Archive for the Forklift Maintenance Category
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.
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:
Forklift Maintenance Plans – Toyota
Unlike classic cars, you don’t see a lot of people collecting forklifts as a hobby. If you buy a forklift, it’s because you have a job that requires lifting, stacking or transporting heavy material. But just like a car, if you don’t properly maintain your forklift, it will not run efficiently, or at all.
Fortunately, forklift maintenance doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. When you purchase your forklift, you have the option of adding a maintenance plan. Typically, maintenance plans are offered as either full maintenance, or planned maintenance. Both plans vary, but in most cases, full maintenance covers the cost of replacement parts and labor, while planned maintenance covers labor only.
When you opt for a forklift maintenance plan, you gain additional benefits. Most obvious, your forklift will be properly maintained on a fixed maintenance schedule, providing you the flexibility to plan ahead and adjust workload and schedules. And because your forklift is on a maintenance schedule, any major issues are much more likely to be discovered early, and before they turn into more expensive repairs. Forklift maintenance programs typically provide a high return on investment, and because the fee is a fixed monthly expense, you’re able to spend less time crunching numbers and more time focusing on your operations.
Often maintenance plans are financed right along with the forklift. When your forklift is properly maintained, your uptime increases. And you won’t be stuck spending time waiting on an available technician. Proper maintenance can also extend the life of your forklift, saving you time and money down the road. As your full service forklift partner, Toyota certified technicians are specially trained to work on Toyota forklifts. And to keep your forklift well maintained. Talk to your local forklift dealer about adding a maintenance plan to your upcoming forklift purchase.
Visit your local Toyota forklift dealer, to learn more.
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.
- Identify the Brand, Model, and Serial Number (which can be found on your data plate) of your Lift Truck and include that with your parts order. You will also need to determine whether to use OEM or aftermarket parts. If OEM is outside your budget consider using authorized aftermarket parts from a reputable manufacturer. Do your research about a particular manufacturer either online or call a dealer for recommendations. Feel free to request that your parts supplier double check that the part is compatible with your lift before shipping.
- Note a description of your part for comparison to parts description online or over the phone to your parts department.
- Identify how many will be needed before you place your order.
- Take a picture of the part in question to either compare it to online resources, email your parts supplier the photo, or use for an online image search. *If possible take the picture with the part on a neutral one-color background. IE: table, plain brown cardboard, or white poster board.
-Many Toyota Forklifts have either the number printed, etched, or stickered on to its parts for your convenience and ease of replacement.
- If the part comes in multiple lengths or sizes; measure your part and order the same size.
- When in doubt call your trusted parts department. Even if they don’t end up making the sale many are happy to help you identify your part number.
- When ordering a mast, order by mast number, lifting height, and capacity.
- When replacing your forks, you will need to measure length, width, and thickness to find the proper replacement.
- Check your manual for pertinent information. Manuals can be an excellent resource if you have one available.
- Call your manufacturer. The manufacturer will have extensive knowledge on all year models and parts supply available in your area. Many times, the manufacturer can even help you find or give you some good leads on parts for older discontinued models.
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!
5 Forklift Safety Tips That Reduce Costs
Every company is looking to reduce costs while keeping employees as efficient as possible. While there are many ways to do this, the most beneficial to employer and employee alike is investing in safety equipment, procedures, and training. Workplaces that implement safety and health management systems are able to reduce costs by up to 40% by minimizing risks of workplace injuries to employees and equipment. The following five tips will walk you through the basics of how to do it.
Hiring and Training the Right Employees is Very Important
Managers have to find the employees that are the right fit for the job, but when it comes to finding employees that are the right fit for a forklift, it can be more complicated. There are many different skills and qualifications an employee needs to correctly operate your lifts. And, making sure you choose the right employee to do so is important to creating a safe work environment for all employees. Because lift trucks are available in different equipment classes not every employee is fit to operate every lift. The right candidate needs to be hired and assigned to the job that best fits their experience and abilities.
Hiring the right employee is only the first step, however. After you’ve found the employee that is best qualified and suited to your company’s needs there is still work to be done. In order to create the safest work environment possible for employees, every new forklift operator needs to be sufficiently and extensively trained before being on their own with your equipment. This is not only for their safety, but for the safety of everyone around them. Failure to do this cannot only create an unsafe environment for your employees, but can also have a negative effect on the overall efficiency of the company.
According to the National Safety Council, 70% of lift truck accidents are caused by operator error.
Effective forklift training methods for your employees can help to cut accidents by 25% to 30% according to MHL News. This is done by reducing equipment damage, equipment downtime, and damage to your products.
An important part of training employees is the methods you use for training. While training employees in the classroom with videos and other physical materials is important, you must also allow your employees hands on training with other experienced forklift operators that can mentor them throughout the process. This can also encourage questions from your new employees to further involve them in the training and give them a better understanding of safety procedures – increasing their chances of being a successful and safe forklift operator.
It’s also important to make sure you train employees based on the conditions they will be working in. Employees cannot be given a standardized training program, but instead need to be taught with specific training methods that relate to the exact job they will be doing and the conditions they will be working in.
Don’t Forget About Maintenance
Safety is not solely based on the operation of the equipment being used. Equipment that is not properly maintained creates a work environment that is unsafe and can reduce the efficiency with which tasks can be completed. Something as simple as an oil leak can cause downtime for your equipment. If that equipment is not properly maintained that oil leak can lead to other issues before the leak is fixed causing you to have equipment downtime as well as any other delays caused by a failure to deal with the leak – such as employees slipping in the oil. Making sure that you use some kind of preventive maintenance (PM) program for your equipment is the best way to ensure this kind of issue is taken care of before it can cause additional damage.
Maintenance doesn’t only cut costs by reducing downtime, it also reduces the costs of fines being incurred by your company. OSHA requires that lifts be inspected and maintained daily. Failure to do so can cost up to $70,000 for repeat violations. These kinds of fines can have a severe impact on the financial state of your company. Using PM programs offered by lift truck dealers can help to avoid these kinds of penalties and allow you to focus on the performance of your company.
Monitor Your Equipment Closely
With modern technology it is now easier than ever to keep a close eye on your lifts. Now you cannot only monitor your equipment, but your maintenance programs as well. Remote data monitoring about critical maintenance and other metrics regarding your fleet can be available to you at any time. Sensors can be applied to your lifts that will give you important information such as fault codes, notifications about upcoming PM’s, and even hazardous driving.
Monitoring software may also be used to observe different metrics involving the use of your lifts. These metrics can tell you the cost efficiency of your lift or even tell you if you’re spending too much time or money on one lift in particular. Most importantly monitoring your equipment is a great way to stay informed about the needs of your lifts to prevent accidents caused by technical issues before they happen.
Keep Your Operators in Control
A great way to keep employees safe when operating lifts is to keep the operators comfortable and in control of their movement. Ergonomic accessories are great at keeping the operator comfortable and removing the likelihood that your operator is fatigued, making them aware of their surroundings.
These work conditions facilitate higher productivity due to increased awareness and comfort while operating lifts. In recent years many great advancements in ergonomic features for forklift operators, designed to keep them alert and productive when operating equipment, have been produced. Some ergonomic features that help keep a safe work environment suggested by MHL News include:
- Adjustable armrests
- Adjustable steering columns with programmable tilt memory
- Fingertip controls for easy accessibility
- Electric power steering for reducing road shock through the steering wheel/tiller
- Padded compartments for added comfort
- Flexible control and support surfaces so operators can adjust the most comfortable position
Safety Programs Save You Money
Safety programs are beneficial to everyone at your company. Investing in a safety program can help employees by creating safer working conditions that help to avoid injuries as well as OSHA fines. These programs can also help financially by increasing productivity thanks to lowered downtime of equipment and better knowledge of how to operate lifts leading to an increase in productivity from employees involved in the program. Implementing a safety program can allow your employees to stay up to date on how to best operate the equipment they use everyday creating a much lower need to train new employees due to old employees leaving because of unsafe work conditions or being injured and requiring time off to recover.