Forklifts Key Terms
Rise to the occasion: familiarize yourself with forklifts key termsIf you've ever been in a warehouse, loading dock or on a large construction site, there's a good chance you've seen a forklift. Forklifts are heavy-duty pieces of industrial machinery used to lift and transfer heavy loads in applications such as material handling, warehousing, manufacturing and construction.
There are many different types of forklifts; considerations such as load capacity, environment and general usage requirements all come into play when selecting the perfect one. Because a forklift is a large investment for a small business, it's important to get one that meets your needs without wasting your money. Armed with the terminology below, you should be well prepared to shop for the perfect forklift.
ForksThe forks, also referred to as blades or tines, are the two arms that extend out of the front of a forklift to pick up skids, pallets and other heavy loads. They typically are made of heavy-duty material -- with some designed to lift as much as 55,000 pounds.
CabThe cab is the area where the driver sits to operate the forklift. In addition to the steering wheel, the cab contains the control pedals, various levers and switches and a dashboard with readouts. The cab can be either open air or enclosed. For safety reasons it is almost always covered by a cage-like frame with an overhead guard.
MastThe mast is the vertical part of a forklift that raises and lowers the load. It typically is operated either by hydraulic cylinders or with a chain operated by a hydraulic motor. It generally is mounted to either the front axle or the outside frame of the forklift.
CarriageThe carriage is the part of the forklift that the forks or other attachments are mounted to. It moves up and down the mast rails either by chains or by being directly attached to the hydraulic cylinder. It generally is guided within the mast rails with rollers or bushings.
SideshiftThe sideshift is one of the most popular forklift attachments. It allows the forklift operator to move the forks laterally, which enables easier placement of a load without having to reposition the forklift.
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