Matthew Allen from Hyster reveals five checks that determine if a forklift truck is reliable and will keep going when you need it most.
Reliability is one of the most important factors when choosing a forklift truck, but reliability can only be measured in relation to the intended use. So before "popping the hood", be clear about how you want to use the truck.
Here are five checks to help determine if an ICE powered truck is reliable enough for your application, whether handling timber, metal, paper or a simple pallet of fruit.
1) Engine and transmission
A truck's engine and transmission will determine whether it starts on a cold winter's morning or won't overheat on the hottest summer days.
For single shift, standard duty applications with lifts that are not at capacity, most industrial engines will usually provide a reliable performance, but always check if the engine is a known brand and designed for industrial applications. Where the transmission is concerned, Hyster has proven that its single speed “powershift” transmission, which doesn't "shock" on direction change, is a highly reliable feature on its standard H2.5CT.
However, when the application involves continual lifts at capacity, steep gradients, extreme hours or other challenges, you might need a more advanced truck.
Few forklift models have the proven ability to lift continuously for 2-3 shifts a day, 7 days a week in dusty environments with ramps. In these high intensity operations, the engine and transmission should be electronically controlled and protected to prevent any major damage.
For these reasons, the Hyster® Fortens FT range is chosen by many high intensity 24/7 pallet networks for its electronically controlled DuraMatch™ transmission, which automatically reduces speed when the accelerator pedal is released. This helps protect the powertrain and significantly reduces brake and tyre wear through smooth direction changes.
A common reliability problem in the forklift industry is leaking hydraulic fluid, so it's important to understand the quality of the hoses, fittings, valves and pumps used. Are they fit for purpose on a site like yours? If there is any doubt, investigate further.
For more intense operations, check that the truck has leak free protection. For example, hassle-free hydraulic systems featuring leak-free O-ring face seal fittings are fitted as standard on the Hyster Fortens trucks for exactly this reason, helping to enhance reliability.