An order picker, or stock picker, is an electric forklift truck with a platform that on which the operator rides. The operator controls the direction and speed of the forklift and also controls lifting the platform.
Operator Platform – the order picker is different from all other forklift trucks because it is equipped with a platform on which the operator rides up and down. Stock picker platforms are typically anywhere from 42″ to 54″ wide and extend a few feet away from the base of the machine.
Two forks, or an extending platform attachment, are attached to the platform. The forks are meant for carrying and lifting pallets. A platform extension will be used in warehouses that store items like furniture.
When the platform is lifted the operator rides on the platform and is lifted at the same time. The operator can then “pick” items from the shelving and place them on the pallet or on the platform extension.
Electric Power – order picker forklifts are battery powered machines. They commonly use a 24V electrical system, but some are built to use 36V and 48V power.
Mast and Lift Height – like most common forklifts, the order picker is equipped with a mast that lifts the operator, the platform, the forks, and the load. Order picker masts typically lift anywhere from 198″ to 300″. However, they are also built with masts that lift higher than 300″ but these are less common.
Uses – order pickers are used in the racking aisles of indoor warehouses that have smooth concrete floors. They are not meant for travelling long distances, loading and unloading trucks, driving outside, nor driving on anything other than smooth concrete. The order picker chassis is built very low to the ground and gets jarred or easily stuck on uneven surfaces.
The order picker gets its name from its most common use: “order picking.” The order picker is used for pallet building in narrow aisle warehouses. Operators will have a list of items to pick in the warehouse. The operator travels the warehouse picking items from the racking and placing them on the pallet. Once the pallet is complete, the operator takes it to the end of the aisle or some other packing station nearby. Other forklifts such as pallet jacks or three wheel electrics will handle the pallet from this point. The order picker does not load and unload trucks. It heads back to the aisles to build another pallet.
Options – order pickers can be equipped with a few unique features.
- Wire Guidance – because order pickers are meant to be used in narrow aisles, there is a risk of running into racking and other forklifts passing in the aisle. Wire guidance limits these collisions by preventing the order picker from leaving a guided path. A wire is installed in the floor and the order picker is equipped with sensors that don’t let the machine leave the path of the wire.
- Auxiliary Mast – some order pickers can be equipped with an auxiliary mast on the operator platform. This small mast lifts the forks and the load to an ergonomically efficient height. This prevents the operator from bending over too far to place items on a pallet.
- Warehouse Management System – order pickers are commonly equipped with computers, communication systems, and other electronics devices to help the operator and warehouse management pick items more efficiently.