Forklift Operation - Maintaining the Stability Triangle
Among the key basic discussions about lift trucks is taking into consideration the center of gravity and the stability triangle. One of the hardest things for an operator of a lift truck to judge is the importance of maintaining their center of gravity in 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 certain that the center of gravity, that is created, together with his load and the equipment itself, remains in the stability triangle to be able to guard against the forklift losing balance and tipping over.
Centers of Gravity
How do you define the center of gravity? When it comes to utilizing a lift truck, we should be concerned not only with the load's center of gravity but as well with the combined center of gravity. This includes the load which is being picked up as well as the lift truck itself.
The center of gravity of the load is defined as the load center. The load center could be more easily detected in a uniform load situation, like for example a bale. Like for instance, a uniform load on a 48 inch long pallet, will have the load center at 24 inches. This load center is really common for many smaller capacity lift trucks. Then again, if a load is not centered correctly, such as with non-symmetrical things, perhaps an engine for example, then great caution and care should be taken to be able to gauge the center of gravity.
Furthermore, the lift truck has it's own center of gravity. This shifts every time the lift truck picks up a load. When the load is raised, the center of gravity shifts forward. A lot of care needs to be taken to be able to maintain the center of gravity within the stability triangle of the forklift. This happens by following the numbers and not raisin more than the maximum allowable, given the center of the load. Also, the load center has to be taken into consideration. Be aware that whenever lifting the load, the load center moves forward as well.
The operator and everyone else who works in the nearby vicinity or close-by, can stay a lot safer if the stability triangle is respected and the center of gravity is maintained. This will really ensure a balanced machine, balanced loads and safer for everybody.