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Forklift Guide

2010

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Manufactured by Palian Racking & Shelving

Racklock patented racking systems. Increased strength - reduced cost.

Palian Cape Town Tel: 021 701 4814 Palian Johannesburg Tel: 011 708 0222 Customer careline: 0861palian or 0861rackloc www.palian.co.za PA L I A N R A C K I N G A N D S H E LV I N G

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About Promech Publishing This guide has been researched and produced by Promech Publishing, under the eye of Martin Bailey of ILS. In addition to our monthly magazine “Supply Chain Today”, we publish a highly comprehensive and prestigious annual Buyers Guide with details on over 950 companies covering the who’s who in the supply chain fraternity. “Supply Chain Today” and the Buyers Guide are ‘live’ on our popular website and both are kept on the site for a full year. Readers tell us the print copy and the electronic versions are invaluable for keeping abreast of developments in the industry.

Foreword The aim of this guide is to assist manufacturers, users and maintenance personnel in the correct choice, use and maintenance of forklifts. These are broad-based guidelines on forklifts. It must be noted, however, that there are numerous types of forklifts and equipment in the marketplace and new developments may supersede some of the technical guidelines discussed. These guidelines are thus meant to be an illustration of good practice rather than rigid instructions for specific implementations. Forklifts should be seen in the context of the total facility’s operations and not in isolation. Factors such as the nature of the environment and local conditions should always be evaluated and the standards adjusted accordingly. Most importantly, check on the support and back-up available from the supplier. If in doubt, you should consult a registered professional engineer with good knowledge and experience of the manufacturing, factory and warehouse environments. Often the cheapest purchase is not the best, and you could experience major downstream if you make false economies. I hope you find the Forklift Guide useful and it helps you to operate a world-class facility. Martin Bailey, Email: martin@ils.co.za

The cherry on the top is that “Supply Chain Today” has got together with CILTSA (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) and the CGCSA (Consumer Good Council of SA) to launch the first-ever Green Supply Chain Awards to recognise and reward the companies who are making an effort to green their supply chain. The inaugural Green Supply Chain Awards evening, held on 27 August 2009, was a great hit and this is scheduled to become an annual event. Finally, we also produce the Rack Users Guide. This Forklift Guide is our first attempt at covering the forklift industry. If you have any suggestions or criticisms (especially constructive ones), please contact us as we intend to upgrade and update in the years ahead.

Susan Custers Publisher

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You need it? We’ve got it. Hyster – a machine for every task.

Think of us as the ultimate tool. Hyster has it all. With over 140 products to choose from, covering lifting capacities from 1 to 52 tons, we have the most extensive range of forklift and materials handling solutions in the industry.

For direct routing to your nearest Barloworld Handling branch call:

0860 HYSTER 497837 For Parts call 0800 012076 and for Service call 0800 010088.

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FORKLIFT GUIDE 2010 Contents Front Cover Palian Jhb: (011) 708-0222 CT: (021) 701-4814 Customer careline: 0861palian / 0861rackloc www.palian.co.za

Index to Advertisers Accredited Training 47 Avis 50 Continental 6 Barloworld 4 Barpro 3 Culmen 45 Dexion 37 First National Battery 40 Hawker 8 Linde 42, 43 Manitou Inside Back Cover Micron Palian

38, 39, 44

Outside Front Cover, Outside Front Cover Southern Industrial Tyres 41 Trelleborg 23, 24, 25, 26 Universal Storage 16 Value 5, 10, 12, 15, 46, 47, Outside Back Cover

Foreword About Us Choosing the Right Forklift Foerklift Basics Quick Guide to the Most Commonly Used Forklifts The Reach Truck The IC Engine Counterbalance Forklift Truck The Side Loader and Four way Reach Truck The Pedestrian Stacker The Electric Counterbalance Forklift Truck The Powered Pallet Truck The Hand Pallet Truck The Man Up Order Picker The Man Down Order Picker Forklift Truck Attachments Various Types of Pallets The Right Tyres So Who Wants to be a Forklift Driver? Which Battery? Forklift Truck Daily Checklist

Special thanks to Martin Bailey of ILS. Thanks also to James Cunningham of Barpro Storage and Darryl Shafto of Goscor. Further acknowledgement to: Des Fell of Accredited Training, Dave Piasecki of Inventory Operations Consulting and the Centre for Logistics Excellence. Other sources: www.crown.com; www. forkliftaction.com; www.geocities.com/waynem48; www.inventoryops.com; www.mmh.com.

Copyright All rights reserved. No editorial matter published in the “Forklift Guide 2010� may be reproduced in any form or language without written permission of the publishers. While every effort is made to ensure accurate reproduction, the editor, authors, contributors, publishers and their employees or agents shall not be responsible or in any way liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in the publication, whether arising from negligence or otherwise or for any consequences arising therefrom. The inclusion or exclusion of any product does not mean that the publisher or editorial board advocates or rejects its use either generally or in any particular field or fields.

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Choosing the Right Forklift

Nowadays, warehousing managers have an extremely wide selection of forklifts to choose from. Forklifts are commonly used for lifting anything from stock in a warehouse to hoisting people required to perform tasks at a certain level, for example, breaking and picking stock.

odern technology allows not only for convenience and safety, but also for increased productivity in a warehousing or storage area. Procuring a suitable forklift for a specific operation might sound easy, but there are common factors to take into consideration when deciding which lifting equipment should be acquired for specific tasks:

M

What are the properties of the materials that have to be lifted? It is important to understand the properties (load)

Electric vs Combustion The manufacturers of electric forklift trucks are optimistic about the future of their product lines. They feel that their trucks have closed the performance gap often perceived between electric and internal combustion (IC) equipment, while offering a number of advantages. Increasing environmental concerns, along with advancements in electronic controls and battery technology, are helping fuel this positive feeling.

of the materials that have to be lifted. Forklift capacity is affected by the height that the materials have to be lifted and the size of the load. It is also important to include the dimensions of the load, as this will affect the size of the truck selected.

How will the materials be stored? The way materials are stored also plays a role in determining the type of forklift required. Potato farmers are obligated to store heavy loads at high levels in extreme conditions, such as uneven terrain, plenty of dust and temperature-controlled environments, which does not allow much room to manoeuvre. This differs vastly from a warehouse requiring storage at a high level where pickers are hoisted to break bulk in order to select merchandise.

How will the materials be received and shipped? Shipping materials from a loading dock allows for more space than materials that have to be received and shipped from a cold room. This will affect the size, lifting capacity and manoeuvrability of the lift truck required.

What is the weight of materials that have to be lifted? Bigger is not always better in the materials handling business. You could easily reason that you just get a bigger truck for heavier loads. Bigger trucks require more space to move and may cost more, which is not the most suitable solution where heavy materials have to be moved in small spaces.

Electric

IC Engine

No emissions (good for indoors) Less maintenance

Lower capital cost

At which height must the materials be stored?

Available in larger sizes

Lower operating costs

No charging facilities required Suitable for heavier cycles

Lift height and load size determines the capacity of a lift truck. A bigger load size moves the forklift’s centre of gravity, reducing the lifting capacity, making the height at which the materials have to be stored just as important as the load.

Longer life Less carbon emissions (greener) /HVVGDQJHURIÂżUH

Better outdoors

Quiet

More robust

More compact

Easier to re-fuel

Not sensitive to bumpy terrains The table sets out the pros and cons of both

Other factors Once the properties of the materials are determined, the capabilities and options of the lifting equipment should be evaluated. How the lift truck is powered (petrol, diesel, electric), mast options, aisle type, safety features and many other factors have to be taken into consideration when determining which forklift to select. Forklift Guide

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Successful All Around

Powerful Solutions for any application High performance: The Hawker branded battery range, matched chargers and systems provide trouble free performance under the most demanding service conditions. Innovative solutions: The recently developed energy solutions like XFC FLEX batteries and Powertech IQ chargers,

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have defined new benefits for our customers: • faster recharge and more machine availability • lower operating and investment costs You can count of us: Hawker can help you design the power system that best meets your unique requirements no matter the size of your fleet.

Contact us: Hawker Power Products Postal Address: P.O. Box 380, Isando,1600. Physical Address: 3A Hargan Street, Hughes, Jet Park, Gauteng, South Africa. Telephone: +27 11 552 8760 Fax: +27 11 397 8012 www.eqstra.co.za/serv_industrial.html


Forklift Basics Doing a little homework up front to ensure you are choosing the best vehicles for your operation will result in optimal utilisation of your space and labour while maintaining a high safety factor. efore making a decision on the best vehicle for your operation you must have a thorough understanding of the properties of the materials or loads you will be handling, the methods you will use to store these materials and the methods you will use to ship and receive these materials. Once this is done you should familiarise yourself with the variety of vehicles and options available.

B

Fuel types Electric forklifts are designed for use on a flat surface only. Their big advantages are the absence of fumes and their quiet operation. If you only intend to use your vehicles indoors, this is the way to go. In multi-shift operations you will need additional batteries and charging/transfer stations. In single shift operations, or, if the truck is not used 100% of the time, you can charge it during off hours. Note that the batteries and chargers for lift trucks are usually priced separately from the lift truck itself. You will also have choices of standard batteries or sealed maintenance-free types, although the latter is very rare.

Battery powered Basically there are two types of lift trucks, battery powered and IC engine powered. AC (alternating current) motors are being offered by most lift truck manufacturers, and no, this does not mean that you will be driving around with a really long extension cord. AC powered lift trucks run off of DC batteries and convert the DC power back to AC to power the motor. The advantages of AC motors include faster acceleration, higher efficiency, and lower maintenance costs.

Regenerative braking technology recharges the batteries using the momentum of the lift truck when slowing down (braking). The frequent starting/stopping of lift trucks makes them an excellent application for this technology. It is similar to the technology used in hybrid automobiles. New technologies in this are a include fast charging which provides a means to reduce or eliminate the need to change batteries on multi-shift operations. The idea here is to quickly recharge the batteries during breaks, lunches, and between shifts (frequently called opportunity charging). It is more expensive than conventional charging systems, and there is currently only one such system in South Africa. The system has lots of power issues and isn’t very green.

IC engine – LP gas powered The advantages of using liquid propane (LP) include minimal fumes that you can smell although it still produces CO and other noxious gases (so heavy use indoors is dangerous and requires adequate ventilation), the ability to use it both indoors and outdoors, and the ability to quickly change LP tanks. It is commonly used in indoor/outdoor operations such as lumber yards. Petrol or diesel powered trucks are for outdoor use only. These forklifts are heavily used in construction, scrap yards, truck loading, etc. There are a handful of companies already testing hydrogen fuel cell power sources for industrial trucks. The advantages of hydrogen fuel cell power include the ability to quickly refuel (similar to LP, petrol or diesel) avoiding the hassles and costs associated with battery changing/charging while providing the clean-air benefits of electric. Cost is still an issue at this point, but this is a technology to watch.

Tyre types There are three types of tyres on the market: solid Forklift Guide

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(nylon) for warehouse trucks; cushion for general use; and air for rough terrain. Cushion tyres are solid tyres generally with no tread pattern (though tread patterns are available) designed for use indoors on smooth solid surfaces. Pneumatic tyres require air and are designed for use outdoors on uneven and loose surfaces. Pneumatic tyre forklifts will also have higher ground clearance which raises the centre of gravity thus reducing its rated lift capacity.

Lift capacity and lift height Before you select the best lift truck for the job, you will need to know the maximum weight and dimensions of the loads you will be handling as well as the maximum fork height needed to stack or rack the loads in order to determine the capacity of the vehicle needed. The lift capacity of a truck is affected by lift height and load size. A larger size load moves the centre of gravity of the vehicle/load combination reducing the lift capacity as does the height the load is being lifted. Attachments also affect the capacity of a truck. Every lift truck is required to have a rating plate showing the rated capacities. If there are any changes made to the truck — like adding an attachment — the plate must be replaced with one showing the revised capacities. But why spend so much time on capacity? Why not just play it safe and get a higher rated truck? The answer is size. Bigger is not necessarily better in warehousing. A higher capacity truck will be physically larger and require larger aisles than a lesser one.

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Mast options The number of stages a mast has affects the closed height of the truck as well as door heights. Single, double, triple, quad (reflects the number of sections or stages the mast has) are the types of masts available. In many circumstances you will not need to make a choice here since the lift height will dictate the type of mast you will get. However, in trucks with very high lift heights, you may have an option. Going to a quad mast (which is very, very rare) instead of a triple, rated at the same height, will give you a shorter mast in the lowered position, eliminating overhead clearance issues. However, the more sections to the mast, the more play it will have when extended (the wobble factor).

Aisle types Lift trucks are classified by the types of aisles they are designed to operate in. Wide Aisle and Narrow Aisle trucks are designed to turn in the aisle while Very Narrow Aisle trucks do not turn within the aisle. Wide Aisle: standard forklifts fall into this category of trucks designed to work in aisles greater than 3.3m wide. Narrow Aisle (NA) forklifts operate in aisles of 2.6 to 3.3m and are generally vehicles such as Reach Trucks. Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) trucks operate in aisles less than 2m and often use guidance systems (wire, rail, or optical) to travel within the aisles. Types of VNA trucks are Order Pickers, Swing Mast and Turret Trucks (often called Lateral Stackers).


Lift truck types Standard forklift The standard forklift, also known as a counterbalanced sit-down lift truck, is the vehicle most people think of when they think Lift truck or Forklift. It is available with any of the fuel types and tyre types as well as numerous weight capacities, lift heights and attachment options. The smaller 1 200kg to 2 000kg trucks are the workhorses of most warehouses. If you are running a small operation and will only have one truck, this is probably the vehicle for you. The standard forklift is a wide aisle truck which requires at least 3.3m aisles to turn in. The aisle width is determined by the size of the truck, the turn radius, and the size of the load. Available options and attachments include side shifts, fork shifts, hydraulic clamps, and slip sheet attachments, to name a few. Standard forklifts are usually used for lift heights under 6m.

Reach tucks Unlike the counterbalanced forklift truck, reach trucks carry their loads within their wheelbase. The reach truck is a narrow aisle (2.6 to 3.3m) truck designed specifically for racked pallet storage. It consists of outriggers in front and telescoping forks that use a hydraulic mechanism that allows you to pick up the load and retract it over the outriggers. This reduces the overall truck and load length, allowing you to turn in a narrower aisle. The very rare double-deep reach truck uses an extended reach mechanism which allows you to store pallets two deep in specially designed double-deep rack. Reach trucks are designed for racking areas only and do not work for loading trucks or quickly moving loads over distances. Operator training on reach trucks tends to take longer than on other vehicles due to the complexity of the controls.

as a Walkie, Walkie-rider or Rider motorised pallet truck, are the motorised versions of the pallet jack. The PPT is designed for the operator to walk along with the truck as he or she moves loads, while the Rider has a small platform on which the operator stands. The PPTs are great for frequent moving of loads over extended distances within warehouses and manufacturing operations. They are fast and highly manoeuvrable. Minimal controls result in short learning curves for operators although precision turning takes a little practice. If you are looking for an inexpensive method for moving loads from point A to point B, a PPT may the answer.

Order picker This truck is designed specifically for manual handling of less-than-pallet-load quantities in racking. The man-up order picker design has fixed forks attached to a platform which elevates the load and the operator to facilitate manual loading and unloading from racking. Order pickers can operate in narrow (guides) or wide aisles. They are also very useful in cycle counting and physical inventories. Order pickers are available in lift heights up to 12m.

Very narrow aisle forklifts Swing mast turret trucks (lateral stackers) are very narrow aisle (VNA) vehicles designed to work in aisles less than 1.8m wide. A swing mast truck resembles a standard forklift with the exception that there is an additional function to swing the mast to a 90 degree angle to allow storing pallets perpendicular to direction of the forklift’s travel.

Motorised pallet trucks

Many turret trucks are man-up vehicles similar to an order picker with the exception that, rather than fixed forks, the forks are mounted on an additional mast and carriage which operates as a turret turning 90 degrees in either direction facilitating picking and stocking on either side of the aisle. The manup design makes it easer to handle loads in very tall racking up to 18m.

Powered Pallet Trucks (PPTs), sometimes referred to

Man-down versions of turret trucks are also avail-

Reach trucks are available with lift heights up to 12m, however, at heights above 11m cameras or height selectors are recommended.


able. They are less expensive than the man-up versions and are better when rack heights are less than 10m. Very narrow aisle trucks are generally used in conjunction with a guidance system (wire or rails) within the aisles to increase safety and reduce property damage. Also, man-up turret trucks operating with tall racking require that the floor be extremely flat and level to operate correctly. VNA trucks are more complex and expensive pieces of equipment with more mechanical problems than standard lift trucks and you can subsequently expect more downtime and higher service costs. These costs can be easily offset in large warehouses by the space saved by going to 1.8m aisles.

Attachments There are an enormous variety of attachments and options available for lift trucks. While most attachments are designed for use on standard lift trucks, some of them are also used on reach trucks and VNA trucks. Most attachments will change the capacity of the lift truck and a new plate should be placed on the truck showing the new specs.

Safety features There are many safety features that are common to specific types of trucks such as seat belts on sit-down vehicles and dead-man pedals on most stand-up vehicles. In addition, some manufacturers offer additional features such as speed controls that reduce speed based on load height and steering angle.

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Service and support An important part of lift truck selection is making sure you will have access to high levels of service and support. There seem to be new players in the lift truck market every year and while they may offer a nice truck design at a nice price, if they don’t have a local/regional service and support infrastructure, you should be prepared for significant aggravation when the truck goes down (all lift trucks go down at some point). Ideally, you want a local dealer/repair shop with a good supply of parts for the specific make and model you are purchasing. Visit the dealership or repair shop and take a look at the parts room just to try to get some idea of how many parts they stock and ask them “if they don’t have the part, where will it come from?” Hopefully the answer is a nearby, not necessarily local, regional distribution facility. Also, try to get some idea as to how many of those specific models are currently in use in your area. This is especially important for specialty trucks, such as turrets. If there are only a handful of these trucks in use in their service area you should assume they are not stocking many (if any) parts for them and probably have very little experience servicing them. It’s also helpful if there is more than one business in your area that can service your lift truck. This tends to get you better service and pricing. Also important is seeing if they have rentals available that have similar capabilities of the vehicle you are buying.


Again, this is very important for specialty vehicles such as turrets especially if you are only running one or two of these vehicles in your operation.

New versus used The selection of used over new is most beneficial in low use operations where you are putting very little wear and tear on the vehicle. In higher use operations, you very well may find that buying used costs more due to significant maintenance/repair costs that will be incurred. Be aware that there is ‘used’ and there is ‘junk’. Don’t by junk. Used does not necessarily mean old. High-volume operations will purchase new forklifts and trade them in every few years, these make for good used purchases because they are still considered current models and will therefore have greater access to parts and service. Safety is also a consideration since older models will not have the same safety functionality as newer models.

Working with dealer reps

will assist in determining the appropriate vehicles, however, keep in mind that truck types can vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer (especially on specialty equipment). Obviously the dealer rep will steer you towards something in his line regardless if there is a better alternative available elsewhere. When you have narrowed down the type of vehicle you are interested in, ask the rep to set up a visit to a similar operation using this type of vehicle and consider getting an onsite demo within your own facility. If you are still unsure I suggest renting one for a couple of months, ask upfront if you can deduct a portion of the rental cost from the purchase price if you decide to buy. This certainly does not cover all of the vehicles and options available as there are many other specialty trucks as well as hybrids of the previous listed vehicles. It does cover most of the more popular types of trucks being used today. Remember, an educated decision is a better decision.

Dealer reps can be a great source of information and

Forklifts at a glance Lift Truck Internal combustion (IC) diesel counterbalance Electric 4-wheel FLT Electric 3-wheel FLT Reach truck Turret Walkie stacker Side loader (diesel or electric) Four-way reach truck Powered pallet truck Man-down order picker Man-up order picker Big FLT Reach stacker Straddle carrier

Aisle 4m to 6m

Height Up to 6m

Weight Up to 50 tons

Floor Type Use Flat Works outside

3.3m to 6m 3.2m to 4.2m 2.6m to 3.2m 1.7m to 1.9m 2.2m to 2.8m 2.5m to 3.5 3.2m to 3.8m 2.5m to 3.5m

Up to 6m Up to 3m Up to 12m Up to 16m Up to 5m Up to 7m Up to 8m Up to 150m

Up to 5 tons Up to 2 tons Up to 2 tons Up to 2 tons Up to 1.5 tons Up to 30 tons Up to 2.5 tons Up to 3 tons

6m plus 6m plus 3m plus

1m to 9m Up to 6 containers Up to 6 containers Up to 3 containers

Up to 500kg Up to 60 tons Up to 60 tons Up to 30 tons

Flat Flat Flat Very Flat Flat Variable Flat Flat Flat Flat Good Good Good

Works inside, handles larger loads Works inside, handles smaller loads Warehouse Very high warehouse and narrow aisle &RQ¿QHGZDUHKRXVHVSDFH Ideal for long loads Ideal for long items in warehouse For transporting pallets Picking of goods at ground level Picking of goods above ground level Usually for container handling Usually for container handling Usually for container handling

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Quick Guide to the Most Commonly used Forklifts Wide aisle trucks

Stand-up forklift truck (FLT)

Three-wheel electric FLT

Four-wheel electric FLT

Suited to short-distance moves of pallets and other loads that require the operator to frequently mount and dismount the truck. It’s very rare in South Africa but popular in the US.

Made for longer distance travel and operaWLRQ LQ UHVWULFWHG ÀRRU VSDFH ZKLFK UHTXLUHV a tight turning radius aided by the single rear wheel.

Used to move loads up to 4 536 kg extended distances and in standard-width storage aisles for put away and picking in racks of various heights.

Electric narrow aisle trucks

Sideloader

Order picker High lift straddle Intended for stacking pallet loads up to 1 814 kg in multi-level storage racks. Straddle legs provide stability in the absence of a counterbalance. It is often used with Euro pallets.

Designed to lift the operator on a platform along with the forks to a storage location for picking items or cases.

Designed to handle oversized loads in narrow aisles, the outrigger platforms provide load stability during transportation. The mast does not pivot, making put away and retrieval much like counterbalanced trucks.

Turret truck (lateral stacker) Reach truck Pivot type truck Used to store pallets in narrow aisles to heights of 8m, using a rotating mast that swings 90 degrees to one side or the other side.

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Suited to positioning loads in very narrow aisles using rotating forks that face right or left and traverse side-to-side across the front of the truck.

Operating in a “medium� aisle, the reach truck is commonly used for storage of pallets in racking. Aisle widths range from 2,6m to 3,2m and lift eights from 4m to 12m.

Pantograph type outrigger Built for two-pallet deep storage in narrow aisles using the reach pantograph, which extends into the rack. The pantograph arms provide stability. The truck is very rare in South Africa.

Powered pallet truck (PPT) Made to transport loads longer distances. Platform versions are also available for handling skids and related loads.


Electric stackers & straddle trucks

High-lift straddle Built to lift loads to various heights depending on the length of the straddle arms which provide stability for the truck. It’s commonly used with pallets with no bottom stringers.

Low level order picker Designed to carry the pallet load and operator long distances as well as short ones while providing centred access to controls, used for order picking.

Walkie powered pallet truck Intended as an economical, powered lift truck for transporting loads distances that an operator can comfortably walk. Tines raise MXVWDIHZLQFKHVWRFOHDUWKHÀRRU during transport

High-lift counterbalanced Suited to accessing racks that the high-liftstraddle truck cannot reach as well as heavier loads. It’s very rare and has probably not been seen in South Africa for 20 years.

Internal combustion engine trucks

FLT, counterbalanced Intended as a general-purpose lift truck for loads up to 5 000kg. Models come with multi-staged masts for accessing loads at various rack heights. Engines are typically powered by LP-gas or petrol.

Large FLT, counterbalanced Suited to carry loads as heavy as 7 000kg both outdoor and indoor. Pneumatic tyres make for softer rides and greater traction. Multi-staged masts and LP gas, and diesel engines are available

Rough terrain lift trucks

All rough terrain forklift trucks

Large trucks

Ruggedized for outdoor conditions and difficult-to-traverse surfaces, these models transport loads that might exceed 7 000kg. They can also be used as the transportation interface between a storage yard and warehouse.

These trucks are available in capacities ranging from 5 000 to 60 000kg. They are commonly used for container handling and very heavy loads. Types of trucks in this category includes: Counterbalanced FLTs; Reach stackers; and Straddle carriers.

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The Reach Truck Background Reach trucks are one of the most commonly used industrial trucks for the storage of pallets in warehouses. They differ from counterbalanced forklift trucks in that they carry their load within their Designed to handle pallets Smallest capacity reach truck available Largest capacity reach truck available Average lift height Maximum lift (certain models only) 6LGHVKLIW¿WWHG Mast – number of stages Aisle width (depending on pallet, lift & model) Operator position Drive Battery removal Battery size Battery voltage Charger (depending on model type and battery size) Time between charging Gradient with load (depending on model & load) Lift speed with load Travel speed with load Automatic height selection Typical cycle time capacity Typical reach truck cost – 1 000kg capacity 6m lift Typical reach truck cost – 2 500kg capacity 11m lift Refrigeration (cold store) cab available Commonly available from many suppliers Commonly available for hire Commonly used by many organisations Typical features of a reach truck

Yes 500kg at 600 load centre 2 500kg at 600 load centre 6 to 8m 11.5m Optional (recommended) 2 or 3 2,7 to 3,1m Standing or sitting Battery Roll out or with crane 350 to 900 Amp Hours 36 to 72 volts 3-phase – 15 to 35A 7 to 12 hours operation Up to 10% (7% preferred) 0,3 to 0,45m/s 2 to 3m/s Certain models only 15 to 38 pallets/hour R250 000 – R480 000 R300 000 – R350 000 Yes Yes Fairly (1 to 2 ton) Yes

wheelbase. This allows the reach truck to operate in a smaller aisle than a counterbalanced forklift truck and to lift to greater heights. The reach truck is thus ideally suited to operate efficiently at good space utilisation and high efficiencies. The main advantages of reach trucks include that they are: highly efficient; competitively priced; commonly used and commonly available; relatively simple machine; high lift capability (up to 12m); narrow aisle (2,7 to 3.2m); fast; highly flexible; and reliable. As reach trucks have hard (solid) small wheels they are only suited to indoor applications where floors are fairly good. While reach trucks do not require

This plan view of a reach truck shows the standard aisle width calculation. The aisle width also depends on the quality of drivers; speed of operations; quality of pallet; and rack-fit tolerances. If you increase the aisle tolerances there is less chance of rack damage. However, this will lead to poorer space utilisation.

Reach truck turning circle (aisle width)

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the very high tolerance floors used by turret trucks, they do require better floors than counterbalanced forklift trucks. All reach trucks are battery powered and many manufacturers supply numerous model types. The most common reach truck applications are for handling of pallets in racking. Reach trucks are not commonly used for block stacking. In recent years, reach trucks have been developed with substantially improved performance capabilities, including increased lift heights (up to 11,5m).

This ‘basic’ reach truck provides for an operator who stands. It can typically lift to 6m and can work with a standard 1 x1,2m pallet (1 ton) in a 2,7m aisle. This reach truck is ideally suited to relatively low capacity operations. Stand up operator reach trucks are common in USA. They are not common in Europe or South Africa where sit down operator positions are preferred.

Stand-up operator

This reach truck has a capacity of 2 500kg (at ground level), a lift of 11,5m and fully integrated automated height selection. It also has a tilting cab which allows the driver better visibility at higher levels. Such a reach truck provides excellent space utilisation and high productivity. Note: Reach trucks de-rate significantly as lift height increases. For example, at 11m lift the capacity of this machine decreases from 2 500 to 1 000 kg.

A large, sophisticated reach truck

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The operator of this reach truck is storing and retrieving pallets from racking. Reach trucks are ideal for this type of operation. Note: This reach truck operates with pallets that have no bottom stringer due to its design. This reach truck is therefore best suited to handle Euro pallets. Other reach trucks are designed to handle South African pallets. The reach truck thus has to be carefully matched to a specific application.

Storing and retrieving pallets

This reach truck is accessing pallets at 12 levels high. Reach trucks can achieve this due to their inherent stability. However, to operate at these heights one needs a good floor and an appropriate lift truck. In a well-run operation, reach trucks can achieve throughputs of up to 40 pallets per hour (in plus out), which makes them a very efficient materials handling device.

Accessing pallets at 12m high

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The IC Engine Counterbalanced Forklift Truck The internal combustion (IC) engine counterbalanced forklift truck is one of the most commonly used items of materials handling equipment. It is highly flexible and can be used for many purposes in warehouses, in factories, on building sites or in yards. Typical uses include: loading and unloading trucks; transporting pallets; storage of pallets in block stacks; storage of pallets in rack; and general maintenance work. he counterbalanced forklift truck is commonly powered by internal combustion engines, usually fuelled by diesel, petrol or LP gas. Many different forklift trucks are available for different handling applications. These may vary from a 40-ton diesel powered lift truck handling large sea containers to a 1-ton forklift handling pallets in a warehouse.

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Nearly every factory and warehouse in the world makes use of a counterbalanced forklift. The basic operating principal of the counterbalanced fork lift truck is shown in the diagram below. Designed to handle pallets

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Yes

Smallest capacity forklift truck available

800kg

Largest capacity forklift truck available

40 tons

Average lift height

4 to 6m

Maximum lift (certain models only)

9m

6LGHVKLIW¿WWHG

Optional

Mast – number of stages

2 or 3

Aisle width (depending on pallet, lift & model)

4 to 8m

Operator position Drive Gradient with load (depending on model & load)

Sitting Battery, petrol, diesel Up to 15%

Lift speed with load

0,10 to 0,25 m/s

Commonly available from many suppliers

Yes

Commonly available for hire

Yes

Commonly used by many organisations

Yes

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Basic operating principal of a forklift truck The counterbalanced forklift truck carries its load on the outside of its wheelbase and relies on a counterbalance weight (and the weight of the engine) to stop it tipping around the front wheels. The counterweight thus operates like a ‘seesaw’ to stop tipping and ensure stability.


This forklift truck is commonly used in outdoor applications where the terrain is rough and work conditions are difficult.

A typical ‘off-road’ forklift truck

This container handling forklift truck is commonly used outdoors for loading, unloading and storing. Container trucks are available in capacities up to 40 tons!

A typical container forklift truck

This forklift truck is the most commonly used lift truck in the industry. It may be used indoors and outdoors for loading, unloading and storing.

A typical 2-ton forklift truck

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The Side Loader and Four way Reach Truck Designed to handle pallets & loose goods

Yes

Requires in aisle guidance

Only in some options

Typical capacity

1 000 – 20 000kg

Typical lift height

4 to 6m

Maximum lift height (certain models only)

9m

6LGHVKLIW¿WWHGWRPRVWPRGHOV

If needed

Mast – number of stages

2 or 3

Aisle width (depending on load, lift & model)

2,5 to 4m

Operator position

Sitting

Power

Battery, diesel, petrol

Gradient with load

1% to 10%

Lift speed with load

0,15 to 0,25 m/s

Typical four way reach truck 7m lift

R400 000

Commonly available from many suppliers

Only diesel

Commonly available for hire

No

Fairly commonly used

Diesel more common

This four way reach truck is an ideal machine to handle long loads of up to 2 tons and store them in cantilever racks up to 7m high.

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The side loader and the four way reach truck are battery and diesel powered industrial trucks that carry their loads parallel to their direction of travel. This allows them to carry long loads – such as pipes and lengths of timber – in relatively confined spaces.

iesel side loaders are commonly used for rough terrain handling, while electric side loaders and four way reach trucks are used inside warehouses usually storing goods in rack. Diesel side loaders can have capacities of up to 20 tons, while electric side loaders are usually limited to a 5-ton capacity and four way reach trucks to a 2-ton capacity.

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Typical operating aisle widths are in the order of 2,4m.


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The Pedestrian Stacker he pedestrian stacker truck is commonly used inside warehouses for storing pallets. Because the operator needs to walk behind the truck, it is not suited to operations that require high throughput or work over long distances.

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The pedestrian stacker truck is thus suited to handling relatively low volumes and weights of up to 1 000kg in warehouses where space is confined.

A typical walkie stacker

Designed to handle pallets Type of pallet most suited to stacker

Yes – but ‘prefers’ no bottom stringer on pallet Euro pallet

Smallest capacity truck available

500kg lift

Common maximum capacity practical

800kg lift

Largest capacity truck available

1 800kg lift

Aisle width – Euro pallet

2 400mm

Typical fork length

1 150mm

Average lift height

3 500mm

Maximum lift height (very specialized)

5 000mm

Operator position

Walk behind

Battery capacity

200 to 400 Amp Hour

Gradient with load

5%

Travel speed under full load

1,3m/s

Commonly available from many suppliers

Yes

Commonly used by many organisations

No

Commonly available for rental

No

Roll out battery

Optional (possible)

This pedestrian stacker is commonly used in warehouses and factories. It provides a highly efficient method of storage as it operates in fairly narrow aisles. It is not as robust or as fast as a reach truck, but its manoeuvrability makes it ideal for many applications. This pedestrian stacker is commonly used to handle pallets with no bottom stringer and in this example a Euro pallet is shown. This is because the outrigger legs would get in the way of a pallet with bottom stringers. Straddle versions are available and these straddle the pallet allowing any type of pallet to be handled.

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The Electric Counterbalanced Forklift Truck The electric counterbalanced fork lift truck is powered by an electric battery and is a commonly used item of materials handling equipment.

Designed to handle pallets Smallest capacity forklift truck available

Yes 800kg

Largest capacity forklift truck available

8 tons

Average lift height

4 to 6m

Maximum lift (certain models only)

7m

6LGHVKLIWÂżWWHG

Optional

Mast – number of stages

2 or 3

Aisle width (depending on pallet, lift & model)

3 to 5m

Operator position

Sitting

Drive

Battery

Battery removal

With crane

Battery size

500 to 800 Amp Hours

Battery voltage

36 to 48 volts

Gradient with load (depending on model & load)

Up to 11%

Lift speed with load

0,10 to 0,25 m/s

Commonly available from many suppliers

Yes

Commonly available for hire

Fairly (1 to 2 ton)

Commonly used by many organisations

Yes

This forklift truck is commonly used in indoor applications for transport and storage operations. With a typical capacity of up to 1,5 tons at 600mm load centre, this forklift con manoeuvre in very tight aisles (3 to 3,5m).

A typical three wheel electric forklift truck

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t is highly flexible and can be used for many purposes in warehouses and in factories. Typical uses include: loading and unloading trucks; transporting pallets; storage of pallets in block stacks; storage of pallets in rack and general maintenance work. It is commonly used indoors and is not as robust as a diesel or LP gas powered forklift.

I

Many different forklift trucks are available for different handling applications. These may vary from an 8-ton special forklift to an 800kg, 3-wheel compact lift truck used in warehouses


Basic operating principal of a forklift truck The counterbalanced forklift truck carries its load on the outside of its wheelbase and relies on a counterbalance weight (and the weight of the

engine) to stop it tipping around the front wheels. The counterweight thus operates like a ‘seesaw’ to stop tipping and ensure stability.

In this application the electric forklift truck is being used indoors to block stack pallets.

A typical three wheel electric forklift truck

This picture shows the battery of an electric forklift truck exposed for removal. The battery can be charged in the truck or removed (swapped). Removal is effected using a hoist to lift the battery out of the truck.

The battery

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The Powered Pallet Truck

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he powered pallet industrial truck is commonly used inside warehouses for transporting pallets. It is suited to handling high volumes and weights of up to 2 000kg.

A typical powered pallet truck Designed to handle pallets Smallest capacity hand pallet truck available Common maximum capacity practical Largest capacity truck available Typical fork length Maximum fork length Average lift height Operator position Battery capacity Gradient with load Travel speed under full load Typical cost Commonly available from many suppliers Commonly used by many organisations Commonly available for rental Roll out battery

This ride behind powered pallet truck is fast and provides a highly efficient method of moving pallets. It is also commonly used for loading trucks and for order picking.

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Yes 1 000kg lift 2 000kg lift 3 000kg lift 1100 mm 3000 mm 205mm Walk or ride behind 200 to 400 Amp Hour 9% 1,4 m/s R80 000 – R120 000 Yes Yes No Optional


The Hand Pallet Truck he hand pallet industrial truck is commonly used inside warehouses for transporting pallets. It is suited to handling low volumes and relatively low weights.

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Designed to handle pallets

Yes

Smallest capacity hand pallet truck available

500kg lift

Common maximum capacity practical

800kg lift

Largest capacity truck available

3 000kg lift

Typical load centre

600mm

Average lift height

150mm

Operator position

Walk behind

Drive type

Manual

Gradient with load

Minimal

Commonly available from many suppliers

Yes

Commonly used by many organisations

Yes

This hand pallet truck is being used to transport pallets from the storage area into a truck.

A typical hand pallet truck application

This hand pallet truck has a platform that can be raised to assist in picking or packing goods.

An unusual pallet truck application

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The Man up Order Picker Picking to heights of 9m Smallest capacity truck available Common maximum capacity practical Largest capacity truck available Typical fork length Typical load centre Walk through capability Average lift height Operator position Operator lift Battery capacity Gradient with load Travel speed under full load Lift speed with load Typical cost Commonly available from many suppliers Commonly used by many organisations Commonly available for rental Roll out battery Charger (typical)

This man up picking truck allows the operator to efficiently access goods at all levels.

A typical man up picking truck

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Yes 500kg lift 1 000kg lift 1 500kg lift 1 100mm 600mm Optional 4 to 9m Standing Up to 9m 300 to 500 Amp Hour 4% 2,5m/s 0,3m/s R150 000 – R350 000 Yes No No Optional 20 Amp 3-phase

he man up order picker industrial truck is commonly used inside warehouses for picking loose cases or loose items from pallets at high levels. It is suited to handling medium to low volumes and weights of up to 1 000kg. The man up picking truck provides picking at levels up to 9m.

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The Man Down Order Picker Picking from pallets to pallets Smallest capacity truck available Common maximum capacity practical Largest capacity truck available Typical fork length Maximum fork length Average lift height – of forks Operator position Operator position Operator lift Battery capacity Gradient with load Travel speed under full load Commonly available from many suppliers Commonly used by many organisations Commonly available for rental Roll out battery Charger (typical)

Yes 1 000kg lift 2 000kg lift 3 000kg lift 1 100 to 2 400mm 3 000mm 205mm Ride on (standing) Between forks & battery Up to 990mm 200 to 500 Amp Hour 9% 1,4 m/s Yes Yes No Optional 15 Amp 3-phase

he man down order picker industrial truck is commonly used inside warehouses for picking loose cases from pallets. It is suited to handling high volumes and weights of up to 2 000kg. The man down picking truck provides picking to ground level and level one pallets.

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This man down picking truck allows the operator to access goods at ground and first level efficiently. Here the picking truck is carrying three roll containers, which allow the picker to assemble a large load.

A typical man down picking truck Forklift Guide

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Forklift Truck Attachments There are various kinds of attachments that can be fitted on a forklift depending on the application. We discuss the most common attachments below.

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moves the tines together or apart. This means that the operator of the forklift truck does not have to get out of the cab to adjust the tines manually. It is perfect for adjusting to different load sizes and is used primarily in high volume operations where there is a great variety of pallet and crate sizes handled.

ideshifter

This is the most common attachment and should almost be considered standard equipment. The sideshifter is a hydraulic attachment that allows the operator to move the tines (or forks) and the backrest laterally. This makes the placement of a load easier as the truck does not have to be repositioned. Sideshifts will increase productivity and safety as well as reduce product damage by allowing the operator Roll and barrel clamp more flexter f i The roll and barrel clamp attachment h es ibility in Sid is a mechanical or hydraulic attachment load placewhich can be used for handling barrels, kegs, ment. or paper rolls. It usually also has a rotate function so that a vertically stored paper roll, for example, Rotator Some forklifts are fitted with an attachment that can be inserted into the horizontal intake of a allows the tines to be rotated. This device aids the printing press. handling of skids that have become markedly tilted Pole as well as any other speciality materials handling In some locations, like a carpet warehouse, a long needs. This type of attachment may also be used metal pole is used instead of forks to lift carpet for dumping containers for quick unloading. rolls. Similar but larger devices are used to pick

Fork positioner

up metal coils.

A fork positioner is a hydraulic attachment that

Carton and multipurpose clamp These are hydraulic attachments that allow the operator to open and close around a load, squeezing it to pick up. They are used to move items such as cartons, boxes and bales. The forklift truck in this case is sometimes referred to as a clamp truck.

Slip sheet Slip sheet attachments are used where slip sheets (a sheet of cardboard, paperboard, or plastic) are used rather than pallets. The slip sheet attachment has a push/pull mechanism that clamps onto the slip sheet and pulls the load onto a thin platform and then pushes the load off the platform when the truck reaches the destination.

Drum handler This is a mechanical attachment that slides onto the tines. Some are smaller versions of a paper roll clamp while others may engage the upper rim of the drum, or the lower rings. Some drum attachments are capable of picking up multiple drums at the same time.

Rotator

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Docks and doors facilitate materials flow – so don’t compromise in this area. Buy the best docks and doors available on the market and make sure they are automated where possible. This improves operations and reduces damage. Also make sure docks are at the right height (regardless of the building costs) and that you have a sufficient number of doors for receiving and dispatch. Fork positioner

Man basket A man basket is a lift platform that slides onto the tines and is used to hoist workers. It has railings and brackets for attaching safety harnesses.

Telescopic forks This hydraulic attachment allows the operator to operate in a warehouse designed for double deep stacking. This means that two pallet shelves are placed behind each other without any aisle between them.

Trucks get bigger and bigger – ensure there is sufficient space to turn, stage, park, dock, load and manoeuvre vehicles. This may involve big runouts (over 40m!), proper access ways and good quality infrastructures.

Putting it all Together

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ypically, each type of forklift truck is suited to a specific application and specific operational capacity. If we summarise the capacities and suitability of the equipment in terms of pallet type, lift and stack height and aisle width we end up with the following:

Equipment

Walkie stacker Diesel / LP FLT Electric FLT Reach truck 4-way reach truck Diesel side loader Electric side loader Man down turret Swivel truck Man up turret S/R machine

Common use Standard or Longer or Euro pallet large pallet storage

With pallet racking

Typical max lift height

Typical max stack height of pallets

Typical aisle width (pallet)

3 3 3 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 3

3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

6m 5m 5,5m 11,5m 8m 6m 8m 11,5m 10m 13m 40m

4 4 8 6 8 9 24

2,5m 4,5m 3,4m 3m 2,8m 3,5m 2,8m 1,7m 2.2m 1,8m 1,5m

2 2 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 2

Matching the truck and the pallet

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Various Types of Pallets Open pallets 4-way entry (EUR) The most common open pallet is the EURpallet with the dimension 800 x 1 200mm, and in some countries a pallet of the same kind with the dimension 1 000 x 1 200mm. The open side is either the 800 or the 1 000 side. The open side is possible to enter with all kinds of trucks.

Closed pallets 4-way entry Handling of those pallets is generally not possible with straddle leg trucks.

Closed pallets 4-way entry (USA model) Handling of those pallets is generally not possible with straddle leg stackers. Note restrictions on height from 2 sides. Not high enough for stackers. Most common measurements are 1 200 x 1 000 or 1 200 x 1 100mm.

Closed pallets 2-way entry These pallets can be open or ‘closed’ on the entry side. When closed, it’s not possible to use narrow model high lift stackers. Pallet measurements can vary a lot. The most common is 1 200 x 1 000 and 1 200 x 1 200mm.

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Rolltainers Roll containers are mostly used by food distribution companies. They are normally handled from the side where you have the goods supported. Since the roll container in principle is an ‘open pallet’, this can be handled by most truck types. Measurements can vary a lot. The most common is 800 x 700mm

Stillages Various kinds and sizes of stillages are used by the manufacturing industry in particular.

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The Right Tyre Lift truck tyres are one of those under-rated products everyone takes for granted. Yet for the informed user, they represent a way to upgrade a truck’s performance at relatively little cost.

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he first common tyre type is a solid or press-on tyre, which is built around a solid band and ‘pressed’ onto the hub or rim of the forklift. These are most often used indoors.

For the outdoors, air-filled or ‘pneumatic’ tyres are most commonly used. There are some exceptions. For outdoor applications with a relatively smooth surface (eg, asphalt) and a high hazard of flats (eg, metal scrapyard), there are some specialty solid tyres. Similarly, if your indoor facility doesn’t have a concrete floor, you may want to look at this issue more closely, starting with type of tyre tread and profile. For proper tyre selection for outdoor uses, the key objectives are to get the most rubber in contact with the most road.

But, compared with the solid tyre, one of the biggest disadvantages of an air-filled tyre can be summarised in a single word: flats. To cope with this issue, the tyre industry has come up with at least two alternative types of flat-proof tyres. The first is a urethane-filled product in which the inner tyre is filled with a urethane foam compound. The second is a solid tyre sometimes called a ‘resilient’ tyre, which resembles a pneumatic tyre. The most important thing to consider when it comes to pneumatic tyre maintenance is simple: proper air pressure. It’s recommended you check the pressure weekly with a tyre gauge when the tyre is cold (at least three to four hours since the last use). Another practical tip for really big trucks with dual tyres is to remove stones and debris between the threads. Otherwise, inspect for excessive wear or damage and replace when needed. This step is also useful when considering retreading or rebuilding; a viable and economic strategy, particularly for large, specialty pneumatic tyres.

Putting the pressure on

Something solid

Compared with a solid tyre, an air-filled or pneumatic tyre provides the following benefits: greater ground clearance; air better absorbs shock transfer; and allows more surface contact on uneven ground because of the greater give.

There are a variety of solid tyres available for indoor use. From a shape viewpoint they can be classified in two ways: Firstly by tread surface: smooth or non-skid (lugged). Lugged tyres are used for rough surfaces or for combinations of indoor/ outdoor applications where grip is important. However, they’re more prone to chipping and chunking. Secondly by profile: some common profiles include low profile (for high stability), wide profile (for better load distribution) and regular profile tyres, used for standard applications. Generally, it’s best to go back to the basic tyre made of natural or synthetic rubber and compounds such as ‘carbon black’, which provide the dark colour. The most common is the non-marking type made of polyurethane. Polyurethane tyres are used for high-load applications in which energy-efficient or non-marking tyres are desired. The biggest negative to polyurethane tyres is their lack of give, which can create a rough ride for the driver and load, particularly if the surface isn’t smooth. Suppliers may offer rubber non-marking tyres but these tend to wear more quickly. Non-marking tyres, in general, are only effective if the floor is properly scrubbed. If the floor is already marked up, the rubber marking will transfer to the non-marking tyre.

Improved performance Regardless of what you choose, you should always keep tyre maintenance and care in mind. Lift truck tyres should be replaced in the following situations: a maximum wear of five centimetres from the original diameter; abnormal splitting from the inner band; excessive cutting and chunking (that can cause a lift truck to jump when you go forward or reverse); and excessive wear on one tyre (caused by continuous turns in the same direction). For companies with larger fleets of about 15 to 20 trucks there are specialised preventive maintenance inspection programs offered by major tyre suppliers. Forklift Guide

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So who wants to be a Forklift Driver? Most warehouse supervisors do not know the rules of forklift driving. For example, drivers are trained to apply the handbrake before putting away or retrieving a pallet from pallet racking. Supervisors don’t know this rule and do not reprimand drivers when it is not done. Result? Forklift drivers quickly stop doing it.

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t is also estimated that up to 60% of forklift drivers do not look behind them before they start reversing.

A simple test to see if a driver is one of the 60% is to look at the counterweight on the back of his counterbalanced forklift. Paint marks are the tell-tale sign which will probably match the colour of your racking frames.

Level the pallet Drivers should ‘level’ a pallet on the forks before

putting it into the racks. This must be done at low level where the driver has a good view. Trying to level a pallet at 8 metres is almost impossible and results in the unlevelled pallet hitting the back load beam above the slot. This is one reason why load beams mysteriously collapse even when a forklift is nowhere close. The beams have been partially dislodged and sooner or later they give way. Incidentally, this is why the beam locking pins should be regularly checked. If one is missing, it means that the beam was hit, probably by an unlevelled pallet. Supervisors do not spend enough time in the actual warehouse watching what is happening. They are neither trained nor attuned to see dangerous forklift driving or damaged racking. The pallet racking should be checked at least on a weekly basis, with an independent check once a year. This is essential if a dangerous driver is to be identified quickly and is very simple to do. Racking inspections allow supervisors to see at first hand any damage that had occurred in the previous week.

It is not the level of education While not everyone can be a good forklift driver, the abilities required are not in any way reflected in a candidate’s level of education. One prevailing myth is that a pass at standard 4 is required, but some of the best drivers around are, in fact, illiterate. Good eyesight, together with depth perception is important. Co-ordination and quick reactions are important as the driver must be able to move a number of levers quickly. This does not mean that he or she must have the reactions of a fighter pilot, but they must be reasonably fast. Simple tests are available to assess these requirements. On the subject of the relative merits and demerits of female forklift drivers, it is held that although women took slightly longer to train, they tend to be more careful and less reckless than men, and look after their machines better too.

Warehouse design Mind you, warehouse design can make forklift drivers look bad too. If a warehouse was built to handle a daily throughput of 1 000 pallets and has a design capacity of 7 000 pallets, increasing throughput to 3 000 pallets and cramming 9 000

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pallets into the same volume will result in higher levels of damage.

tions as they feel that a forklift licence, like a car licence, should be valid for life.

Indeed, rack damage will be phenomenal if counterbalanced machines are allowed to work in racking where the access aisles were designed for reach trucks. In my view, counterbalanced forklifts should be kept out of racking as far as possible. Their job should be on the loading dock running pallets into and out of road trucks.

There seems to be a perception that once a driver has a licence, no further training or supervision is required.

Damage to the machine It is not just the damage that a forklift can inflict on people, racking and product that hits a company’s bottom line. There is also the damage done to the forklifts themselves. This can be major, not just in terms of spares, but also in forklift downtime. The best way to alleviate this, apart from careful driving practices, is by getting each forklift driver to check his machine on a daily basis. To do this he must have a check list to complete carefully and not be treated as another piece of useless paperwork. Identifying low oil or water levels, frayed fan belts and worn mast rollers can allow maintenance to be done on a preventative basis and reduce unplanned downtime. However, the supervisor must use the check sheets to take the appropriate action. If they are seen lying on his desk for weeks or deposited in the bin, then the forklift checks, if done at all, will become a pointless exercise.

Police the licences The greatest problem in warehouses today is the lack of policing. In South African warehouses the current level of policing is just about zero. In the days before the SETAs, companies recognised the need for refresher courses every six months, as this helped to prevent the acquisition of bad forklift driving habits. In today’s environment when the licence comes up for renewal after two years, many drivers fail their evaluation and have to redo a full five day course. Refresher courses are no longer popular and some companies complain about the two year evalua-

Being sent for training affects forklift drivers in another way. Assuming the test is completed successfully; the driver returns with increased confidence and feels valued. If what he has learnt is then reinforced by his supervisor, it becomes entrenched and his driving improvement is dramatic and long lasting.

Company Name: Linde Material Handling (Pty) Ltd Tel: 011 723 7000 Fax: 011 608 1446 E-Mail: info@linde-mh.co.za Value of Assets: R200m No of Employees: 175 Company’s most important area of activity: Linde Material Handling, South Africa supplies the widest range of material handling equipment manufactured by Linde Europe. What is your strongest product / service and why? Linde provides lifetime cost effective solutions for every type of equipment and product for material handling applications. With an unprecedented truck range, Linde also offers its customers effective service, repair and maintenance, as well as a range of individualized services.

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The National Forklift Driver Competition is so important. It allows competitors from all over South Africa to compete against each other and see how good they really are. Supervisors can also get an objective view on how their forklift drivers rated in comparison to those of other companies. This competition has now been taken over by the Chartered Institute for Logistics and Transport (CILTSA), who hope to increase it’s prominence as a national event.

Case in point Des Fell of Accredited Training was asked to conduct training for a large company with depots in several Western Cape towns. On arriving at the Worcester branch he spoke to one of the three mechanics to see what was happening to the forklifts. The mechanic complained that the drivers were destroying the machines, that he and the other two mechanics couldn’t cope, that the forklift downtime was phenomenal and that the drivers were simply untrainable. Des nevertheless trained the drivers and held a management seminar. He was called back the following year to re-evaluate the drivers. Arriving at the depot during lunch hour he found a forklift driver polishing his forklift behind a stack of pallets.

Running order Des was later approached by the mechanic he had spoken to the previous year who said that, since the

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original training, forklift damage had decreased to such an extent that he alone was able to keep the forklifts at all the depots in running order. Since the drivers checked their machines daily, he quickly got to know when replacement parts were required. They were ordered from Cape Town and fitted when he was next at the depot. In this way downtime was kept to an absolute minimum. Depth perception is important as a driver must be

able to place a pallet on racking beams at heights of over ten metres with clearances of as little as 75mms. Good forklift drivers tend to be quiet methodical individuals with an eye for detail and levels of concentration that allow them to place and retrieve pallets quickly and safely for hours at a time. You cannot be a forklift driver unless you are in “good health� and a signed letter stating that the

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person is in good health is required before training can take place. What the term “good health” actually means is debatable. The code of practice states that reports from an optometrist and psychologist should be obtained but this is not commonly done. Poor eyesight can be corrected by the proper use of spectacles, but medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes can render a person unsuitable. Lack of hearing, on the other hand, is more difficult. A person would not say that they were unwell just because they were deaf, but when it comes to forklift driving the ability to hear is pretty important. Despite this, there have been some very competent drivers who are hard of hearing. The common solution to the good health requirement is that the applicant’s

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company supplies a letter stating that he is in good health to the registered training company. Educational levels are now also deemed to be important with a minimum of standard 7 required. While a person’s level of education has very little to do with how well they drive a forklift, it may hamper their performance depending on what additional tasks their employers need them to perform including the operation of on board computers. I well remember the time when goods were block stacked in warehouses and a good reach truck driver’s most important requirement was the memory of an elephant.


To obtain a forklift driver’s certificate, a person must successfully complete a five-day course offered by a registered forklift training company. Necessary documentation includes a certified copy of ID, a signed letter of god health and the completion of a trainee feedback form before leaving the course. A certificate is valid for two years only and not five as for a driving licence. Before the two years expire, a driver must be evaluated by a registered training company. If the two years elapse without an evaluation, then the driver should stop driving until an evaluation is done. If a driver is not evaluated within a period of three months from the time his certificate expired then he must re-do the five day course. The evaluation requires a driver to perform certain tasks. If he scores more than 50 penalty points while doing so then he fails and must re-do the full course. The number of penalty points awarded for various infringements are the subject of endless discussion. For example, ten points are awarded when anything is bumped and 5 points every time a driver fails to look behind him when reversing. James Cunningham, Barpro Storage, Tel: (021) 552 9190, Fax: (021) 552 9170, E-mail: james@barpro.co.za

Company Name: Accredited Training Tel: 021 854 3288 Fax: 021 853 3292 E-Mail: info@accreditedtraining.co.za Website: www.accredited training.co.za No of Employees: 6 Company’s most important area of activity: • Forklift Training • Truck Mounted and Overhead Gantry Crane Training What is your strongest product / service and why? Forklift Training. We are well known throughout South Africa and abroad for the quality of our training and our specialising in Cold Rooms with Mobile Racking. We train South African Champion forklift operators who have also done well in Sweden and UK.

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Which Battery?

L

ead-acid batteries

Lead-acid batteries are by far the most common batteries used for lift trucks. As technology changes, products adapt so new battery types will try to find their niche in every market. But for materials handling applications, the lead-acid battery is here to stay. A lift truck battery serves two important purposes. First it supplies power for operation. Secondly, it acts as a counterweight for vehicle stability. No other battery type provides the weight necessary for safe lift truck operation. There are many advantages of lead-acid batteries. One is their recyclability. To date, lead-acid designs are the only fully recyclable battery type. The battery industry as a whole faces the challenge of expanding its recycling capabilities to include other battery types as well.

But for the money they can save in maintenance costs, downtime and special (watering) training, many users find sealed batteries worth the extra cost.

Chargers Forklift battery chargers have also undergone a metamorphosis over the past several years. Today’s designs have more sophisticated controls that enable battery performance data to be archived and retrieved for application monitoring purposes. In addition, some new chargers have multiple programmable recharge modes, so the same charger can handle either maintenance-free or flooded-design batteries. High-frequency chargers have largely replaced conventional ones. They are far more efficient and much better for the battery.

Sealed batteries Sealed batteries aren’t commonly available but in a confined environment they can be useful, especially where it is difficult to ventilate charger areas. Gelled-electrolyte and absorbed glass-mat separator designs have made some forklift batteries virtually maintenance-free. They never need watering. The industry describes these batteries as sealed, but no battery is truly maintenance-free. They require periodic visual and voltage checks to assure longer life. Their chargers also need regular inspection and calibration for maximum efficiency. These reduced-maintenance batteries enjoy several advantages over traditional flooded models. Flooded batteries need periodic watering to maintain the proper electrolyte levels in each battery cell. Sealed batteries, when they’re properly recharged, never need watering because they are completely sealed. In these batteries, the gases created during use are trapped within the cell, where they recombine, essentially forming water inside the battery. This process keeps the electrolyte level stable through the battery’s life. Gassing is controlled by special vents, or valves. They regulate the pressure and, in turn, the amount of gas that escapes from the battery - hence the term ‘valve-regulated’. Another advantage of some sealed batteries is that they can be opportunity charged (partially charged when time permits) without negatively affecting battery life or performance. Unfortunately, there is a downside to using a sealed battery. Industry experts report some overall life and performance sacrifices when compared with a standard flooded design. Other drawbacks are special chargers and an initial higher investment.

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Fuel-cell Last year Crown Equipment Corporation was awarded nearly $1 million in grant money from the state of Ohio to conduct fuel cell research. The project will focus on addressing the technical and commercial barriers to the application of available battery replacement fuel cell power packs in industrial forklifts. The study will facilitate the creation and growth of material handling equipment used in warehouses and distribution centres to be powered by fuel cells. “There are several considerations to evaluate before offering a wide-range of lift trucks with a fuel cell as its power source,” says Crown president Jim Dicke III. “In the current design, the battery provides a counterweight to the load. Fuel cells are much lighter. We need to explore solutions, and make sure all systems are compatible to ensure the critical performance characteristics of a lift truck.” Alternative power is a hot topic, and the material handling industry is poised to be an early adopter of this new technology, setting the standard for other industries to follow. Fuel cell technology will likely simplify and speed up the way lift trucks are powered and batteries recharged.


Forklift Truck Daily Checklist Hour Meter End Hour Meter Start Hours Operated All Trucks Faults Previous Day Obvious Leaks Hydraulic Fluid Levels Mast & Carriage Chains & Fixing Bolts Forks Backrest/Extension Attachments Tyres/Wheels/Nuts Seat & Seat Belt Steering Service Brakes Parking Brake Operating Controls Operating System Warning Lights Gauges/Instruments Lights/Beacon Horn Alarms Other Warning Devices Safety Guards/Covers Bodywork

Date:

OK

Defect

Petrol/Diesel/LPG Fuel Level Fuel Connectors Engine Oil Level Coolant Level Battery Fan/Other Belts Inching Pedal LPG Bottle Security

OK

Defect

Electric Electrolyte Levels Cable Connections General Cleanliness Battery Security

Other Checks A. B. C. D.

Defects

Operator

Signature

Supervisor

Signature

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Daily checks – what to look for All trucks

Obvious leaks: Check the floor, beside and under the truck.

Faults previous day: Check the previous page (or book). This will identify what may have been wrong the previous day or shift. You should check these items carefully to ensure that the fault has been rectified.

Hydraulic fluid level: Check the level in the reservoir. Mast and carriage: Visually check for any damage or foreign items. Check also for appropriate lubrication. Forklift Guide

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Chains and fixing bolts: Visually check for damaged links, obvious stretching and appropriate lubrication. Visually check the fixing bolts for any sign of damage. Forks: Visually check for any sign of cracks, especially at the heels, or any other sign of damage or excess wear. Check securing pins. Backrest/extension: Visually check for damage or debris. Bent or otherwise damaged metal is weakened and may be dangerous. Attachments: Check for the actual security of the attachment, at its fixing or locking points, and check any hydraulic or other connections. Some attachments may need additional checks. Only check and use attachments if you have been trained to do so.

Parking brake: Check the parking brake works efficiently and releases correctly. Operating controls: Check that all foot and hand controls operate correctly and are not obstructed in any way. Operating system: If the truck is fitted with computerised systems check to ensure that they have initialised and are working correctly. Warning lights: Check for the correct operation of all warning lights. If a light stays on, and you are not sure of its meaning, check the user manual or seek further advice. Do not use the truck with a warning light illuminated if you do not know it is still safe! Gauges/instruments: Check that all gauges and other instruments are working correctly.

Tyres/wheels/nuts: Check all tyres for obvious damage, including cuts and tread wear. Check pneumatic tyres for the correct pressure. Check wheels for damage, especially to the rims, and check that wheel nuts are tight.

Lights/beacon: Check for correct operation.

Seat and seat belt: Check that the seat is correctly fixed to the truck and not loose or damaged. Check that the seat belt or other restraint is properly secure and functions correctly.

Other warning devices: Make sure you know what is fitted to the truck. Check all for correct operation.

Steering: Check the steering feels normal and there is no undue play or unusual movement. Service brakes: Check the brakes feel normal and work efficiently.

Horn: Check for correct operation. Alarms: Check for correct operation.

Safety guards and covers: Check all are properly fastened and secured. A flapping cover can be a hazard to your colleagues as well as yourself. Bodywork: Visually check around the vehicle. Damaged bodywork may indicate other problem areas on the truck. Check the areas carefully. Damaged bodywork may indicate damage to racking or other equipment. Report what you find so that your supervisor can check it out.

Petrol/Diesel/LPG Fuel level: Check the level and refuel as needed. Remember to wear protective gloves and keep away from cigarettes or other fire hazards. Engine oil level: Check and top up as needed. Coolant level: Check and top up as needed. Battery: Ensure the battery is secure and clean. Check the level of distilled water and top up as needed. Wear eye protection and gloves. Fan/other belts: Check for correct tension and obvious damage. Inching pedal: Check for correct operation. LPG bottle security: Check the bottle is secure and clamps are fully tightened. Ensure connections are secure.

Electric Electrolyte levels: Check the electrolyte levels of all cells. Cable connections: Check they are clean and properly secure. General cleanliness: Ensure the battery area is clean and clear from debris. Battery security: Ensure the batteries are secure within their compartment and that any protective hatches are properly closed.

Other checks Other items may need to be checked. These may be listed on a separate sheet. Discuss this with your supervisor and remember, if you are not sure about anything at all, ask your supervisor.

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Forklift Guide 2010