Maintenance | KION North America

Category Archives: Maintenance

Steps to an Energy-Efficient Warehouse

Having trouble trying to figure out ways to reduce your overall warehouse costs? We have some easy steps you can take! From recycling, lighting, to different types of forklifts, we have you covered. While lowering costs with these steps, you will also be making a positive impact on the environment.

Motion Activated/Solar Lighting
If you want to decrease your electricity usage, we recommend motion activated and solar-powered lighting. With motion activated lighting, the lights will come on only when the lights sensor motion and will turn off after a few minutes once the employee leaves the area. With solar lighting, you can easily eradicate electric lighting. Both types of lighting are great ways to reduce your costs and help the environment!

Recycle
A full warehouse also means you have tons of boxes! One of the easiest ways to save money, and the planet, is by using cardboard shredders. This a simple way to change your cardboard scrap into recyclable packing which can later be used as packaging material for any shipments you need to send off. Another step you can take when it comes to recycling is reusing your bubble wrap. The bubble wrap you receive from shipments can be saved to act as a cushion in the future for products that you’ll need to ship off to customers.

Air Conditioning
Air conditioning can be very expensive, especially when you need to cool down an entire warehouse, for this reason, many warehouses aren’t cooled. To keep your employees working at a comfortable temperature, we recommend looking into evaporate cooling. Evaporate cooling doesn’t require much power and can reduce the temperature to more than 10 degrees. This is a popular and inexpensive way to keep your warehouse cool.

Electric VS Propane Forklifts
Forklifts are extremely vital and can be found in most warehouses. With electric forklifts, you won’t have any exhaust fumes, which enhances air quality and saves you money. Propane forklifts use about $20 worth of propane. If you cut out propane forklifts and switch to electric forklifts, you will be saving about $4,000 annually. This also helps improve conditions in your warehouse and the environment.

Our hope is to reduce your costs and contribute to saving the environment with these four steps. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us via our website or by calling us at 843-875-8000.

How Planned Maintenance Saves You Money

To avoid expensive and unexpected repairs, you’ll want to plan maintenance. It will cost you more to service your forklift than to preserve the equipment properly. We want you to take the appropriate steps in caring for your forklifts. Hopefully, these three simple tips can help you schedule your maintenance successfully beforehand to prevent spending more than you need to.

Investment
You will want to protect your investment, which is your forklift. The first step is to make sure that you check your forklift periodically, no matter what type of forklift you own. Regular maintenance checks can increase the lifespan of your forklift. These are expensive pieces of machinery, proper care is crucial.

Never Pay Twice
You should never pay twice for service. Many owners of forklifts who don’t sign up for planned maintenance get charged anyway. Messing up payment is an easy error to avoid, by asking the service you take your forklift to if they could call you ahead of your appointment to double check if you will be using the service.

Planning
When you plan an appointment for maintenance, you won’t have to worry about any breakdowns or remembering to arrange to get service done. This keeps your forklift running and ensures the safety of both the operator and the forklift. Keep reminders on hand of when to create maintenance appointments.

With planned maintenance, this will minimize downtime, enhance productivity, expand the forklift’s lifespan and reduce costs. If you have any questions or want to know more about owning a forklift, contact us via our website or by calling us at 843-875-8000. We hope to hear from you soon!

Importance of Watering a Forklift Battery

When it comes to handling the maintenance of your forklift, you’ll want to be certain that you are taking the proper measures to ensure that your forklift remains in good shape for your use. One of the key components to the forklift is its battery. Maintaining the battery is a responsibility you’ll want to prioritize, more specifically, watering the battery. The following points will help boost the battery’s performance.

Why, When, How
You water a battery because you don’t want your battery to burn out. If batteries aren’t watered down, then this will decrease the lifespan and safety of the battery. You’ll want to water the battery before a work shift. When watering the battery, you’ll want to water each cell within the battery until it is at the maximum height of the lead-acid plates. Try not to over water the battery because it will cause leaks. With that being said, don’t underwater either. If the battery is under watered, it will cause the battery to dry-out, which then requires downtime and extra upkeep.

Clean Distilled Water
We recommend that you use clean distilled water that is between 5-7 on a PH scale. The battery should always be clean and unadulterated. If you use water that is contaminated with other substances, it can cause battery damage, which leads to having to spend a fortune to either repair the battery or purchase an entirely new battery.

Battery Plates
It is suggested that you keep the forklift battery plates below the water-line when you are charging. This is to assure that your battery doesn’t overheat and also doesn’t dry out. If the battery overheats or dries out, this makes it inoperable or unsuitable for your forklift. If the plates go above the water line, then add water to a quarter of an inch aloft the plates, and try not to go over that.

We hope you have rendered this useful to understand the significance of watering your battery and the consequences that will occur if you don’t do it accurately. If you have any questions or regard, please contact us either through our website or by calling us at 843-875-8000.

Forklift Battery Do’s & Don’ts

There are simple steps one should take when maintaining proper care of a forklift, one of those steps is making sure you always have a functioning battery. If you keep up with the maintenance that is required for your battery, you can extend the battery life. This helps to avoid investing too much revenue into an unnecessary amount of batteries. Here is what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to forklift batteries.

Charging The Battery
You always want to ensure that your battery stays above 30% charge. Your forklift battery will hit a ‘red-zone’ once it reaches 20%, you should never fall below that line. If you continue to use the battery consistently after you descend past the 20% mark you will decrease the battery’s overall lifespan.

Keep At Normal Temperature
It’s best to steer clear from exposing forklift batteries to extreme heat. This can destruct the performance of the battery. If you know that you need to use the forklift in exceptionally hot temperatures, you will need to purchase certain batteries created for those specific weather situations.

Regular Cleaning
Batteries should be cleaned every month, this prevents physical damage to the battery. When cleaning, you should use warm water so it can break down chemical build up.

Issues That May Occur
Every once in a while, you might find yourself running into an issue with your battery. For example, if a battery were to overflow, you should rinse the battery with water straight away. Another problem that might arise is battery smoke. When this happens, remain calm and power it off promptly.

Don’t Pick It Up
Forklift batteries are very heavy. We do not recommend anyone pick them up with their hands. Batteries can weigh up to 3,000 lbs and should be transported with a pallet jack.

Protective Gear
When handling a forklift battery, make sure you are wearing appropriate gear. The batteries have sulfuric acid and this specific chemical can and will burn you. You should remove all jewelry before charging or handling any battery.

We hope you have found this useful and if you have any questions regarding your forklift battery, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

How to Make Battery Charging Rooms Safer

Many warehouses are beginning to switch from combustion engine forklifts to electric forklifts in order to lower operating costs and improve environmental impacts. While electric forklifts have a longer lifespan than gas forklifts, they require proper care and maintenance. Lead-acid batteries can take up to eight hours to charge fully, so it’s important that the warehouse has a safe and efficient battery charging room. Here are four ways to make battery charging rooms safer.

Proper ventilation

Forklift batteries can emit hydrogen gas while they are re-charging, and for a short time afterwards, so it’s vital that the charging rooms are properly ventilated. The hydrogen gas level in the charging room should be below two percent to mitigate possible risks of explosion. Installation of exhaust fans, or providing an opening in the roof of the warehouse, will further reduce this risk.

Acid-resistant flooring

The flooring of the charging rooms must be resistant to acid because battery acid is highly corrosive. Unfortunately, spills do happen, but if floor is acid-resistant the spill will be easier to clean up. Without acid-resistant flooring, the corrosive battery acids could result in structural damage to the warehouse.

Availability to safety equipment

All charging rooms should be fitted with a washing area and a Class E fire extinguisher. Forklift operators may need to be able to quickly extinguish an electrical fire, and/or perform an emergency wash. First-aid kits and personal protective equipment (apron, gloves and eye protection) should also be available in the battery charging rooms.

Correct installation of electrical breakers and charging points

Chargers should be mounted on the wall and fitted with an electrical breaker to stop the flow of electricity in an emergency. When charging multiple forklifts, the distance between each truck should be at least three feet. The distance between forklifts provides safe and easy access for operators.

At KION North America, we care about the safety and efficiency of your warehouse. Follow these four steps to make your battery charging rooms safer. If you’re looking to purchase an electric forklift, our Linde and Baoli brands offer solutions for every application. Have more questions? Contact us at 843-875-8000.

Three Tips to Improve Electric Forklift Battery Life

The majority of warehouses are making the switch from internal combustion forklifts to electric forklifts in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Electric forklifts, such as the Linde 346, produce zero emissions, have a longer economic life and more precise truck control than typical internal combustion forklifts. However, while electric forklifts are more efficient, they require proper maintenance; especially when it comes to the battery. Here are three ways to improve your electric forklift battery life.

Don’t over-charge

Flooded, lead-acid forklift batteries have a limited number of charge cycles. You should charge the battery after an 8-10 hour shift, or when it’s discharged more than 30 percent. Don’t charge the battery during lunch break, or “when it’s convenient” because it will reduce the battery’s lifespan. This kind of opportunity-charging requires a specific battery and charger combination that also needs formal training.

Check the water level

Water plays a pivotal role in the life of the battery, so make sure to check the fluid level of the battery every five charging cycles. The water should only be refilled once the battery is fully charged. Also, keep in mind that you only need enough water to cover the plastic battery element. For additional details, refer to the manual provided by your battery manufacturer.

Keep the batteries cool

Temperature is important in keeping your forklift battery healthy. For optimal operation, keep the temperature in the charging rooms below 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius). If the battery is overheated, the lifespan will be decreased, so you need to make sure that the battery is well ventilated when it’s charging and in use.

Follow these three steps to ensure a long battery life for your electric forklift. Check out our Linde and Baoli products if you’re looking to purchase an electric forklift, or contact your local authorized dealer. At KION North America, we understand the importance of an efficient forklift. Please contact us if you have any further questions at 843-875-8000.

Identifying Forklift Wear and Tear

Forklifts are designed to last, but wear and tear inevitably occurs with use of the machine. Similar to cars, forklifts require regular service and maintenance, so you want to avoid reckless driving and handle your machine with care. But no matter how careful you are, forklifts will wear down over time.

It’s crucial to know if your machine needs to be repaired or removed from service to get as much life as possible out of the lift. Here are five places to look out for signs of forklift wear and tear.

1. Tires

Forklift tires are built to withstand a lot of weight, but like your car’s tires, will need to be replaced at some point. There are a few ways to tell when it’s time to replace a tire or two on your lift:

  • Worn low: Most tires have a defined line to let you know when it’s time to switch them out, sometimes referred to as the 50% wear line. If this line has been breached, it’s time to change the tire.
  • Chunking: Chunking refers to losing pieces of the tire rubber peeling away from the tire. Not only is chunking unsafe, but also renders the wheel useless, and the tire should be replaced immediately.
  • Flattening: Flattening occurs as a result of misalignment the forklift coming to a sharp halt. Change the tire if you notice it has any bald spots.

2. Forks

To get the most out of a forklift, the forks must be in good condition. Forks that are bent or cracked from picking up, transporting or unloading pallets cannot successfully transfer a load. As soon as you notice any of these issues, stop using the lift and take it for servicing immediately.

3. Chain

When properly lubricated, forklift chains can perform up to 6,000 hours of work. However, if you notice protruding or turned pins, plate cracking, misalignment, broken links, rust, or erosion, the chain needs to be replaced. Prevent these issues by keeping the chain lubricated.

4. Mast

The mast is the vertical assembly on the front of the forklift that’s responsible for raising, lowering, and tilting a load. One sign of wear and tear on the mast is metal on metal contact. Grinding sounds during operation, or visible scrape marks, are the result of metal of metal contact and serve as a sign to replace the mast.

5. Oil

Keeping proper levels of oil and immediately repairing oil leaks will protect your machine, as well as your facility as a whole. Oil lubricates the forklift’s mast when it is extended, and too little oil can result in increased friction and temperature that will most likely destroy other parts of the machine. Not to mention, an oil leak is hazardous to operators and pedestrians.

If you notice any of these signs of wear and tear on your forklift, you need to call for service. It’s important to catch these signs early in order to get as much life as possible out of your machine. At KION North America, we ensure quick delivery of parts and a range of services designed to fit your needs. Contact your local authorized dealer if you have any further questions about forklift maintenance.

Is It Time to Replace Your Forks?

Forklifts are an invaluable tool in warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Without them, most operations could not continue. And the most important part of a forklift is the forks themselves, which carry the lift’s load.

When a forklift’s forks are worn, bent, broken, or damaged, it not only affects the lift’s ability to function properly, but can also put your product and the personal safety of your employees at risk. To ensure that your forklift is in top working condition, the lift’s forks should be inspected regularly and replaced if any damage is found.

Conduct the following inspections to determine if it is time to replace your lift’s forks:

Wear

First, check the forks for normal wear. The thickness of the forks wears down over time as the lift carries loads. You can use a special fork caliper tool to measure the forks for wear. If the wear reduces by 10% or more of the original thickness, it is time to replace the forks.

Surface cracks

Inspect the top and bottom of the forks for cracks. Cracks occur over time with normal operation, or more frequently if the forklift carries a load beyond its load capacity. If there are any cracks, the forks need to be replaced.

Make sure to carefully check the areas where the area where the forks attach to the lift truck, as cracks often develop there.

Evenness of the forks

If you operate a lift with uneven forks, you run the risk of damaging the load or even tipping the forklift. Carefully inspect the forks to make sure they are even. The difference in the height of each fork tip should not exceed 3% of the length of the blade.

Straightness of the blade and shank

If the blade or shank of the forklift has been distorted or bent, they need to be replaced. The blade refers to the blades that the load sits on. The shank is the vertical component of the forks that attach to the carriage.

If the straightness deviates from 0.5% of the length of the blade, or 0.5% of the height of the shank, the forks must be repaired or replaced.

Fork angle

In addition to the checking that the blade and shank are straight, you should also check the fork angle where the blade and shank meet. If the angle exceeds 3° from the original angle, the forks should not return to service.

If any of the above do not fit the specifications for your particular forklift, it is time to replace the lift’s forks. General forklift inspections should be performed before every use, while federal law mandates that forks are inspected by trained personnel once a year.

There are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the most life possible out of your lift’s forks. Never push your lift beyond its limits. Pay attention to load capacity, and do not carry loads that extend too far out on the forks. Additionally, you should only use forklifts for their intended purpose.

While you can replace forks to get more life out of your lift, forklifts do not last forever. But by performing the inspections above and conducting the appropriate repairs or replacements, you can ensure optimal performance for your forklift.

How to Prevent the Most Expensive Forklift Repairs

Forklifts are powerful machines with many working systems and moving parts. When a forklift and its various systems are not properly cared for, the resulting repairs can cost you thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. And not only are repairs themselves expensive, but performing forklift repairs can also mean time off the floor, resulting in decreased productivity for your operation.

Luckily, there are ways you can prevent large repair expenses from incurring and keep your forklift operational. The following are tips for preventing the most expensive forklift repairs.

Perform the proper checks

Before every shift, forklift operators should perform preliminary checks on the lift. By performing these checks, forklift operators can identify potential repairs early and avoid causing further damage to the lift during operation.

The operator should perform both a visual and operational check. During a visual check, the driver should look out for fluid leaks, make sure the battery is charged, check for any missing or loose nuts and bolts, and check for general damage and conditions.

During an operational check, the driver should test that the forklift’s mechanisms are operating properly, from the brakes and steering to lift mechanisms and so on. If the operator encounters an issue during either the visual or operational check, they should not operate the forklift and immediately notify a manager or supervisor.

Keep the warehouse clean

Inspection of the warehouse facilities and floor is also important to a forklift’s operation. A forklift and its parts, especially the tires, can be severely damaged by debris on the warehouse floor. Operators should also look out for potential obstructions that could cause an accident, either on the floor or overhead.

Repair costs incurred from a disorganized or untidy warehouse are perhaps the most easily preventable costs, so make sure that your facilities are optimized for proper forklift operation.

Pay attention to fluid levels

A very important aspect of a driver’s daily preliminary checks is to check and fill the lift’s fuel levels, including the fuel level, transmission and hydraulic fluids, coolants, and more. These fluids are essential to proper, safe forklift operation.

Fluid checks are especially important for making sure the battery operates efficiently. Ensuring that fluid levels are correct is another easy way to prevent expensive forklift damages.

Practice regular maintenance

The best way to prevent expensive forklift repairs is to catch problems early on. And while daily inspections can help, you should also have regular, comprehensive maintenance checks performed on your machine. A forklift technician can catch early signs of trouble that will prevent larger expenses in the future. Small repairs can often be serviced on site without much down time, saving you money without affecting productivity.

Why You Should Invest in a Warehouse Manager

When it comes to improving productivity in the warehouse, many experts will tell you to invest in a warehouse manager. Having a manager is key to running a successful operation. From day-to-day operations to implementing strategic warehouse management systems, a manager will ensure that your warehouse operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

A warehouse manager is responsible for organizing and coordinating the receipt, storage, and dispatch of goods in a safe and efficient manner. A manager must preside over all activities within the organization that engage with the packing, storing, and handling of materials. Such activities might include enacting safety procedures and performing training, supervising employees and tracking employee engagement, and researching new trends and technologies for warehouse operations.

A good warehouse manager should be trained and experienced in a few areas, including but not limited to logistics, distribution, transportation, and of course, management. With expertise in a variety of fields, a manager will better be able to handle all aspects of warehouse operations and assure the most productive methods are in place.

Some might argue that technological advancements in the warehouse are a cheaper alternative to hiring a manager. Warehouse management systems and other helpful technologies are extremely useful tools, but what if these methods fail? A warehouse manager will know how to handle these situations and ensure that productivity does not suffer as a result of failed technological systems. Additionally, a good manager will be on top of the latest trends and be responsible for enacting such technologies.

In addition to technology’s tendency to fail, technological systems cannot form relationships with employees and effectively encourage team-building. A warehouse manager, on the other hand, sets the expectations for his or her workers’ attitudes, work ethic, and ultimate success. The happier employees feel and the more connected they feel to their coworkers, the more productively they work. A warehouse manager is an irreplaceable tool when it comes to developing a strong team and boosting morale.

Overall, a warehouse manager will make sure that the warehouse is operating at optimal speed and efficiency without sacrificing safety. When it comes to running a productive warehouse, hiring a trained, competent manager is one of the best investments you can make.