Forklift trucks are essential tools that make any industrial environment more efficient. With proper training, a certified employee can operate a lift truck for hours, and greatly improve work output. However, because a forklift is a materials handling equipment, it needs regular maintenance to be safe and effective.
To keep your forklifts in top condition, each vehicle has to be cared for with preventive and routine maintenance tasks. This will ensure that each lift truck passes safety inspection procedures and operates with no problems for many hours. For your convenience, we at Frontu bring you a complete guide for maintaining your forklift.
What is the maintenance of a forklift?
Forklift maintenance ensures that electric forklifts and regular lift trucks get the care they need from factory trained workers. Because these vehicles suffer a lot of wear, following a strict maintenance schedule helps find any surfacing issues.
A regular service check helps us find small problems and parameter changes from manufacturer recommendations.
Alongside frequent inspections, every modern workplace strives for fair forklift service intervals. Most common forklift damages can occur from improper servicing of a vehicle. However, if you follow manufacturer recommendations, the machine will serve longer, and prevented damages will save you a lot of money.
Most serviced lift trucks start their inspection with the replacement of essential fluids: a factory trained technician checks and replaces engine oil, transmission oil, coolant, and hydraulic oil.
Cleaning and filtering
Forklifts and other factory vehicles get more dirt, contaminants, and other factors into their system. Replacement of filters ensures that their negative effects on the forklift truck remain minimal. The worker swaps an air filter, oil filter, and fuel filters to protect the fuel system.
The mechanic checks the tread and pressure of the tires to keep the serviced lift truck in safe operating conditions.
Checking the brakes
Here the technician takes care of services that are essential for the safety of employees – checking and repairs of brakes. This includes the replacement of brake pads, hand brake repairs, and other factors that adjust the brake system.
Service jobs also inspect, repair, or replace parts which affect the control and functionality of a forklift: a hydraulic oil pump, chassis links, PCV valve, spark plugs, and clutch release bearing for manual transmission forklifts.
For electric forklifts, There are different service intervals and additional needs: battery maintenance, electric motor inspection and lubrication, and control maintenance. For diesel, petrol, and propane forklifts, technicians have to check the fuel system and perform regular maintenance for the internal combustion engine.
Once the regular vehicle concerns are out of the way, technicians evaluate the mast components of the forklift. This involves the maintenance of alarms and proper mast operation: cleaning, and lubrication of carriage rollers, chains, mast support bushing, and inspection of the hydraulic system.
What are the benefits of forklift maintenance?
Forklift maintenance is a tedious procedure that needs a regularly maintained schedule and daily checks to make sure everything is in working order. Well-organised warehouses follow a strict forklift maintenance plan and use heavy equipment software for efficient management of servicing tasks.
Many factors influence the longevity of a lift truck, and minimise the need for forklift repairs: pedal hours, lift overloading, wrong service interval, or incompetence of operators.
Technicians perform preventative maintenance, lifting capacity inspection, and carry out services based on manufacturer recommendations, to keep the vehicle in top condition. The cost of carrying out a forklift maintenance plan is much lower than the damages the company would suffer in the long run.
Safety and productivity
With the help of an in depth forklift maintenance schedule, operators can complete their tasks and increase the work output. If the forklift’s safety remains a priority, employees do not waste any company hours due to injuries or faulty equipment.
Higher pedal and key hours, forklift equipment requires more frequent service. A proper maintenance schedule ensures that the vehicle receives enough attention. This way safety and productivity are maximised during the operation of a forklift.
What are the HSE requirements for forklift maintenance?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the national regulator for workplace health and safety that determines forklift maintenance in the UK. After the operation hours, preventative maintenance focuses on the maintenance of main equipment components that could endanger the lives of workers: steering control, brakes, tires, electronic components, and the hydraulic system.
Following a maintenance schedule
HSE requires every workplace to follow a strict forklift maintenance schedule that ensures that the vehicle is properly serviced at all times. Any damages to the engine, air filter, and other parts of the equipment have to be repaired by qualified technicians.
The employer has to keep records of any repairs and preventative maintenance of forklifts on company grounds. This ensures that the state of the equipment is top-notch, and its operation will not cause accidents in the workplace.
HSE provides the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidelines to train lift truck operators. The essential training ensures that all employees that may use the forklift do not endanger themselves or fellow workers.
How often do forklifts need maintenance?
Alongside HSE regulations, all forklifts have to be serviced and undergo thorough inspections based on manufacturer recommendations. The most common bar for modern combustion forklifts is 200 key hours, while its electric counterparts may require less maintenance.
Should I service any parts sooner?
However, components that suffer more wear and tear, such as tires, and filtering equipment get damaged faster and need to be serviced sooner. This ensures that the operation of a forklift is not affected by contaminants that not only make the truck unsafe but also inefficient.
Sturdier parts like the hydraulic system require less attention, and the service every 600 hours is more than enough for inspection of mast operation, carriage rollers, hand brake, hoses, and other parts.
When should maintenance be done on a forklift?
Manufacturers’ recommendations are a good foundation for deciding how often you need forklift maintenance. However, different circumstances can change how often you need a technician’s service. Here are the main factors that affect how often you need to perform air filter inspect, replacement of fluids, or other aspects of forklift maintenance.
Working in dirty environments
If the operator drives a forklift in a dusty environment like warehouses that transport raw materials, your lift trucks will need their air and oil filters changed far more often. However, this applies only to heavily contaminated areas. For more or less average conditions, a regular service cycle should be enough for your forklift.
Driving in rough terrain
If the forklift is often used outside and drives on rough, uneven terrain, the machine will require a lot more maintenance. Chassis links suffer the most here, as forklifts are not usually built to withstand off-road conditions. Inconsistent driving can also damage the tires, braking, plus electrical and hydraulic systems.
Transportation of heavy load
Each forklift has its lifting capacity written in the manufacturer’s recommendations. The manual provides an in depth description of its capabilities.
It is important to understand that the maximum weight is expected to sit properly on the forklift’s load centre. If operators use it to transport heavier or unevenly distributed loads, it can damage the forks, tires, and structure of the machine. If that is the case, the forklift maintenance service should check their vulnerability and perform lifting capacity inspection tests.
We hope this complete guide on forklift servicing answers your questions on how the best technicians service their workplace machinery. Many of these rules apply to other technical vehicles and overall facility maintenance.
For example, if you wonder how you maintain a telehandler, key factors like workplace conditions and frequency of use will apply to it as well. Understanding these conditions will help you keep well-maintained machines that maximise the efficiency in the workplace.