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Daily and Weekly Checklists for Routine Forklift Maintenance

Daily and Weekly Checklists for Routine Forklift Maintenance

Dec 29, 2017

Forklifts are very important pieces of equipment for the operations of a business, and they are also expensive to purchase and repair.  The last thing a company needs is to spend money repairing or replacing a forklift, especially for damage that could have been prevented.  Fortunately, you can help ensure that your company’s forklifts stay operational by doing daily and weekly inspections of the equipment.  Performing regular checks of the forklifts will help you notice any issues and deal with them before they become bigger, more expensive problems.  This will help your forklifts stay functional and prolong their lives which will save your company money in repairs or the purchase of new equipment.  The following forklift maintenance checklists will help your operators routinely inspect the forklift equipment and prevent serious issues.

Forklift Daily Checklist

Daily and Weekly Checklists for Routine Forklift MaintenanceForklifts should be inspected every day before each use, and even between shifts to ensure that they are operating properly.  These daily inspections will ensure that the forklift is ready for use which will help prevent serious damage or accidents.  Your daily forklift inspection should include the following:

  • Check the oil: Make sure the engine oil is at the right level which will help improve fuel efficiency and protect the engine block from wear and tear.
  • Check the fuel: This seems obvious, but it is important to make sure you have enough fuel for daily operations.
  • Check the tires: It is very important to check the tires to look for damage and ensure that they are properly inflated. Operating the forklift on under or overinflated tires is dangerous.
  • Check the brakes: You must inspect the brakes to ensure that they are functional. Check brake fluid levels as well as the brake lights.  Make sure you replace brake pads that have become worn down.
  • Check the battery: The battery must be properly attached and have enough juice to power the forklift.
  • Check safety features: It is important to ensure that the safety features, such as alarms, sensors, lights, and indicators, are functional for safe operation.

You must stress the importance of these daily forklift inspections to your operators so that they are done before each use.  By inspecting your forklifts on a daily basis, you can prolong the life of the equipment, reduce the risk of workplace accidents, and stay in compliance with OSHA standards to avoid fines or sanctions.

Weekly Forklift Inspection Checklist

Weekly forklift inspections are more in-depth than daily inspections, and they should be done at least once each week.  Your weekly forklift inspections should include the following:

  • Check hydraulic and transmission fluid: The hydraulic and transmission systems are crucial for the operation of the forklift. If either fail, the repairs can be very expensive.  Each week, make sure you check the fluid levels for each system and look for any leaks or damage.
  • Check oil lines: Inspect the oil lines carefully for any leaks and patch the leaks you find.
  • Check fluid levels: Check all fluid levels including power steering fluid, brake fluid, oil, and others to ensure that they are at the right levels.

Weekly forklift inspections are crucial for avoiding major issues that can put the equipment out of use or cost your company money in repairs.  Designate one day each week to these forklift checks to ensure that they are done on a regular basis.

You can avoid many common issues with your forklifts and save your company money on forklift service by routinely following these checklists.  All of your forklift operators should be familiar with these checklists and understand the importance of these daily and weekly inspections.  While being proactive will reduce the risk of malfunctions with your forklift, there is still a chance that you could experience any number of issues that require professional maintenance.  RHI Lifts provides forklift maintenance and repair services to resolve any issues and get your forklift back up and running.  Contact our forklift service experts at (847) 447-0700 if you need professional maintenance for your equipment in the Chicago area.

Counterbalance Forklift vs Reach Forklifts: The Main Differences

Counterbalance Forklift vs Reach Forklifts: The Main Differences

Dec 1, 2017

Buying a new forklift for your business is not a light endeavor.  Forklift equipment is a major purchase, and there are many types of forklifts available with different options to serve a variety of purposes in different working environments.  You must consider price, capability, weight capacity, and even forklift type when making a purchase.  Once you determine your budget and decide on your price range, the next biggest decision to make is what type of forklift you need.  There are several types of forklifts, the most common are counterbalance forklifts and reach forklifts.  This guide explains the main characteristics and differences between these two types of forklifts.

Counterbalance Forklifts

Reach_forkliftThe most commonly used forklifts for handling materials are counterbalance forklifts.  These forklifts are the first that come to mind when people generally picture the equipment because they resemble what many consider to be the typical forklift.  The fork is on the front of the vehicle and it operates without the need for additional outriggers or reach.  Therefore, operators can drive right up to the load to lift it and right up to the racking spot to off load it.

Counterbalance forklifts get their name from the presence of a counterbalance weight, usually on the back of the forklift, that off sets the weight of the lifted load.  These forklifts can be powered by gas, diesel fuel, or electricity, and the size of the counterweight may differ depending on the weight of the battery.  Electric counterbalance forklifts can have batteries that weigh up to several thousand pounds which means that they generally have smaller counterweights.  The other main features of counterbalance forklifts include driver cabs, sideshifts, and mast tilt facilities.

3 Wheel Counterbalance Forklifts

One drawback of counterbalance forklifts is that they are tough to use in limited spaces.  The design of 3 wheel counterbalance forklifts makes maneuvering through tight spaces easier with a single rear wheel in the center of the forklift.  This rear wheel gives the forklift a better turning radius to handle racking and loading in small spaces.

Reach Forklifts

Reach forklifts have the capability to “reach” beyond their stabilizing legs, giving them much more lift height capacity than counterbalance forklifts.  These forklifts also have better maneuverability and they are designed for operation in tight spaces.  Reach trucks are most commonly used in warehouse settings because they can fit in tight isles and reach loads that are stored high in the racking.  They perform poorly in outdoor settings because uneven surfaces can cause damage to the low clearance undercarriage.  These forklifts are stabilized by the legs and battery, which means they do not need a counterbalance weight.  Some reach trucks can reach and lift loads as high as 30 feet.

Another common feature of reach trucks is a tilting cab mechanism to help the operator better see the load.  Many cabs on reach forklifts have an open overhead guard to help increase visibility, and some reach trucks may also have cameras for even better visibility.  The image from these cameras shows on an LCD screen inside the cab.

If you are considering a new forklift for your fleet, you must consider what you need out of the new forklift to help decide which type of forklift you should buy.  Both counterbalance forklifts and reach forklift are useful in many scenarios, but their different capabilities make them each better suited for different environments.  Professionals that offer new forklifts such as RHI Lifts can help you decide which type of forklift is better suited for your working environment.  Give RHI Lifts a call to learn more about your options for a new forklift.

Inspection and Maintenance of Forklift Brakes

Inspection and Maintenance of Forklift Brakes

Oct 31, 2017

Forklift operators must have a good understanding of how the components of a forklift work so that they can immediately recognize problems before they lead to larger equipment issues or an accident.  The brakes are one of the most important forklift parts to inspect and maintain because a malfunction can lead to a serious accident, risking injury or death to your employees.  Forklift brakes typically have a lifetime of 5,000 to 7,000 driving hours, and they accumulate dust and debris buildup on the brake shoes that must be blown out every 250 hours.  This is why it is so important for your forklift operators to know how the braking system works and to routinely inspect the system to make sure the brakes are in working order.

This guide explains the components of the forklift braking system, as well as how to properly inspect and maintain forklift brakes to ensure safe operation.

Forklift Brake System

Inspection and Maintenance of Forklift BrakesForklift braking systems consist of many component parts, including the drums, shoes, lining, and fluid.  The brake drums and shoes are the main components of this system; the shoe is the part of the brake that is pushed against the drum to stop the wheels from moving.  Brake shoes consist of two pieces of steel, including the brake lining which is the part that makes contact with the drum and creates the friction needed to stop the forklift.  The brake lining is heat and wear resistant to withstand the friction caused by braking and it is powered by the brake fluid.  The brake lining will slowly wear down over time and need to be replaced.  If worn out brake lining is not replaced, it can cause damage to the brake drum and shoe, requiring both to be replaced

Causes of Forklift Brake Failure

While all forklift braking systems can and will naturally wear down over time, there are several behaviors that can accelerate wear and tear and quickly lead to damage.  Make sure your forklift operators avoid the following behaviors:

  • Operating the forklift with the parking brake on: The parking brake must always be disengaged before operation.
  • Driving fast and braking hard: This will put extra stress on the braking system and cause the brake lining to wear out faster.
  • “Two-footed” driving: Driving with one foot on the brake will quickly wear out the lining and cause damage to other parts from the excessive friction.
  • Failure to inspect braking system: Excessive wear of the brake lining and debris buildup on the brake shoes can cause significant damage if these issues are not caught and addressed during inspections.

Inspecting Forklift Braking System

The most effective way to avoid issues with the forklift braking system is to check them routinely before each shift.  Pre-shift inspections are not only important for the upkeep of your equipment and the safety of your operators; they are required by the Operational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).  During the inspection, you must check all the component parts of the braking system including the shoes, drums, brake pedal, parking brake, fluid level, and wheel  hubs.  Check the resistance of the brake pedal to ensure that it can stop the forklift in a safe distance, and make sure the parking brake can hold a 15 percent grade.  Every 250 driving hours, blow the dust and debris from the brake shoes.  A certified technician should do a more thorough inspection of your brakes every 2,000 driving hours.

By knowing how the braking system works and routinely inspecting it for issues, you can prevent accidents or malfunctions that lead to further damage or injury.  Create a procedure for checking the brakes and make sure your forklift operators follow it on a daily basis.  If you do notice a problem with the braking system of a forklift that you cannot fix, you can call the forklift repair and maintenance experts of RHI Lifts.  Our technicians have the expertise to repair malfunctions in the braking system, as well as any other problems you may encounter with your equipment.

How to Properly Use Forklift Safety Equipment

How to Properly Use Forklift Safety Equipment

Sep 29, 2017

Companies that use their forklift fleets on a daily basis must emphasize forklift safety to protect their products, and more importantly, their employees.  Good forklift safety starts with well-trained operators that follow all the proper safety protocols, including preliminary checks and safe practices.  While practicing good forklift safety is a great start, you can make your workplace even safer by using forklift safety equipment such as safety sensors, forklift lights, and interactive smart systems.  In this guide, you will learn about each piece of safety equipment and how to incorporate them into your workplace.

Safety Sensors

How to Properly Use Forklift Safety Equipment - RHI Lifts Chicago, IL

Safety sensors are used in warehouses to help prevent collisions by detecting the motion of the forklift and warning the operator when it gets too close to a wall or rack.   In many warehouses, these sensors are mounted on the walls at eye level.  However, recent research shows that it is more effective to place these safety sensors on the ground.  The reason for this is because humans instinctively respond to threats from the ground, so the alarm is more likely to get the attention of your forklift operators.  If you use safety sensors in your warehouse, try placing them on the ground and see if this improves the response from your operators.

Forklift Safety Lights

Installing safety lights on your forklifts is another simple way to help make your workplace safer.  These warning lights flash in a strobe pattern or oscillating pattern that will quickly get the attention of nearby pedestrians as the forklift approaches.  These lights can also be seen from far distances to give pedestrians plenty of time to clear the path.  You can install audio alerts with your forklift warning lights as well for added safety.

Interactive Smart Systems

While the previous safety items discussed here are effective, they are only effective if your workers notice and react to their warnings.  Installing an interactive smart system can help automate workplace safety because these systems will quickly identify and alert your operator of any risks before they notice them.  These computer aided systems oversee the logistics of the forklift to better manage interactions with the foot traffic.  Many of these systems can also tell when there is a deficiency with the logistics or the forklift itself so you can make improvements.

Forklift safety is an extremely important concept and any company that uses a forklift fleet should always focus on ways to make these jobs safer.  Incorporating the forklift safety equipment discussed above will help improve the safety of your employees as well as the efficiency of your forklift fleet by reducing accidents.  Even with this safety equipment, good forklift safety starts with proper training.  If you have employees that need forklift training to learn good safety practices, RHI Lifts can help with our forklift operator training program.  We provide classroom and hands-on training in compliance with OSHA and ANSI standards.  You can call RHI Lifts at (847) 447-0700 to learn more about our forklift services.

Tips to Reduce the Overhead Costs of your Forklift Fleet

Tips to Reduce the Overhead Costs of your Forklift Fleet

Aug 29, 2017

A forklift fleet can help your company get a lot of work done and improve your bottom line, but only if it is used efficiently.  With the amount of money your company spends on new and used forklifts, as well as forklift maintenance, it is important to use your forklift fleet as efficiently as possible to maximize your ROI.  Many companies may find that the cost of operating their forklift fleet has become too high, which means that they must find ways to reduce the overhead costs of operation.  Fortunately, there are many different ways that you can reduce these overhead costs to help save your company money.

The following tips will help you be more cost effective with your forklift fleet.

Use Data Interfaces for Efficient Utilization

When it comes to determining how efficiently you are utilizing your forklift fleet, it helps to break down the use of each piece of equipment.  There are several different telematic monitoring systems available that can track use data on individual forklifts so you can see if they are being utilized properly.  With this data, you can easily identify when a forklift is being underused or overused, determine the best routing options, manage forklift maintenance, ensure that your operators are compliant, and determine the most efficient ways to use each forklift.  This data will also help you identify forklifts on your fleet that have become a liability.

Improve Routing

 The routing of your forklifts is very important because inefficient routing can cost your company time and money.  One of the best ways to ensure that your forklifts are using the most efficient routes is to use telematic monitoring systems as mentioned above.  This type of software can integrate real-time data from the forklifts with the details of your inventory to help you identify the most efficient routes for moving product through your warehouse.  The data from these monitoring systems can also help you determine if you are keeping your inventory in the best location for it to be moved efficiently.  By improving the efficiency of the routing, you can help maximize the ROI of your forklift fleet.

Monitor Operator Behavior

The behaviors of your forklift operators play a large part in the efficiency of your forklift fleet.  Most forklift accidents are caused by operator behavior which means that they are also preventable.  You can help make sure that your forklift operators are following safety protocols by setting speed limits, monitoring their behaviors, and enforcing compliance with your policies.  You should also make sure that your forklift operators attend training regularly to stay up to date on current safety protocols.

Closely Evaluate Contracts

When taking on a new contract for a job, it is crucial that your forklift operations and finances for the project are in line.  You must carefully review the terms of the contract so you can determine the best way to use your fleet to complete the job while minimizing the costs to your business.  Over or underutilizing your equipment can increase your costs while working on a particular contract.

Reduce Maintenance Costs

Forklift maintenance is always a major cost when operating a fleet, but there are so many things you can do to reduce your maintenance costs.  While there is no way to completely eliminate the need for forklift maintenance, you can prevent many common issues that may put your equipment out of commission.  You can start by forming an inspection checklist that your operators must complete before each use.  This will help maintain the fluid levels and identify minor issues with your equipment that are easy to fix before they develop into more serious and expensive problems.  You can also put each forklift in your fleet on a regular schedule for oil changes to ensure that no forklift goes too long without an oil change.  Taking these simple steps can help prevent major issues and save your company plenty of money on maintenance and repairs.

Forklift fleets can bring a great ROI to your business if they are used efficiently, and they can also be a liability to your company if they are not.  By maximizing the use of each individual forklift, improving the routing, evaluating contracts, and holding your operators responsible for following safety protocols and doing routine maintenance checks, you can significantly reduce the overhead costs of operating your forklift fleet.

Or course, something can always go wrong with your forklift, despite your best efforts at preventative maintenance.  If you have a problem with your equipment, our experts at RHI Lifts provide forklift maintenance to get your equipment back up and running.

If you have employees that need training to get their forklift certifications or operators that could use additional training, RHI Lifts provides forklift operator training classes that are compliant with OSHA and ANSI standards.

Complete Summer Forklift Maintenance Tips

Complete Summer Forklift Maintenance Tips

Jul 21, 2017

This summer season has brought some hot, humid weather to the Chicago area.  The hot summer weather not only takes a toll on those who work outside, but it can also take a toll on your forklift equipment.  Excessive heat can put extra wear and tear on the forklift and increase the risk of damage to the engine, tires, and other parts due to overheating.  If you experience significant damage to your forklift, it can cause your company to fall behind with your work and force you to pay for expensive repairs.  Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help protect and maintain your forklift fleet through the summer weather.  The following forklift maintenance tips will help you keep your forklifts working properly though the summer heat.

Inspect the Forklift Battery

The battery is very important for keeping your forklift running but the extreme heat can cause some issues.  The fluids within the battery can evaporate in hot conditions, increasing the risk of corrosion and drastically shortening the life of the battery.  You must regularly check forklift batteries and their fluid levels during the summer to ensure that the fluids don’t reach dangerously low levels.  If a battery has low fluid levels, refill it and make sure the water you put in your battery is at the right pH level.  This is especially important for electric forklifts.

Check Fans and Belts

forklift-service-maintenance-repair-chicago-ilThe fans and belts within your forklift play an important role in preventing the forklift from overheating.  The internal fans circulate air to help keep the engine cool, and the belts move the fans and engine coolant.  Both parts are subject to minor damage from repeated use and need to be replaced every now and then.  Make sure you check your fans and belts for cracks, holes, or general wear and tear.  Damaged belts and fans should be replaced right away.

Check Wires and Cables

Extreme heat can cause the wires and cables within the forklift to become brittle and corroded.  If a wire breaks, it can cause your forklift to stop functioning.  You must check the wires and cables in your forklift to ensure that they are properly connected and not damaged.  You must replace wires that have become frayed or exposed right away.

Check Engine to Prevent Overheating

One of the biggest issues that can occur with your forklift in the summer is overheating of the engine.  Just like in your car, an overheated engine can lead to a range of issues, including shortening the life of the engine.  Follow these tips to help prevent your internal combustion engine from overheating in the summer:

  • Check your coolant levels often and add more coolant if the levels are too low.
  • Replace the forklift coolant fluid often because it can deteriorate and result in damage to the coolant system.
  • Inspect the radiator for any damage. If the radiator has been damaged, it will depressurize which can cause the coolant to stop flowing and lead to overheating.  A damaged radiator can also affect the transmission.
  • Check for cracks or holes in the radiator hoses, especially if your coolant levels are always low. If you find a radiator hose that is damaged, replace it immediately.
  • Check the fuel filters and oil levels on your internal combustion engine to keep it running smoothly.

Check Forklift Tires

The summer heat can lead to a few issues with forklift tires, including cracking or wear and tear of the rubber, and high tire pressure.  Check the condition of the rubber on the tires before using the equipment.  If the rubber looks worn out or cracked, it might be time for new tires.  Proper inflation is important as well for smooth operation and preventing accidents.  Always check the tire pressure before use because the summer heat can cause the tire pressure to rise and increase the risk of a blowout.  Let some air out of the tires if the pressure is too high.

Keep Your Workers Protected

Protecting your expensive forklift equipment from the summer heat is important, but not as important as making sure your workers are safe in the heat.  Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are common issues among those who work outside during the summer, and these conditions could have dangerous consequences.  Make sure your workers are properly hydrated during the day and allow them to take breaks in a cooler part of your building.  Also, assign the heaviest workloads for the mornings before the temperature rises.

If your company relies on your forklift fleet through the summer, make sure you follow these summer forklift maintenance tips to keep your equipment in working order in the summer heat.  Taking the time to do effective forklift maintenance will help prevent costly issues with your forklift that will affect your production.  If you do have any problems with your equipment, contact our experts at RHI Lifts for forklift repair and maintenance services in Chicago, IL.  We can provide a wide range of forklift repairs to get your equipment up and running again.

Your Guide to the Different Types of Forklift Tires

Your Guide to the Different Types of Forklift Tires

May 22, 2017

If your company uses forklifts regularly, it is very important for you and your forklift operators to understand the differences between the types of forklift tires.  The tires are important features of a forklift because they directly affect the handling which impacts the safety and operation of the equipment.  The three main types of forklift tires are pneumatic tires, solid rubber tires or cushion tires, and polyurethane tires, and they each must be used in specific work environments.  The following information will help you understand the different types of forklift tires and their applications to ensure that you are using the right tires for the job.

Pneumatic Tires

forklift-sales-rentals-service-chicago-ilPneumatic tires are traditional tires that are made with heavy duty rubber with deep treads that have a strong grip.  These tires are quite versatile and they can handle the uneven surfaces inside warehouses as well as the rough terrain of outdoor jobsites like lumber yards and construction sites.  Pneumatic tires come in two different types; air pneumatics which are air filled tires, and solid pneumatics which are filled with liquid polyurethane foam.  Solid pneumatic tires are puncture proof and used for the toughest jobs.  Both types of pneumatic tires will help protect your forklift and extend its life by absorbing shocks.

Solid Rubber Tires

Solid rubber tires, also referred to as cushion tires, are tires made from solid rubber.  These tires do not inflate like pneumatic tires and instead are fitted around the metal band.  Solid rubber tires typically have a long life and they are cheaper to manufacture and maintain.  They are best in work environments with a smooth surface like warehouses and loading docks, and they have a small turning radius which is great for smaller spaces.  The disadvantages of solid rubber tires are that they are poorly suited for outdoor use and they do not have the same shock absorbing ability as pneumatic tires to protect the equipment.

Polyurethane Tires

Polyurethane tires are the most lightweight of the forklift tire options and they are typically used on electric forklifts for indoor applications.  These tires have low resistance and good traction, and they can handle a lot of weight.  They also have the best turning radius of the forklift tire types, making them ideal for use in small indoor areas.

Choosing Forklift Tires

forklift-tires-chicago-ilThe work environment and application should help you decide which forklift tires you should use.  Some forklifts are built for specific tire types and if this is the case with your equipment, you cannot switch to a different type of tire.  In general, forklifts built for outdoor use should have pneumatic tires because they are built to accommodate this type of tire and it is best suited to handle heavy duty outdoor use.  Electric forklifts that are used in small indoor spaces should have polyurethane tires for the small turning radius.

Here are some other factors to consider when choosing forklift tires:

  • Pneumatic tires can handle a higher weight capacity than the others.
  • Solid rubber tires and polyurethane tires are best suited for smooth surfaces.
  • Pneumatic tires have shock absorbing qualities that protect your forklifts and make the ride more comfortable.
  • Make sure the tires you choose are manufacture approved.
  • Used forklift tires in good condition can be used.
  • There are non-marking tires available in all three types, but they do not last as long as the standard tires.
  • Solid rubber tires can last 2-3 times longer than pneumatic tires.
  • Foam filled pneumatic tires are ideal for environments in which the tires might be punctured, but you need special equipment to fill them.

If you are looking to purchase a new or used forklift, you must consider the application you will use it for and buy a forklift that has the appropriate tires.  If your forklift can use different types of forklift tires, make sure the tire you switch to makes sense for your application and works with your equipment.  Talk to our professionals at RHI Lifts if you still have questions about the different types of forklift tires.  We provide maintenance and repair services for all forklift types and we can give you with valuable insight on the uses of the different types of forklift tires.

You can contact RHI Lifts by calling (847) 447-0700.

The Difference Between Monotrol Pedal Shifting and Lever Shift

The Difference Between Monotrol Pedal Shifting and Lever Shift

May 2, 2017

Many different companies rely on their forklift fleet for their production which means that their staff must be well trained to operate the forklift equipment.  Forklifts are somewhat complex machines to operate, as operators must simultaneously control the steering, shifting, and lift itself.  Traditionally, the gear shifting for forklifts is done with a lever shifter that operators control with their hands.  The introduction of the monotrol pedal, a pedal that shifts between gears, has helped free up the hands of forklift operators by giving them a way to shift gears with their feet.  Read the following descriptions to learn more about monotrol pedals and lever shifters for forklift shifting.

Forklift Lever Shifter

Forklift-Training-Services-in-Chicago-ILForklifts with lever shifters work in a similar manner to vehicles with manual shifting.  The lever shifter is located in the operator cab near the steering wheel and other levers used to control the hydraulic lift and various attachments.  It is common for forklifts to have two shift levers, one to shift between forward, neutral, and reverse, and a gear shift lever to select gear ratios that determine travel speed.  Operators must press down on the clutch pedal when shifting between gears.  The gear shift lever gives operators good control over the speed and gear shifting of the forklift.  However, the use of these hand levers along with the pressing of the clutch pedal can make the overall operation more complicated.

Monotrol Pedal Shifting

The monotrol pedal is a pedal that controls the shifting and acceleration of the forklift.  This pedal allows operators to switch between forward and reverse with their feet, and it also controls acceleration which eliminates the need for another gear shifting lever and clutch pedal.  Forklifts with monotrol pedal shifting are less complicated to operate than those with lever shifters and they give operators more freedom with their hands to better control steering and the lifts.

The main issue with monotrol pedals is that they are more difficult to control than traditional lever shifters.  Forklifts with monotrol pedals do not have different gear settings to help control the speed which means that the speed is determined by the amount of pressure you put on the pedal.  If the pedal is touchy, inching forward can be difficult.  These pedals are also a potential safety issue.  If an operator accidentally steps on the pedal as they are entering or exiting the machine, the forklift will move.  Forklifts with lever shifters will not move until the operator puts the forklift in gear.

Both forklift shifting mechanisms have their advantages and disadvantages that you must carefully consider when choosing between the two.  Regardless of which style shifting your forklifts have, it is very important for you to provide extensive forklift operator training for your employees to review basic operation and safety of your equipment.  In depth operator training is the most effective way to avoid accidents.  If you cannot provide training for your employees in-house, contact RHI Lifts for our forklift operator training services.  We provide training and certification classes for businesses in the Chicago area.  Give us a call at (847) 447-0700 for more information.

Indoor and Outdoor Uses of Forklifts

Indoor and Outdoor Uses of Forklifts

Mar 23, 2017

The forklift is one of the most important pieces of heavy machinery used in commercial and industrial environments.  Many companies depend on their fleet of forklifts to move product and materials quickly and efficiently, both indoors and outdoors.  The more efficiently the job is done, the better it is for your bottom line.  This makes it very important to choose the right forklift for the specific job and setting.  This guide explains the most common indoor and outdoor uses of forklifts as well as some things to consider when buying a forklift for an indoor or outdoor job.

Indoor Forklift Uses

Forklifts are commonly found in many indoor commercial settings including warehouses, retail stores, and distribution and shipping centers.  These forklifts are needed to transport heavy materials, stack materials for storage, and load and unload trucks.  The basic design of a forklift is best suited for lifting and transporting materials on pallets but they can also transport stacked boxes, drums, and crates.  There are a wide variety of forklifts available that are suited for indoor use and certain features like the size, tires, turn radius, and lifting abilities can be chosen for your specific environment.

Outdoor Forklift Uses

indoor-outdoor-forklifts-chicago-ilForklifts are used in a wide variety of outdoor settings from docks, junkyards, and recycling centers to lumberyards and outdoor home and garden centers.  One industry that puts outdoor forklifts to good use is the construction industry.  Forklifts are used on construction sites to transport heavy building materials as well as dumpsters, portable toilets, and other equipment needed at a jobsite.  Installing a hopper attachment gives a forklift the ability to transport and dump unwanted materials.  Typically, rough terrain forklifts that have a rugged design and high weight capacity are used in outdoor settings.

Electric vs Diesel Forklifts

Electric forklifts are becoming much more popular because they are less expensive to maintain, easy to operate, and much safer for the environment.  However, electric forklifts are not the best option for outdoor jobs.  These smaller, simpler forklifts are best suited for indoor uses and their lack of emissions makes them much safer inside than diesel powered forklifts.  Diesel forklifts are ideal for outdoor use because they have more speed and power and they can operate in tough weather conditions.  The major disadvantage of diesel forklifts is their emissions which makes them dangerous to use in some indoor environments.  It is important to take these differences into consideration when choosing a forklift for indoor or outdoor use.

Forklift Tires

Choosing the right tires for your forklift is extremely important for its safety and effectiveness.  Using the wrong tires for the application or terrain can be dangerous.  The following are the three most common types of forklift tires and their uses:

  • Pneumatic Tires: Pneumatic tires are heavy-duty rubber tires that are inflated with air. These tires have thick, tear resistant rubber with deep treads that can handle tough and uneven terrain.  Pneumatic tires are the best option for outdoor use.
  • Solid Rubber Tires: These tires are made of solid rubber around a metal band, they are not inflated with air. Solid rubber tires can be used for indoor applications but they can only be used for light outdoor work because they do not have the cushion of an inflated tire.
  • Polyurethane Tires: These tires are lightweight and have great traction to handle higher weight capacities. They can also provide balance by counteracting the weight of the forklift batteries.  However, polyurethane tires can only be used indoors.

If your company uses forklifts for indoor and outdoor applications, it is very important to make sure you use the right type of forklifts to best handle each application.  When acquiring a new forklift, you must also consider whether it will be used indoors or outdoors and get the best piece of equipment for the application.  RHI Lifts has a large selection of new and used forklifts for sale that are suited for both indoor and outdoor working environments.  Contact RHI Lifts to learn more about our forklift selection in the Chicago area.

Reasons to Consider Buying a Used Forklift in Chicago

Reasons to Consider Buying a Used Forklift in Chicago

Feb 24, 2017

Forklifts are such an integral part of the job for those who work in warehouses, factories, stockrooms, and other similar environments that it is difficult to imagine completing their jobs without one.  Many companies depend on their fleet of forklifts to complete projects and move product, and getting these jobs done more efficiently will ultimately increase profit margins.  Of course, it is much easier to complete jobs efficiently if you have a larger fleet of well-maintained forklifts.  If you are looking to add to your fleet, there are several benefits to buying a used forklift including reduced cost and high reliability.  The following are the main reasons to consider used forklifts for sale.

Lower Upfront Cost

rhi-lifts-used-forklifts-equipment-for-sale-chicago-ilThe reduced cost is always the first benefit that comes to mind when buying anything used, including forklifts.  Investing in a reliable, used forklift is a great way to help improve your bottom line and increase the profitability of your new equipment.  New forklifts often cost between $15,000 and $25,000 while you can find a quality used forklift for considerably less between $5,000 and $10,000.  Many second-hand forklifts available are very reliable and will perform just as well as a new forklift with a much smaller initial investment.

More Purchasing Power

Choosing to invest in used forklifts increases your purchasing power because you can buy two used forklifts for around the price of one new forklift.  This is a great, cost effective way to increase your fleet and maximize the profitability of your equipment.  You will get twice the production out of two used forklifts than you would out of one new one and for the same initial investment.

Tested in the Chicago Workplace

Used forklifts on the market have already proven their reliability by giving their original owners many productive years.  They have all been workplace tested so you can expect them to continue to be reliable and durable in your workplace.  If you find a used forklift that needs some maintenance, the cost to repair it will be low because forklift parts for older equipment are less expensive than parts for new forklifts. Our used forklifts & equipment will perform no matter what your Chicago business throws at it.

Familiarity in Operation

New forklifts are built with modern features that may make it difficult for even experienced forklift operators to adjust to.  If you buy a new forklift with a brand-new feature, it may take your forklift operators time or additional training to learn to use the equipment properly.  Buying a used, slightly older forklift that your operators are already familiar with will allow them to start using the equipment immediately without any additional training.  You will also be able to continue using your forklift accessories on a used forklift without having to upgrade them like you would with a new forklift.

If your company needs additional forklifts to improve productivity, consider purchasing used forklifts.  By buying used forklifts, you can increase your fleet for less money and get reliable forklifts that are inexpensive to maintain and won’t require additional training for your operators.  RHI Lifts, servicing Chicago, IL and surrounding areas, offers a large selection of used forklifts for sale from many major manufacturers including Toyota, Clark, Mitsubishi, Komatsu, and many others.  Give us a call at (847) 447-0700 to learn more about our selection of used forklifts.