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Fork Maintenance and the Dangers of Fork Repair
In a recent post, we reviewed the importance of making sure that your forks are thick. A fork that has lost its thickness poses real problems for any forklift operator. First, a worn-down fork lose a great deal of its carrying capacity (a 10% reduction in fork thickness means you lose 20% of your cargo capability.) Secondly, as they lose their thickness, forks become quite dangerous as they can no longer handle a full load. We have already discussed the need to conduct regular safety reviews of fork thickness, as well as the need to replace forks when they lose thickness. However, it is also the case that many people attempt to mind damaged forks. In this post, we consider why you need to carry spare forks, the benefits of forged steel forks, and why fork repair is a poor idea.
Problems with fork repair
Even though people are quick to acknowledge the inherent dangers of fork repair, people still attempt to repair their worn-down forks themselves. After all, there are no standardized forklift fork repair requirements that exist, allowing forklift operators to rationalize their lack of maintenance. There are serious problems with repairing forks. One of the most notable is that it is difficult to actually calibrate the bending location of a fork. Oftentimes, people who mend forks themselves tend to produce only cosmetic repairs, and the fork winds up snapping shortly thereafter. For a forklift company, this can be absolutely disastrous, opening a company up to lawsuits and serious damage to the entire vehicle.
Helpful tips for fork repair and maintenance
One of the best rules of thumb for fork maintenance is to simply keep an extra fork close by at all times. Operators may want to have spare forks of different lengths and thickness, thereby keeping each fork from wearing down too quickly. It is also a good idea to look into forged steel forks. These are highly durable and meet ITA standards. While it is true that they are more expensive than more economical welded steel models available on the market, forged steel forks offer superior durability and can handle diverse working environments.
In the end, it is important to remember that a stressed fork is not a safe one. While you want to schedule regular repairs and make fork inspection part of your daily checklist, you also need to keep spare forks around. Fork repair is too often overlooked or administered improperly; instead of trying to repair forks yourself, repair forks when they get worn down and look into forged steel forks, as they offer the ultimate in durability.