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Basic Forklift Parts Terms

Buying a forklift is an incredible thing for your organization. However, it does not end there because forklifts require regular maintenance. It is important to understand the terminology when dealing with forklifts.

Basic Forklift parts

  1. Cab– This is the middle component of the forklift. It consists of the steering wheel, the accelerating and brake pedals as well as the mast controls and gauges. All the safety devices for the forklift are also located in the cab.
  2. Mast– The mast is the part of the forklift used for loading and unloading. Masts can be categorized in 3 types;

Single-Stage Mast- This mast can lift a limited height. It has restricted capabilities and results to problems when lifting loads on trucks.

Two-stage mast- This is a popular mast for lifting loads to relatively greater heights. Two-stage Mast lifts an average of 130 feet high. They are hence applied to load and unload trucks and in low-height loading.

Three-Stage Mast- This is the most universal type of mast. It has three parts that lengthen the forks to their greatest lift height. The central of the mast has a hydraulic cylinder known as the primary lift cylinder. This helps in raising the forks and the carriage close to the top of the mast preceding the segments staging up. Three-stage masts generally lift heights of up to 189 feet. They are mainly used for high-height loading such as in distribution stores and warehouses.

  1. Carriage -The carriage attaches the forks to the mast. It also acts as a support mechanism for the forklift.
  2. Forks– These are arm-like long extensions that are joined to the carriage. Forks support the load from the base. Forks are available in various breadths and they are flexible to adjust on the sides of the carriage.
  3. Load backrest– This is where the load rests on a level surface. The load backrest is built to prevent the load from falling in the direction of the driver. It also makes it easier to load and unload.
  4. Overhead Guard– This is the framework surrounding the cab. Overhead Guard protects the driver from larger objects that might fall. The overhead guard is in form of grate design and hence does not stop smaller substances from falling at greater heights. To boost protection, a steel sheet or strong plastic can be added to the overhead guard.
  5. Tires– Steer tires are found at the back of the forklift. They enable the forklift to maneuver in corners and are applied when moving loads in reverse gear. The drive steers are located and remain fixed at the front. Unlike steer tires, drive tires do not turn on a radius.
  6. Counterweight– The counterweight is positioned at the rear of the forklift. It is installed by the manufacturer with an aim of protecting the forklift from sliding forward during loading
  7. Power supply– Forklifts come in four distinct types of power supply; Electric (battery), propane, diesel and gas. For the electric forklifts, battery is positioned beneath the seat while propane propelled forklifts has the propane tank located at the rear of the forklift and on top of the counterweight. For the gas and diesel forklifts, a fuel tank is positioned below the back of the forklift.
  8. Tilt Cylinder– This part controls the extent of forward as well as backward tilt of the mast, carriage and the forks.
  9. Hydraulic Lift Cylinder– this part of the forklift controls the degree of upward lift (Raising and lowering) of the mast, carriage and forks

In conclusion, understanding the forklift parts is important in order to identify the replaceable parts and consult an authorized dealer when need be.

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