Everything you need to know: Tips for Preventive Maintenance of Forklifts
When it comes to maintaining heavy machinery, the saying “you get what you give” comes to mind. Just like anything else in life, heavy machinery and construction equipment require dedicated efforts to maintain them. Forklifts in particular, are a part of every industrial development. From tackling varying terrain and to harsh weather conditions, they are simply the engine that keeps the project running.
As fairly easy machines to operate and maneuver they are an essential part of warehouse operations. The average life span of a fork-lift is 10,000 hours, depending on the manufacturer and its usage. They are made to last 2000 hours (roughly a year) and are ideally required to be serviced every 250 hours. However, improper maintenance and a lack of awareness towards their functional abilities could hinder their productivity and efficiency in the long run. Understanding and implementing a few tips to maintain forklifts can also prevent unexpected safety hazards.
4 Tips for preventive maintenance of Forklifts, to expand their lifespan
1.Follow a maintenance plan:
Following a consistent maintenance plan involves regular inspection before usage and identifying any faulty functions such leaks and unusual sounds. This is not only essential for the safety of the operator but also for the longevity of the machine. In fact, according to OSHA guidelines forklifts, must be checked prior to every shift along with daily inspections on tire pressures, fluid levels, forks and other functionalities. For further guidance, every forklift comes with a user manual with instructions from the manufacturer that should be taken into account during inspections. Furthermore, OSHA recommends documentation of forklift inspection; although it is not a legal obligation it could be beneficial when presenting proof of inspection.
2. Clean your forklifts:
Cleaning your forklifts can seem like an intensive chore, but that is because it is. However, for running a smooth and steady forklift long-term it is essential to keep a few factors in mind, before ensuring it is cleaning on a daily basis. Firstly, before any washing can be done the machinery must be dusted for any muddy particles, loose dust and gunk that have been accumulated with usage. Further, washing the machine in a top-down movement, with a pressure washer can remove dirt from inaccessible areas without leaving smudges and smears on the vehicle. Lastly, the soap used and drying in a compressed air method is also essential, as chemical present in soaps may react negatively.
3. Use Protective Equipment:
Protective Equipment is not just a necessity while working on-site, but also in the case of cleaning your forklift. As the cleaning process could be quite hefty, however, this means coming into close contact with various chemical which could be harmful. For this reason, PPE such as gloves, masks, goggles and coveralls are all necessary.
4. Tire pressure and Brake tests:
Tire pressure and brake tests, must be checked regularly and if not could lead to the wasteful consumption of fuel and energy. Although they are known to have a lifetime of 5K hours or more, the improper usage of breaks could significantly shorten this term. Furthermore, battery levels are also an area that must be checked regularly according to OSHA requirements. In many cases, local companies’ provider maintenance contracts or AMC’s to keep your forklift up and running!