Forklift Basic Singapore
Forklifts are rated for loads at a specified maximum weight and a specified forward center of gravity. This information is located on a nameplate provided by the manufacturer, and loads must not exceed these specifications. In many jurisdictions, it is illegal to alter or remove the nameplate without the permission of the forklift manufacturer.
An important aspect of forklift operation is that it must have rear-wheel steering. While this increases maneuverability in tight cornering situations, it differs from a driver’s traditional experience with other wheeled vehicles. While steering, as there is no caster action, it is unnecessary to apply steering force to maintain a constant rate of turn.
Another critical characteristic of the forklift is its instability. The forklift and load must be considered a unit with a continually varying center of gravity with every movement of the load. A forklift must never negotiate a turn at speed with a raised load, where centrifugal and gravitational forces may combine to cause a disastrous tip-over accident. The forklift is designed with a load limit for the forks which is decreased with fork elevation and undercutting of the load (i.e., when a load does not butt against the fork "L"). A loading plate for loading reference is usually located on the forklift. A forklift should not be used as a personnel lift without the fitting of specific safety equipment, such as a "cherry picker" or "cage".
Forklifts are a critical element of warehouses and distribution centers. It’s imperative that these structures be designed to accommodate their efficient and safe movement. In the case of Drive-In/Drive-Thru Racking, a forklift needs to travel inside a storage bay that is multiple pallet positions deep to place or retrieve a pallet. Often, forklift drivers are guided into the bay through guide rails on the floor and the pallet is placed on cantilevered arms or rails. These maneuvers require well-trained operators. Since every pallet requires the truck to enter the storage structure, damage is more common than with other types of storage. In designing a drive-in system, dimensions of the fork truck, including overall width and mast width, must be carefully considered.
Forklift control and capabilities
Forklift hydraulics are controlled either with levers directly manipulating the hydraulic valves or by electrically controlled actuators, using smaller "finger" levers for control. The latter allows forklift designers more freedom in ergonomic design.
Forklift trucks are available in many variations and load capacities. In a typical warehouse setting, most forklifts have load capacities between one and five tons. Larger machines, up to 50 tons lift capacity, are used for lifting heavier loads, including loaded shipping containers. In addition to a control to raise and lower the forks (also known as blades or tines), the operator can tilt the mast to compensate for a load's tendency to angle the blades toward the ground and risk slipping off the forks. Tilt also provides a limited ability to operate on non-level ground
A typical counterbalanced forklift contains the following components:
Truck frame – the base of the machine to which the mast, axles, wheels, counterweight, overhead guard and power source are attached. The frame may have fuel and hydraulic fluid tanks constructed as part of the frame assembly.
Counterweight – a mass attached to the rear of the forklift truck frame. The purpose of the counterweight is to counterbalance the load being lifted. In an electric forklift the large battery may serve as part of the counterweight.
Cab – the area that contains a seat for the operator along with the control pedals, steering wheel, levers, switches and a dashboard containing operator readouts. The cab area may be open air or enclosed but it is covered by the cage-like overhead guard assembly. When enclosed, the cab may also be equipped with a cab heater for cold climate countries along with a fan or air conditioning for hot weather.
Overhead guard – a metal roof supported by posts at each corner of the cab that helps protect the operator from any falling objects. On some forklifts, the overhead guard is an integrated part of the frame assembly.
Power source – may consist of an internal combustion engine that can be powered by LP gas, Proper cylinder mounting and LPG forklift cylinder safety., CNG, gasoline or diesel fuel. Electric forklifts are powered by either a battery or fuel cells that provides power to the electric motors. For warehouses and other indoor applications, electric forklifts have the advantage of not producing carbon monoxide.
Tilt cylinders – hydraulic cylinders that are mounted to the truck frame and the mast. The tilt cylinders pivot the mast backwards or forwards to assist in engaging a load.
Mast – the vertical assembly that does the work of raising and lowering the load. It is made up of interlocking rails that also provide lateral stability. The interlocking rails may either have rollers or bushings as guides. The mast is driven hydraulically, and operated by one or more hydraulic cylinders directly or using chains from the cylinder/s. It may be mounted to the front axle or the frame of the forklift. A 'container mast' variation allows the forks to raise a few meters without increasing the total height of the forklift. This is useful when double-loading pallets into a container or under a mezzanine floor.
Carriage – the component to which the forks or other attachments mount. It is mounted into and moves up and down the mast rails by means of chains or by being directly attached to the hydraulic cylinder. Like the mast, the carriage may have either rollers or bushings to guide it in the interlocking mast rails.
Load backrest – a rack-like extension that is either bolted or welded to the carriage in order to prevent the load from shifting backward when the carriage is lifted to full height.
Attachments – may consist of a mechanism which is attached to the carriage, either permanently or temporarily, to help in the proper engagement of the load. A variety of material handling attachments are available. Some attachments include sideshifters, slipsheet attachments, carton clamps, multipurpose clamps, rotators, fork positioners, carpet poles, pole handlers, container handlers and roll clamps.
Tires – either solid for indoor use, or pneumatic for outside use.
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