Forklift History at a Glance
It’s not a secret that forklifts are the heavy-lifting backbones of any manufacturing facility. We rely on an estimated 855,900 forklifts (OSHA) in the U.S. to get the daily job done. But, for a piece of equipment that we work with every day, how much do we really know about the forklift and how it came to be the workhorse it is?
1917: Clark Material Handling in Kentucky was the first to create the sit-down, counter-balanced truck. They coined it the “Tructractor.” It had 3 wheels, a gas engine, reversed steering, and no brakes. It also lacked forks and was used to haul heavy loads. Initially, it was only for use in their own manufacturing but visitors—especially the military—recognized the practicality of the tructractor and began to ask for their own (Clark).
1920: Yale and Towne joins Clark in the industry with their introduction of the first battery powered low-lift platform truck (Yale).
1921: Clark unveils the first forklift—the “Truclift”—to use hydraulics to hoist material.
1923: Yale releases the first forklift featuring tilted forks.
World War I&II: The forklift industry saw a boom in demand with the oncoming wars and manufacturing needs. Alongside its space-saving companion, the pallet, there came a need to stack product higher so that manufacturers could manage their space more efficiently. Between 1939 and the later years of WWII, the number of forklifts in operation went from 500 to 23,500.
1950s and 60s: After WWII, there became a greater concern for safety when operating forklifts. To make loads more stable, backrests were added. Overhead guards became a standard to protect operators from falling loads.
1980s to now: Further safety measures have been and are continuing to be standardized in forklift manufacturing: seatbelts, horns, back-up alarms, strobe lights, blue lights, etc. One of the biggest and ongoing improvements is power sources. Today’s forklifts operate on diesel, liquid propane, and batteries. Not only does this mean a wider selection to fit a manufacturer’s needs, but greater fuel efficiency. These advancements also make forklifts more environmentally friendly due to lower fuel emissions.
The forklift has come a long way since its birth in 1917 and continues to adapt to our every production need. With a wide array of models, capacities, and capabilities, there is a piece of equipment that fits almost every application. Not sure what you need? Shoot the Greyson Sales Team a message and let us help you get started.
Mashing Misconceptions About Used Forklifts
When trying to decide on a new forklift for your operation, you’re certainly going to look for the most bang for your buck. The words “Used” or “Pre-owned” can make a lot of buyers leery, but just take a deep breath while we squash some of the common qualms that people have about buying a used forklift:
1. A used lift is a subpar lift. There is one big reason that the word “subpar” shouldn’t be used when discussing pre-owned forklifts. Most used equipment is thoroughly evaluated when the dealer brings it on to their premises. To keep a strong reputation, a used equipment dealer needs to know what it will take to make a used forklift a quality forklift. This means combing over every spec of a piece of equipment. When you buy a used forklift from a reputable dealer, they will most likely tell you the history of the truck, the application it came from, and the issues it had when they evaluated it—not to mention what they did to make sure those issues no longer exist.
2. Used forklifts are forever plagued with issues. One of the biggest concerns when buying a used lift is that you might end up purchasing some problems along with it. As mentioned above, used dealers put their equipment through the evaluation wringer. However, sometimes you can still be uneasy. If that’s the case, ask the dealer to see the forklift in person. To help put your mind at ease, most used dealers offer some form of a warranty (usually 30-60 days).
3. Used forklifts depreciate quickly. Just like a car fresh off the line, a new forklift tends to depreciate faster than a used unit. A used unit—a retired rental unit that’s at least two years old, for example—has done much of its depreciating over the time it spent on rent. So, buying a used forklift means you get the most value out of the equipment for the price that you paid.
Whether you are feeling unsure or we have put your concerns to rest, our sales team at Greyson equipment can help you in your search. Just shoot us a Hello! and let us help you get started.
Forklift Mast: Terms and Types You Need to Know
The mast, or upright, is the vertical assembly that raises the load that is being carried by your forklift. Essentially, it does quite a bit of the work. That’s why it is important to know mast terms and types. When the time comes to discuss your mast needs, you’re prepared.
- Overall Height Lowered (OAHL or OAL) is the distance from the floor to the top of the mast when the rails are completely down. If you aren’t sure whether your forklift will fit through your door, check the OAHL.
- Maximum Fork Height (MFH) is the distance from the floor to the top of your forks when the mast is fully extended. It is this measurement that tells you how high your product can be stacked.
- Overall Height Raised (OAHR) is the distance from the floor to the top of your carriage when the mast is completely extended.
- Free Lift is the height the carriage of you lift can move without the OAL increasing. Knowing this is an advantage when working in small spaces such as trailers. If your lift has full free lift, it can rise to the top of the OAL without raising the inner rails of the mast.
- A single-stage mast only has one “channel” (or one set of rails) and a limited lift height.
- A two-stage mast (or a simplex) has limited free lift (usually 4’-6’) and is used for lower lift heights.
- A three-stage mast is the most common mast type. This mast has three sections that extend to maximum height.
- A quad mast has four sets of rails that raise your carriage and load.
Still need questions answered about your mast? Our team at Greyson Equipment can help you. Just contact us here to get started.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of New, Used, or Wholesale Forklifts: Which Suits Your Needs?
Buying a forklift for your facility is a big purchase no matter what size operation you are running. So, when it comes time to cut the check, it’s good to know that you have the equipment that will work best for you and get you the most profit out of your investment. Below we have put together the advantages and disadvantages of New, Used, and Wholesale forklifts to help you figure out what you need:
New forklifts are the best option when you know the equipment will be putting in the work. New units are best for HEAVY USE- 4 hours or more a day.
- They are brand new from the factory and built to order.
- You can have the ruck built to your specifications
- They come with a standard warranty (usually 2 years or 2,000 hours). This makes the cost of ownership lower because maintenance is covered for an extended period of time.
There are two disadvantages to new units:
- The cost of a new unit can cause sticker shock for a buyer who won’t be using the forklift constantly.
- When purchasing a new unit, there is always the possibility that you will have a long lead time. Because the truck is built upon purchase, it can take up to months to get it.
Used forklifts work best for operators who need to run the truck less than 3 hours a day, or only a few times a week.
- The biggest advantage up front for buying a used forklift is the lower cost.
- There is also the almost immediate availability. There may still be some lead time, but odds are it will be weeks compared to the months you can wait for a new unit.
- Even though the forklift is a few years old, it will often still come with a warranty—usually 30, 60, or 90 days.
The disadvantages of used lifts:
- The seller won't always know the previous application/maintenance of the machine. Sometimes, there is no background information on how the machine was treated before the seller obtained it.
- A shorter warranty means higher maintenance costs. While you may catch a break on the initial cost, you won’t have the longer factory warranty to keep up on the cost of repairs.
Wholesale forklifts are the number one option for facilities that only need to pick up heavy loads occasionally.
- The obvious benefit—lowest initial buy-in. Wholesale units are “as-is.” They may not be the prettiest, but they are at the right price for someone who doesn’t need to operate a forklift every day.
- Out of the three, these units will have the shortest lead time. With most sellers, once they receive payment, the forklift is yours.
The disadvantages of a wholesale forklift:
- There is no warranty.
- Whole units are higher-hour, older units, which means that a higher maintenance cost is inevitable.
Each buying stage in a forklift’s life offers advantages and disadvantages to a buyer. While the disadvantages might be hard to stomach at first, it is important to consider which works best for your needs. If you have questions about purchasing a new, used, or wholesale forklift, just contact our experienced sales staff at Greyson Equipment for help!
Understanding Your Forklift Data Plate
What is a forklift data plate?
A forklift data plate is provided on every truck, new or used, to let you and your operators know the vital information for running your forklift the moment you take a seat. Today, we are going to run through the information on your data plate and make sure you’re using your lift as optimally as possible.
What do all of these categories mean?
- MODEL: The model number is one of the most important pieces of information on your data plate. You use this number to discuss needs with dealers, getting technical assistance, etc. It tells you and others the basics of your lift. For example, a Mitsubishi Model No. FGC25N will tell you the following:
FG- LP (liquid propane)
C- Cushion tires
25- 5000LB capacity (25x2x100)
- SERIAL NO: While model numbers will tell you the capacity, tire type, and fuel type, these are basic components for any forklift. The serial number is specific to your forklift, so it will help a tech know what has been done to your machine in the past and let them familiarize themselves with the unit when you need service.
- MAST TYPE: There are various mast types including simplex, 2-stage, and 3-stage. Mast types vary from model and application, so understanding your data plate helps you know the specific mast for that forklift.
- FUEL TYPE: This shows you what your lift operates on: electricity (E or 24V/36V/48V), liquid propane (LP), diesel (DS), or compressed natural gas (CNG).
- BACK TILT: This number tells an operator how far back a mast can tilt to keep loads securely on forks.
- ATTACHMENTS: This section of your data plate lets you know what attachments have been added to your forklift. For example, your lift might be fitted with a side shifter, which is the most common attachment.
- FRONT TREAD: This number is the equivalent of the overall width of the forklift. This number helps operators determine the space a machine will take up in the warehouse.
- TIRE SIZE: This spec tells you the tire size and type. If your plate says “solid” your truck requires solid pneumatic tires. If it says “smooth” or “treaded,” it is referring to the type of cushion tire. It is important to always replace the tires with the same size and type. They are specific to the truck.
- TRUCK WEIGHT: This number tells you the gross vehicle weight of the unit, or how much the forklift weighs.
- FORKLIFT DIAGRAM: This diagram tells operator important points for operating your lift with a load safely:
The horizontal load center.
The vertical load center.
The maximum fork height.
The distance the forks can be offset from the centerline (shifted left or right).
Knowing how to read a forklift data plate is not only important when using it, but when looking for a piece of equipment that fits your needs. If you are looking to replace your unit with the same model or one that might even fit your operations better, our experienced sales team at Greyson Equipment can help you. Just contact us here to get started.
Advantages of Side Shifts and Fork Positioners
Forklifts are an essential and beneficial part of any warehouse. They make moving heavy product easier and quicker, thus improving productivity across the board. While any lift truck is helpful, the attachments that you install on your equipment can make it even more so. Today, we will discuss the side shift and fork positioner and how these attachments improve safety and productivity in the workplace.
The two most common attachments that deal with Fork positioning are Side-shifters and fork positioners. Whether you have one or both attachments, your lift becomes more versatile.
What is a side-shifter?
A side-shift fork positioner, or “side-shifter” for short, is an attachment that allows the operator to shift the load being carried either left or right within a given span.
What is a fork positioner?
A fork positioner is an attachment that is fitted to the load backrest of your forklift. It has hydraulic cylinders that attach to the tines of the truck so that the forks can be moved in an out by use of a lever.
The advantages of having one or both:
- Loads can be moved and aligned in tight spaces. Instead of having to move your entire lift when the load your carrying isn’t quite centered, a side-shift allow you to move the load while in its intended space.
- Easily align forks with pallets. With the ability to make fork position more precise, there is less damage done to your forks, your pallets, and your product. Both the side shift and pork positioner make it easier to place forks where they are needed without repositioning the entire lift.
- Operators can remain seated. At first, it might not seem like your driver manually moving forks is time consuming but eliminating the need for your operator to dismount to move forks actually increases productivity. Aside from that, fork positioners help to make the floor safer for employees. The less feet you have on the floor, the less chance for accidents.
Making your equipment as versatile as possible will help you in the long run. Installing a side shift, fork positioner, or both is a surefire way to make it easier to use your forklift in varying situations. When the time comes to consider what equipment will speed up your workflow, let our experienced sales team at Greyson Equipment answer any questions you have and get you off to a strong start. Just contact us here to get started.
It's Heavier than You think-Be Sure to Know Your Forklift Capacity
Knowing your forklift capacity might seem simple enough--you bought a 5,000lb capacity truck, so it should be able to carry 5,000lbs no matter what, right? But, there are a few factors that can affect the load capacity of your truck. Not knowing how attachments, lift height, etc. can affect your truck's capacity can lead to accidents in the workplace. To help you avoid issues, here are some need-to-knows when it comes to your forklift's load capacity:
A forklift’s load capacity is defined as the weight that a forklift can safely carry. It is important not to exceed this load so that you continue to operate equipment safely. However, there are other factors that affect the load capacity of your lift—for example, what you are carrying and how you carry that material.
Data plates and Load Centers
The best source for this information is your lift’s load capacity data plate. The load capacity plate, or “data plate,” tells you the load that a forklift can safely lift and even accounts for tilt in mast and specific attachments. This is your most trusted resource for knowing what your truck can carry. The data plate tells you the forklift load center, or the balance point where your load is evenly centered on your forks and the load against the carriage of the lift. The closer to the end of your forks you place the center of your load, the less weight your lift can carry. When you don’t know the load center of your forklift, you run the risk of tipping your truck over and causing a serious accident.
Attachments can also affect the capacity of your truck. So, it’s important to know if and how your attachment does this. Any attachment you use should come with its own rated capacities and de-rated capacities (the capacity after the attachment is fitted). Try out this calculator to see how your attachment affects your forklift.
Mast height also has an effect on capacity. Forklifts with a high mast height will have two different load capacities. One for a low height and one for “carrying height,” or the capacity the truck is capable of handling with a raised mast.
Even with these helpful hints, load capacity can still be tricky to understand. Knowing exactly what size of truck and capacity you need will ensure that your employees stay safe in the workplace. Our sales team at Greyson Equipment can help you find the truck and load capacity that fits your needs. Contact us here to get started!
How to Find Your Forklift Carriage Class
When you’re using your forklift every day, the part of your lift that is probably going to take the brunt of your work is your forks. They get scraped along the floor, ran into walls, wedged in pallet slats--among other hair-brained situations. That being said, when it comes time to replace your bent up and chipped forks, do you know what class you need? Or how to figure it out?
First things first, what part of the lift do you actually need to measure? Forks are ordered by carriage class. The carriage on your lift is comprised of the two bars that hold your forks on (indicated below by the red “A” line). It does not include the load back rest, or “gate,” that runs around the outside of the carriage.
Once you’ve determined which two bars make up the carriage on your lift, you need to measure the distance between the top of your upper carriage bar and your lower carriage bar (Also indicated by the red “A” line above). The measurement here can be used to identify the carriage class. Below is a chart to help you identify the classes:
Now, while you may know the capacity of your forklift—which is also indicated in the chart above—always measure before ordering forks. Different manufacturers, applications, etc. may have various reasons for fitting a larger carriage on equipment. By measuring your carriage, you make sure that you know your carriage class.
If you're still not sure if you've got the carriage info down, or you have other questions before ordering forks, other attachments, or maybe even a piece of handling equipment, we can help you. Just contact Greyson Equipment here to get started.
7 Tips for Keeping Your Warehouse Clean
Productivity is optimal when the environment your work is being done in is as efficient as possible. One of the best ways to keep your operations efficient is by keeping your warehouse clean. Here are seven tips to help keep your facility clean:
- Create a schedule. One of the most important parts of keeping you warehouse clean is making sure it gets done every day. Creating a schedule—whether by shift or by individual employees—will help to make sure that the necessary everyday chores get done.
- Create a checklist. Along with a regular schedule of when to clean, it is important that employees understand what needs done. By creating a checklist of daily (weekly, etc.) maintenance and clean-up, you create expectations and a feeling of value in the workplace.
- Assign cleaning areas. Making workers responsible for certain areas of the warehouse—especially those they work in everyday—helps keep the whole warehouse spiffed up because when employees take care of their areas it makes their jobs smoother.
- Clean as you go. Spills happen. Even tiny ones should be taken care of right away. When workers take care of an issue right away—even just a small mess—they keep it from becoming a large problem and make a safer work environment.
- Keep bins around and emptied regularly. Along with keeping your supplies handy, having plenty of waste or recycling bins makes it easier to keep larger debris and unneeded waste off of the floor and out of the way.
- Keep supplies in stock. Staying on top of tasks is hard when you don’t have the tools to help you out. Making sure that you always have enough cleaning supplies to
- Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Simple to implement and easy to reap the benefit. Look for places to reduce unneeded clutter. Before throwing materials away (such as wooden pallets) consider how they might be reused or repurposed. Recycle any unwanted or unneeded materials such as cardboards or shrink wrap. Implementing a recycling program not only helps to keep your warehouse clean, but shows employees (and other businesses) that you go beyond the product and consider the larger picture as a company.
Once you've got your warehouse spick and span, using the right equipment when handling your materials can be just one more tool to keep it that way. If you're considering upgrading your equipment, or buying for the first time, contact Greyson Equipment here to get started.
Stay Charged: Proper Forklift Battery Maintenance
When running an electric forklift (or really, any forklift) your battery is the most important part of your machine. However, it is also one of the most overlooked parts of your equipment when it comes to general maintenance. What is so hard to remember? You just plug it in, right? It turns out that there’s a lot more to staying charged than meets the eye. Here are 5 tips to help you maintain and prolong the life of your forklift batteries:
1. Check Fluid Levels. Every battery has a certain water level that they need to run at optimum capacity. It’s best practice to check your fluid levels after every 5 charges. Be sure to check more than one cell and be sure that there is enough fluid to cover the plastic battery element.
2. Water your batteries. While it may not be required every time you check your fluid levels, it is important to water your batteries when needed. In most cases, this is about every 10 charging cycles or so. However, it ultimately depends on how often you use your forklift. A few notes on watering batteries:
- “Maintenance Free” batteries do not need to be watered.
- Only top of your battery with water after the battery is FULLY CHARGED.
- Be sure to use the right water—water that lands between a 5 and 7 on the pH scale and is not too impure. Impure water leads to battery damage.
3. Check your Battery Temperature. The environment you run your forklift in has an effect on the battery. Make sure to keep your batteries at a safe temperature (45°C or 113°F) and plenty of air circulating to keep them cool.
4. Charge your battery properly. Batteries should be charged on a schedule, not just when you have the time. While having a fully charged piece of equipment is great, it is best to wait until your battery is below 30% to charge your lift truck. Once it is full, take it off of the charger. Over or under charging your battery can decrease its life span. You should also avoid interrupting a charge cycle whenever possible.
5. Equalize your batteries. First of all, you need a charger that has an equalizing setting to do this. When you equalize your battery, you are helping to prevent stratification—when battery acid becomes more concentrated at the bottom of the battery. Equalizing your battery helps remove sulfate crystals from battery plates and helps balance electrolyte concentration. If you have a charger with an equalizing setting, it is recommended that you equalize your batteries every 5-to-10 charging cycles, or what your battery maintenance specifies.
Considering buying or replacing your electric lift? Our team at Greyson Equipment can help you answer any questions you have and set you up with the best investment for your operations. Just contact us here to get started.
Forklift Classes: Understanding the Basics
When first looking for material handling equipment to suit your needs, you might find that there’s, well, a TON of options to go over. Then, you might find that those options have options which lead to more options. While the thought of capacity, mast height, attachments, etc. might be dizzying, it’s best to just start with the basics. To help you get started, the chart below covers seven basic forklift classes, the basic specifications of that class of truck, and the application and advantage of each unit:
Application and Advantages
Stand-up or seated operator 3-wheel units.
Ex: CAT E3000
Rider units have cushion or pneumatic wheels.
Application: Indoor use. These forklifts eliminate emission issues.
Narrow aisle or order picking units
Ex: Jungheinrich EKS 208
Made for narrow spaces and utilize attachments for narrow aisles
Application: Indoor use. Aside from no emissions, these trucks are space savers because they require less aisle width to get the job done.
Walk-behind or standing-rider units
Ex: Jungheinrich EJE 120
Low lift units (electric pallet jack)
Application: Indoor use. Inside warehouse use. These units increase productivity by hastening loading/unloading time.
Internal Combustion (IC)–gas, LP (liquid propane), or gasoline
Rider fork trucks
Ex: CAT C5000
Solid (cushion) tires
Application: Indoor use. IC units are a cost and space saver. Many facilities run more than just forklifts on gas, diesel, or LP, and they don’t need to take up space with chargers like an electric units would need.
Internal Combustion (IC)–gas, LP (liquid propane), or gasoline
Rider fork trucks
Application: Indoor and outdoor use. Pneumatic tires mean this forklift can go anywhere (within reason). This is the most versatile type of lift.
Electric or IC engines
Sit-down, tow tractor lifts
Ex: Jungheinrich EZS 350NA
Cushion or Pneumatic
Application: Indoor and outdoor use. These units cut down on labor by making it easy to move large amounts of material on multiple carts.
IC, Gasoline, or Diesel engines
Sit-down, rough terrain
Ex: Sellick S-80
Pneumatic tires- large flotation tires.
Application: Mostly outdoor use. With air pneumatic tires, these forklifts specialize in rough terrain such as construction sites and lumber yards.
Hopefully, this chart has broken down the basics for you. If you know what class of trucks or trucks you might need, our sales team at Greyson equipment can help you nail down the fine details that come next. Just contact us here to get started!
Forklift Certification: What is it? Why have it? How to get it?
2. Certification ensures that anyone who operates your lift is aware of the guidelines set by OSHA and shows that the employer has trained and evaluated that employee’s capability to operate a forklift.
3. Certifying operators reduces injuries in the workplace.
4. By instilling a singular training method, companies create a unified safety ideal in their facilities, which helps maintain a higher safety standard.
Employers provide training for workers who will be operating equipment. While 28 states currently certify operators based on OSHA standards, every state requires some form of training for operating a forklift.
2. Participate in OSHA required hands-on training sessions that take place on location.
3. Be evaluated by a certified trainer from the employer.
4. Certification is good for 3 years before reevaluating is required, especially if an operator has had any incidents during their current certification.
When is it Time to Replace Your Forklift Tires?
The condition of your tires is important when it comes to maintaining your lift. Unlike a car, forklifts don’t have a traditional suspension system, so your tires carry all of the weight of the equipment and whatever that equipment is carrying. So, it is important to know when it is time to replace your tires.
First of all, what causes tire wear?
- This probably goes without saying, but how much you use the lift affects how often you need to replace your tires. If you are running a full shift (8 hours) five days a week, you will have to replace your tires more frequently than if you use your lift sparingly.
- The other major factor concerning tire wear is the environment you run your lift in. Rough terrain will make your tires wear faster. The same can be said for concrete that is rough, cracked, or uneven.
Here are the signs that your tires need replaced:
1. Many tires have a safety lone or “wear line” (above). The wear line is the main indicator that your tires need replaced. Once your tires have worn down to this line, it is time to replace them.
2. Another sign that it is time to replace your tires is tearing or cracking. As you can see in the example above, your tires look like they have been sliced. If you haven’t hit your wear line, but your tires are tearing, they need replaced.
3. Unlike tearing, chunking occurs when whole pieces of your tires have been torn away. If chunking occurs, tires should be replaced immediately.
4. Flat spots might be harder to notice at first than tears or chunks. Instead of seeing flat spots, you’ll likely notice that the wheel will “skip” or “thud” when rotating. This is one indication that you have a flat spot and it’s time to change your tire.
Along with these signs, other issues such as uneven wear on each tire or bent rims should be checked for at the beginning and end of every shift. Beyond regular maintenance and keeping your equipment operating efficiently, tire replacement is a safety concern. Bad tires can lead to bad accidents.
While some maintenance can be done in shop, your forklift tires should always be handled by trained and certified professionals, this includes getting an opinion on whether or not they need replaced. Let our experienced team at Greyson Equipment help you.
6 Tips for Improving Warehouse Efficiency
There are a lot of factors to consider when improving warehouse efficiency. Below are 6 tips to help get you started.
1. Utilize your space. While expanding your warehouse is always an option, make sure that you are using your current space as efficiently as possible.
- Minimize your aisle widths. This makes more room for product.
- Look up. How well are you using your vertical space? Before deciding to expand out, consider whether or not you maxed all of the storage space you already have.
- Consider how much product you need. While having a full facility is nice and does ensure that your customer has what they need as soon as they need it, do you need that product in-house year-round? Or, do you need more of that product in one part of the year versus another? Can you utilize that space in another way?
2. Review is important. Your processes are constantly evolving. You need to keep track and analyze productivity rates regularly. Keep records of how well your product moved within an allotted amount of time.
3. Keep your employees in the loop. Beyond updating your operators on new guidelines and procedures, circle back and ask them how the new system changes have affected workflow. They work your system every day, so their ground-floor experience is crucial to success.
4. Keep your facility neat and clean. This goes beyond cleaning up the big messes that occasionally happen and worrying about the everyday little tasks too. Leaving product in aisles, not regularly cleaning up debris, and not putting product where it needs to be can hinder workflow.
5. Keep it simple. Streamlining your supply chain and processes is important.
- Know your truck schedule.When you don’t know when trucks are coming in, loading and unloading can become congested. This slows down processes and creates unwanted downtime.
- Consider assigning different shifts for shipping and receiving. By allowing each shift to focus on one task, you let your operators become as efficient as possible both individually and as a team.
6. Invest in quality equipment that best serves your needs. This one should go hand-in-hand with utilizing space. When deciding how to best set up your racking and storage, you should also consider what equipment will work best for your space (what takes up the least space and still makes operations smooth) and is most applicable for your needs (For example: if you’re only lifting 3000lbs at most, do you need a 10,000lb capacity lift?).
There is a lot of thought that goes into making your warehouse as efficient as possible that can be made easier by asking a reliable source for help. When the time comes to consider what equipment will speed up your workflow, let our experienced sales team at Greyson Equipment answer any questions you have and get you off to a strong start. Just contact us here to get started.
3 Common Work-related Injuries and Tips for Prevention
Injury is common in the workplace. Sometimes, there is no helping the accidents that occur while on the clock. However, the three most common injuries are also those that can be prevented in most cases.
Slips, Trips, and Falls account for most work-related injuries. According to OSHA, 15% of accidental deaths occur this way, but there are some simple measures that can be taken to make employees safer.
- Good Housekeeping is one of the biggest preventers of fall-related injuries
- Make clean-up check-in and check-out lists for every shift
- Implement standard emergency clean up guidelines for when spills happen
- Reduce slippery and uneven surfaces:
- Keep high traffic areas such as parking lots and sidewalks in good condition.
- Be prepared for bad weather and the hazards that come with it such as icy pathways.
- Use signs and other warnings that let employees know that certain surfaces can be slick.
Muscle Strains are responsible for 34% (OSHA) of lost workdays. These types of injuries occur in jobs where repetitive motions and heavy lifting are expected.
- Break up repetitive motion. Making sure to get away from repetetive tasks and stretch or walk periodically throughout shifts helps reduce the probability of strains.
- Practice safe lifting:
- Bend at the knees and keep a straight back when lifting heavy objects from the floor.
- Don’t get in a hurry. Lift and move product at a steady pace.
- Know the limit. If the product is too heavy, perform a team lift or use handling equipment that is specifically designed to help move heavy objects.
Falling objects are the third most common hazard and result in 9.4% (OSHA) of accidents at work.
- Make safety a priority.
- Set clear guidelines for working within areas where above-head product is moved regularly.
- Implement area safety into all new orientation and continued training.
- Clearly mark areas where falling objects could occur.
- Always use proper safety gear when needed: goggles, hard hats, etc.
With 2018’s National Safety Awareness month coming to a close, the team at Greyson Equipment wants to do our part to help you keep your facility safe year-round.
10 Forklift Tips to Keep Your Warehouse Safe
Forklift safety is one of the most common topics in the material handling industry—and for good reason. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), there are roughly 85 deaths and 34,900 forklift-related injuries a year. 42% of fatalities are a result of operators tipping a vehicle. To help you make sure your operators don’t become a statistic, here are 10 basics for forklift safety:
1. Train your operators to follow company and OSHA standards on any equipment they will be using in your facility.
2. Examine equipment at the beginning of every shift. Some facilities will provide a “beginning” and “end of” checklist for operators to run through to make sure that the equipment is in good condition and safe to operate.
3. Be aware of surroundings:
- Watch out for pedestrians.
- Always be aware of load and mast height. You don’t want to get stuck on a door…or make a bigger door.
- Be vigilant when operating your equipment near dock or ramp edges. These are two of the easier places to roll a lift.
4. Limit your speed. It’s not that hard to make a forklift slide on smooth concrete and again, make a new door.
5. Always make sure the load you are carrying is stable and secure.
6. Don’t overload your truck. While it might be able to move, overloading hinders the truck’s turning and stopping capabilities. Overloading also increases the risk of losing the load.
7. The only rider on the truck should be the operator. This goes for raising others up into the air, too. DO NOT raise people into the air unless you have a secure, safe platform and are following regulations.
8. Unless operating an electric truck, avoid running your truck inside for extended periods of times. This is especially important if operating a diesel truck.
9. Park the truck so that it doesn’t become a hazard. This means:
- Always park a lift with the forks on the ground and tilted down.
- Always set the brake when you are not on the lift.
- If your truck is LP, turn off the tank.
10. Always check the truck at the end of the shift.
Forklift safety is important whether you’ve been driving them for years or are plopping into the seat for the first time. Hopefully, these tips have helped you get started or refresh your memory. Here at Greyson Equipment, we want your operators to be as safe as the trucks we help you put them on.
Different Trucks, Different Hours, Different Lifetimes
When it comes to knowing how much “life” your forklift has, the first question you will probably ask is “How many hours are on the truck?” While this seems like a simple question, there are some things you should understand when asking it.
First, what kind of truck are you getting the hours for?
For internal combustion (IC) forklifts, the measurement is pretty straight-forward. The meters on these trucks track engine hours. This means that when the engine of your lift is running, whether idling or in motion, the meter is running every second that the machine is switched to “on.”
However, electric trucks can be a bit more complicated. When you first switch on an electric truck, it will give you three readings: Key hours, hydraulic hours, and traction hours.
- Key hours are tracked from the moment the key is in the “on” position to when it is switched off again. Essentially, this reading is the equivalent of engine hours on an IC forklift.
- Hydraulic hours measure the time the hydraulics have been in use on a truck.
- Traction hours record the time the unit is moving in forward or reverse.
It might surprise you, but there is no standard on what meter a company or manufacturer uses to measure the life of an electric lift. So, when you go to look at an electric forklift, ask which reading the seller uses and how long you can expect the lift operate based on that number.
Second, what do low, middle, and high hours look like?
In general, a forklift is expected to maintain optimum operations for 10k to 20k hours, with electric forklifts usually reaching the upper end of the spectrum over IC trucks. Knowing what forklift manufacturers and sellers consider “low, middle, and high hours” will help you understand the age of your prospective truck.
- Low: 0-5,000 hours
- Medium: 5,000-9,000 hours
- High: 9,000+
Third, what age of truck do you really need?
New and low hour trucks are nice, but is it a necessity for you? Consider how much use you need out of the truck before you jump into buying a forklift. Crucial questions:
- How many days a week/month will you use the truck?
- How many hours a day will you use it?
Small Operations: If you have two or three employees and you will only need to use your forklift for one or two hours a day, twice a week, your usage is pretty low. Investing in an older truck might be the way to go.
Big Operations: If you have multiple employees on 7+ hour shifts every day of the week, your usage is high. This is definitely a situation where the investment in a newer truck with a warranty will benefit you in the long run.
When it comes to understand the life of a forklift, and what you need out of that truck, these facts are just the basics. Our team at Greyson Equipment can help you answer any questions you have and set you up with the best investment for your operations. Just contact us here to get started.
5 Ways to Keep Your Forklift Operational
Forklifts are an integral part of any efficient warehouse. When they go down, production slows down. On top of the cost of repairs, the cost of inefficiency can also put a dent in profit. While major problems are best left to the professionals, regular maintenance can help keep your truck operating at its best.
- Change oil and check fluids. Regular oil changes increase fuel efficiency and avoid combustion problems. Like a car, the oil in a truck should be changed every three months (This can vary based on how much you run the lift, but it never hurts to do a routine check.) Aside from oil, checking other fluid levels (fuel, hydraulics, anti-freeze) will ensure that your lift stays operational and doesn’t overheat or freeze.
- Invest in quality parts. Parts is one of the easiest places to cut costs. However, a cheap part won’t necessarily last as long as a more expensive, more recognized part. Buying the OEM part may cost you in the beginning, but buying three of the same after-market part in a year will cost you more in the long run. Little parts help the big machine work. Little investments help save big money.
- Keep tires in good shape. Tires should be checked regularly. Running tires that are chunking, tearing, or have flat spots is a safety hazard. It also affects the fuel efficiency of a truck and can lead to other equipment damage. If there is any chunking, tearing, or flat spots on your tires, or you’ve reached the wear line, it’s time to replace them.
- Keep your lift well lubricated. Forklifts have a lot of moving parts. To keep issues from friction from rising, oil and grease your lift where it needs it. Following the lubrication chart in your lift’s manual helps you be certain you are hitting all of the necessary points. If you are hearing squeaking or grinding, something needs greased.
- Treat the small issues. Prevent the big issues. Sometimes it’s easy to let a small issue with a lift go if it still performs. However, small problems can lead to other small problems that eventually lead to bigger issues. Being proactive about preventative measures such as keeping oil and hydraulic lines clear of sediment helps prolong the life of your lift.
Just watching out for wear and tear from everyday use can help you keep your truck running and operations smooth. Clean, maintained material handling equipment is what our sales team at Greyson Equipment specializes in. If you’re looking for a quality piece of used equipment, start by contacting us here.
Picking up Productivity: 4 Beneficial Attachments for your Forklift
Attachments are an important part of any truck. What do you need the truck to do? What product are you handling? How durable is your product? Are you limited on space? These are all dilemmas that attachments help solve. Below are four common attachments that increase efficiency in the warehouse and save companies cash and time.
1. Sideshifters are one of the most common attachments. So common, in fact, that it’s kind of hard to believe that they aren’t standard on every lift. As the name suggests, this attachment lets you shift your forks from side-to-side. This makes it easier to make minor adjustments when picking up and setting down loads.
- Increased maneuverability that allows for more accurate fork function.
- Reduced Damage to products and equipment.
- Increased productivity due to faster loading and unloading times.
- Improved space usage by placing product closer together.
2. Fork positioners are another really common attachment.This attachment allows your tines to be moved closer or farther away from each other hydraulically. This makes work more efficient.
- Increased productivity by eliminating the need to climb on and off the truck.
- Reduced damage by allowing more precise maneuverability.
- Improved health and longevity of your employees by reducing manual work.
3. Carton clamps are unique in that they are used primarily for large, rectangular or square loads that don’t require pallets (appliances, beverage products, etc.).