: Why are forklifts mechanized in a way that only the rear end of the tires turn left/right? Why not the front end, like every other car or bus?

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: Why are forklifts mechanized in a way that only the rear end of the tires turn left/right? Why not the front end, like every other car or bus?

In: Engineering
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Not an engineer but I can make an educated guess

I believe it’s because the general use of a forklift requires a different (and possibly more precise) form of turning, cars and etc don’t need to turn nearly on the spot and make small adjustments as much.

Forklifts are made to move extremely heavy loads in tight spaces at slow speeds.

Rear wheel turning allows for tight turns and navigation in a warehouse, as well as more precise movement when picking and dropping pallets.

Slow speeds make rear wheel turning safe enough in forklifts.

Another reason is that when handling a very heavy load, most of the weight is on the front tires. It would take a great deal of force to steer the front wheels.

If you’ve ever tried to reverse round a corner, you’ll notice that rear wheel steering allows for much smaller turning circle as you’re swinging out the rear (front in the example). Now if you’ve tried doing this at speed, out of a parking space for instance you’ll be pretty aware of the heavy gforce you get, which is why we use front wheel for cars generally, as it provides a less dangerous level of turning at speed.

Don’t think of it as a vehicle like a car or bus to have steering like them.

For all intents and purposes a forklift is like a trolley jack or pallet truck, which have rear wheel steering so that the force being applied by a person is easier to handle heavy weight.