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We all know by now that the forklift is one of the most versatile vehicles on Earth. So, it isn’t uncommon for warehouse and/or fleet managers modify them so that they are better suited to attack the jobs particular warehouses have.
Many people associated with forklifts may not understand that when a lift is modified to perform a specific job, that modification affects how it does the original job –- loading and unloading products.
Attachments Affect Forklift Capacity Ratings
Forklifts are constructed based on certain specifications. The results influence their load capacity.
When an attachment is installed on a lift, the load capacity changes, calling for a de-rating of the lift. The full weight of the attachment subtracts from the unit’s overall lift capacity. So, if a 200kg attachment is installed onto a 2-ton forklift, the lift capacity falls to about 1.8-tons, as long as the load center or the lift and the attachment are the same.
So it is essential that when any new attachments are installed onto forklifts, the manufacturer of the lifts should re-rate them. The re-rating must be based on the specific formula the manufacturer used to rate the machine in the first place. The formula should include the new specifications of the lift once the attachment is added.
Once forklifts have been correctly re-rated, the manufacturer must issue new rating plates with the updated lifting capacity and attachment specifications.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Each forklift has its own individual specifications of capacity, lift height and load center. Lift height and load center have the greatest influence on a forklift’s lift capacity. It also has an influence on the flow on the stability and safety of the load.
Generally speaking, a forklift has a load center of about 60mm when the load is properly positioned in the center. In this configuration, the weight is distributed evenly across the tines and carriage, which ensures the most stability during lifting and positioning of the load. The lift’s height also influences the stability and safe operation of the lift.
The higher you lift a load, the more unstable it becomes.
So it is essential that the drivers of forklifts properly position and rate loads when lifting to a maximum height. This ensures load stability and reduces the risk of a forklift/pedestrian injury or any damage to warehouse infrastructure, the lift or products being lifted.
Moving Oversized Loads
The dimensions of the load should also be considered. An oversized load can influence the balance of the forklift. Forklift drivers should therefor calculate the load balance point to ensure that it is in the center.
When lifting oversized loads, the operator should reduce the overall load weight to avoid exceeding the forklift’s lifting capabilities. If the load does not fit properly on standard tines, it may need a lifting attachment such as a spreader bar to correctly support the load.
So, re-rating forklifts after modifications is essential. It assists the forklift operator in knowing what the new lift capacity is.
Featured image of Bale Clamp CR version courtesy of Durwen