Forklift Operation - Maintaining the Stability Triangle
Among the key basic discussions with lift trucks is taking into account the stability triangle and the center of gravity. Among the most complicated things for an operator of a lift truck to determine is the significance of maintaining their center of gravity within their stability triangle.
The Stability Triangle
To describe it clearly, a forklift has a 3-point suspension system. When imaginary lines are drawn between these three points, the stability triangle is created. The operator must ensure that the center of gravity, that is created, along with his load and the machinery itself, remains within the stability triangle to be able to prevent the forklift from losing balance and tipping over.
Centers of Gravity
How is the center of gravity defined? When in regards to using a lift truck, we must be concerned not only with the center of gravity of the load being lifted but as well with the combined center of gravity. This includes the lift truck and the load it is picking up.
The load center is defined as the load's center of gravity. In a uniform load situation, such as a bale for instance, the load center can be more easily detected. Like for instance, a uniform load on a 48 inch long pallet, will have the load center at 24 inches. This load center is very common for lots of smaller capacity lift trucks. However, if a load is not properly centered, such as with items that are not symmetrical, perhaps an engine for example, then a lot of care and caution need to be taken in order to gauge the center of gravity.
The lift truck has its own center of gravity, which shifts each time the lift truck picks up a load. Once the load is raised, the center of gravity moves forward. Care has to be taken in order to maintain the center of gravity within the forklift's stability triangle. This occurs by following the numbers and not carrying more than the maximum allowable, given the center of the load. Also, the load center should be considered. Be aware that whenever lifting the load, the load center also moves forward.
The operator and everyone else who works close-by or in the nearby vicinity, can stay much safer if the center of gravity is maintained and the stability triangle is respected. This will guarantee a balanced machinery, balanced loads and safer for everybody.