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5 Things You Need to Know About How Forklifts Work

What are the things you need to know about how forklifts work?

  1. Elements of a Forklift
  2. Power Source
  3. Hydraulic Cylinders
  4. Roller Chain Pulley
  5. Lifting and Steering Controls


Numerous companies use a forklift in the Philippines but only a few know how to use them correctly. Because of this, some experience common problems that could have been prevented with proper maintenance—such as lift problems and faulty steering. That’s why if you own this type of equipment, knowing how forklifts work would be a tremendous help. Keep on reading to learn more!


Elements of A Forklift

It is important to know more about the elements of the forklift to have a better idea of how it works. The three main elements are as follows:


Load Center

The distance from the face of the forks to the center of gravity of the load is referred to as the load center. If you put an object that is off-center, it will tip off the forklifts forward because the center of gravity has shifted.


Lift Capacity

Lift capacity is the amount of load that a forklift is rated to carry safely. Overloading can affect the stability of this equipment, which is dangerous for the driver and the pedestrians around.


Stability Triangle

The stability triangle is referred to as the three-point suspension system in a forklift. It consists of the two front wheels and the center of the steer axle which forms the shape of a triangle. When you don’t have a load, the center of gravity is at the middle point. When you carry something, it shifts forward to the edge of the triangle.


Power Source

Power Source

Depending on the forklift model, it can be powered by electricity, gasoline, or diesel. Electric variants are typically priced at the higher end of the spectrum but it offers a quieter operation. The charging time will depend on the manufacturer but it is usually around 8 hours before it can be utilized for a whole day. Compared to that, a gas-powered forklift can be refueled in a few minutes.

Depending on your requirements and the nature of your business, the forklift’s power source should be considered. Gasoline and diesel equipment can be hazardous indoors but you can opt for propane with proper ventilation. If you’re in the food business, an electric forklift is the required option.


Hydraulic Cylinders

One of the components responsible for the lifting mechanism is the hydraulic system. As the operator pushes the lift handle inside the vehicle, it triggers the pump connected at the base of the forklift. This propels the fluid that enters the hydraulic cylinders.

This creates an upward force that moves the piston up. At this time, a point of physical equilibrium is reached where the force of the fluid becomes equivalent to the load. Because of this hydraulic mechanism, the forklift creates enough power to lift and hold the prongs that carry heavy loads. It is responsible for moving the masts up.

As the driver pulls the lift handle back, the pressure is released which moves the piston back into place, which also lowers the load.


Roller Chain Pulley

Roller Chain Pulley

To move the masts—the part of the forklift that raises and lowers the load—you need an additional mechanism aside from the hydraulic cylinders. The roller chain pulley which attaches the forks to the masts has a big role in lifting the load up and down.

As the hydraulic mechanism pushes the masts up, the gears that are pressed against the roller chains rotate clockwise to lift the forks. Because of this, the forklift gains the ability to lift higher than it would if only the hydraulic mechanism was used.

If you wanted to lift increased heights with only the hydraulic system, you would need taller cylinders which would set the forklift’s center gravity off, tipping it over.


Lifting and Steering Controls

To control the motion of the masts and forks, an operator uses levers that can be found inside the forklift. One lever controls the lifting mechanism while the other can be used to tilt the load back and forth.

When the tilting lever is pushed forward, a surge of air fills up the hydraulic chamber which pushes the pistons up and tilts the masts away from the forklift. If an operator needs to return these parts to their former position, he needs to move the tilt handle back. This will let go of the pressure inside the chamber which brings the masts back in their original place.

Aside from the lifting mechanism, an operator also utilizes controls inside the forklift to maneuver it inside a job site. The acceleration pedal, steering wheel, reverse gear, forward gear, and brakes can be used to make this possible.


Key Takeaway

Knowing how forklifts work can give you a better idea of how to use them properly. This way, you can increase the productivity in your job site without working this piece of equipment past its capacity. After all, it is a vital machine in numerous industries.

If you need durable and easy-to-use forklifts for your establishment, you can send Multico a message! With different models of the Clark Forklift to choose from, you will find the right fit for your needs.

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