The purpose of lift trucks is to move loads from one place to another so choosing the right forklift tires, wheels and casters is necessary for forklift efficiency. Forklift tires are manufactured with rubber or polyurethane, and which one you choose depends upon the use of the forklift and the work environment. Polyurethane forklift tires, or polywheels, are advantageous for electric lift trucks which are often used indoors. The lower rolling resistance of polyurethane tires will help extend the battery life of an electric lift truck. These tires are also able to carry more load per shift and can last four times longer than rubber tires. Rubber tires are advantageous for forklifts with internal combustion engines, because of better traction, cushioning and superior performance in high-speed operations and outside environments. Rubber tires also cost from 25 -50% less than polywheels.
Forklift wheels come in three different options: pneumatic tires, pneumatic-shaped solids or press-on tires. Pneumatic tires, similar to truck tires, are made of rubber and filled with air. They have deep treads for good traction and are optimal for a truck that is used in many different environments.
Pneumatic-shaped solids are similar to pneumatic tires but are made of solid rubber and not filled with air. Their biggest advantage is that they never get punctured, so you will never have a flat tire ,which can cause significant delays in productivity. Pneumatic solids can last up to 3x longer than pneumatic tires, but because of this longer lifetime and durability, they are more expensive.
Press-on tires consist of a metal ring with rubber or polyurethane bonded to it. They are pressed onto the rims of the forklift with special equipment. In the U.S.A., about 70% of tires used for materials handling applications are press-ons. They operate on smooth floors at slow speeds and are popular in food plants and distribution centers.
In order to ensure that your lift truck is always ready for action, it is important to choose the right forklift tires, wheels and casters for your machine.