What is A Cushion Tire Forklift? Everything You Need to Know

Forklift trucks are awesome. They have been forged from necessity and with ingenuity. It may surprise you that the invention of the forklift truck dates back over 100 years. In fact, the first forklift truck was a sort of combination between a tractor and truck called the Tructractor made by the Clark Company

Further modifications resulted in the lifting mechanism changing from a winch to hydraulic. The introduction of standardized pallet sizes combined with the logistical demands of world war catapulted the forklift into popular use. 

The first cushion tire forklift came from as early as 1935 and could lift 6,000 lbs. Modern cushion tire forklift technology has improved tremendously since then. For example, the IC Cushion Platinum II has a load capacity up to 8,000 lbs.

So, you now know what a standard forklift is, but what is a cushion tire forklift? Here is everything you need to know.

What is Cushion Tire Forklift?

When thinking about forklift categories, the lifting power is not a major category. This is because the loading capacity is similar across many different types of forklifts. A more important category is the type of tire. Why? Because a key variable in the successful use and selection of forklifts is the surface upon which they operate.

It is a little bit like choosing footwear that is appropriate to the terrain you intend to walk on. Ice skates, rollerblades, running trainers, high heels, mountain boots, and rubber soles are all excellent footwear if used under the right circumstances. In contrast, if you use the wrong footwear, then it is unsafe.

The same applies to the type of tire with a forklift truck. Check out this excellent article on wear and tear signs for forklift tires. There are two types of tires. The first is pneumatic and the second is a cushion.

The latter type is a solid rubber tire fitted around a metal band that together forms the basic wheels of the forklift. In contrast, the pneumatic tire is more like the type of tire you would expect to see on a car or smaller mobility vehicle.

Why Use a Cushion Tire Forklift?

1. Location

This type of forklift is well suited to indoor use on smooth surfaces. A warehouse is a typical location. The rubber connection with the floor is sufficient traction for most purposes. Pneumatic tires tend to work better outdoors and offer higher grip and traction. Where you have a smooth surface such as indoors, then a smooth rubber tire offers good traction.

2. Cost

The rubber cushion tires are cheaper to manufacture than their pneumatic counterparts. As they are cheaper to make, they are also cheaper to buy. The added advantage of cushion tires is that they are easier and cheaper to maintain. This is important because these forklift trucks are under a high degree of pressure that transfers to the lowest area of the forklift truck, which of course is the tires.

3. Maneuverability

It is often the case that cushion tire forklift trucks are able to offer smaller turning circles. This is a big advantage when working in smaller spaces. The cushion tires allow the vehicle to be lower to the ground which also means a lower clearance when going through doorways. Cushion tire forklifts are definitely the answer when working indoors and in tight spaces.

4. Quieter

The warehouse can be a noisy place. Noise impedes communication. Cushion tire forklifts tend to be quieter than other forklifts. This is especially so if you are using a battery powered model. It is also greener for the environment.

What Type of Forklift Should I Choose?

Just because you know some of the advantages of a cushion tire forklift, it does not mean this is the root type of vehicle for you. Before you make your decision, you need to think about where your forklift will operate. Will it be indoors or outdoors, or even both? 

When you are operating the forklift, how much space will be available? The same is true even if you are working outside. Is the surface outside rough or smooth and how much room will you have to maneuver the forklift. Other very important questions are how heavy will the average load be? Will I have to lift the loads very high? How wide are the aisles between storage bays? How often will I use the forklift?

It is also very important to know the dimensions and weight of the typical loads you will be moving before you decide on which forklift to use. 

Take a Load Off - Get Expert Advice From CI Trucks

It can be puzzling at times to decide on what exactly you think you need. This is challenging if you foresee multiple types of use for your forklift. You want to make a purchase that is cost effective now, and one that will save you money in the long run. 

One of the smartest things you can do is get in touch with an expert. Our experienced staff will be happy to assess your needs and advise you on the best options. You can learn more about our experienced team here.

Sometimes it is a wise option to rent a cushion tire forklift first before buying one. This can help you decide whether this type of forklift closely matches your needs or not before you make a significant investment. Not only that, there are many options within that category. Renting first can help to narrow down your choice. Check out our website to see some rental options here.