How to Prepare Your Forklift For Summer
Amidst the unprecedented events facing the world and the U.S. today, material handling and construction companies are more needed than ever. As citizens facing the Covid-19 virus continue to buy supplies, material handling and distribution centers have ramped up their quotas of daily products shipped out to retail outlets. Construction companies continue to operate, keeping the U.S. economy going in the best way they can, understanding that when this is over, we'll need to step back into normalcy as quickly as possible.
The nation may be in a situation that is unfamiliar territory for most, but weather seasons continue to change as usual, which means that temperatures are continuing to rise as we approach summer. Now is the time to make sure that your material handling equipment, including forklifts, are ready to take on the summer heat.
If you are taking advantage of a planned or preventative maintenance program offered by your local and trusted forklift dealer, you'll be in good shape. But many material handling companies continue to use their own employees to perform the needed and necessary tasks of forklift maintenance. If your operation falls into the latter category, preparing your forklifts and other material handling equipment to meet the summer heat shouldn't be a burdensome task. The steps are fairly simple, but it is important to make sure that you continue to operate with maximum productivity and efficiency even as we move into the hot months of summer.
A daily, routine checkup of all forklifts should be a mandatory requirement in your operation, regardless of the weather. Forklifts should be inspected prior to every use. Following this rule will go a long way to keeping your forklifts and other material handling equipment in good shape, but there are some more specific and thorough steps to take before facing brutal summer heat. At Madland Toyota-Lift, we suggest reviewing the OSHA daily checklist recommendations. Inspecting and preparing your forklifts and other material handling equipment should include:
Just like with humans facing heat, forklifts also require fluids to continue working properly. With an internal combustion engine, it's necessary to keep coolant fluids in constant supply. As with any internal combustion engine, your forklift could suffer major engine damage if coolant fluid runs dry. In hot situations, liquids such as coolants can decline in both levels and quality as work continues. Monitor oil and fluids regularly in ICE engines. Inspect water pumps to ensure they are doing their job.
Radiators need special and regular attention as we move into summer - and continuously during the summer months, especially since for many of us, summer means an uptick in business. Aside from making sure your radiators are full, check hoses for cracks and tightness. Any radiator hoses observed to be cracked should be replaced immediately.
If your operation uses electric forklifts, you'll need to ensure your batteries are ready for summer heat which can cause evaporation of battery fluid levels. Always check the level of water in your battery cells and monitor the Ph level of the water.
Tired Tires And Beat Belts
Hotter temperatures increase the possibility of cracking and degradation - in all rubber components. Your forklift tires, just like your forklift's hoses, need to be checked and replaced immediately if cracking occurs. Check the pressure in your tires and ensure it is correct. Performing these steps can help you avoid tire blowouts, which can impact safety, as well as productivity.
Belts - and fans - are another component of forklift engines that should be checked and weatherized for summer. Doing your homework now and being prepared is your best bet for staying in uptime and continuing to fulfill our expectations and goals and meeting demand.
Taking care of your forklift and other material handling equipment is the best way to promote uptime and productivity. Of course, people suffer in higher temperatures, as well, so it's important to make sure your employees are consuming enough water and taking breaks. Forklift operators will work more productively if they are comfortable, so consider adding a fan to your forklift cabs. Make sure your employees can recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke.
Summer is a busy time for many operations in the material handling and construction industries. If you expect a seasonal uptick in business, make sure you reserve any rental equipment you may need early.California can see hot summers. At Madland Toyota-Lift, we have experienced service techs that can come to your location and help you "summarize" your forklifts for the upcoming months. Contact us today to learn more.
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