying features so it is important to choose the correct model for your workplace.
Before you rush into any decisions, read this detailed summary of the main advantages and disadvantages of diesel forklift trucks.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Whether you choose to use a diesel forklift truck in your workplace, will depend on several factors. Let us take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of this type of equipment.
Diesel forklifts have more power and perform better than other types of equipment when it comes to speed, acceleration, driveline torque at low RPM as well as being able to cope easily with hydraulic add-ons.
With greater engine power, these lift trucks have a larger loading capacity and so are a better option for lifting heftier loads as may be required for certain industrial uses.
Service and Maintenance
Generally, diesel-powered forklift trucks have fewer maintenance problems. Compared to propane (LPG) powered models they require less planned maintenance and repair, and the diesel engine also has a longer life.
Diesel forklifts tend to experience more wear on the brakes compared to electric forklifts as the diesel forklift operator has to apply the brakes a lot more often. Diesel forklifts do require engine coolant and transmission fluids to be changed so there are waste fluids to dispose of.
A Forklift truck that runs on diesel power is an excellent choice for outdoor work, as they are not negatively affected by wet weather or difficult or dirty conditions.
When not in use they are can be parked wherever it is convenient, unlike electric forklifts which must be close to their battery charging point.
Diesel lift trucks are usually not very compact. A large and bulky forklift truck might be an issue in smaller warehouses when it comes to the maneuvering and storage of the forklift. They are not particularly suitable for use indoors anyway unless there is lots of ventilation or they are fitted with emissions accessories, which can be expensive. They can also cause a lot of noise when used inside which some operators might find problematic.
Diesel forklifts have the advantage of good visibility in particular at the rear. Propane (LPG) models have the propane tank attached to the back of the truck which can obscure the driver's view.
A final consideration for the working environment is the need for fuel storage on-site. A fuel tank can be bulky and costly with issues surrounding safety regulations and liability.
Generally, diesel forklifts cost less to run and the total cost of the ownership is less compared to propane (LPG) models. However, the price of buying a diesel forklift is greater, so the initial investment needed is higher.
Re-fueling is quick and easy with diesel-powered forklifts, as simple as filling the fuel tank with diesel fuel. In comparison, an electric forklift needs hours to charge the battery. No time is lost here with a diesel-powered model making it a good choice for use in workplaces with longer shifts or 24-hour working.
Currently, fuel costs are lower for diesel-powered forklifts however prices of fossil fuels are expected to rise in the future. Availability of fossil fuels may also be an issue in some locations.
Diesel-powered forklifts are an excellent choice for use in large, outdoor spaces. When it comes to material handling, they are very powerful so can lift heavier loads and they generally have better engine performance and require less planned maintenance than other types of forklifts. They are also a good idea for businesses that require the use of a forklift for long hours as they are quick to refuel.
Diesel forklifts are cost-effective to operate in the long term but the upfront cost is higher than other types of forklifts. Fuel cost is also lower however the price is unlikely to stay this way in the future. Finally, there is the environmental impact of using fossil fuels to consider, diesel having higher carbon dioxide emissions compared to the alternatives, for example, a battery-operated electric forklift.