Tips for maintaining and servicing your forklift truck fleet

maintaining

In today’s modern warehouses - with vehicles frequently operating for long hours seven days a week – forklift trucks are expected to perform at higher levels than ever before. With increased usage comes increased wear and tear, so regular care and servicing is an essential part of keeping trucks operational. The safety of employees, trucks and systems is crucial to efficient intralogistics.

As well as being a legal requirement, the safety of operators and the efficient running of vehicles is crucial to maintaining a fully operational warehouse. A good forklift servicing schedule can identify and remedy issues before they become costly problems that can mean a vehicle needs to be taken out of action for lengthy repairs. At STILL, we are committed to service excellence and customer aftercare is a big part of our service experience. So, we’ve come up with some top tips for keeping your vehicle fleet in good condition.


Daily safety checks

Daily safety checks are an essential part of forklift maintenance. Not only do these checks ensure operator safety before they begin a shift, it’s also a chance to spot relatively minor issues before they can progress into costly repairs. The forklift manufacturer will often provide a recommended checklist and it’s always good practice to have one in place and actioned as part of your daily operations

These checks can include;

  • checking for leaks
  • checking and topping up fluid levels
  • checking tyre pressures and tread
  • a visual inspection to identify any cracks or visible defects in the equipment
  • a review of the vehicle operating area.

Decide on servicing intervals

Prevention is better than cure in many industries and warehousing is no exception. Well-maintained forklifts usually have very few problems and often only require minor repairs. However, without these regular checks, small issues can quickly escalate and become problems that require more significant fixes. Not only do unexpected repairs cost money that may not have been budgeted for, the knock-on effect of having a vehicle out of service also be costly through lost revenue. In addition to daily checks and legally required annual checks, regular services can help keep your trucks operating at maximum efficiency and remedy any wear and tear by replacing worn parts. Servicing intervals and safety checks can be tailored to your specific needs by using service agreements like STILL’s servicing options. This way, maintenance costs can be budgeted for and planned in advance and avoid sudden, unexpected costs and reductions in fleet availability.

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Prolong the life of your batteries

With electric vehicles becoming the new normal, prolonging the life of your forklift batteries can pay dividends for getting the most out of your fleet. Truck and battery manufacturers will provide guidelines for storing and maintaining batteries to maximise their performance, but there are some simple ways to keep them in tip top condition.

For example, battery charging should take place in a well-ventilated area to prevent overheating and wasted energy. A good battery charging warehouse can help batteries charge more quickly and retain their power for longer so it’s definitely worth making sure your conditions are optimal. Truck batteries should be ideally charged before their power drops below 20-30%. Prolonged time in this area can gradually deplete battery performance, so it’s always good practice to keep the charge out of the red zone wherever possible.


Manufacturer recommendations and hours of use

A common question when it comes to forklift truck servicing is; how often does a forklift truck need to be serviced? Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question because servicing requirements vary between types of truck, truck manufacturer and degree of use. Manufacturer guidelines will recommend servicing intervals dictated by the age of the forklift or hours of use (whichever occurs first) and it’s important to make sure that your servicing schedule accounts for this. Failing to adhere to these recommendations might seem like a way to reduce servicing costs, but it’s likely to cost additional time and money in the long term. There are also a number of legal obligations and industry guidelines that require warehouse equipment – especially trucks and lifting equipment – that must be adhered to.


Know the law

Aside from obligations to keep employees safe and the necessity to operate an efficient vehicle fleet in a modern warehouse, there are a number of rules and regulations covering maintenance of forklift trucks. Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), mobile work equipment and plant machinery is required to be kept in a good state or repair. Any OSHA requires that employers provide vehicle inspection and basic maintenance training to all operators, allowing them to identify any safety issues before they operate the forklift.

There is also the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) which covers the servicing and maintenance of lifting equipment, including forklift trucks, and outlines what constitutes a Thorough Examination which must be conducted every year. The test ensures the optimum performance and safety of your forklift fleet and is approved by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


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