A Fork Conundrum

//A Fork Conundrum

A Fork Conundrum

Believe it or not, there are some people that don’t care quite as much about their forks as we do!

Improper use, for example raising a load on one fork, can lead to ‘opening out’ or misalignment. It is easy for some operators to forget that forks are designed in pairs (!) and forks that happily lift, say, seven tonnes together, are not designed to lift seven tonnes on each fork.

If the mistaken operator puts only one fork to use, and the inevitable happens, the problem might appear as a fault in the fork design or manufacture, but those in the know understand that this is almost never the case. What is clear is that the tips of the forks are no longer aligned, the integrity of the fork is compromised and pallet entry and exiting becomes a difficult and potentially dangerous task.

Putting the forks close together usually reveals the extent of the damage. But what if it doesn’t? What if the forks appear to be completely normal?

In the image above, a piece of timber held flat helps to show a gap of about 30mm between the forks when positioned at the extremities of the carriage. When the forks were placed together, however, they seem to match, so what could be going on?

Having ruled out uneven floor levels, masts, wood, tape measures and probably their eyesight, our customer called us in to get to the bottom of this conundrum. The answer?

After a prolonged site measure to rule out the forks and discussions with the operatives on site the clue was in the initial delivery of the truck, which arrived minus a carriage. Due to a production mix up, a temporary carriage was acquired and it was that which was twisted and not the forks that were misaligned.

So before you think about sticking anything new on the front of your machine, make sure you are extra vigilant, and perhaps (ahem!) consult an expert.

Of course, Forklift carriages themselves come in their own classes, and we haven’t even mentioned dummy ones yet, but perhaps best to leave that for another day!