Archive for the Forklift Fleet Management Category
Safety should be your number one priority every time you step into your workplace. Ask yourself, “How am I going to avoid or deter accidents today?” Risk management should be the first and last thing you think about every day before OSHA enters the picture. If you fail to do so; you leave your company open for accidents, fatalities, OSHA fines, lawsuits, company-ending settlement payouts.
Planned Maintenance Servicing is a low cost easy way to extend your lift truck’s life. PMs keep you up to date on exactly what needs servicing, so you keep your equipment running optimally and reduce profit eating repair costs. You’ll also proactively prevent problems from cropping up, instead of having to rush to react to every last minute breakdown.
Steve Lowe: Since 1979 I’ve seen a lot of things take place in the forklift industry whether it’s [OSHA 00:00:08] or the EPA. I’ve not seen anything that is revolutionary to a forklift business as the t-matics program. At Allied Toyota Lift we started using t-matics as soon as it was introduced. We knew this was a great idea, a game changing idea.
Dave Cochran: The thing with Toyota’s is that we are number one, the equipment is number one in about every measure that you want. What we’re looking for is ways that we can add value beyond that outstanding forklift.
Steve Lowe: I’ve seen many applications and uses of forklifts where you just look at the forklift and you say, “Wow. I bet it’s got story it could tell me.” Telemetry coming from a forklift actually it to talk to me.
Dave Cochran: One of the great things about telematics is that it is very inexpensive. Within our rental fleet it’s saving us about $600 per unit per year, so the pay back on these telematics units is one year within our rental fleet. After that it’s all gravy. We understand remotely here are the hours that each one of these units is operating, so we get an understanding of how much usage is going on. We’re able to take in and rationalize our planned maintenance schedules. We’re able to understand where the high users and the low users are, and if there’s a breakdown we get an email where the forklift is raising its hand and said, “I have a problem,” so we can proactively send out a technician and get that fixed without having to get a customer complaint.
We’ve got a customer which is rough on their equipment, their operators are rough on their equipment, and by using this data we’ve been able to help them start learning about which operators are having what kind of problems with the equipment and who may need some additional encouragement or training.
T-matics is an incredibly low cost way to get access to information about the usage of forklifts. We’re able to get information that lets us increase the value proposition to our customers and maintain a competitive edge that we just wouldn’t have otherwise.
For more information about T-Matics and how it can be an asset to your business:
Announcer: Having a warehouse full of forklifts means a lot of responsibility. After all, someone has to keep track of where the forklifts are, who is using them, how they’re being used, and whether or not the forklifts are being properly maintained. It can be a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be. Toyota’s robust forklift management system T-Matics COMMAND works to eliminate the burden of managing forklifts, so you can focus on the most important thing, your business.
Who is using your forklifts? With T-Matics COMMAND, you can stop the unauthorized use of forklifts by those not trained or licensed, or who should not operate them. That’s because forklifts with T-Matics COMMAND only operate with a swipe of a tamper-free badge. No forklift using T-Matics COMMAND can ever be used without permission.
Want to make required forklift inspections and recordkeeping fast and easy? T-Matics COMMAND makes sure they’re done, and removes the recordkeeping burden. Use T-Matics COMMAND to leverage daily electronic vehicle safety checklists, make paper checklists a thing of the past, improve overall safety practices and operator responsibility with regular forklift inspections, and simplify the mandated storage of daily checklists. Should T-Matics COMMAND sense a safety issue during a check, the forklift is rendered inoperable until the issue is addressed.
Are you maintaining your fleet like you should? Never miss planned maintenance with T-Matics COMMAND. The convenient preventative maintenance function provides a complete checklist and ongoing scheduling.
What are your operators doing? T-Matics COMMAND provides granular views and tracking of time and motion to help maximize productivity. Then there are impacts. T-Matics COMMAND tracks forklift impacts. The dynamic impact sensor automatically calibrates to your specific application to eliminate false alarms.
When you implement T-Matics COMMAND, you’ll have a level of insight you’ve never had before. Know your operators and forklifts make important informed decisions, positively affect your bottom line and overall up-time. Visit toyotaforklift.com/t-matics, or talk to your local forklift dealer about how you can implement T-Matics COMMAND to increase your productivity and profitability.
For more information about T-Matics Command and how it can be an asset to your business:
Young Man: Hi boss. You look lost. Help you find something?
Boss: Young man, I’ve been in this business for 45 years. I still can’t find what I’m really looking for.
Young Man: What’s that?
Boss: The answers. I always thought we did a pretty good job of keeping this whole facility running smoothly, up-to-date. The other guys seem to have the edge though when it comes to efficiency, and it’s starting to hurt our bottom line.
I mean, take a look around. I still can’t tell you whom my best operators are. From one month the next, we can’t manage our monthly maintenance costs. I mean look at our staff, equipment. There’s under-utilization, over-utilization.
Young Man: Well I-
Speaker 2: And how about damage? How about accidents? If you think about it, there’s inefficiencies and waste everywhere.
Young Man: You know if I could just-
Boss: And how about the time that forklift went missing. I mean we found it out behind the trash bin. Young man, things have not gotten any easier around this place. I’m sorry. Did you have something to say?
Young Man: Be smart.
Boss: Be smart?
Young Man: That’s right, smart. As in, we need to be smarter.
Boss: Smarter? What do you mean, smarter?
Young Man: What I mean is T-Matics. The guy across the street has it, and he loves it.
Young Man: T-Matics is Toyota’s forklift vehicle management system that can help create efficiencies, get the best out of our drivers, track impacts.
Boss: T-Matics, huh? Well keep talking. I’m listening.
Young Man: Boss, you’re gonna love this. T-Matics is a better way to operate an entire forklift fleet. Using T-Matics an operation can function at a whole new level of efficiency. T-Matics has two products, T-Matics Mobile and T-Matics Command. Both work on any make or model and come with web-based reporting to easily view the metrics and data needed to make better fleet management decisions.
T-Matics Mobile is completely cellular and perfect for a rental fleet or forklifts that operate in multiple facilities. Know where your forklifts are at all times through GPS. T-Matics mobile also tracks hours of use, when impacts occur, and more. It’s a low-cost investment to track forklifts. It really pays for itself.
Boss: These analytics look easy enough to use.
Young Man: They are easy to use. The other choice is T-Matics Command. It also operates via a cellular network or can operate over wifi. It’s perfect for fixed-location applications like this warehouse or a large manufacturing plant. T-Matics Command also allows us to track both our forklifts and our forklift operators. And it works on any make or model.
Here’s the best part, T-Matics robust reporting will display both up-to-date information and long-term operating trends. With T-Matics, find out if low or lost productivity is hurting the bottom line. Track impacts to create operator accountability and reduce damage to the fleet and products handled. Gone will be the days of, “I don’t know what happened.”
T-Matics also helps improve serviceability on forklifts by sending alerts right to the technician.
Boss: You know this could go a long way in maximizing up time and keeping our fleet moving efficiently. Particularly when it comes to planned maintenance cycles.
Young Man: Now you’re getting it boss. Reduces labor costs, reduce forklift fleet operating costs, increase overall safety, increase efficiency, increase productivity, but most important, increase profitability. T-Matics puts us in the driver’s seat. So, what do you think boss?
Boss: T-Matics. I like it. I like it a lot. Let’s put T-Matics to work. Let’s order it now. Smart move kid.
Young Man: T-Matics, smart move boss.
For more information about T-Matics and how it can be an asset to your business:
I personally think forks are the unsung heroes of any lift truck. Think about it; forklift forks are what help keep our businesses up and running, they what we depend on to get our products from point a to point b on time, and we expect them to get our products there in perfect condition. Since we rely on our forks so much then we need to be sure we are using the right type and then maintaining and replacing them to keep our material handling process in tip-top shape.
Your forklift dealer can provide an assessment visit to help determine the best type of forks for your products and facility. They will check the product type, packaging, boxing, palatalizing, and movement process to suggest the right fork for the job. A good assessment will include a full plan from point a to z of your entire facility as well as several options for fork and safety accessories.
Most people assume there is only one type of fork that comes on a lift truck. Not True. There are many different types, widths, and uses available to tailor and interchange to your particular needs.
Pin type forks and Hook type forks:
- Pin type forks fit onto the forklift carriage by use of a pin or shaft, which locks the fork onto the carriage of the forklift. Some pin type forks are telescopic, meaning they can be extended to various lengths and locked into place using the pin.
- Hook type forks bend over then lock onto the fork’s carriage bar. Both hooks must slip into the end of the carriage bar in order to make a proper fit.
- Standard forks are tapered, which helps the end of the fork fit into the pallet slots.
- Blunt Ended forks are used to deter punctures of loads.
- Specialty Coatings are available to further tailor your lift to any product handling need.
Types Of Forks
- Standard ITA Forks – The most common, but even standard forks come in different lengths, widths, depths, and capacities. It’s important to know your vehicle’s capacity before installing new standard ITA forks.
- Folding Forks — These forks are hinged so they can fold up to allow the vehicle to maneuver in tight spaces.
- Block Forks – Specially designed to accommodate the safe handling of bricks and construction blocks.
- Carpet Poles – Single extended poles that are used to lift heavy carpet rolls.
- Fork Extensions – Fit onto to standard forks to extend their length for handling longer loads.
- Shaft Forks – These are used to suit all pin type carriages.
- Non-Current Forks – Forks to fit older vehicles that don’t use standard ITA forks.
- Lumber and Plywood Forks – Feature a forged heel, square heel, single taper or double taper.
- Spark Retardant Forks – Made from non-sparking materials for use in hazardous locations and atmospheres, such as those with combustible gasses of materials.
- Tire and Barrel Forks – Feature semi-circular cutouts mid-fork to accommodate the lifting of barrels, drums, and tires.
- Coil Handling Forks – Feature a contoured blade to lift handle coils. Warning: The capacity may be reduced depending on the size of the contour.
Once you have found your perfect forks your investment protection begins. Good maintenance will extend the life and usability of the forks and your truck. Some obvious things you can do to help maintain your forks are not dragging the bottom of your forks while in motion, avoiding collisions, picking up loads that are too far out on the forks, and picking up loads that are over the lifts capacity. The biggest thing you can do to help maintain your forks is to check your tire wear and chain adjustment! I know crazy, right? Forks should be kept ½” off the ground and as your tires wear the height of your forklift is reduced; resulting in fork drag and dings. Once you have determined that your tire wear is causing lowered forks then adjust your chain to maintain the proper height. Forks should also be inspected at least once a year (single-shift operation, and more frequently in severe applications) for wear and distortion.
LIFT TRUCK SUPPLY PRO TIP:
The best method to check you fork wear is to use a fork caliper, which is a type of adjustable go/no-go gauge. Each fork consists of two sections: the shank, which is the vertical part attached to the carriage, and the blade, which is the portion that picks up the load. Set the front teeth of the jaws by measuring the thickness of the shank (in an area of little or no wear) ensuring that the caliper is held square across the shank. Remove the caliper from the shank, maintaining the measurement you just took, and position the jaws over the fork arm blade approximately 2 inches out from the heel. If the inside teeth of the caliper hit the fork blade it has less than 10% wear and can be returned to service. If the inside teeth pass freely over the blade the fork has 10% wear. Remove fork from service.
Did you know that 10% wear on your forks (within two inches of the heel) equals a 20% reduction in your lift capacity? Once your forks have lost ten percent of their thickness near the heel then it is time to replace them. This isn’t something that can wait and should be done immediately. Failing to change out your worn forks can result in forklift damage, product damage, building damage, and even injury to your personnel. ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 and B56.6 Safety Standards state that forks meeting the 10% wear should be permanently removed from service.
OSHA recommends that forks with surface cracks, blade or shank are not straight, angle from blade to shank is not straight, difference in height of fork tips, positioning lock not in working order, fork hooks wear, fork marking not legible all be removed from service and either be discarded or repaired. If you repair your forks please be aware of OSHA standard 1910.178(q)(5). Also, be aware of OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.178(a)(4) Modifications and additions, such as trailer balls, which affect capacity and safe operation shall not be performed by the customer or user without manufacturers prior written approval. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals shall be changed accordingly. Each individual fine can reach up to $7,000. Read more about OSHA regulations here
Researching, purchasing, and then maintaining your forks is just another savvy way to protect your business, its assets, and profits. You, being the smart fork truck owner that you are, are the key to demonstrating good fork inspection, maintenance, and replacement. Take care of your lift truck heroes and they will take care of you.
Have the questions “When does my lift need service?”, “Where can I get parts to service it?”, or “How do I get my lift serviced?” ever crossed your mind? Strict OSHA and EPA standards, shrinking margins, and reduction of down time make the answers to these questions paramount.
Forklift hours are often listed by runtime, or when the key switch is in the “on” position. Electric lift trucks by contrast, typically have maintenance intervals based on hydraulic/drive motor running hours. Many manufacturers recommend providing maintenance every 250 hours but depending on your make and application, you should verify your user’s manual or consult your forklift service provider.
Serviced at every service interval:
- Fuel Filter
- Oil Change
- Oil Filter
- Air Filter
- Lubricate Frame and All Lube Points
- Mast and Attachments
- Drive Train
- Engine Compartment (including fluids & filters)
- Electrical System
- Steering System
- Safety and Cosmetic Appearance
Every other service interval change
- Spark Plugs
- Replace Points, Condenser and Set Timing
Every fourth service interval change
- Hydraulic Oil and Filter
- Oil and Filter in Transmission and Converter
- Lube in Drive Hubs
- Brake Fluid
When a lift truck gets regular everyday use, it is a good idea to have a fully trained and licensed technician look it over on a timed schedule. Many dealers, like Lift Truck Supply, offer planned maintenance agreements that help keep you on the right track by notifying you when it is time for maintenance, works with your schedule to reduce downtime, and have technicians that service your lifts on site.
If you service your lift truck internally or want to cut down on parts costs there are several websites like lifttrucksupplyinc.com that have aftermarket parts for purchase that ship right to your door.
If you do not have a current servicing plan; then today is the day to begin. Without good practices set in place you will find repair cost piling up, worker downtime accruing, and profits declining. With good maintenance comes a great forklift to meet your material handling needs. Remember good practices start with you!