Your business relies on the safe and reliable operation of your forklifts, so it essential that regular inspections are carried out to ensure they are not too worn out. A forklift which is regularly maintained will last a long time, but, eventually, all machines reach a point when they need to be replaced. This article will help you both spot the signs of wear and advise you how to prolong your machines life.
The forks. The actual forks of the machine should be measured regularly to ensure that wear does not exceed 10% of the nominal thickness. A 10% wear to the forks will reduce the lifting capacity by around 20%. The angle of the forks should be checked; if they have bent larger or smaller that this they will need replacing. Any cracks or damage to the length or tip could damage the goods being moved and will also create weak points.
Forklift Tyres. Unlike similar machines, forklifts do not have a standard suspension system. Instead, the entire weight is designed to be supported by the machine’s tyres. If the tyres are worn, the forklift could become damaged, and could put operators and those nearby in danger.
The most tell-tale sign that it is time to replace the tyres is when they are worn below the wear line. If there are any tears to the tyres, even if they have not worn down to the wear line, they should be replaced. The last sign to look out for is flat spots, which could make the machine unbalanced.
The mast. The mast is designed to be able to move smoothly; if you can feel it jerking or catching, it might need lubricating or repairing. If the mast is not regularly serviced, this can lead to expensive hydraulic problems, which could put the machine completely out of use.
The chain. A damaged chain could result in the damage of the goods being moved. It is quick and simple to check if a chain is worn, kinked or rusted, which will result in weak points.
Oil leaks. A leak is a common problem for many forklifts, but the repair is usually quick to carry out. When carrying out a pre-use inspection, look for both internal and external oil leaks. A repair usually involves the replacement of seals or the cylinder, but regular servicing can help avoid extended periods of downtime.
High Mileage. A machine that is used regularly will probably need regular repairs. Eventually, this will have no economic value, due to reliability issues and repair costs, so it will probably need completely replacing. If you are not sure whether a new truck is needed, you should calculate the cost of maintaining an older machine and compare it to the cost of purchasing a new forklift.
No matter what the quality of your forklift truck was when new, it will suffer from wear and tear over the course of time.