Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

What is a Turret Truck (VNA)? Basics 101

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Forklift Basics

How do Turret Trucks work?

A turret truck is specifically designed to do one task: operate in very narrow aisles. The turret truck is often abbreviated to VNA standing for very narrow aisle truck.

Turret Trucks are a battery operated machine that uses both the electric engine, battery and operator compartment to counterweight heavy loads.

Turret truck diagram

The main mast lifts the operator to heights of up to 14 metres (depending on the model). This man up process means the driver sits within the carriage of the turret truck, giving them a clear and accurate view of the pallet handling process, hence improving handling times. This feature also allows the operator to perform single or multiple order picking, allowing for more accurate stock management.

Comparing this to conventional reach trucks or counter-balance forklifts where the operator can be up to 8 metres away from the actual pallet handling, resulting in the operators having an extremely obscured view. This forces operators to use best judgments and trial and error processes for handling loads.

The actual forks of the turret truck are located in front of the driver. The forks are mounted on a smaller front mast that can rotate 180 degrees, giving the operator access to both sides of the racking aisle without the unit having to move. The front mast provides the operator with an extra 2 metres of height, depending on the model, allowing for pallet handling up to 16 metres. The forks travel along a rail system mounted to the front mast allowing the operator to move the forks into position to lift and move pallets.

Turret trucks operate on a ground based laser or rail guided system which guides the unit during aisle operation, allowing the turret truck to function at extremely high speeds up to 16km per hour. This ensures extremely fast pallet handling with much higher productivity and handling times than reach trucks or counter-balance forklifts.

What applications are Turret Trucks used for?

Turret trucks are more widely used in Europe due to high lands costs but we expect that there is a strong potential for these specialised machines in Australia as land costs continue to increase and businesses seek other solutions that allow them to increase warehouse capacity without having to move locations.

A turret truck is an extremely specialised machine and hence should only be used for high volume handling applications. They are the fastest option in terms of load handling per hour.

If you require high density volume warehouse the turret truck can save up to 50% more space than your standard reach truck and 25% than an articulated forklift. The turret truck is ideal in applications where relocation or land cost is high, such as large cool room warehouses.


  • Significantly faster pallet handling in narrow aisle applications hence providing significant productivity gains.
  • Reduces operator error as they have a clear and view of the loads they are handling, reducing risk of racking damage.
  • Reduces aisle width to 1.6 metres, increasing warehouse holding capacity.
  • Highest racking solution up to 16 metres, compared to 8-12 metres for articulated forklift or reach trucks.


  • Are specifically engineered for narrow aisle operation and hence are unable to be used for other applications such as loading and unloading trucks, or general counter-balance lifting applications.
  • Require a counter-balance forklift in partnership with turret trucks in non-aisle applications, hence requiring further capital investment.
  • Require a backup unit for servicing and break down periods, either working at the same time or kept as a full time backup.
  • Significantly more expensive than standard reach trucks or forklifts requiring substantial capital investment in equipment and racking planning.
  • Careful safety procedures and policies need to be implemented to ensure no obstructions are found on the path of the turret truck. Due to the high speeds at which they operate, significant damage can be incurred to racking and the turret truck.

Aisle-Master Narrow Aisle Forklift

For company’s seeking a more economical and versatile narrow aisle solution than the previously mentioned VNA Turret Trucks, Adaptalift’s Aisle-Master forklift could be the solution.

Available as both engine or battery powered articulated forklifts, Aisle-Master forklifts provide owners the combined abilities of a conventional forklift and a reach truck.

Aisle-Master’s can be operated indoors, outdoors and on uneven surfaces, thus reducing, the number of forklifts and associated labour required. Double handling is also eliminated as the product can be taken directly from the truck or van to the storage location.

Due to the articulated design, the Aisle-Master can operate in aisles as narrow as 1.98 metres. The space saved by using the Aisle-Master leads to an increase in the number of pallet spaces, increasing your storage space by up to 50%.

The Aisle-Master is available in both battery electric and LPG, with various lift height options up to 10.5 metres.

If you’re interested in looking at implementing turret trucks into your warehouse, ensure you contact your forklift provider first. They can work closely with your racking provider to ensure maximum productivity and return on investment.

If you’re after more information have a look at the Hyster Turret Truck. Hyster ensures lowest cost of ownership with 1,000 hour service intervals, seal AC motors, advanced ergonomics and 30kw / 80 V motors, providing industry leading productivity levels.