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When it comes to owning a forklift, a lot of owner’s forget to think about how to keep their forklift maintained. So we want to take a look at exactly is a forklift PM SERVICE.
A PM service, or a Preventative Maintenance service, is the maintenance schedule that the Original Equipment Manufacturer recommends for the forklift that they manufacture. Quite simply if you think in the terms of your car, you need to get it serviced as per the manufactures recommendation every 15 000 Klms (Or what ever it is), it is the same with your forklift.
One of the major differences is the way it is calculated, generally a forklift is fitted with a Hour Meter instead of a Speedo. Depending on the type of forklift and the recommendations, you can generally expect to be servicing a 2500 KG forklift every 250 hours or every 3 months.
Generally included in a 250 hour service is :
- Changing of engine oil
- Changing of Engine oil filter
- Checking – Drive belt
- Checking LPG system (If fitted)
- Checking Engine Idle Speed
How often should you service your Forklift
The quickest way to work out how often your forklift needs servicing. Is to take a note of the hour meter at the start of the week then again at the end of the week. After determining how much you use your forklift, you can then talk to a service agent about a Preventative Maintenance Service schedule.
Generally most forklift dealers will offer an annual fixed price service schedule for your forklift. Generally most forklift dealers will suggest how often you should have a basic service performed (oil and filter change, battery check, fluids topped off as well as a host of other items).
Generally we suggest talking to a forklift dealer that can set up your service automatically and come out to service your forklift on an agreed regular basis.
Why do Preventative Maintenance Servicing
By servicing your forklift before you have trouble, you can catch many things (a worn belt, for example) that can be taken care of before it becomes a problem and your forklift stops running.
Just remember a Forklift PM service is less expensive than a service call and it will generally only take between one hour to two hours.
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Its been the last 8 or 9 years or so in Australia that we’ve seen a explosion of Chinese made forklifts on the market. We’ve taken a look at the Chinese made Forklifts before, and the guiding principle here as with anything is, you get what you pay for, weather you are looking at buying second hand or new
We wanted to take a look at a few things you might want to consider when buying a second hand forklift or buying a Chinese forklifts.
Its really important to compare apples with apple when you looking at purchasing a new Chinese forklift model or a refurbished second hand model. So make sure you know what you need the forklift for so consider lift height, fuel type e.t.c when looking at your purchase.
As an Example
A new 2.5T Chinese made forklift, with a 3000mm mast, petrol, will retail for about $17 999 at the bottom end and up to $23 000 at the top end of the Chinese product market, and will generally come with a minimum 12 month warranty, (Ask first about what warranty to expect).
A refurbished Hyster H2.5TX model (which is approximately 5 years old) with a 4000mm mast will retail for about $15 000 and you could generally expect a 90 day warranty with it.
There are a few things you need to consider when making the choice
Chinese manufacturing is light years ahead of where it was 5 years ago, with most if not all major brands bringing out a Chinese equivalent (Yes think Toyota, Linde, Hyster). With a lots of smaller forklift companies now running Chinese forklifts in their rental fleet. So are they reliable well in the right application, well yes they can go the distance.
Depreciation is the true hidden cost of a forklift. Buy a good condition second hand brand name forklift such as a Hyster, you will still get a decent resale figure when you go to sell it down the track. Meaning that generally they will hold their value.
A new Chinese unit, whilst is cheap, will quickly loose its value at the end of 5 years, you could loose up to 70 % of its value from new.
Backup and Spare parts
There seem to be a never ending number of different forklift companies importing Chinese brands of forklifts to Australia over the years, a lot of that have gone out of business, or have stopped selling Chinese forklifts.
These companies are normally around for 2 to 3 years or until their warranty issues become too much and the Chinese manufacturing company moves on to another importer, you see alot of these companies selling on Ebay.
A forklift is a business tool, and should be viewed as such. You need to make sure you are buying for the right reasons, and knowing what application you are wanting to use to you forklift in. New Chinese or refurbished second hand, its still an investment, just make sure you look for the obvious things, you need .
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To operate a forklift in Australia, you need to have a Forklift licence, many people just forget the second they have their forklift licence, what their supposed to check before they start operation of a forklift. Keep in mind that it is the businesses responsibility to make sure the the right procedures are followed.
Before you start the forklift, its important to ensure that it is in safe working order, ready to be used and capable of completing the task required of it. A business smart practice is to develop and implement a system of work that nominates the person who will ensure the safety checking occurs, e.g. a manager or supervisor.
Make sure your operators know to report any damage to your employer, supervisor, manager or employee safety representative immediately.
If any damage or problems are noticed that are needing immediate repairs isolate the forklift so it cannot be used.
Make sure you get your operators to complete a checklist as part of your pre-operational routine (example below). This is an important part of any effective maintenance program, if you are using a new or different forklift. This checklist will help you become familiar with the machine.
Pre-operation Forklift Checklist
Forklift operators should do the following before starting :
- Tyres : Check all for wear or damage, and pressure (if applicable)
- Fluids: Check all for wear or damage, fuel and coolant
- Seating: Check the condition and adjustment
- Warning devices: Check lights, horns, reversing beeper, and flashing light
- Capacity: Check for signs of wear to the lift chains and guides
- Hydraulic cylinders and hoses: Check for any leaks
- Tynes: Check for excessive wear, damage, cracks or repairs
- Seatbelt: Make sure it is in good working order (if fitted)
- Guarding: Check that all guards are in place
- Controls: Check that all pedals and controls operate correctly
- Brake: Check that all (including parking brake) operate correctly
This list is far from exhaustive, and can be added to at any time, and developed for specific pieces of equipment or the particular environment that you are operating your forklift in. If you are stuck for ideas you can always contact your local dealer.
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All forklifts have a rating, which is the maximum weight that they are designed to lift safely, often referred as SAFE WORKING LOAD (SWL) or WORKING LOAD LIMIT (WLL). Depending on the type of forklift depends on how they are actually calculated.
The rated capacity for counterbalanced trucks shall be expressed as the maximum load in kilograms that a truck is designed to transport and stack, operating on a hard level surface, with the mast vertical, with maximum lift height and at load-centre distances.
Reach and straddle trucks
The rated capacity of reach and straddle trucks shall be expressed as the maximum load in kilograms that a truck is designed to transport and stack, operating on a hard level surface with the mast vertical, with maximum lift height and at load-centre distances.
Four-direction trucks, single-side-loading trucks, order-picking high-lift trucks and turret type high-lift trucks
The rated capacity of four-direction trucks, single-side-loading trucks, order-picking high-lift trucks, and turret type high-lift trucks shall be expressed as the maximum load in kilograms that a truck is designed to transport and stack, operating on a hard level surface, with any lateral leveling mechanism leveled, with maximum lift height and at a specified load-centre distance as specified in AS 2359.3.
Low-lift platform trucks and pallet trucks
The rated capacity of low-lift platform trucks and pallet trucks shall be expressed as the maximum load in kilograms that the truck is designed to transport, operating on a hard level surface.
Rough terrain lift trucks
The rated capacity of rough terrain lift trucks shall be expressed as the maximum load in kilograms that the truck is designed to support and stack, operating on rough terrain, with the mast vertical, with maximum lift height and at load-centre distances as follows:
(a) For rated capacity supported by forks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 mm or 600 mm.
(b) For rated capacity supported by attachments . . . . . . . . . . . the specified distance.
Remember, whenever you add an attachment to a forklift, (ie. Work cage, slippers, e.t.c), you must get the Forklift re rated by the Original Equipment Manufacturer.
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The Best Option – for the Spark Free Areas
The stainless-steel-cladded forklift forks are the best option for areas that must be kept spark free. These areas include explosive environments where paint, chemicals and explosives are handled.
These forks are also a great choice for food preparation areas for hygiene purposes and when you need to avoid risk of spark generation due to rubbing between similar metal materials (i.e. between fork steel and the load steel) or rusty and light metals (i.e. between rusty fork and an aluminium or magnesium load).
Bolzoni Auramo cladded forks are covered under all the relevant Australian Standards with AISI 304 L stainless steel as indicated by UNI EN 1127-1 regulation (6.4.4 paragraph) and are manufactured to be used in Category 2 and 3 of European Directive 94/9/CE.
The forks are also equipped with a certificate, that testifies the execution by the rule book of the cladding and the quality of the material.
The Production Process
- Before starting with the coating all the edges are eliminated from the outer perimeter of the forks and the painting is removed from the tip and back side. These are the areas where the coating is anchored.
- The stainless steel plates to be applied on the forks are prepared; the standard thickness is 2 mm but even a special 3 mm thick plate on request can be used. The plates are bended according to the fork’s geometry and they are then applied on the surface, so that the load surface is perfectly smooth and bald, without obtruding elements and without being influenced by welding processes, that could compromise the features and properties of the material.
- A reinforcement stainless steel plate is realized to be welded under the heel of the fork.
- The plates and the heel reinforcement are then welded on the forks with TIG welding; the standard plate covers the forks till 20 cm height of the back side (possible full back side coating on request).
- All the surfaces are perfectly polished, in order to grant a smooth contact with the load.
- An accurate check is moved forward to ensure the total lack of breaking areas in the coating.
Bolzoni Auramo Stainless Steel Cladded Forks Advantages
- The geometric and chemical properties of the original forks are kept completely unaltered.
- Excellent resistance to corrosion thanks to the quality of the material and thanks to the fact that all the loading surfaces are not interested and influenced by welding processes.
- The internal surface of the fork (the surface under the coating) is protected by the painting, which has not been undermined by the temperature raising.
- The reinforcement plate applied on the lower part of the fork’s heel grants a sensible reduction of the coating wear in this critical area; when worn out it’s possible to replace just the heel reinforcement plate.
- The perfect load surface finishing avoids the risk of scraping and the detaching of coating parts.
- The certification testifies the quality of the material and all the specific production processes.
- Special 3 mm stainless steel plate thickness (instead of 2 mm);
- Back height fully coated and covered (instead of standard 20 cm of the back height);
- Coating for food and beverage environment with AISI 316 L, the best quality of stainless steel.
If you are interested in a quote contact Bolzoni Auramo direct or talk to your local forklift dealer
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In warehouses, factories, shipping yards, freight terminals and other workplaces across Australia, forklifts are used to lift, stack and transfer loads.
While forklifts offer a practical materials handling solution for many businesses, each year they continue to be associated with workplace deaths and injuries. The human and financial cost of forklift-related incidents for employees, industry and the community is substantial, and in the most part completely avoidable, especially when employees and employers work together to improve health and safety at work.
A lot of new Forklift operators struggle when they first get their Forklift licence, to identify the risk and hazards around the area that they will be operating the forklift in.
Forklifts are manoeuvrable and they are designed to be compact, but when carrying loads they can become unstable under certain circumstances. Fully laden, a standard two tonne forklift can weigh approximately five tonnes in total. With lower stability, and greater manoeuvrability combined with uncontrolled traffic areas in workplaces you’ll understand why forklifts are involved in so many incidents.
Even at low speeds, forklifts can cause serious injuries and fatalities.
It’s not just the employee using the forklift who can be injured; pedestrians can be crushed against a wall or an object or another vehicle.
Don’t wait until there’s an injury or death at your workplace before developing a safe system of work to control risks. So here are some basic Hazards and some simple rectifications that you can use to negate the Hazard in your workplace, ensuring that your operators have a safe day operating forklifts in your business.
Danger to persons not aware of the forklift operating in area.
Overhead flashing light operates when ignition key is switched on.
Damage to person at rear of forklift when forklift is reversing.
Warning beeper and reverse light is activated when in reverse gear.
Lift/lower and tilt levers could be mistaken or confused
Decals or lever handles clearly shown operation.
forklift tips forward when lifting over rated capacity.
Load capacity plate fitted to forklift and should never be exceeded
Operator slipping while getting on and off forklifts.
Step has been fitted to allow safe mount and dismount from forklift.
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Having the right forklift tyres on your forklift, is something that forklift owners often don’t think about. But it is one thing on a forklift that can save your business a lot of cost.
The most common types of forklift tyres are solid or pneumatic.
Pneumatic – Think of these being just like your car tyres. They have tubes and are filled with air.
Solid – These tyres are generally referred to as Puncture Proof, and are a solid rubber filled pneumatic profile tyre
Different forklift tyres from different manufacturers will vary, with different ply ratings, made from different compounds and will have a different tread. When choosing your forklift its important to make sure that the right tyres is used in the right application.
By making sure your forklift tyres remain in good shape, it can really help reduce wear and tear on the forklift transmission, fuel efficiency is improved and the forklift driver will have a much more comfortable ride.
Application and Your tyre
Depending on what application your operating your forklift in, will dictate what type of tyre your forklift will be running.
There are several different types of forklifts tyres
These are just like your car tyres, filled with air, and are made from thick wear resistant rubber. They are generally best used on uneven or rougher surfaces.
Solid tyres/Puncture Proof
A solid tyre, is now one of the most common tyres. Generally a pneumatic profile tyre that is solid. The great thing about these types of tyres is that they will usually last 2 – 3 times longer than pneumatic tyres, and being solid means they won’t get punctured.
A cushion tyre is a thin rubber tyre that is pressed onto a metal band. Generally these types of tyres are found on forklifts, that are used in warehousing or places with concrete flooring. The forklifts are designed in a way that they will have a lot smaller turning radius.
Are exactly the same as solid/puncture proof tyres, but instead of being made from black rubber, they are made from white rubber.
The difference being that the white rubber tyre will not leave Black scuff marks on a otherwise clean concrete floor. The only downfall with these types of tyres are that they have a shortened life span.
Are almost exclusively used on warehousing and indoor forklifts, like walkie stackers or reach trucks. They can range from a small castor wheel found on the front of a straddle leg to the large drive wheel on the back of a reach truck.
Are basically a pneumatic tyre that is filled with a special resin. They can give slightly more cushioning then a Puncture Proof tyre on the forklift.
Way to Make sure your tyres last
When it comes to storing forklift tyres, it is best to avoid storing them for longer then a few months at a time. They need to be stored in a cool and dark dirt and oil free area. Just like your car tyre, the hard and faster you drive them, and spin your tyres the quicker your forklift tyres will wear out a lot quicker. Maintain them, drive you forklift normally and you will get maximum life out of them.
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In the last five years sales of Chinese forklifts have exploded throughout Australia, now Chinese Forklift are almost 20% of unit sales. But the truth is the Chinese have been selling forklifts here in Australia for nearly four times as long.
The reason why so many people think this is a recent phenomenon is a simple matter of pacing. In the old days Chinese forklifts arrived in drips and drabs, but nowadays, of course, the Chinese don’t do anything in small measures. In fact, China has grown so much over the past decade, and at such an unprecedented level, that it’s almost impossible to remember a time when China wasn’t the massive manufacturing and export powerhouse that it is today. To put it bluntly, it’s looking like China is going to take over the world. Continue reading …
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Laws change all the time, and as a business it is crucial that you keep abreast of those changes. It happens with forklifts all the time, the rules change, which is just what happened with the LPG systems on forklifts and forklift LPG inspections that are required under law by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
Under the new laws and regulations from September 2016, the LPG system on forklifts now need to be inspected every six months if they are a commercial vehicle and if its a hire forklift the hire company needs to be checked before every hire.
Now under Australian Standards AS4983-2003, A LPG installation shall be re-exammined annually to ensure that is has not deteriorated to unacceptable degrees.
The following annual checks should be carried out :-
(a) Leakage check
(b) Fuel container/cylinder life
Check the container/cylinder date stamp. If it will exceed the retest date before the next annual inspection, initiate the procedures for re-inspection and re-certification in accordance with AS 2337.2 for LP Gas, and AS 2337.1 and AS 2337.3 for CNG.
(c) LP Gas container damage
Inspect the LP Gas container and any fitted protection for any evidence of damage by impact or by fire. Refer the container to a test station if any of the following faults are present:
(i) A dent which does not penetrate the surface material, but whose depth exceeds 10 percent of the mean diameter of the dent, or which is located on a weld and exceeds 6.5 mm in depth.
(ii) A sharp impression or crease which does not penetrate the surface of the material, but whose length exceeds 75 mm or whose depth exceeds 25 percent of the wall thickness.
(iii) A cut or gouge which penetrates the surface material, of dimensions as in Item (ii) above.
(iv) Bulging, to the extent that the circumference varies by more than 1 percent.
(v) Fire damage.
(d) LP Gas container corrosion
Inspect the container for evidence of deterioration by corrosion. Pay particular attention to the drip line under the container, to areas where water could accumulate, and to the area covered by clamping bands, especially those that pass under a container or intersect the drip line. Release bands where necessary to ensure adequate examination.
NOTE: Care should be taken when releasing bands to prevent damage to any component or piping.
Refer the container to a test station if any of the following faults are present:
(i) A pit which reduces the wall thickness by 50 percent or more of the original or which leaves less than 1.1 mm of metal remaining. Adjacent pits less than 85 mm apart shall be treated as general corrosion.
(ii) Any corrosion which exceeds 75 mm in length or which leaves less than 75 percent of the original wall thickness.
(e) CNG cylinder damage and corrosion
Inspect the cylinder and its mountings, pipework, compartments or subcompartments, guards and heat shields to ensure that they have not suffered impact damage, corrosion or heating by fire or loss of integrity due to fatigue.
(f) Container/cylinder attachment
Check for the following:
(i) Rust, corrosion, abrasion, or impact damage.
(ii) Tightness of and damage to fasteners, loose bands and wear under bands.
(iii) Correct orientation of fuel container, (for LP Gas installations).
(iv) Adjustment of quick release container bands, (for LP Gas installations).
(v) Cracks and metal fatigue.
(g) Automatic fill limiter (LP Gas only)
Check the accuracy of the automatic fill limiter (AFL), if fitted, by means of fixed liquid level gauge or a re-fuelling dispenser meter in accordance with Clause 7.12. If there is no AFL fitted retrofitting of an AFL shall be encouraged.
(h) Safety fuel shut off system (LP Gas only)
Test as described in Items (i) or (ii) depending upon the type of system fitted at the container/cylinder.
(i) Automatic fuel shut-off device on a fixed container Deactivate automatic fuel shut-off device at the container by isolating the power supply and run the engine until the fuel service line is empty and the engine stops.
(ii) Excess-flow valve Deactivate automatic fuel shut-off device at the container by operating the current limiting device or removing the fuse or by open circuiting an insulated connector in the automatic fuel shut-off device wiring circuit. NOTE: If the fuel service line is to be disconnected, first remove the negative lead from the battery and take steps to ensure that discharging gas does not become a hazard.
(i) Test of fuel control systems
Check that the automatic fuel shut-off device(s) and the fuel change over system are present and functioning correctly. NOTE: Where an automatic fuel shut-off device is not installed at the container (LP Gas systems), retrofitting is to be encouraged.
(j) Manual valves
Open and close all manual valves and test around glands and connections for leaks in both positions.
(k) Compartment or sub-compartment
Check for structural damage. Check around all joints, conduit connections and pipe bulkhead seals for leakage in accordance with Clause 7.8.2. Check conduits for deterioration, damage, kinking or punctures.
(l) Refuelling connection
Check for damage to the refuelling connection and for the presence of foreign matter, and check that the dust cap is present and captive by a chain or similar device. Check that the sealing washer is in place and in satisfactory condition. Check that the housing containing the refuelling connection is soundly attached to the industrial equipment, and that the remote fill line is not deformed or damaged by twisting resulting from a loose housing.
(m) Hydrostatic relief valve (LP Gas only)
Check for damage, blockage, or tampering.
(n) Protrusions from mobile equipment
(i) For forklifts, tow tractors and elevating work platforms, check to ensure that any containers/cylinders, flexible and rigid piping and components remain within the overall contour of the industrial equipment.
(ii) For other mobile industrial equipment, e.g. sweepers, check to ensure that any containers/cylinders and attached components that protrude from the overall contour of the industrial equipment are adequately protected so that the possibility of damage from impact, accident or loose objects is minimized. Flexible and rigid piping and other components shall remain within the overall contour of the industrial equipment.
(o) Equipment marking
Check that all required plates and markings are present and legible.
You need to make sure that you you have a LPG trained technician working on your LPG forklift at all times.
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