You’re probably familiar with forklifts, those mighty little trucks capable of lifting loads so heavy human muscles wouldn’t be able to lift them. These machines are a vital tool for many warehouses and construction sites.
A forklift is composed of a few essential parts. The frame, counterweight, power source, and carriage are all part of a forklift.
The hydraulic system is the heart of forklift parts, accessories, and more. It moves the load-bearing prongs that grip pallets and other containers so they can be lifted or pushed over long distances. With a forklift’s hydraulic system, loads would be lighter to carry.
The forklift’s hydraulic system draws power from pressurized fluids that transfer energy to drive rotary and linear motions through valves, pistons, and cylinders. Its operation is based on Pascal’s law that any force exerted on an enclosed volume of liquid will be transmitted equally to all points around it.
Hydraulic system components connect via pipes and hoses designed for their specific tasks. These must be able to transport the hydraulic fluid while allowing it to flow between them without losing pressure or leaking. These tubes can be rigid or flexible and include ports (called nozzles) sized according to the amount of hydraulic fluid flowing through them.
The steering wheels are located in the forklift’s rear and help control which direction the forklift moves. They’re usually smaller than the drive wheels and have a unique detachable hub (also known as a quick-release) to allow drivers to remove them with the push of a button for better entrance and exit in tight spaces.
Steering tires wear more quickly than car or golf cart tires due to a forklift’s increased load and weight. The type of surface you run your forklift over also affects its tire life. Running on abrasive surfaces like gravel, asphalt, or concrete will shorten forklift tire life.
Regular inspections of forklift components and parts can help prevent breakdowns. Keep an organized collection of spare parts to ensure you’re included in a vital forklift component. Having these essential forklift parts on hand can save time and money in the long run, ensuring your operation remains productive.
The forklift overhead guard is a metal framework that covers the operator cab to protect against falling objects. It typically has small openings to allow the operator to see what is above them as they load, place and retrieve loads.
This part can also help prevent injuries when a forklift rolls over. Operators often try to get out of the machine during these accidents, but this is not a safe option. Jumping out of a rolling forklift can cause the machine to roll over on top of you and could crush or kill you. Instead, stay seated, position yourself away from the wheels, and brace your body against the rollover.
Remember to wear a hard hat for protection when working with heavy items. You must also keep your arms, legs, and feet inside the cab to avoid getting hit by objects that fall through the overhead guard. You must also seek manufacturer approval before making any alterations to your forklift’s overhead guard, including welding, that could impact its safety.
Forklift lights are used to communicate important information to both pedestrians and other equipment operators. For example, blue and red safety lights are quick to warn pedestrians that the forklift is approaching them, allowing them to move out of the way before the machine’s reach.
Tail or brake lights, on the other hand, indicate that the forklift is in operation and can help to reduce collisions by making it easier to see from the rear. OSHA doesn’t require strobe lights and blue pedestrian spotlights but can support safe practices in certain operations by helping others to notice slow speeds or sudden stops made by the forklift.
Forklift parts and accessories can be bought from many places, including OEMs, forklift dealers, and specialty retailers. It’s best to shop around to find the right products at a price that fits your budget. Keeping a log of purchases and invoices also makes it easy to keep track of maintenance and repair work done over time.