Even if sales volumes have normally been small, approximately 1% to 5% of the worldwide forklift market; side-loaders have become the dominant choice of equipment in the material handling business for handling unconventional cargo in a simple manner.
Sideloaders are quite popular within the aluminum, timber, steel, glass, construction and aviation industries. In addition, they are used in industries that are making unconventional things like for example moldings, and windmill arms. Practically any business which produces oversized long or awkward things uses the side-loaders.
During the start of the 1950's, Henry Le Grande Lull from the Lull Manufacturing Company originally made the sideloader lift truck. These early models were requested from the United States Air Force. The original concept was patented for commercial application but it was not developed until Lull Manufacturing was taken over by the Baker Raulang Company in the year 1959. It was Baker Raulang who made the design. Later, the name was changed to Baker Traveloader. In the late 1950s, the side-loaders were introduced to Europe. The early models were made by Italian manufacturer Fiora and the afterwards B-P Battioni e Pagani who pioneered the machine's use in timber yards.
The side-loader is a bit different from the counterbalanced forklift, because the traditional forward-traveling lift trucks have front facing forks while the side-loader has side facing forks. The operator though will drive in a cabin similar to those used in standard forklifts. The unloading, lifting and loading functions are performed by the mast located at the driver's right-hand side. The cargo is usually transported lying on a metal or wooden deck. This helps to reduce distortion, stress and damage to the load. Recent innovations to the side-loader design have integrated a large variety of lifting accessories being developed.
The use of side-loaders instead of the reach-stackers or standard lift trucks: safer operating conditions, improved visibility, and the ability to utilize available space more effectively as well as faster traveling speeds.
You will only be able to accurately know the right type of equipment to finish your tasks, when you have completely assessed the work environment and kinds of tasks you will be performing. There are some great rental options available too in order to determine the right type of equipment to accomplish your requirements. Doing some research on the Internet or talking to a reputable dealer is one more good way to get some information as well when trying to figure out the right option.