Forklifts For Food Processing And Warehousing
Fast turnaround, frequent wash-downs, cold storage and corrosive fluids are just a few reasons food processing facilities and warehouses require superior material handling equipment. Sub-standard or unreliable machines can cause spoiled product, lost productivity and expensive repairs.

Downtime is something every material handling operation wants to avoid, but for food processing operations downtime is a dirty word. In today’s article, we’ll look at some of the best material handling equipment available for:
– commercial food processing
– cold storage warehouses
– food and beverage material handling

Equipment for Food and Beverage Material Handling

The three most common pieces of equipment used in food and beverage material handling are electric forklifts, reach trucks and pallet jacks – known in the industry as Class 1, 2 and 3 trucks. LP forklifts are becoming less common due to California EPA regulations and technological innovations that have improved the lift speed and capability of electric trucks to be within two percent of their LP counterparts.

Class 1 (Electric Motor Rider Trucks): includes sit-down and stand-up electric forklifts. Capacities range from 3,000 pounds for the 3-wheel (sit-down) and AC-powered stand-up rider, up to 15,000 or even 40,000 pounds with Toyota’s high-capacity electric lift truck.

Class 2 (Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks): reach trucks are widely used in food distribution warehouses. Reach trucks easily maneuver in narrow aisles and can raise and position pallets into racks 30 feet high.

Class 3 (Electric Hand Trucks and Rider Trucks): including pallet jacks and the “walkie-rider,” used for loading and unloading transports, and staging pallets for racking. 

Other material handling equipment used in food processing and/or warehousing applications may include tuggers (also known as tow tractors) and carts.


Why Choose Toyota Forklifts?

Toyota forklifts are known throughout the industry as the most reliable, durable and safe forklifts in the industry. Toyota forklifts come standard with Toyota’s System of Active Stability (SAS) which gives them greater reach ability without sacrificing safety.

Discover why leading cold storage logistics provider Dreisbach chose Toyota for their fleet at Cool Port Oakland

Toyota electric forklifts use AC drive motors which are as responsive as an internal combustion engine, but more efficient and easier to maintain. The AC units use computer-driven semiconductors and transistors which are more energy-efficient than manual brush systems and require very little maintenance. Taken together, Toyota forklifts offer industry-leading performance and extremely low cost of ownership.

Does your application require outdoor work, salt exposure or cold storage? Toyota has you covered with add-on packages and a rugged electric forklift designed to work outdoors in the rain.

Cold Storage Conditioning and Galvanization Options


Toyota forklifts come standard with safeguards such as IP65 rated wire connections, sealed motors and contactors. Additionally, the AC motor and controllers reduce heat production and the risk of condensation entering into the nooks and crannies of the forklift. These small details pay big dividends in operational efficiency and low cost of ownership.

A galvanized chassis is available on Toyota pallet trucks. This protection improves the truck’s overall resistance to rust and corrosion and extends the life of equipment exposed to corrosive fluids such as brine, salt, and equipment that receives frequent washdowns. It’s ideal for applications where poultry, meat or fish refuse is present, when the equipment goes in and out of cold storage, or in high-moisture environments.

Rust Proofing
Toyota’s rust proofing offers extra protection for equipment used in wet and/or corrosive applications. Components prone to rust when exposed to moisture or corrosive elements such as salt, water, and brine can be galvanized, coated or modified for extra protection.

Food Processing Forklift Attachments

The right forklift attachment can significantly improve efficiency. The most popular forklift attachments for food and beverage material handling include:

Single-doubles aka Multiple Load Handlers A single-double attachment gives a forklift superpowers – the ability to handle two (or more) pallets at the same time. The single-double attachment we carry at Toyota Material Handling of Northern California (TMH)  also includes a side-shifter to maneuver loads into trucks and containers.

Push Pull, Carton Clamps A Push Pull attachment enables operations to use cardboard or plastic slip sheets instead of pallets. The load is then pushed off the forks by the Push Pull attachment. This type of attachment is typically used with bagged seed and grain, packaged food, dairy products, fruit and other produce.

A Carton Clamp attachment is another way to eliminate pallets. A carton clamp can grasp, lift and transport case goods using two, flat flanges. No pallets means more space and fewer random wood shards around the warehouse.

Rotators A Rotator attachment allows the forklift operator to pick up a bin of produce, for example, and rotate it 360 degrees in either direction. A load hold-down bar prevents the bin from being dropped.

Forward Bin Dumper A Forward Bin Dumper attachment, also known as a front dumper, can handle larger volumes than a Rotator attachment. It’s also a cleaner option because the Forward Bin Dumper dumps away from the lift truck. This attachment can be used with plastic, wood, metal, wire and cardboard bins and allows for smooth and fast loading of grapes, citrus, nuts, etc.


The Best Equipment for Food and Beverage Material Handling

At Toyota Material Handling of Northern California (Total Industries) we want you to find the right forklift for your budget and operational needs. Total Industries has locations in The Bay Area, Sacramento, Salinas and one of the largest material handling equipment dealerships in Fresno. We sell new and used material handling equipment and we rent forklifts and forklift attachments. We also offer warehouse racking solutions to help you pack more product in your existing warehouse space and can help you calculate the minimum aisle widths needed for your current fleet. Our experienced and friendly product experts can be reached online or by phone.

San Francisco Bay Area (510) 473-8151
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Further Reading:
Forklifts and Cold Storage – What You Need to Know
Forklift Batteries: You Have Questions, We Have Answers
Test drive a forklift at our state of the art demo center in Livermore, CA
What to Expect When You Convert from Lead-Acid to Lithium-Ion Forklift Batteries