What’s A Pump Truck, What Do People Use Them For, And How Do They Work?

If most people were to be asked what a pump truck is, they’d probably say that it was a fire engine! They’d likely say this because they are similarly termed and a fire engine “pumps” out water. A pump truck, however, is not actually a truck at all, at least, not in the conventional sense! What they are compared to what people would likely think they are, is quite a bit different.

A pump truck is something that everyone who has ever been in a warehouse has seen at least once. People who have memberships at Costco are certain to have seen them from time to time. Even people who have been to a grocery store might have glimpsed one at some point. So, what are they?

This kind of equipment is mobile and easy to use. Anyone can use it with less than five minutes of training. It has an upright handle and two long metal legs on wheels. Still not sure what it is? They do the work that no human could possibly do and make a difficult job quick and easy, but they don’t move very fast. Still unsure?

A pump truck is also called a pallet jack, a pallet pump, a dog, and even a jigger. The word “pallet” should give it away! Still don’t know what a pump truck is? They are those neat little pieces of equipment that are used to pick up pallets off the ground so that they can be manoeuvred to where a manager or supervisor needs them to be!

By now, everyone must be getting an image of one in their minds. Now, keep in mind that these are not fully mechanized forklifts, but the smaller pallet jacks that use manpower and have a much simpler lift mechanism to get them off of the floor. Full-sized forklifts are electric vehicles that can lift a pallet high off the ground and put them on shelves several feet off the floor.

So, now that everyone knows that they’re used to move pallets of products around,  how do they work? These manual jacks are actually much older than people might think. They go all the way back to the early twentieth century! Today’s innovation also does involve powered jacks, although they aren’t as common today as they were in the past.

How these machines manage to lift heavy loads without using the human component to its workings is through hydraulics and hydraulic fluid, allowing for the lifting of heavy loads. Powered pallets are the electronic version of this, although it can manage heavier loads and move them across a warehouse floor faster than a manual one.

So, that is the quick and easy definition of what a pump truck is, what it does, and how it does it. Now when encountering a person who works in a warehouse, you will know a little more about what they’re talking about when they discuss their day at work!