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The forklift is one of the workhorses of modern workforce.
Warehouses,manufacturing plants, distribution centers and many other commercial applications depend on forklifts of many types and sizes to keep daily workload
running easily. Other businesses only need a forklift to unload deliveries for a couple of hours a day. Either way, having a forklift that can perform well for your specific
needs is important.
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Forklifts are named for the L-shaped forks
typically used to lift shipping pallets, but they can be
outfitted with different accessories for picking up spools, drums, or other specific loads
too. Also called lift trucks they are available for both indoor and outdoor
applications and can carry loads of 500 lbs
to 30,000 lbs or more. If your usual load is less than 1k lbs, a pallet jack or hand truck is probably a
more workable choice.
Purchasing a forklift is a large investment for small businesses,
and you need to make sure you get one that can handle your job without
going over you expense budget.
Before you begin glancing at forklifts or talking to dealers, you need to determine exactly what you need the forklifts to do. Here are important things to get answers for before you start comparison shopping:
-How heavy and what size are your typical loads?
-How high do you need to lift the load?
-Will you be using it indoors, outdoors, or both?
-How much room do you have to maneuver? How wide are your narrowest aisles?
-How many hours per day will it be used?
-Will you need a gas, diesel or electric lift?
-Do you need solid tires, cushion type or rough terrain?
-Do you need tractor tire type forklifts?
-Will you need osha approved safety extras?
-How many loads will you be loading in a day?
-What types of material will you be handling?
Important Forklift Facts:
Forklifts are rated according to how much weight they can lift. 3,000-, 5,000-, and 8,000-lb models make up the bulk of the market.
The size of your typical load will affect the capacity you need. Forklift capacity is usually based on a 24 inch “load center”, meaning that the distance from the center of gravity to the sides of the load is 24”.
The easiest way to think about this is that a forklift can only lift its maximum weight if the load is a four-foot cube. If your loads are unusually long or high, the forklift won’t be able to safely lift as much. Knowing the typical dimensions and weight of your loads will allow you to work with the salesperson to determine the exact capacity you need.
Also consider how much variation there is in your loads. If you constantly produce identical pallets of products, you know exactly what capacity you need. However, in a more mixed environment, or one where the load size changes over time, you may want to buy a truck with more capacity than you need currently to make sure it gets the job done now and in the future.
Important parts to a forklift:
1. The whole unit, which is a motive machine with wheels powered through a
transmission and drive train.
2. A diesel, liquid propane or gas fueled internal combustion engine, or a battery-powered
3.The counterweight, which is a heavy iron mass attached to the rear of the machine,
necessary to compensate for the load. In an electric forklift, the large lead-acid battery
itself may serve as a counterweight.
The mast, which is the vertical assembly that does the work of raising, lowering, and
tilting the load; the mast is hydraulically operated and consists of a cylinder and
interlocking rails for lifting and lowering operations and for lateral stability.
4. The lift carriage, which comprises flat metal plate(s) and is moved along the mast by
means of chains.
5. Forks, which are the L-shaped members that engage the load. The back vertical portion
of the fork attaches to the carriage by means of a hook or latch; the front horizontal
portion is inserted into or under the load, usually on a pallet. Alternatively, a variety
of other equipment is available, including slipsheet clamps, carton clamps, carpet rams,
pole handlers, and others.
6. The strong back rest, which is a rack-like extension attached to the carriage to
prevent the load from shifting backward.
7. The driver's overhead guard, which is a metal roof, supported by posts, that helps
protect the operator from any falling objects.
8. The cab, with a seat for the operator and pedals and switches for controlling the
machinethe cab is typically open and bounded by the cage-like overhead guard
Important Tips To Remember:
Keep on top of training.
OSHA training may seem like an unnecessary hassle and expense, since the rules are not
strictly enforced. However if you have a fork lift accident, OSHA will investigate your
training and licensing procedures and can levy significant fines if you have not followed
all the procedures.
Know your capacity.
Attachments like sideshift, adjustable forks, and spool handlers reduce load capacity of
fork lifts. Every fork lift should have a capacity plate attached to it detailing what its
capabilities are in its current configuration.
Check out multiple brands...
If you arent familiar with fork lifts, I strongly recommend renting a couple of
different models for a month each. You will be able to get a much better sense for the
strengths and weakness of different types of lifts.
but stick with one brand once you decide.
If you think you're going to need more than one lift, standardizing on one brand gives you the
advantage of dealing with one dealer for all your warranty and repair needs. Your
operators will also benefit by not having to learn the control and handling quirks of
multiple types of fork lifts. In some cases, this may not be possible, since not every
manufacturer makes every type of fork lift and you may need multiple specialized machines.
Wednesday, 27-Jul-2016 12:16:36 CDT