Education Blog

The 8 Significant Questions About Truck-Mounted Forklifts You Need To Know


How Is a Truck-Mounted Forklift Different From a Standard Forklift?

A standard forklift, also known as a lift truck and fork truck, is designed with a two-pronged fork protruding from the front of the vehicle. This is most often used in warehouses, although many other industries also use them to lift and transport pallets. Most forklifts can only lift the objects up and down and are used to increase productivity and capacity. There are many variations of the forklift available today, and one of these is the truck-mounted forklift which we will explore here.

Now that we know what a forklift is, we can talk about the truck-mounted forklift, which is lighter and more agile than the standard forklift. What is a truck-mounted forklift? A truck-mounted forklift, also known as a TMF, piggyback forklift, TMFL, and all-terrain forklift, is designed to lift and mount onto the back of a Class 8 truck or trailer via a preinstalled carrier. This is very easy with proper training and our products’ standard capabilities. The truck and trailer are specifically designed to securely hold and transport the forklift from one location to another. When building the truck or trailer, a specific focus is spent to allow for maximum payload capacity. There is always a high priority of adhering to safe and legal Department of Transportation regulations particular to the operating locations during this process.

The truck-mounted forklift is all about convenience, usability and safety, allowing for a 2-in-1 solution to solve industry needs. It will enable your delivery driver to bring the forklift with them on each trip, allowing for easy and convenient offloading of the payload, therefore saving money while being very cost-effective. Once arriving at the delivery location, the delivery truck can park and be turned off. The forklift can then be unmounted from the carrier under its own power, so it can then move the payload almost anywhere onsite while leaving your transport truck on the paved road. When the operator uses the forklift, they can either mount or dismount from the operator seat or choose to utilize PALFINGER’s standard side panel controls. Most of our customers like this standard option. It minimizes the operator having to climb up and down, thus minimizing the risk of slipping or falling, especially during inclement weather conditions in rain, snow, or ice.

You May Wonder When the Best Time To Use a Truck-Mounted Forklift Is?

Imagine you are delivering a payload to a specific area that won’t allow your transport truck to access, especially in hard-to-maneuver or off-road locations. This concept lets you leave your transport truck on the paved road and transport your payload almost anywhere via the forklift. The PALFINGER truck-mounted forklift has load-carrying capabilities to carry loads through narrow openings while maintaining a light surface impact on the ground, minimizing the risk of getting stuck. Additionally, they utilize a fuel-efficient Kohler Diesel engine and have the capabilities of traversing terrain up to 30% grades.

The capacity range for most of the industry is 5000 lbs. minus the weight of the forks installed; however, our range is higher at 5500 lbs. which allows us to compensate for different fork configurations without sacrificing capacity. This allows our products to carry a higher weight payload than many in the industry, making it a clear choice when selecting our product. A truck-mounted forklift provides your operator total independence when delivering your payload without needing to be near the drop location. You don’t have to rely on someone else to assist with unloading, therefore helping you save time and increasing your efficiency to turn your deliveries around faster.

Where To Use a Truck-Mounted Forklift?

There are numerous places where a truck-mounted forklift would be a great solution. Construction sites are the most popular industry where these are a beneficial addition. You can maneuver and transport brick and block, drywall, lumber and roofing materials on the job site. All-wheel-drive, panoramic visibility and a lightweight design make the PALFINGER GLS 55 models easy and convenient to fit your needs. The portable forklift’s small footprint allows easy maneuverability in small or hard-to-reach spaces.

Construction isn’t the only place you can use a truck-mounted forklift – virtually any place you deliver to may need a truck-mounted forklift when your delivery truck can’t get close to the final placement of the payload. These industries range from warehouses and farming needs to gas and recycling but are not limited to these. The ability to use this product on both smooth surfaces and rough terrain increases the efficiency and speed of the operator. The uses are endless; adding a truck-mounted forklift to your fleet is a wise and convenient choice. Don’t you want to deliver your loads faster? Truck-mounted forklifts may be the answer for you.


What About Safety?

PALFINGER truck-mounted forklifts are very safe when you combine the proper operator training and the safety features and designs incorporated into our forklifts. Truck-mounted forklifts are classified as a “Class VII Rough Terrain Forklift Truck” under OSHA regulations. OSHA requires operators to receive operator training specific to this type of forklift from an authorized OSHA Operator Certification facility. Compared to the knuckle boom intensive training, an operator must pass the OSHA test to operate a forklift. As they are maneuvering the forklift themselves and not via a remote, the skills required are similar to that of a car, but with added focus on payload, ground surfaces, and surrounding people.

Utilizing our standard side mount controls mentioned earlier allows the operator to mount and dismount the forklift from ground level without overextending themselves. The operator cab is ROPS and FOPS Certified, providing complete operator protection when properly seated utilizing our interlock switch seat belt. If the seat belt is not latched, the forklift will not move. The seat pivots 25° outwards to enable easy cab entry. Once seated, the operator can rotate inward 5°, improving their 360° visibility; the seat also utilizes an integrated side guard. Our models also have standard Department of Transportation approved LED lighting with flashers, headlamps, work lights, and an amber safety strobe. Visibility is enhanced over our downward slopped engine hood and through the 25” wider opening of the fork carriage. For the operator, it’s all about seeing the payload and surrounding areas all while being seen.


The numerous benefits of owning a PALFINGER Truck-Mounted Forklift can be measured in multiple ways.

  • You have control over your delivery capabilities both commercially and residentially. You can leave your delivery truck on the road without worrying about how close you can get to the payload drop location. There are no worries about trying to find parking or finding someone to assist you in unloading the payload. Your delivery schedule is better managed now that you eliminate relying on assistance and location.
  • When you park your delivery truck, there is no need to keep the engine running, waste costly fuel, or increase ambient noise at a job site or residential neighborhood.
  • With a truck-mounted forklift, your delivery driver will be able to traverse uneven terrain, narrow passages and bring the payload as close as possible for your customer with minimal surface impact. Your customers will most likely return when you can provide this value-added service over your competition.
  • A truck-mounted-forklift will increase your delivery capabilities and maximize your return on investment (R.O.I.) with quicker turnarounds when not caught up on a job site. Once again, it is all about the freedom to control your deliveries while maximizing your productivity—safely and efficiently.
  • A truck-mounted forklift can also help minimize lost time due to work-related injuries. There is no need to worry about an employee trying to physically handle the payload and risk hurting themselves or others around them. With a professionally trained operator in conjunction with the safety features we designed into our products, you can be assured that your employees and those around them will have the ability to stay as safe as possible.

How to Pick a Truck-Mounted Forklift?



What are your delivery requirements? Where will you be using it? What kind of payload sizes and weights do we handle? Do I have the proper delivery truck and or trailer to handle a truck-mounted forklift? What are the conditions we would use the truck-mounted forklift in? What are our local and state laws? Do we travel to multiple states? These are questions you will want to keep in mind to determine whether a forklift will address your needs. As truck-mounted forklifts are primarily designed and intended for outdoor environments, these will all be key deciding factors that we can assist you with.


Lifting Capacity

How much weight will you need to carry and transport? You will want to keep this in mind when making your selection. 5,000 lbs. is the standard capacity range and is typically the most common in the industry. However, PALFINGER takes an extra step in providing 5,500 lbs. as our standard offering.


Lifting Height

Also known as reach, it is essential when selecting a truck-mounted forklift. It would help to consider the maximum height you will need to reach with your deliveries. PALFINGER offers two-mast lift height solutions: a 10 ft. (120 in.) and 12 ft. (144 in.) allowing versatility.



Horsepower is also essential to consider as it, in combination with weight, determines how quickly you can move and lift your product. With a fuel-efficient 56 horsepower Kohler Diesel engine powering our durable hydraulic pump, you can sufficiently perform any tasks without sacrificing performance. Surface grades can also impact speed; however, you can traverse up to 30% grades with our capabilities. PALFINGER incorporates three high torque drive wheel motors, all with brakes, to ensure you will get the delivery done.

FHS 55 Standard:

  • Contemporary Styling
  • 3-Point Entry and Exit
  • Ground Level Diesel Fuel Fill
  • Spacious Ergonomic Operator Cabin
  • Rigidly Mounted Radiator Panel
  • Main Frame Side Pods
  • Low Profile Engine Hood
  • Carriage Cylinders
  • LED Work Lights
  • Front Street Lighting Kit
  • Main Frame Design
  • Rear SteeringQA
  • ROPS and FOPS Tested and Approved Overhead Guard
  • Rear Street Lighting Kit
  • Folding SMV Sign
  • Wrap-around chassis that extends beyond the bodywork
  • Composite body panels
  • KLT-treated and powder-painted chassis
  • Galvanized steps, telescopic stabilizers, wheel motor guards, transport chain hanger brackets to withstand the rigors of everyday use
  • Dacrotized mast chains
  • Zinc-coated mast and chain rollers
  • Wheel rim valve stem guards

FHS 55 4-Way:

Everything we know and love from the standard with the bonus that with the push of a button, the FHS 55 4Way’s wheels rotate 90 degrees making lateral travel in restricted spaces easy. Deliver I-Joists, LVL, Steel & Pipe, and other long-length products to previously inaccessible locations across rough terrain.

Check Out The Current Models Available for Sale

How Do We Differ From Competitors?

For over 43 years, the truck-mounted forklift industry has grown with many manufacturer concepts of the product since its development. For the latter part of the span, the industry has stagnated in new innovative designs and offerings from some of the top manufacturers, and customers felt they did not have many viable options. Since 1932, PALFINGER has had a robust history of manufacturing material handling products and is regarded as one of the top in the industry. With our expertise and ability to listen to our customers’ demands, our leading team of engineers took that feedback and applied them to a clean slate and started from the ground up in developing what we feel is one the best truck-mounted products to date. With operator ergonomics, safety, visibility, performance, and reliability all a top priority for our customers, PALFINGER offered a game-changing truck-mounted forklift because we redesigned and reimagined what our customers asked for.


Live Application

Where Can I Learn More About PALFINGER Truck-Mounted Forklifts?

You can conveniently contact us here, and we will have a PALFINGER Expert contact you to help determine if a truck-mounted forklift is right for you. If so, we would be happy to provide a free and convenient demonstration wherever you are. PALFINGER has redesigned and reinvented what we feel is the best solution available today and is excited for you to see and learn firsthand.


Is There a Dealer of PALFINGER Truck-Mounted Forklifts Near Me?

Yes, with locations across North America, we are confident we have a solution for your material handling needs. You can utilize our user-friendly dealer search to find the closest location near you. With over 100 certified mobile service technicians in the United States alone, you can be assured that you are in the right hands. Our sales and service capabilities are vast as we serve not only the United States but also Canada and Mexico!  We will have a material handling expert available wherever you are to discuss the best solution for your business — including post-sale maintenance and support. We are excited to welcome you to the PALFINGER family and want you to be as enthusiastic as we are about your first purchase! We not only value your business, but we also value our relationship.

See In Action

Images & Videos

FHS 55 Brochure

5,19 MB Download