Summer is finally upon us and the warmer temperatures can have a huge effect on your employees and equipment’s productivity. Keeping your forklift operators safe from the summer heat ensures better productivity for now and years to come. Not only does heat directly affect the employees working in it, but it can also affect the equipment they need to get the job done. Invest in training your operators on forklift maintenance and how to prepare for warm weather, this will give them confidence in their abilities to use and maintain the trucks. As a result, you’ll have far fewer replacement parts and few accidents to deal with. Safety and reliability are key and it comes down to the trust you put in your operators.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as the summer temperatures continue to rise and how to prepare your material handling equipment. Training your team to a high standard of forklift maintenance will work out far more cost-effectively over time.
- Overheating: Just as too much heat can cause internal issues with us; it can do the same with forklifts. It’s important to keep your cooling system in an ICE forklift in top shape. Be sure to keep an eye on coolant fluid levels. Coolant that runs below minimum levels can cause engine damage.
- Regularly replace and replenish coolant liquids. Flushing the cooling system will get rid of deteriorated coolant that can cause further damage to the coolant system mechanisms.
- Check the radiator for any damage. Cracked or malfunctioning radiators can cause the pressure to drop drastically which can inhibit coolant flow and cause overheating and possible leaking. This depressurization can also cause damage to the transmission.
- Check radiator hoses for cracks and tightness because heat is the main culprit for cracking and deteriorating rubber. If you notice a radiator hose is loose or cracked, replace it immediately.
- Internal Combustion Forklifts – regularly check filters and oil to ensure that your forklift is prepared to operate in the heat.
- Electric Forklifts – High temperatures can result in excess corrosion and low fluid levels. The extreme heat causes evaporation of the battery fluids which can lead to a decrease in the length of your forklift’s life. Before each shift, check water levels in the battery cells and test that the PH is right for the battery.
- Tires – Excessive heat can cause cracking and deterioration in rubber. Make it part of the daily inspection checklist to keep an eye on tire wear and tear.
- Pneumatic tires – It’s important to check the pressure in the tires. When the heat rises so does the pressure in your tire. It’s a good idea to let a little bit of air out in the summer. You should always check to make sure that your tires are properly inflated, especially in the summer, to help prevent a blowout.
- Maintenance – If summer is your busy season, it’s really important to be on top of your maintenance schedule. Plan now to prevent downtime and loss of productivity.
- Performing regular inspections and maintenance is key to preventing most heat-related issues with your forklift and material handling equipment.
Forklift maintenance is a highly skilled task. These machines are well-designed and specialized. Make it a priority to train your operators. Employees with an increased knowledge of the fleet will mean more respect for the machines. If your operators know why something like battery maintenance is important, then they are more likely to keep them in good shape. If your operators are trained to know what potential hazards to look for, they will keep trucks running in great shape much longer.