Question: What are the different types of forklift masts and how can I select one that is ideal for my applications?
What would forklifts be able to do without Masts? Practically nothing because forklift Masts are core to the operation of the forklift since they host and support the lift mechanism of the forklift.
Forklift masts work through the use of hydraulic lift cylinders that work with chains to provide a lifting framework. Another set of cylinders contained in the mast is the tilt cylinder that ensures you have the best angle for load stability.
The mast also provides critical support to the carriage which holds the forks and load backrest.
If your operations demand more lift height and load capacity you can always go for masts designed with multiple mast stages. There are typically four different mast types that you can choose from - Simplex, Duplex, Triplex and Quad masts.
To better understand which mast stage is ideal for your applications let us define a few terms;
- Lift height: This refers to the maximum height the forks will attain when the mast is fully extended. Knowledge of this height will help you pick a forklift that is capable of reaching the highest shelves of your warehouse.
- Free lift: This refers to the maximum height the mast can rise to before it begins to extend.
- Extended Height: This refers to the height of the mast from the top of the load backrest when it is fully extended. You should put this height into consideration if you operate in an area limited in terms of overhead clearance.
- Collapsed Height: This refers to the distance from the top of the mast to the floor when it is not extended. It is also good to put this height into consideration if you are limited in terms of overhead clearance.
Types Of Forklift Masts
Simplex Mast (Single Stage Mast)
This mast type has two channels. An outer stationary channel an inner sliding channel designed for the elevation of the load. It is ideal for outdoor applications where height considerations are not important or in warehouses where overhead clearance is an issue.
Duplex Mast (Two-Stage Mast)
Just like the simplex mast, the duplex mast has two channels - the outer one and the sliding inner channel. However, the major difference it has from the simplex mast is that it offers a full free lift. It is ideal for use with containers.
Triplex Mast (Three Stage Mast)
Unlike the Duplex mast, this mast type works with three different channels - two inner sliding channels and an outer stationary channel. However, they usually have a center cylinder to support the lifting and this reduces visibility by a great margin. It is ideal for use in applications that need high working space.
Quad Mast (Four Stage Mast)
It is designed with three inner sliding channels and an outer stationary channel. Even though it can achieve much higher heights, it has a highly reduced load capacity to secure its stability. It is also ideal for applications that need high working space.
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