Forklift tires: Pneumatic vs. cushion on lift trucks
If your company is in the market for forklift tires, you might have come across the term cushion tires or pneumatic tires. What’s the difference? Here is a forklift tire and wheel primer.
What the difference between cushion tires and pneumatic tires?
Let’s look at the difference between cushion tires and pneumatic tires:
Cushion tires are made of smooth, solid rubber. The tires are fitted around a round metal rim. They cost less to make and are easy to maintain by warehouse personnel, and cushion tires also have a smaller diameter than pneumatic tires. They fit a smaller forklift chassis. Plus they have a lower ground clearance and a better turning radius. This makes the forklift they are installed on more maneuverable. They are used on forklift that operate indoors, where surfaces are flat, smooth and consistent. Cushion tires are also generally less expensive than pneumatic tires.
Pneumatic tires are like car tires. They provide high performance and a strong grip on uneven surfaces, or uneven terrain. They also have a tread and are also larger and wider than cushion tires.
Two versions of Pneumatic Tires
There are two pneumatic versions. Air pneumatic tires are filled with air. Solid pneumatic tires are made of solid rubber. They also have an internal cavity filled with polyurethane foam. Plus, they are less prone to puncture and are more versatile than the two other tire types.
Solid pneumatic tires are used by small to mid-sized operations in both indoor and outdoor applications. The solid versions are a good middle ground between solid construction of a cushion tire and the durability of an air pneumatic tire. Generally, they are used for operating outdoors, where surfaces can be uneven, rough or variable.
Pneumatic tires are generally preferred on construction sites, in lumber yards, in outdoor environment, and in warehouses where traction is important.
Forklifts have no suspension system, and so pneumatic tires give the operator a more comfortable ride, because bumps and vibration are reduced. As a result, driver comfort and productivity is improved.
Pneumatic tires are more similar to your car’s tires making them better at handling non-paved and rough-terrain surfaces.
Four tires vs three tires
Forklifts that use four tires (on four wheels) can lift heavy loads. They are extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of applications. Some forklift models have three-wheels (and thre tires). These forklifts are ideal for indoor usage such as warehouses, where space is limited and the need to turn and maneuver in tight spaces is important.
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