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Taking care of your materials handling equipment during the shutdown

Written by Jonas Tornerefelt, 2020-04-16


Forklifts are durable machines, and they can stand still for long periods without creating too many problems. However, during the ongoing crisis, it's important to make sure that your equipment will be able to return to work quickly and smoothly once things return to normal.

We've already given you advice on how to maintain your forklift batteries if they're not in use over a long period. Here are some similar tips on how to treat the machines themselves if your business is operating at reduced capacity or even shut down.

Move your solid-wheeled trucks periodically, or jack them up

If your business is completely closed, your trucks will be standing still for a long period. If some trucks have solid wheels, rather than pneumatic tyres, it's a good idea to occasionally move them - just a few metres in either direction would do. When a solid-wheeled truck is standing still for a long period, the wheels can develop flat spots due to the weight of the truck, which affects the truck's performance once it gets rolling again. Moving the truck every so often so that different part of the wheels are in contact with the floor prevents them developing flat spots, meaning the truck can work as normal once your business starts up again.

If this isn't possible, you can also lift your trucks a short distance off the ground using a jack. This achieves the same thing, but you only have to do it once, rather than at regular intervals. If your truck is fitted with pneumatic wheels, you should instead make sure that the tyres are fully inflated to the recommended pressure when the truck isn't in use.

Check your country's health and safety regulations

Every country's health and safety regulations are different, but it's likely that they require regular equipment inspections or service visits to make sure things are up to standard and employees aren't at risk. If mandatory inspections or service visits can't be made due to the current situation, the affected trucks shouldn't be used. Make sure that it's clear to staff that the machines can't be used, and ensure that the required inspections are carried out before the truck gets back to work. 

Take care with your IC trucks

Diesel or LPG-powered trucks need to be treated differently to electric trucks if they're not in use for long periods. For diesel trucks, make sure the fuel tank is filled up so that condensation doesn't form inside it. If the truck uses LPG, just disconnect the gas bottle and make sure the connector is protected from oxidation and damage. For both kinds of machines, the battery should be disconnected and the terminals greased, to prevent discharge.

Pay attention to the ground surface

If they're going to stand still for a long time, your trucks should be parked on smooth, level ground, with the forks lowered all the way down to the floor. This prevents different parts of the truck being subjected to unnecessary strain which can cause problems later on. 

Keep it lubricated

Make sure the trucks' mechanics, chains and other unpainted parts are well-lubricated while they aren't being used. These are vital parts of the machine and when they're not used normally, their lubricants may dry out. If the trucks are being stored in a dusty environment, cover them with a fabric dust sheet that will protect these components from dust without causing condensation to build up.

Logistics operations and businesses are facing challenges in keeping the supply chain moving efficiently and economically. If your business has been affected and you need advice on how to manage, click the button below to get in touch with us. Our team of materials handling experts will be able to help. 

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Topics: Service Maintenance

Jonas Tornerefelt

Vice President Products, Marketing, Sales & Services



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