A forklift is a very helpful machine and can assist in moving items to places and levels where humans are incapable of doing so on their own. There are a variety of different forklifts in industry but as much as they are different, they all bear essentially the same structure and mechanics. Knowing what these parts are and what they do can make all the difference in improving communication while on the job and while the forklift is in use. Understanding the parts of the forklift can also help with regard to its maintenance and upkeep.
The Parts of a Forklift
The mast is the long section of metal that is situated in front of the operator. It is the support that is used to move a particular load up and down. Forklift masts have their own settings and various sections which impact the height to which a load can be lifted.
The lift cylinder is the part of the forklift that allows the mast to lift up and down. It is typically hydraulically powered with the movement happening in only one direction.
A tilt cylinder can also be found on a forklift which affects the tilting movement when in motion.
The carriage is the section in front of the mast and is used to mount the loads onto. It is comprised of the forks of the forklift as well as other aspects that come into contact with the material being transported, such as the backrest.
The backrest further assists in stabilizing the load that is being lifted. The backrest is connected to the carriage and prevents the load from slipping or tilting. It is also there as a protection measure for the mast as well as the components connected to the mast from being damaged by any of the loads. Different backrests are designed for different forklifts so the type that is used will be dependent on the forklift used.
The counterweight is a weight placed on the forklift to balance out the weight of the load that is being lifted. The counterweight prevents the load from causing the forklift to tip over and further helps to keep it stable. Different forklifts can carry different weights so it is important to check the weight specifications of the particular forklift to see if the counterweight will be able to manage with the load.
Forklifts can also be powered in different ways, ranging from battery powered, to diesel and petrol propelled forklifts. Electrically powered forklifts are better suited for indoors as they do not have the same exhaust fumes that diesel and petrol engines have. Petrol and diesel engine forklifts will be better for lifting that is done outdoors.
The tires of a forklift are also very important as they are not only used for maneuverability but also for stability. Four-wheeled forklifts are particularly good at carrying heavier loads where the forklift itself needs to be firmly stationed on the ground and stable. Three-wheeled forklifts are often better to be used indoors where the surface is more stable and can maneuver with smaller loads into smaller spaces. Forklift tires come in two variants, namely cushion tires and pneumatic tires. Cushion tires do not have the same traction as pneumatic tires and do well indoors where the surface is consistent and smooth.
Pneumatic tires can either be filled with air or have a variant that is made with solid rubber. They are similar to vehicle tires in that they can navigate more rough and uneven terrain and work well doing lifting outdoors.
The operator cab is the compartment where all the operating components of the forklift are housed. The operator will normally sit in this cab, which can be an open or closed type, depending on the nature of the forklift, and will use these controls to maneuver the forklift. Operating controls that are found in the cab include the steering wheel, brake pedals, acceleration pedals, mast controls, parking brakes, inching pedals, gauges, and levers. The levers that are commonly found in forklifts include the lift lever, the tilt level, and the side-shift lever.
Because of the nature of a forklift and the fact that it raises and lowers objects, having an overhead guard is important. There is an ever-present risk of loads or objects falling onto the operator, and it is important to have this component in place to minimize or prevent injury. Making sure that loads are properly secured before being moved will also help in preventing injuries from falling objects.
Contact Forklift Handling, your local forklift company in Gauteng, to speak to their expert team about the range of forklifts that they have on sale, and for any other forklift support that you may need.
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