Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dangerous Forklift Modifications to Avoid

Lift trucks are responsible for a lot of accidents, injuries, and death around the world. However, if properly maintained, repaired, fitted with forklift oem parts, and operated by competent operators, they provide a substantial boost in terms of productivity and eliminate all known hazards. In an effort to customize forklifts for specific tasks or cut corners in terms of repairs and maintenance, some people modify their forklifts. While modifications may be necessary, there are some that are downright dangerous as they seek to alter the truck’s capacity, intended use, or balance. In this blog, we look at 3 such modifications you ought to avoid.

Adding Accessories

One area that often features unsafe modification is the overhead guard, where you can find additional lights, mirrors, fans, strobes, and fire extinguishers. While some forklift manufactures cater for such additions by designing overhead guards with additional holes, other brands and models don’t. In the absence of additional holes, it is not advisable to drill additional holes as it may compromise safety. You may find yourself exposed in the event of incidents such as rollovers and falling objects. The best approach is to mount any accessories on an external mounting bracket which can be secured around the overhead guard.

Alterations To The Fork

Forklifts preform a host of activities which extend to acting as a crane when you need to vertically hoist heavy objects. You can easily find customized forklift attachments for that purpose from 3rd party suppliers for the ultimate in safety. It is, however, uncommon for some mechanics to take the ill-advised route of modifying the fork for such purposes. There are many reasons why such modifications are unsafe including the fact that it is impossible to know the forks’ lift capacity.

Counterweight Modifications

It is ill-advised to make attempts at modifying a forklift to increase the size of its counterweight. The objective of such modifications is often to a forklift’s rated capacity so that it can lift overweight or over-sized loads by inflating the force exerted at fulcrum’s back-end. The counterweight plays a central role in the forklift’s stability, making such alterations ill-advised. The operator of any such modified forklift can easily tip it as it has a reduced margin of error when it comes to shifting the center of gravity.

Always Consult Professionals

It is advisable to consult professionals before embarking on any modifications of your forklift. Always opt for forklift oem parts and approved accessories from the manufacturer or third parties. Create a policy around this issue and ensure that all your in-house mechanics know its importance.

Tips On Changing Forks On Your Forklift Truck

Although you can always take your forklift to a qualified and experienced mechanic for maintenance and repairs, it pays to know how to do some of the work in house. You can find excellent forklift parts at authorized dealers or vendors that provide forklift salvage parts. In this blog, we look at how you can change the forks on your forklift. A damaged fork can be the cause for disaster or fatal accidents in the workplace.

Know your forklift

The first thing you need to do is go through the forklift’s manual as forklift come in different configurations. How you replace the forks is different for sit-down pallet movers, narrow merchandise movers, and large boat movers. Make sure you are using the forklift’s oem parts, and you can check its load capacity rating as listed on the forklift. The load capacity should match with the replacement part.

Find Ample Space

To safely replace the fork, you need ample space. Find an open area that has generous space and lower the fork until it is resting on the floor or at its lowest height. Place something underneath if it does not rest on the floor.

Switch Forklift Off

Some forklift must be on when you change the forks. If your forklift does not require this, it is advisable to switch it off. Check the mounting mechanism to know how to proceed. 

Check Forklift and Mount

You need to inspect all the aspects of the fork and its mounting. Look at the pins, screws, and welds to establish if they are in an excellent condition. If you notice any damage to the fork, chances are the mount is damaged as well and needs replacement.

Study The Fork Mounting

It is important to know how your forklift is mounted. You can make a drawing or take a picture to create a reference for when installing the replacement fork. The mounting will be any of the 3 types – standard hook, non-standard hook, and pin.

Release the Forks

Standard hook forklifts feature a top and bottom locking mechanism while contemporary models have quick-change forks. For older models, first release the top mechanism and then release the bottom as the forks begin to come to a rest on the floor. A pin lock mechanism may feature a pin, shaft, or rod which locks into the fork’s ‘eye’. The fork is released when you unlock the mount and slide out the pin. Remove the forks and mark them ‘damaged’.

Put the replacement fork in position in front of the forklift. Reverse your action and if you are unsure, refer to your reference. Test the new forks out on small pallets before moving to big ones. Your dealer, whether for new or salvage forklift parts can help you find the right forks for your truck. Make sure salvage forklift parts are tested for any damage before you buy. A simple online search will show you many providers of CAT forklift parts and other popular brands such as Toyota forklift parts.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Forklift Rental Options. What's Best For Me

When you need to get a forklift for your company for the first time, the options before you can be overwhelming. It takes a bit of time and some research to wrap your head around the various forklift leasing options and forklifts for sale in Atlanta and other places before you can find the best fit for your requirements. You have to weigh the pros and cons of leasing and buying your materials handling equipment. There is not clear-cut way to approach the leasing Vs buying options when it comes to forklift trucks despite the abundance of ‘expert opinion’ in support of one or the other.

Basic Approach

The first and perhaps most notable deciding factor when faced with the lease vs buy question is your company’s financial wellbeing and how you intend to use the forklift truck. If your equipment handles significantly lighter loads and those that have huge and highly profitable, it is advisable to buy your own forklift trucks as opposed to leasing. The search will naturally take you to two places, your accountants office and forklift dealer.

Leasing Options
  • Some of the available leasing options include: Residual or operating lease also called fair market value which features the lowest rates. It can however prove costly in the long term as you are required to pay the equipment’s fair market value if you intend to keep it at the expiration of your lease. 
  • A full service lease which works like a long term rental as it allows you to make monthly payments while leaving repairs and reliability to the owner. 
  • A full buyout, capital or dollar value lease, which calls for high payments 
If you are looking to reduce your monthly payments, taking out extended leases can help. You need to take care not to extend the lease beyond a point where it offers dividends for your company. You also need to consider the benefits of ownership, which we will cover in a separate blog.