The forklift truck is a vehicle that has been around for a little over a century. However, you can find this in every warehouse operation, around the world today. One of the first forklifts developed because of shortages in the workforce, which came about by the World War I. During that era, large companies turned to material handling equipment to power lift tractors in their factories.
However, in warehouse operations, as there are more options in mechanical gadgets, forklifts options and attachments are easily available now, making it important for most used forklift operators to have a better understanding of the load capacity of their forklifts and the risks that tag along with exceeding it. As you read on below, you will learn what forklift operators need to know regarding the load capacity of forklifts and the practices that you need to place in order to use them safely and maintain safety around the workplace.
What is a Forklift Load Capacity?
When talking about the load capacity of a forklift, expert truck dealers such as those at Bobby Park explain that, “the load capacity of a forklift refers to the maximum weight a forklift in good condition could carry at a specified load center.” If you do not center the load at the precise position, the capacity of the forklift will reduce.
The Load Capacity Data Plate
Each forklift comes with a data plate that indicates the load capacity, which specifies the load that each lift can safely lift at different mast angles or when it fits with an attachment. When you head out to buy a forklift, the plate should display the lift height, the load capacity, model number, load center distance, band and lift height. The data plate should also display:
- Down rating for the specific attachments listed on the capacity plate
- Downrating of the lifting capacity if you fit a mast
The Load Capacity and Attachments
If there is an attachment fitted to your forklift, there is potential that the operating and dynamic characteristics of the forklift would change. Hence, it is important for the attachments to have proper rated and de-rated capacities. You should ensure that you have access to all the information regarding the de-rated capacity of the new or used forklift when fixing attachments.
The Lift Height
Note that the load carrying capacity of a forklift would significantly face effects by maximum fork height or lift height. Forklifts that come with high masts will have a greater carrying capacity at lower heights than at lift heights at maximum, therefore forklifts that have high masts may have a dual capacity rating when at maximum lift height. This allows the forklift operator to work easily with heavier loads at low heights.
Workers who have an inadequate knowledge of forklifts load capacity place themselves as well as those around them at a great risk. As a forklift operator, you have to be aware of the following:
- The correct way that a load should fit
- The effects of loads shape, weight and the size on a forklift
- The main difference between the model number and the load capacity of the forklift
Quick Tips to Consider
- Before you hire or buy forklifts, choose one with a fairly bigger load capacity than the one you need
- You have to estimate the safe load capacity along with oversized loads
- If the stated capacity load exceeds, then you can counteract this when you reduce the weight of the load
- Know the precise capacity of the forklift and make sure you never exceed it
- Make sure the data plate or the load capacity plate is correct, legible and well-fitted
- Train other operators to use the load capacity plate rather than assuming the load capacity of the forklift
- You should check the marked weight of objects and alternatively use a scale in order to weigh the loads.
- Work out what type of forklift you need in the workplace, along with its safety and capacity features.
What to Do If the Load Exceeds the Load Center Distance
If the load exceeds the load center distance, an important consideration you have to make is to recalculate the load capacity as it reduces. Then, divide the rated load center distance by the load center distance (actual). You should multiply the result by the rated capacity load.
Using a forklift requires a great deal of information and precision. You have to make sure that you first understand the operation basics of the forklift and the load capacity. For all your heavy duty or load transportation tasks, it is advisable that you choose a high quality or Moffett forklift. These days, you can access truck dealers in any city and choose used or new forklifts.