Tips to Improve Forklift Performance
Category: Equipment and Solutions
When you need to lift and move heavy materials across a construction site or throughout a warehouse, forklifts help you maneuver in small spaces, around tight corners and over tough terrain. But if your machines aren’t operating at peak performance levels, they can affect your project’s efficiency and the uptime of your operations.
If you want to improve your fleet’s performance, follow these forklift maintenance tips and safety suggestions. Preventative maintenance helps your equipment resist wear so your tasks can remain productive. RAKA Material Handling experts know what it takes to keep your business running.
As a warehouse manager or forklift owner, you’re responsible for keeping your machines running and your workers safe. To optimize the safety of your forklift, be sure to follow these basic guidelines:
1. Inspect Equipment
Look over your fleet before the day begins. Each operator should also check their particular unit beforehand by inspecting the gears and attachments, tire pressure, fuel level, battery, brakes, steering, lights and other components. A visual inspection will help you notice major mishaps like leaks, corrosion or cracks. Examine your forklift at the end of each day as well for signs of faulty parts and damages.
2.Wear Safety Gear
On a construction site or in a warehouse, you and your workers should always wear a hard hat, a high-visibility vest, safety glasses and safety shoes. You should also wear form-fitting clothing because loose materials can get stuck or caught on objects and other equipment, causing accidents. When inspecting a forklift, you need the right gear to ensure your safety.
3.Know Your Surroundings
Stay alert of other people and pieces of equipment operating on the same floor or area as you. Be aware of potential hazards as you’re moving heavy loads, such as overhead wires and obstacles on the ground. Having a 360-degree view of your job site helps reduce accidents to keep your operations efficient.
The best thing you can do to safeguard your workers and projects is to train your ground personnel and equipment operators about safe worksite standards.
Forklift Performance Tips
If you want to keep your forklift running smoothly, preventative and regular maintenance is key. If you discover a faulty part or an issue with your lift truck while conducting maintenance, you will want to address the problem right away.
Forklift upkeep helps maintain the longevity of the engine and prevents more severe damage from happening in the future. Staying on top of potential issues can be the difference between a quick fix and excessive downtime — it can keep your projects moving to ensure you meet or exceed deadlines. To keep your forklift operating a peak performance, consider these tips:
1.Avoid Speeding and Idling
Forklift operators should travel at or below the speed limit in your facility or on your job site to help prevent crashes and increase equipment performance. It ensures you have enough time to stop when needed to keep you and other workers safe.
Speeding is dangerous in any environment, especially when carrying heavy loads. It also diminishes your forklift’s fuel efficiency and battery life. By accelerating slowly and maintaining a consistent speed, you can achieve the best machine performance. You also shouldn’t idle for extended periods, especially if you’re not in the machine. Idling decreases the fuel efficiency and places unproductive hours on the lift truck.
Consult your manufacture’s manual or regular maintenance schedule to see how often you should change your forklift’s oil. Regularly changing the oil can help increase the longevity of the unit and boost fuel efficiency. It also helps with engine performance.
Swapping fluid will get rid of contaminants in the oil that can cause various problems inside the engine, such as catalytic converter damage. Other fluids require top-ups and changes, including the hydraulic, transmission and coolant fluids. Keeping an eye on the machine’s liquid levels and cleanliness will improve the forklift’s lifespan.
Make sure your tires match the needs of your facility. You’ll need to decide what is best for your applications — do you need air-filled or pneumatic tires? What about indoor or rough-terrain tires? Air-filled options provide more cushion for indoor uses, like on a concrete floor, while pneumatic ones are great for the outdoors. They are more robust and prevent punctures as you operate over harsh environments.
Check the rubber for any wear, and the correct tire pressure. Properly inflated tires with the right traction can help avoid accidents and improve machine performance.
Brake issues are likely to occur more often as the equipment ages. Check to see when the lift’s brakes need replacing. The brakes may be faulty if they feel soft when you press on the pedal or when you have to push harder to engage the system. You may also find that it takes longer to come to a stop.
If you need replacement parts, change the unit’s calipers and brake pads. Always be aware of how the brakes operate as you’re using the forklift, and brake slowly instead of making abrupt halts. Steady operations help maintain your brake system by limiting wear.
5.Lubricate Moving Parts
As you’re completing your walk-around inspection, grease all the moving parts of the machine to help it achieve optimal ranges of motion. Without lubrication, friction can destroy various components on the forklift. Greasing can help maintain safe and efficient operations.
Regular battery maintenance for lift trucks is one of the most crucial aspects of increasing machine performance. Check the manufacturer’s manual to see how often you should be charging your forklift battery. The battery cell has a limited number of cycles to keep your engine running, so it’s vital to maintain and charge the unit.
It’s essential to refer to the manual, as opposed to charging the battery whenever it’s most convenient, because it can shorten the life of your battery. Always charge the cell until it’s full. Also, check its fluids and ensure the battery doesn’t overheat.
7.Work With Appropriate Loads
Each make and model of forklift will have varying weight load capacities. Check your manual to see the maximum load capacity of your lift truck. You don’t want to exceed its total weight because it can ruin the performance of the machine and cause safety issues. Lifting and carrying more weight than advised can cause the unit to be top-heavy.
Keep your load balanced and adhere to load specifications at all times. Properly secure each cargo, making sure the material doesn’t slide off. Working with appropriate loads helps your lift truck maintain excellent fuel economy and minimize brake and tire wear.
Training your operators on the different ways they can maintain and increase forklift performance is vital for the safety and efficiency of your operations.
Improve Lift Truck Performance With RAKA
As an industry leader in material handling equipment and services, RAKA partners with you to develop a comprehensive maintenance solution. Our experienced team works hard to ensure your fleet operates at peak performance levels, which boosts productivity and minimizes job-site costs.
Review our preventative maintenance services or contact us online if you have further questions. Previously known as NMC Material Handling, RAKA still upholds the same dedication you have come to know and trust.