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How Forklifts Work

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Forklifts have several main components that are common from manufacturer to manufacturer. They contain the same general assemblies that allow the machine to move forward and backward as well as lift and lower.

The frame of a forklift is the base to which all key components attach, including the mast and counterweight. Sometimes the fuel and hydraulic tanks are included in the frame assembly. The counterweight is a cast iron weight that attaches to the rear of the forklift to counterbalance a load that’s lifted.

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The power source of the forklift may include an internal combustion engine. The IC engine could be fueled by gasoline, diesel, or liquefied petroleum (LP). The type of fuel used is dependent on machine size, customer preferences and application. While some customers prefer diesel and gasoline engines, there are some guidelines on what is preferential for inside warehouse use. Because of the exhaust fumes that could accumulate in a warehouse, it is usually preferable to utilize LP powered forklifts in large warehouses with many forklifts.

Electric forklifts are powered by lead acid batteries or fuel cells. The motors in these machines may be direct current or alternating current.

The forklift mast is the vertical part that raises the load with the assistance of the hydraulic system. The mast usually uses rollers and chains, along with hydraulics to operate.

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Attached to the mast is the carriage, which serves as the part that the forks and other attachments are mounted on. The carriage is moved by the hydraulics and usually has rollers that guide it in the mast rail.

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