Beating The Heat—Is Your Forklift Fleet Up To It?
In NE Pennsylvania, we are officially in the “dog days of summer.” Those sweltering days, typically being the hottest, most uncomfortable part of the summer. Not only are humans (and even our dogs) affected by the hot weather, but our equipment works harder too. In the fast-paced material-handling industry these “dog days” come with additional challenges. Maintenance of your forklift fleet is critical during times of temperature extremes. With sweltering conditions, your lift trucks need some extra attention. Overheating is a common problem, so make sure your maintenance schedule is followed. Nothing ruins a shift faster than a broken-down forklift.
Although not all hot-weather specific, here are some maintenance tips for meeting the pressures of high temperatures.
- Inspect your batteries. Extreme heat and cold are rough on a battery of any kind and forklift batteries are no exception. Battery fluids evaporate so make sure you have the correct amount of water.
- Check your fans. They can crack and are susceptible to wear and tear like any other part. They circulate air and help keep your engine cool. Good operation is especially important in the heat.
- Change cracked belts. Belts move the fans but also help move coolant through your system. Belts dry out and crack, so they need to be replaced periodically.
- Replace worn wires and cables. Increased temperatures can cause damaged or corroded wires to break and this can bring your forklift to a full stop. Make sure all your wires are whole, and not brittle.
- Check coolant levels. This is more important now than at any other time of the year. If your coolant is really low you may have a leak. Hoses, like belts and wires, can get brittle and crack so pay special attention during times of extreme weather.
In addition, be sure to take care of your forklift operators. Fans or other accessories can help make his or her time in the cockpit more comfortable in the heat. Encourage them to drink more water and take heat breaks when needed. In hot working conditions watch for these signs of heat stress. Be aware that heat stroke is a medical emergency...Call 911 immediately!
Located in NE Pennsylvania, Action Lift is ready to be your material-handling solutions partner. We represent some of the best product lines in the industry. Our goal is to provide our customers with the safest, most efficient, and ergonomic lift trucks possible to lower total cost of ownership and increase uptime.
Photo credit: Painting by Scott Clendaniel