Moffett Forklift

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The forklift is a big workhorse of todays commercial and industrial sector. Warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and many other commercial applications depend on forklifts of so many types and sizes to keep their operations running easily. Other businesses only need a forklift to unload deliveries for an hour or two a day. Either way, having a forklift that can perform well for your specific needs is vital.

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Forklifts many times 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 run with loads of 1,000 lbs
to 30,000 lbs or more. If your usual load is less than 1275 lbs, a pallet jack or hand truck is probably a cheaper choice.

Buying a forklift is a big investment for small businesses, and you need to make sure you get one that can handle your needs without spending too much.

Before you're even looking at forklifts or talking to any dealer, you need to determine exactly what you need the forklifts to do. Here are some questions you should answer 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:

Height
A close second to “How much do you need to lift?” is “How high do you need to lift it?” If your primary use for the forklift is loading and unloading trucks, you may not need much height at all; if your warehouse has shelves 30’ high, that is a pretty clear indicator of the reach your lift will need.
Unlike load capacity, your height needs are unlikely to change over time barring new construction or major renovations. Buy for the height you need now.

Moffett Forklift

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 electric motor.
3.A 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 carriage mast, 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 loads backrest, 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 machine—the cab is typically open and bounded by the cage-like overhead guard assembly.

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Important Tips To Remember:

Always keep up with 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.

Don't go over 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.

Try more than one brand...
If you aren’t 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're planning to buy more than one forklift, 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.

Thursday, 18-Dec-2014 14:54:56 CST

 

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