Forklifts are an essential component of
maneuvering the heavy-duty materials used in every warehouse. While anyone who
works with this machinery regularly knows what it looks like and what its
functions are, they more than likely aren’t familiar with how they are created.
Forklifts have been improved over the years to lift, carry, and relocate
products efficiently. To give a better understanding of what goes into making a
forklift, we’ve compiled a brief summary to help.
Forklifts are made from various raw steel
materials in the shapes of bars, plates, etc that are specifically welded and
formed to build the anatomy of the forklift before being painted and adding on
any components. First comes first is the frame, as every other component of the
forklift’s body depends on this structure.
The welded and shaped steel materials are then
used to create the essential body of the forklift. Included in this body are
the mast, lift and tilt cylinders, carriage, forks, load basket, tires, and
overall power supply. Within this are even smaller components made from the
steel materials, such as the operator’s seat, steering wheel, and levers. While
all of these components are essential, the make and design of them differ by
what type of forklift you are creating, what products you’re hoping to
transport, and what environment you’ll be transporting them in.
All that is mentioned above means nothing
without quality materials to assemble your forklift. At KION North America, we
pride ourselves in working with Linde and Baoli to provide innovative and
energy-conscious materials at a lower cost. KION
North America also works closely with its sister company, Dematic, the global
leader in automated material handling that provides a comprehensive range of
intelligent supply chain and automation solutions.
Become informed about what goes into
manufacturing a forklift so that you are able to make positive choices about
what materials you’re working within your warehouse! To learn more about KION
North America’s services and comprehensive product portfolio from Linde and
Baoli, visit our website.
Disposing Wooden Pallets
Pallets are great structures for transporting
the goods in our warehouses, but over time you’ll find your space filled with
more pallets than not. The worst way to dispose of pallets is by throwing them
away. This will cost businesses money and is a waste of materials as pallets
are recyclable. Below you’ll find information on the benefits of recycling
pallets and where you should recycle.
You Recycle Pallets?
Recycling pallets is beneficial for not only
your business but other business as well. When pallets that are still in good
shape are recycled, they are put back in the supply chain and will provide more
Recycling pallets will open up more space in
your warehouse. Opening up space for your warehouse makes it easier for
productivity and preventing injuries. It’s dangerous to surround your workspace
Recycling unwanted pallets will also save
time. Workers will spend less time trying to maneuver the forklifts around the
Frequently manufacturers are happy to have the
used pallets come back. Most manufacturers have return programs to promote
recycling. Through the programs, you can recycle your old pallet and receive
credit for new pallets. Another option is to have your old pallets refurbished
and sold back to you for a smaller fee than you originally bought your pallets
There are recycling companies that will take
your old pallets. Depending on the condition, the companies will compensate you
for recycling. This return on investment will be useful for the next time you
When you find your warehouse/business is
cluttered with wooden pallets, look for manufacturers or recycling companies in
your area. This benefits not only your company and the disposal places but the
environment. Trashing the wooden pallets encourages pollution and is a waste of
Electric Forklifts and Why You Should Use One
Like other forklifts, electrical forklifts don’t use an internal combustion engine, instead, the trucks are powered by an electric motor. Using an electric forklift can be beneficial in terms of operating costs, performance, and environmental advantages. Below we have listed a few things you should know and could benefit from by going electric.
Operating and keeping up the maintenance on electric forklifts are much lower than that of the Internal combustion forklifts. Since the truck is battery operated, there are less moving parts to worry about. Besides checking motor cable connections and watering the battery, the electric trucks require little maintenance.
Electric forklifts operate on a rechargeable battery lasting up to 8 hours. By using an electric forklift, you are not spending money on fuel. On average the price for a gallon of propane ranges from about $2.00-$3.00. The average forklift needs about 8 gallons. For every electric forklift driven in your warehouse, you are saving at a minimum of $16 a day per forklift. This can get pricey over time. For companies looking to cut costs, switching to electric forklifts will be more cost-effective in the long run.
As nice as lower operating costs are, performance is the top factor when looking at what forklift works best for your warehouse. Electric forklifts take advantage in this category as well. Due to their higher voltage and higher frequency charging system, the electric works more efficiently.
Electric forklifts are mostly used indoors, or if weather permits, they can be used outdoors as well. Using electric forklifts immensely cuts gas emissions. Not only is this bad for the environment, but the employees operating and working near forklifts.
Electric forklifts are lower in terms of maintenance, cost-effective, rank high in performance, and are better for the environment. From counterbalanced trucks, narrow aisle trucks, pallet trucks at Kion group we offer a wide range of products for your company. Click here for more information on electric forklifts at KION North America.
Overlooked Aspects of Forklift Safety
No one is ever too safe in a warehouse environment. Being cautious, alert, and knowing the proper safety measures to take when operating a forklift are key. In most cases, the basics to forklift safety are obvious–know the type of forklift you’re using, keep an eye out for pedestrians, and be aware of how much weight the machine is able to hold–but there are still a number of overlooked aspects of forklift safety that need to be addressed. We’ve compiled a list of the top five things that are commonly missed when operating this heavy machinery.
Not only are the batteries used to operate forklifts large, buy they are filled with acidic chemicals that are dangerous when in contact with the skin. The danger lies in the sulfuric acid that could be splashed as well as the fumes that are released during the process of changing. Because the batteries must be charged often, be sure to only do so in the designated charging station that holds all of the necessary materials to both prevent something from happening and handle it if it does. For more details on how to properly and safely execute a battery change for an electric forklift, visit The United States Department of Labor’s website.
Lowering The Forks
When a forklift is not being used, the forks should always be lowered rather than elevated. Once the forklift is parked in its designated spot, (meaning it isn’t blocking an entrance, exit, or pathway) double check the parking brake and lower the forks of the machine to the ground. There are many reasons for this, but the primary one is to protect pedestrians from tripping, harming themselves, or being blocked in.
How To Carry Non-Symmetrical Loads
Forklifts are used for stacking, unstacking, and transporting heavy loads. The maximum weight that a forklift can hold varies, but the same rules for handling the transported goods are the same. Symmetrical loads are easiest to stack, so when combining multiple items that aren’t, pay close attention to how one item will transport next to another. Capacity, the lift’s position of gravity, and the shape of the items should all be considered.
Tilt indicators, load weight indicators, damage indicators–they are all important and should not be overlooked. Each of these indicators serve a purpose. For instance, a load weight indicator is meant to notify the driver that the maximum weight is being reached and/or the forklift is in danger of tipping over.
Doing It Solo
Because a forklift operates as a one-man machine, it can be tempting to want to do everything on your own. That being said, having an experienced partner to help operate and signal the task at hand can both make it easier and help complete it faster. Whether it be directing, assisting with loading/unloading, or simply being an additional operator, having another body around to assist with forklift regulation will reduce hazards and prevent potential accidents.
Even if you think you’re an expert forklift operator, there is never any harm in double checking that you have all of your bases covered. From carefully exchanging a battery to listening to the indicators signal that something is wrong, always be aware of your surroundings and remember the details that are often overlooked. For more information on forklift products, details, and quotes visit KION at http://www.kion-na.com.
5 Ways To Make Your Warehouse More Green
Going green is more of a pressing issue now than ever, especially in spaces that are centered around manufacturing, technology, and energy consumption. It is incredibly important to be aware and informed of the supplies you’re using and the way in which you’re using them. In many cases, they could be negatively affecting the environment. Because warehouses are typically a ground for production and waste, it’s time to start making the switch to sustainable and eco-friendly methods. It’s time to go green.
This one should be a given, yet it is ignored all too often. Having a system for recycling amongst employees is one of the simplest ways to positively contribute in how “green” an organization is. In the case of a warehouse environment, considering having various labeled bins throughout the space for different materials. While one bin could be dedicated to paper, another could be dedicated to glass, electronics, etc. There is no need for faulty equipment to wind up in traditional landfill. A little organization can go a long way.
In a space that functions off of the use of devices and machines, it is crucial to consider what the power source for them is. Switching to electric power sources means two things: a decrease in cost and a decrease in emissions. It’s a win/win. The advantages of converting to an electronically powered forklift are endless.
If you haven’t read the back of traditional cleaning products lately, then you should definitely do so now. The majority of products on the shelves are composed of harsh chemicals that eventually make it into the environment via rivers and streams, harming animals and polluting the water. They can also be toxic to your own employees through air contamination. For more details on the ways basic household cleaning products can damage the environment and decrease your health, this article breaks it down.
Fan It Out
If your energy bills are sky high and your employees are still feeling sticky, consider incorporating industrial fans into the mix. The air movement produced by industrial fans actually surpasses air conditioning, as they don’t take anything from the air, just circulate it. While you would be avoiding the costs of conventional air conditioning, you would also be decreasing overall energy usage by investing in a high volume, low speed (HVLS) fan.
The materials used to build your warehouse can contribute to what occurs within it. Something to consider is both the location of your operations and the roof that is built above it. The more a location is centralized, the less employees and vehicles have to travel to commute to and from, reducing what is omitted into the air. Likewise, consider what roofing materials might decrease the temperature of your space. Is your roof reflecting sunlight or absorbing it? If you’re considering your options, think solar panels and their many benefits.
KION North America is one of the world’s largest two leading leading manufacturers of industrial trucks and the largest manufacturers of forklifts, priding ourselves on innovative technologies, reduced energy consumption and low operating costs. While some transformations are more extensive than others, making the necessary steps to transform your warehouse into a green space is beneficial for everyone. Eco- friendly products and reusable energy are creating a lasting future, which is the ultimate goal of going green.
How to Stretch Wrap a Pallet
When it comes to shipping and handling techniques for commercial loads, quality stretch wrapping is a must. Similar to shrink wrapping, stretch wrapping involves continuously wrapping pallets with a film material to protect from dust, moisture, etc. Many companies run into paying excessive damage and accident fees on their products due to improper wrapping and packaging. Since loads can become easily damaged due to constant shifting and moving, proper stretch wrapping pallets can determine how effective your loads are shipped and sent to their destinations. Use these tips to perfect your stretch wrapping before you ship a load off.
Tips on How to Stretch Wrap a Pallet Load
1.Prepare Your Load
Ensure that your load is properly stacked in a uniformed position and that they are supported by a durable pallet. Make sure that the contents in your load are as close as possible to avoid any spaces. Open spaces will make the stretch wrapping very difficult and ultimately ineffective.
A pro tip to keep in mind; by wrapping your load on a raised surface it makes your stretch wrapping a much simpler process. This process involves much bending and squatting, and having an elevated surface is easier on the technician’s back and legs. An easier way to wrap the corners of your load is to have your pallet set an angle.
3. Preparing & Starting the Stretch Wrap
Now that your load is prepared and ready, it is time to start wrapping. Start by grabbing your stretch roll or roll tool a tie some of the film around one corner of the pallet. Continue to wrap the base while going in a forward motion to stay clear of any risks or hazards.
4. Start from the Base
This step is very pertinent in securing your base and avoiding content from falling off. Wrap your base several times for security and ensure that your edge of the film goes underneath the corners of the pallet.
5. Work towards the top, then back down.
Continue to wrap from the base upwards towards the top of the load. Each new layer should overlap the last layer by at least 50%. The weight of the load determines how many layers of film you use to wrap your load. Make sure that the amount of film stays consistent between at the base, middle, and top of your load. Once you have reached the top of your load, layer the film downwards. This will make the film pull down on the load and ensure more stability and eliminate the chance of the load shifting.
6. Finish Wrapping
Continue to wrap downwards back to towards the base of the load to stabilize your load. Again, overlap each layer by 50%. Once you are done the wrapping, tear the film off with a sharp object. Press it on firmly to the load and fold the end of the wrap under a corner of the pallet so that it will stick firmly. Once everything is done, tidy up your area and prepare the load for shipping.
Warehouse Best Practices: Maximize Throughput, Minimize Damage
throughput in a typical warehouse with pallet storage use these simple best
practices. By using these guidelines, you will maximize storage space and
throughput, while minimizing product and pallet rack damage.
Best Practices – Material Storage
Front View – the pallet rack design should provide enough room (side-to-side) to allow a minimum of 5 inches of space between the maximum load width and the inside of the uprights with a minimum of 6 inches of space between each load. This allows for safe load placement and minimizes load/pallet rack damage.
Side View – the pallet rack design should provide for
uniformly distributed load placement within the rack to allow either:
inches of overhang (front and back) within each beam level, or
placed flush to the rack face
By allowing for 3 inches of overhang or placing loads flush to the rack face, you have what is called a Clear Aisle. A Clear Aisle is defined as the available space between either the loads or the racking (i.e. Load to Load, or Rack to Rack).
The rack design should also provide a Row Space (also known as flue space) between back-to-back rows. This Row Space can vary from 6 inches to 12 inches and provides a safe distance for load placement in back-to-back rows.
Lift Truck Types
Counterbalanced Lift Trucks
thinking of the best truck to use in your warehouse environment, consider a
counterbalance lift truck. A counterbalanced lift truck is a conventional-style
lift truck, either 3-wheel or 4-wheel, equipped with a counterweight to offset
carrying a load. Capacities range from 3,500 lbs to over 40,000 lbs and can be
battery, liquid propane or diesel-powered.
Required aisle spacing for warehouse use is typically 12 feet to 14 feet (with a 48-inch load length). Counterbalance trucks are quite versatile and can be used in a variety of applications such as warehousing, loading docks and general-purpose environments.
Narrow Aisle Lift Trucks
Trucks and Order Pickers are designed for full pallet putaway/retrieval or
order picking in warehouse applications. These trucks are typically 3,000 lb to
4,500 lb capacity and are battery-powered.
Trucks, designed for full pallet storage can operate in a 9 ft to 10ft aisle.
Order Pickers, designed for partial pallet order picking and case picking allow the operator to be raised to the level of the load in what is also called a man-up lift truck for ease of order picking. This eliminates the need to replenish low-level picking locations.
Very Narrow Aisle Lift Trucks (VNA)
Trucks are designed for full pallet putaway/retrieval or order picking in
warehouse applications. These trucks are
typically 3,000 lb to 3,300 lb capacity and are battery-powered.
Turret Trucks can operate in a 5‘6“ to 7‘6“ aisle, and require aisle guidance for safe operation. Aisle guidance can either be wire (a wire is installed in the floor) or rail (rail guides are installed at the base of the pallet racking). Additionally, Turret Trucks can either be man-up (also allows for order picking) or man-down (full pallet only).
Trucks are designed to transfer materials across distances greater than 150
feet either within the warehouse/production area, or loading/unloading trucks. Capacities
range from 2,600 lbs to 8,000 lbs.
When operating a Pallet Truck, you can choose between the walk-behind and ride-on styles (end or center controlled). Both options can be either manual or battery powered. Pallet Trucks can also be used for low-level order picking in addition to transporting pallets.
Stackers are designed to place pallets in pallet racking or operate in work-cell/production areas (as mobile work tables). These trucks are electric and range in capacities from 2,000 lbs to 4,000 lbs Stackers will either have outriggers for stability or can also be counterbalanced in design. Additionally, Stackers can be equipped with a reach mechanism or side-shifter.
Best Practices – Lift Truck Operation – Warehouse Aisle
best practices for operating a lift truck in a warehouse aisle, the pallet rack
layout should provide enough room for the lift truck to safely operate in a
clear aisle, and provide enough running clearance to maximize efficiency. The
running clearance (as determined by the manufacturer and lift height) ranges
from 4 feet to 8 inches.
Narrow Applications, VNA Turret Trucks require aisle guidance to allow for
proper load retrieval/put-away and safe operation. If the layout is designed
properly, product and rack damage is virtually eliminated while increasing
application presents unique characteristics that need to be addressed when designing
a lift truck/storage layout. Evidence of damaged product or pallet racking is
generally caused by either misapplied lift trucks, operator misuse, or a
combination of both. It‘s good to review material handling best practices from
time to time and incorporate them into your own safety policies and
summary provides a very generic approach to best practices and is not
application-specific. For a deeper analysis of a specific application, please
contact your local KION North America authorized dealer.
Proper Lifting Techniques
A forklift operator must always be considerate
and aware of the dangers that can come with lifting, loading, and unloading
materials. Hazards, blindspots, damaged floors are just a couple of safety
concerns that can affect how effectively an operator can properly handle a
load. To avoid injuries and maximize productivity, here are some tips that all
of your machinists should be utilizing when operating forklifts.
You want to ensure these things while you are
still loading your goods.
Make sure that the load weighs
within the forklift’s capacity weight; It is not advised to carry a load that
exceeds a forklift’s weight
For even distribution and
stability, spread forks as wide as possible
Use the proper lift fixture for
your load. Lift fixtures can include timber grippers, drum clamps, hydraulic
scoops, etc. The correct lift fixture will make loading materials much easier
and less time consuming
It is best to approach position and insert the forks into
the load from a squared angle; this will help to minimize any damage
Ensure that the load is as stable
as possible; If the load seems unbalanced, drive the forklift with the heavier
side facing towards you
Now that you have successfully loaded your
materials, here are some tips to follow when carrying the load.
Always keep the forklift 6 to 10
inches above the ground. This helps to avoid any potential hazards
Be aware of your environment,
especially if the floor is damaged or if you are going up/down a ramp
If you have stacked the load too
high and is blocking your vision, travel in reverse. It is also advised to have
a spotter to increase visibility as well
If you are going up a ramp, move
forward. If you are going down a ramp, move in the reverse direction
Do not speed
You have successfully transported the load to
its correct area. Here is how you successfully unload it to minimize possible
You should also unload your load
from a squared angle
Check your surroundings to ensure
the load will be safe and secure
Allow at least 2 to 3 inches of
Move slowly, tilt the load
forward, then lower
When you feel comfortable, lower
the load 2 to 5 inches off of the floor if the floor is flat. If the floor is
not flat or leveled, lift the forks higher to sustain a proper delivery
Safety First! 10 Ways to Make Your Warehouse Safer
Employee safety is essential to warehouse
productivity and upholding the values of the company. With warehouse injuries
rising, it is very important for employers to make sure they are staying up to
date on training and finding ways to reduce warehouse related injuries. On
average, there are over 34,000 non-serious forklift injuries and over 61,000
serious forklift injuries per year in the United States. This is due to the
fact that many people are not being properly trained on how to operate a
forklift, and warehouse hazards only intensify the probability of there being
an accident. Here are ten ways for employers to improve overall warehouse
warehouse floors clear of debris, garbage, and all obstacles; Keep the aisles
clear at all times.
Floors should be
clear of anything that can pose a potential risk; this includes extension
cords, loose wires, trash, hoses, etc. These items can cause harm and potential
danger to the machines and also employees.
often for floor damage and rack damage; Repair immediately.
Uneven, rough floors
that are not paved or smooth can damage machine tires. Tire damage can prevent
operators from properly loading and unloading equipment, or cause materials to
fall off the machines and cause further damage.
reasonable deadlines for employees to avoid time pressures that may lead to
unsafe practices or substandard work that can cause any accidents.
Extreme time pressure
can cause more harm than good to companies. Overworking employees and creating
stressful environments can lead to physical stress, less productivity, and
your forklift operators with updated training every three years per OSHA
guidelines. Have panels, meetings, and training every year to discuss more
effective and safer practices for forklift operators.
An effective way to minimize
potential forklift-related injuries is to constantly train and evaluate all
forklift operators. Those who know how to properly handle and operate
forklifts, combined with town hall meetings, will ensure that operators are
following safety procedures and reducing risks.
have maintenance checks on forklifts and other machinery for repairs, damages,
Newer versions of
forklifts are equipped with safety features that alert operators on battery
life, and needed repairs. Constant inspection of these safety features will
keep injury rates low.
that PPE and other safety equipment is being used at all times while on the
production floor and in the warehouse.
PPE is very important
when it comes to handling equipment or other hazardous material. Equipment such
as hard hats, special glasses, and gloves are some appropriate personal
protective equipment to use when handling dangerous materials.
crash barriers and pedestrian barriers on the production floor. Crash barriers
help to create traffic lanes specifically for the machinery and act as a
barrier between the machines and the workers. The pedestrian barriers do the
same as the crash barrier by preventing forklifts to come in contact with
pedestrian barriers, and guard rails are provided to protect employees from
interacting with forklifts and other machinery. These barriers keep machines in
their traffic areas to prevent collisions.
label hazardous zones and proper signage throughout the warehouse.
throughout the facility is a great way to inform employees about potential
hazards. All hazardous materials need to be properly labeled and identified,
and loading zones should be clearly marked and sectioned off.
that work stations are being kept clean and free of litter.
litter can cause falls, trips, chemical spills, and jeopardize someone’s
safety. Implement better cleaning standards for all your employees to follow to
avoid these potential risks.
training sessions for all employees that focus on innovation and safety. Take
employee suggestions on how to improve overall employee safety in the
New employees are not
the only ones who can benefit from training. Training can help employers assess
their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and improve the safety of the
facility. Train employees on potential risks, ways to avoid these risks, and
tips to improve current practices. Make sure this is documented and signed by
employees to hold them accountable.
Tips for Equipment Theft Protection
Buying fully operated capital equipment is
more than a large purchase; it is an investment. This is the exact reason why
companies need to make sure that using all possible resources to monitor this
equipment to avoid the possibility of theft. In spite of companies increasing
security; there has been a rise in equipment theft throughout the United
States, with forklifts being of high interest. No company is exempt from facing
theft; however, there are measures your company can take to upgrade your
current security system and decrease the chances of your equipment being stolen
from your site.
Registering Your Equipment
Registering your equipment is a very crucial
step to ensuring that your inventory will be returned to the correct owner if
it were ever stolen. There are different databases that allow you to register
the VIN numbers of equipment pieces. This is very beneficial for two reasons;
the police can track down your items if they were ever stolen, this allows you
to maintain a standard inventory process of all your equipment that the
administration and operators can adapt and continue.
Fleet Tracking Technologies
It may be in the best interest of your company
to invest in machines that come equipped with telematics systems incorporated
into the machines. These tracking properties allow operators to track the
location of the equipment, and get a sense of who, when, where and where the
equipment is being used within the facility. Some telematics systems also
include a GPS fencing technology that allows the owner to set boundaries as to
how to far the piece of equipment can travel and notifies you if the equipment
leaves pasts the geofences. This fully equipped monitoring system relieve the
worries of many companies.
The Importance of Recording Equipment
Security cameras should always be kept up to
date at companies at all times. Proper recording equipment is just as important
as the first two tips. If your property were to be stolen or vandalized,
security cameras set at the correct locations and angles throughout the site
would help to better assist in rescuing your properties and identifying those
responsible for the theft and damages. Security cameras should always be kept
up to date at companies.
Maintaining Security Around the Perimeters of Your Site
The security cameras are helpful to catch the
potential thieves, but locks and proper fencing will dissuade vandals from even
entering your site because it’s too much of a hassle. Conversely, broken fences,
and unlocked locks are the perfect way to tell criminals to enter your site and
steal your property. The best type of security to have on the outside of your
building or site include; chain-link fences or gate, no trespassing signs, a
possible security service, and badge only access after a certain time of the
Equipment theft can cause a lot of worry and
frustration because of how much companies rely on their machinery to optimize
their productivity. Taking the proper steps with these tips will help minimize
the potentials of theft and vandalism to your company site.