Forklift Abuse

A few entries ago, we mentioned something that started a conversation.  We stated that typically, most of the damage to a forklift is caused by (insert drum roll here) employee abuse.

That raised some eyebrows among our customers.

To be clear, usually damage to a forklift is not caused by mindful reckless conduct (although that does happen). It’s caused by employees who may not know better due to lack of training.

The internet is loaded with videos of forklifts toppling over due to an unbalanced load or traveling on an uneven surface. While the milder of these can be entertaining to look at as long as you’re not the owner of that truck, the truth is these incidents are extremely dangerous and every year employees are killed in accidents involving forklifts, so they’re no laughing matter.

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The Cost of a New Forklift

If you’ve ever made a large purchase, you know that the cost of the actual item is only part of what you will spend over the life of the thing you bought. Here are some of the expenses you can expect while you make the most of your new forklift:

Someone has to operate the lift.  Combine training and salary and one forklift operator will cost you roughly $40,000/year.

If your new lift operates on diesel or propane, plan on between $10,000 – $15,000 /year – per shift. Meaning if you’re operating your forklift two shifts (8 hours) a day, double that amount.

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Forklift Battery Mythbusting

We’re surrounded by batteries that need to be charged, from smart phones to cameras, remotes and yes- your forklift.  For every battery type there is a charging and maintenance process that needs to be followed to get the most out of your batteries- and the process is likely different for each type of battery.

There’s a LOT of bad information about the correct way to drain and charge your batteries. We’re going to set the record straight right here:

Advancement in battery technology have made it realistic to discharge your battery to as low as 30%, place it on a charger for a couple hours, and return to work. This is a drastic change from what you may have been told.

Your forklift likely has systems on board to monitor the amount of charge in your battery. Most lifts have a battery discharge indicator, and a “lock out” feature that disables parts of the lift and only allows travel at low speeds if the battery power dips below a specific level.

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Preparing Forklifts for Summer Heat

We know it’s still early in the year but in some parts of the country the mercury is creeping up, and frankly it’s never too early to start thinking about preparing your forklift for Summer.  Some of these suggestions aren’t necessarily Summer-specific. Check these things out all year long.

Start with your batteries. Extreme heat and cold are rough on a battery of any kind, and forklifts are no exception. Battery fluids evaporate, make sure you have the correct amount of water, etc.

Check your fans and belts. Fans can crack and are susceptible to wear and tear like any other part. Fans, of course, circulate air and help keep your engine cool. Belts move the fans but also help move coolant through your system. Belts dry out and crack and need to be replaced periodically. You’ll know a cracked belt if you see it, and if you see it- change it.

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