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. Among the hardest things for a lift truck operator to judge is the significance of maintaining their center of gravity within their stability triangle.
The Stability Triangle
In order to explain it clearly, a forklift has a 3-point suspension system. When drawing imaginary lines between these three points, the stability triangle is formed. The operator has to ensure that the center of gravity, which is made, along with his load and the machine itself, remains within 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 lift truck operation, we have to be concerned not just 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, like a bale for example, the load center can be more easily detected. Like for instance, a uniform load on a 48 inch long pallet, will have the load center at 24 inches. This is a common load center for lots of lift trucks with smaller capacity. Then again, if a load is not correctly centered, such as with non-symmetrical things, maybe an engine for example, then a lot of caution and care must be taken to be able to gauge the center of gravity.
The lift truck has its own center of gravity, which shifts every time the lift truck carries a load. When the load is raised, the center of gravity moves forward. Care has to be taken to be able to maintain the center of gravity in 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 has to be considered. Be aware that whenever raising the load, the load center shifts forward as well.
The operator and everybody else who works close-by or in the nearby vicinity, can stay a lot safer if the center of gravity is maintained and the stability triangle is respected. This would really guarantee a balanced machine, balanced loads and safer for everyone.