The value of a good quality sack truck is universally recognised. Businesses around the world use them in wide range of sectors, moving heavy or oversized goods around sites as varied as warehouses, industrial, retail, schools and libraries, and they are even used domestically. It is often the simplicity that makes these trucks so popular – you don’t need any special training or certification to use a sack truck, and you can immediately improve productivity and reduce manual handling injuries. Less common, however, is the humble sack truck’s versatile cousin – the stair climber sack truck.
The classic sack truck consists of a flat platform with a profile that is very low to the ground, a sturdy frame and two wheels. The stair climber sack truck has the same basic design, but in place of one wheel either side of the flat platform (the footplate or toe plate), there are three wheels on each side. These are configured in a triangular pattern so that, no matter what surface the operator is working on, there is always a wheel making meaningful contact with the ground and allowing easy movement.
In essence, the stair climber sack truck works in the same way as the standard model. The operator places the load on to the toe plate and pulls the frame back at the top to angle the whole unit and distribute the weight of the load onto the frame and the wheels. Then, he or she simply moves the truck and load into position, stands it up straight (or lies it down flat on some models) and unloads.
Where the stair climber comes into its own is when the user needs to transition up and down steps, kerbs or stairs. When the operator reaches the step, the truck is pulled up against the riser and the upper wheels kick in to help the truck and load to move upwards. The triangle formation rotates to ensure that maximum wheel contact is maintained at all times with flat treads and vertical risers to make the movement as easy as possible. This continues for as many steps as necessary, alternating between riser and tread as the truck moves up or down. When on the flat, the stair climber sack truck is used in exactly the same way as the standard, non-climbing model.
Stair climber sack trucks are used for the same reasons as any other manual handling equipment: to reduce strains and injuries caused by lifting and carrying, to minimise the risks of dropping and damaging potentially expensive or fragile stock or goods, and to maximise productivity (rather than having to make lots of trips, the operator can move a lot more in one journey).
You can see stair climber sack trucks in action in distribution centres, warehouses and industrial sites, but they are incredibly popular in the logistic world – particularly with movers and delivery personnel. Any time you or your staff are delivering heavy goods – groceries, white goods, coal, dog food, etc – a stair climbing sack truck should be considered an essential piece of kit.
As with any tool or piece of equipment, there are a number of different options for you to choose from when it comes to your stair climbing sack truck. Some of the most popular models on the market today are:
Sack truck with skids
Aluminium sack trucks
Aluminium weighs less than steel, which is not so important when you are using the truck on the flat, but when it comes to pulling a loaded truck up or down a flight of stairs every kilogram makes a difference. These trucks are as light as can be while still retaining enough strength to support the load, making things a little easier for those top floor or basement deliveries.
Folding sack trucks
Whether you are struggling for storage space on site or you want to minimise the amount of truck or van footprint that is taken up by the sack truck (to allow you to pack more stock into your vehicles) then a folding truck is the way to go. These models fold flat and typically also have telescopic frame elements, meaning that they are as small as can be when not in use, and then quickly and easily transform into a full-sized truck when you need them.
Powered sack trucks
A significantly more expensive version, the powered stair climber sack truck uses an electric motor to provide assistance when climbing stairs. This makes it even easier to move heavy loads with only minimal pulling force required, thus increasing productivity and reducing the risk of injury even further.
Heavy-duty sack trucks
As with the classic, non-climbing model of sack truck, you can choose the variant that best suits your specific need, whether that is increased load capacity, an extra-wide toe-plate, a model that can be uses one-handed, etc. As a general rule, the higher the load capacity and the bigger the toe plate the more expensive the unit will be. Make sure you assess your requirements carefully so you can select the best sack truck for you and your business.