Forklifts are exceptionally powerful, heavy pieces of machinery and so it’s imperative that they’re meticulously constructed with durability and efficiency in mind which also means using high-quality parts and components to ensure maximum performance at all times.
Not only does this provide the operator with peace of mind that their machine is going to provide them with many hours of uninterrupted service, but it also ensures their safety at all times. But how are these powerful vehicles made and what parts and components are needed?
How are forklifts made?
Forklifts have progressed rapidly since they made their first significant industrial debut during the First World War. Where very few forklift trucks these days are manufactured by hand, more than ever before are put together with the help of welding robots, ensuring that the forklift is assembled with precision and safety in mind.
Once the body has been constructed, which is often made of steel, it’s then painted. Where the inner workings of the forklift are put together using a welding robot, the forklift’s lifting mechanisms and components are welding by hand. The following parts are fixed to the forklift’s body:
- Hydraulic pump
- Hydraulic reservoir
- Emergency shut-off switch
- Control handle
- Operating computer
As soon as the hydraulic system has been added, it’s then flushed with oil in a bid to remove as much dirt as possible, this is because even the smallest specks of dirt and debris can damage the overall system and it can be costly to repair.
It’s also important that the components used to build the forklift are sturdy, well-made and high-quality because the main frame will eventually have to bear the brunt of entire loads and some of those loads may well be extremely heavy.
After the hydraulic system is flushed, the frame is greased and lubricated considerably in order for the inner rails to slide in and out as smoothly as possible. Large, heavy chains are then introduced and threaded throughout the rails. Once this has happened, they’re then fitted to the main frame with large, robust bolts to ensure they remain fastened at all times.
The carriage, which is responsible for holding a variety of different attachments, is then slid into the inner rails. As soon as everything has been completed, the main frame is then bolted to the forklift’s body. Once this is done, then graphics can be added and a cover will then be added to protect the forklift’s inner workings. Only then is the battery, if it’s an electric forklift, allowed to be installed, along with any other attachments.
Counterbalanced forklift components
A counterbalanced forklift is comprised of a number of components, including the following:
- Truck frame – this is the base of the machine and wheels, the mast, axles, counterweights, overhead guards and power sources will often be attached to it. Depending on the fuel it uses, there might be fuel and hydraulic tanks fixed to the truck frame as well.
- Counterweights – attached to the rear of the forklift, this is a weighted mass which enables the forklift to remain balanced. This prevents it from tipping over in almost any direction.
- Cab – this contains a seat for the operator and also a control panel, including switches, pedals, levers, steering wheels and a dashboard displaying operator readouts. The cab might be open or enclosed but it usually has an overhead guard fixed to it. A cab also has heating and air-conditioning capabilities depending on the model you go for.
- Overhead guard – this is essentially a metal roof which is supported by posts at each corner of the cab. This helps to ensure the safety of the operator as it will help to protect them against falling objects. An overhead guard is usually an integral part of the forklift manufacturing process, although not all forklifts will have one.
- Power source – an internal combustion engine can be fuelled using diesel, LPG, CNG or gasoline. Electric forklifts are powered using a battery or a fuel cell, although it’s important to note that some fuel cell forklifts may be powered by multiple fuel cells simultaneously. Electric forklifts are considered to be the most eco-friendly machines out there and they’re also far safer for your workers when it comes to emission levels.
- Tilt cylinders – otherwise known as hydraulic cylinders, these are mounted to both the forklift’s frame and its mast. These cylinders enable the mast to pivot forwards and backwards in order to efficiently engage the load.
- Mast – the mast sits vertically on the forklift frame and has the job of raising and lowering loads. The mast is driven hydraulically as it’s operated by one or more tilt cylinders. Some masts are operated using the chain from the cylinder, alternatively.
- Carriage – the forks and other attachments will be mounted here. The forks are mounted into the carriage to allow them to be moved up and down the mast rails using chains or a hydraulic cylinder. The carriage might be composed of either rollers or bushings in order to guide it into the interlocking mast rails. Again, this depends on the model you choose.
- Load backrest – this is a rack-like extension that’s often welded or bolted to the carriage. This helps to prevent the load from shifting too far backwards once the carriage has lifted it to its maximum height/lift capacity.
- Tyres – solid tyres are for use indoors whereas pneumatic tyres are for outdoor operations. There are a number of different tyre types available, including those which enable the forklift to navigate through frost, ice and even snow.
- Attachments – these are either permanent or temporary forklift fixtures that are bolted to the carriage. A number of forklift attachments are available to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency throughout the warehouse. Some attachments include: forks, sideshifters, carbon clamps, carpet poles, container handlers, roll clamps, rotators, fork positioners, pole handlers and slipsheet attachments.
Refurbished Forklifts are pleased to be able to provide our customers with sterling customer service and high-calibre used forklifts that’ll stand the test of time. With a team of expert engineers working in our dedicated workshops, you can be sure to find a machine which best suits your needs and for a reasonable price.
All of our material handling equipment is carefully reconditioned to ensure it’s restored back to its former glory. We’ll also provide you with all the certificates and test results you’ll require for your absolute peace of mind.
For more information about the refurbished forklifts we’re able to supply or to ask about our second-hand warehouse machinery in general, get in touch with a member of our professional team today – we’re always happy to help.