Manufacturing News

A manufacturers’ guide to buying and operating forklifts

Whether you’re in the market for a new forklift or already operating a fleet of vehicles, it’s worth brushing-up on the basic requirements for buying and operating these units. Following are our top-ten tips to save you time, money and – perhaps most importantly – a trip to the hospital.

1.       Maintenance

Get your forklift services in line with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, or book it in every six months. Preventive maintenance like this will save you from expensive repairs down the track, by replacing wearing components and having inspections carried-out prior to major parts being damaged.

2.       Tyres

Many people are under the misapprehension that solid tyres wear away, rather than wearing out. In truth, solid or puncture-proof tyres have a safe-wear level that is indicated by wear markers; going past this point will allow the tyre to wear into the soft rubber that acts as the cushion, and going past this point again will cause excessive wear to the steering components, potentially leading to excessive tyre wear.

3.       Prestart checks

Prestart checks are important – not only for safety. In fact, prestart checks can save the unit from damage caused by low fluids, or problems not reported by the last operator.

4.       Battery charging

Battery-operated electric forklifts need to be charged, and as a part of this operation they require lost electrolyte to be replaced. This process should only be carried-out after the charging cycle.

5.       Battery life

Battery-operated electric forklifts should be able to carry-out an entire shift prior to recharging. If you find the unit not lasting a whole shift, the battery or charger may require attention. Alternatively, the supplied battery might not be suitable for the job. Remember: if a battery unit is run in a discharged state, you double the chances of damage to the electronic components.

6.       Licensing

Government requires that all ride-on forklift operators hold a relevant license. If a forklift is involved in an accident and the driver is not licensed, the driver, supervisor and management will all be held responsible.

7.       Rating plate

Every forklift must have a rating plate that shows the operator the capacity of the forklift. This plate should include vertical and tilt ratings, and be in a legible font in a noticeable location.

8.       Surfaces

Most forklifts are rated for hard-level surfaces and are not intended to be used on slopes. If used on a slope, the ratings will be different to those displayed on the rating plate. Conventional forklifts are not designed to be used on unsealed surfaces.

9.       Fit for purpose

When you choose a forklift, make sure you get information from a reliable forklift specialist and tell them your exact requirements, to ensure you get a unit fit for the purpose.

10.    Reputable supplier

Make sure when you buy a forklift that it is from a dealer that can demonstrate the ability to give after sales support for your unit. Check to see they have access to parts required for maintenance, and that the brand has been around for some time.

To book a free, on-site forklift cost analysis, click here, or call Lencrow on 1300 536 276.

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