When you think about the type of machinery that is used for handling different types of materials in the warehouse or storage area, what probably comes to mind is a forklift truck. Although these are vital pieces of equipment, there are many other pieces of equipment that are also useful for moving materials within these types of work environments. One such piece of machinery is the walkie counterbalance stacker. Sometimes this is simply referred to as a ‘counterbalance stacker’ or a ‘pedestrian counterbalance stacker’ as you walk behind the machine.

There are five main types of walkie stacker, some are manual while others are powered and the walkie counterbalance stacker is one of them. Below we share information about counterbalance stackers. We explain exactly what they are, what they are used for, their special features that can help you in your place of work, where they can be used and the advantages of the walkie counterbalance stacker.

EP’s range of electric counterbalance stackers are perfect for stacking non-standardised pallets with our ES-CA/CS Series range.

What are walkie counterbalance stackers?

Let us start by explaining exactly what a counterbalance stacker is and what it does. The counterbalance stacker is the preferred type of lifting machine when a forklift is either not needed, when there is limited room to store a forklift, or when it is to be used as an alternative to a forklift in the small storeroom or warehouse. Counterbalance stackers are also often used as a backup option when a forklift is unavailable, particularly when working in the large warehouses and storage facilities.

You walk behind it

In the simplest of terms, the walkie counterbalance stacker is a machine that you walk behind and operate to lift and move pallets and other materials at a set height. Our range comes with electronic steering, making operating them easy within your warehouse.

Counterbalance weights

This type of walkie stacker has counterbalance weights installed so that it enables the stacker to allocate and carry a load safely, such as standard pallets. The counterbalance weights are used instead of front or back legs to steady the machine, meaning that it doesn’t need load arms. Within our electric counter balance range we are always improving the stability of our electrics stackers, making them the most stable products in their price range.

They are long and narrow

The walkie counterbalance stacker can easily manoeuvre down a narrow aisle because it does not have legs that straddle outside of the machine, hence making the walkie stacker extremely narrow. The counterbalance stacker is also the longest type of walkie stacker and because of this, it has a big turning circle that is much bigger than all the other types of walkie stacker. Our range is a great alternative to big and expensive forklifts, when space is at a premium in your warehouse, giving you a small turning radius and adjustable forks to fit any type of pallet.

Lifting abilities

The counterbalance stacker’s lifting mast also differs from other walkie stackers as it has a long reach. It can be extended as high as 6000mm with a minimum height set at 2000mm.

What are walkie counterbalance stackers used for?

The walkie counterbalance stacker is a compact machine that is incredibly versatile, so you shouldn’t be fooled by its size. It can be used in the application of bulk storage, as it can move multiple pallets at any one time. This is a huge advantage in the busy warehouse environment where time is obviously money.

Counterbalance stackers are also often used in the loading and unloading of trucks. This is because it is much quicker than any human and can lift much heavier weights.

Another use for the walkie counterbalance stacker is the lifting of odd-sized loads. The counterbalance weights and long length of the machine ensure that the load remains stable while being lifted and in transit. It keeps everyone safe.

However, the main reason for using a walkie counterbalance stacker is to lift, move and store standard pallets. But, they can also be used for moving cold storage pallets and storage boxes.

Where can walkie counterbalance stackers be used indoors or outdoors?

One question that many people ask is where these stackers can be used and if they are suitable for either indoor or outdoor use.

The walkie counterbalance stacker is mainly used indoors. This is because they tend to have smaller sized wheels that are best suited to concrete floors that tend to be flat. However, sometimes they also come with larger sized wheels that make them suitable for outdoor use.

The working environment

The walkie counterbalance stacker is ideal for use in small confined spaces in warehouses, storerooms and compact warehouses. This is because they are narrow and can get easily into these confined and restrictive spaces, something which is usually very difficult for a standard forklift to do. So, if you have limited working or storage space and need to lift and move pallets, then the counterbalance stacker is the right machine for you.

Features of the walkie counterbalance stacker

The walkie counterbalance stacker has many different features that make it easy for the operator to use while maximising productivity and ensuring workplace safety. Let’s look at some of these features.

The counterbalance stacker usually comes with an electromagnetic braking system. This enables the operator to safely and easily stop the machine when they need to do so.

Although sturdy and a heavy piece of machinery, the counterbalance stacker is surprisingly easy to steer. This is due to the easy to use tiller handle that allows you to position the stacker exactly where you want it.

The counterbalance stacker is powered via a powerful battery and you can easily tell when the battery is fully charged via the indicator light. There s also a warning light to alert you to any battery fault.

One useful feature is that the counterbalance stacker can be constructed to cope with extremes of temperature making it handle freezer or cold storage environments.

When you need to move the stacker at a slower speed then this is very easily achieved by using the slow speed setting.

There are so many safety features built into the walkie counterbalance stacker. It has a backup alarm so that other workers know that the machine is reversing. Plus, the counterbalance stacker also comes with a strobe light as an additional safety warning to alert workers that it is in operation. A useful feature when working in an incredibly noisy warehouse meaning that the alarm cannot be heard.

In what type of business, workplace or industry are counterbalance stackers most useful?

There are many different types of business and industry that would benefit from using a walkie counterbalance stacker.

Different industries include those of general manufacturing, warehouses, machine shops, bulk storage units, truck loading, small storage areas, cold storage facilities and the pharmaceutical sector.

Counterbalance stackers are mainly used indoors, and if there is a need to lift and stack items, then they are the obvious choice, no matter the type of industry.

When a business deals with odd-sized loads and uneven loads on a daily basis, then the walkie counterbalance stacker is the machine to use as it is the safest, most reliable and easiest to use for these type of loads. The counterbalance stacker is a great all-rounder as it can handle general materials all within a small, tight and confined area. So, you get the precision of a forklift in a warehouse environment.

What the counterbalance stacker does best is to carry heavy pallet loads of uneven sizes and bulk. It is much quicker and safer to use than a straddle walker because it is better balanced and easier to manoeuvre in the warehouse or storeroom setting.

Advantages of using walkie counterbalance stackers

There are so many benefits and advantages to using walkie counterbalance stackers. Here we highlight a few of these benefits.

Upfront cost is low

If you are a new small business, then you’ll need to keep those initial costs on the low side. Counterbalance stackers are usually fairly cheap to hire or buy when compared with other moving machinery in the warehouse setting.

Low battery running costs

The ongoing costs for charging the battery and general battery maintenance are also fairly low. This is especially true when compared to LPG or diesel-fuelled machinery.

No fumes or exhaust pollutants

This is a huge advantage as we all want to do more to help our planet. Walkie counterbalance stackers don’t emit fumes or nasty exhaust pollutants into the air and because of this, it makes the walkie counterbalance stacker extremely safe to use indoors. They also produce very low carbon emissions.

Brilliant visibility

As the walkie counterbalance stacker is on the small side and you operate it from behind, this ensures that there is very good visibility during operation. This makes it a safe machine to use especially when in confined spaces.

Quiet operation

Counterbalance stackers are relatively quiet machines which means that they are good for preventing noise pollution. This also makes them highly suitable for the indoor environment.

So easy to move and handle

They are very easy to move and operate, especially in a small warehouse. This easy manageability is incredibly beneficial for the small business with a small business base as it can help you to expand your load capacity and turnover rates.

Low ongoing maintenance costs

The walkie counterbalance stacker has very few ongoing maintenance costs. If you opt for a reconditioned counterbalance stacker or choose to hire, then these costs are further reduced.

You don’t need a forklift license

Finally, you don’t need to hold a forklift license to operate a walkie counterbalance stacker. But, it must be reiterated that you still need to familiarise yourself with all safety features and controls before using the stacker. Worker safety always comes first.

We hope that you have found this guide on counterbalance stackers useful. If you would like further information about the range of walkie counterbalance stackers that we have available for hire and to buy, then please do get in touch with us today.