Matthew Allen of Hyster reveals the company’s five checks to help determine if a truck is reliable enough for its 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 and standard duty applications with lifts that are not at capacity, most industrial engines will usually provide a reliable performance, but the engine should be checked if it is a known brand and designed for industrial applications.
In high intensity operations, the engine and transmission should be electronically controlled and protected to prevent any major damage.
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.
For more intense operations, the company says that the truck has to be checked in order to achieve leak-free protection.
Variable displacement pumps which give hydraulic power on demand will also help to increase reliability.
3) Testing, quality and warranty
Checks must be carried out for determining whether the truck has undergone thorough testing and life-cycle simulation, verifying the reliability of the entire truck design.
Hyster asks: has there been credible testing, analysis and refinements on how all the elements work together, such as engine efficiency, noise and vibration, all weather performance, stability, safety, and hydraulic and transmission performance?
Warranty terms can also be a good indicator of reliability, but checks should be made on whether coverage applies to the number of hours used or a defined time-period.
4) Check reference sites
Is the truck brand reliable in real-life applications? A little bit of research could save years of contractual difficulties, downtime and out of contract costs.
Also, trusted suppliers will be able to provide references and proof.
5) Maintaining reliability
The fork-lift manufacturer also says to check that the supplier can support the equipment adequately and at the right price.
Availability of parts which adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines is also an important factor when carrying out a reliability check.
Fact File: Hyster is one of the leading global brands of materials handling equipment and Hyster Company offers over 140 models of counterbalance trucks, warehouse and container-handling equipment.
The company invests heavily in research and development to ensure that its products are at the forefront of the materials handling industry providing maximum dependability and low costs of ownership for demanding operations everywhere.