Counterbalanced forklift components
A typical counterbalanced forklift contains the following components:
- Truck Frame – is the base of the machine to which the mast, axles, wheels, counterweight, overhead guard and power source are attached. The frame may have fuel and hydraulic fluid tanks constructed as part of the frame assembly.
- Counterweight – is a mass attached to the rear of the forklift truck frame. The purpose of the counterweight is to counterbalance the load being lifted. In an electric forklift the large lead-acid battery itself may serve as part of the counterweight.
- Cab – is the area that contains a seat for the operator along with the control pedals, steering wheel, levers, switches and a dashboard containing operator readouts. The cab area may be open air or enclosed, but it is covered by the cage-like overhead guard assembly. The ‘Cab’ can also be equipped with a Cab Heater for cold climate countries.
- Overhead Guard – is a metal roof supported by posts at each corner of the cab that helps protect the operator from any falling objects. On some forklifts, the overhead guard is an integrated part of the frame assembly.
- Power Source – may consist of an internal combustion engine that can be powered by LP gas, CNG gas, gasoline or diesel fuel. Electric forklifts are powered by either a battery or fuel cells that provides power to the electric motors. The electric motors used on a forklift may be either DC or AC types.
- Tilt Cylinders – are hydraulic cylinders that are mounted to the truck frame and the mast. The tilt cylinders pivot the mast backward or forward to assist in engaging a load.
- Mast – is the vertical assembly that does the work of raising and lowering the load. It is made up of interlocking rails that also provide lateral stability. The interlocking rails may either have rollers or bushings as guides. The mast is driven hydraulically, and operated by one or more hydraulic cylinders directly or using chains from the cylinder/s. It may be mounted to the front axle or the frame of the forklift. A ‘container mast’ variation allows the forks to raise a few meters without increasing the total height of the forklift. This is useful when double-loading pallets into a container or under a mezzanine floor.
- Carriage – is the component to which the forks or other attachments mount. It is mounted into and moves up and down the mast rails by means of chains or by being directly attached to the hydraulic cylinder. Like the mast, the carriage may have either rollers or bushings to guide it in the interlocking mast rails.
- Load Back Rest – is a rack-like extension that is either bolted or welded to the carriage in order to prevent the load from shifting backward when the carriage is lifted to full height.
- Attachments – may consists of a mechanism which is attached to the carriage, either permanently or temporarily, to help in proper engagement of the load. A variety of material handling attachments are available. Some attachments include sideshifters, slipsheet attachments, carton clamps, multipurpose clamps, rotators, fork positioners, carpet poles, pole handlers, container handlers and roll clamps.
Tires – either solid for indoor use, or pneumatic for outside use.