Forklift Operation - Maintaining the Stability Triangle
One of the key basic discussions about lift trucks is taking into consideration the stability triangle and the center of gravity. One of 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
A forklift has a 3-point suspension system. The stability triangle is created when imaginary lines are drawn between these three points. The operator has to make sure that the center of gravity, that is made, along with his load and the machine itself, remains in the stability triangle to be able to guard against the forklift losing balance and tipping over.
Centers of Gravity
How is the center of gravity defined? When it comes to lift truck operation, we need to be concerned not only with the center of gravity of the load being lifted but as well with the combined center of gravity. This comprises the load which is being picked up and the lift truck itself.
The load center is defined as the load's center of gravity. In a uniform load situation, such as a bale for example, the load center can be more easily detected. A uniform load on a 48 inch long pallet, for example, would have the load center at 24 inches. This load center is really common for many smaller capacity lift trucks. However, if a load is not properly centered, such as with items which are not symmetrical, maybe an engine for example, then great caution and care should be taken in order to gauge the center of gravity.
Furthermore, the lift truck has a center of gravity of its own. This shifts every time the lift truck carries a load. When the load is lifted, the center of gravity moves forward. A lot of care has to be taken in order to maintain the center of gravity within the stability triangle of the forklift. This happens by following the numbers and not carrying more than the maximum allowable, given the center of the load. Also, the load center should be taken into consideration. Be aware that whenever lifting the load, the load center also moves forward.
The operator and everybody else who works in the nearby vicinity or close-by, can stay much safer if the center of gravity is maintained and the stability triangle is respected. This would guarantee balanced loads, a balanced equipment and safer for everybody.