Forklift Operation - Maintaining the Stability Triangle
Among the important 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 in their stability triangle.
The Stability Triangle
In order to describe it simply, a forklift has a 3-point suspension system. When drawing imaginary lines between these three points, the stability triangle is formed. The operator should ensure that the center of gravity, which is created, together with the machinery and his load, remains in the stability triangle in order 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 using a lift truck, we must be concerned not only with the center of gravity of the load being lifted but as well with the combined center of gravity. This includes the load which is being picked up and the lift truck itself.
The center of gravity of the load is defined as the load center. The load center can be more easily detected in a uniform load situation, like for instance a bale. Like for example, a uniform load on a 48 inch long pallet, would have the load center at 24 inches. This load center is very common for a lot of smaller capacity lift trucks. However, if a load is not centered correctly, such as with things that are not symmetrical, perhaps an engine for instance, then great care and caution need to be taken to be able to gauge the center of gravity.
Moreover, the lift truck has it's own center of gravity. This shifts each and every time the lift truck picks up a load. Once the load is lifted, the center of gravity shifts forward. Care has to be taken to be able to maintain the center of gravity within the forklift's stability triangle. This occurs by following the numbers and not raisin over the maximum allowable, given the center of the load. As well, the load center needs to be considered. Be very careful whenever lifting the load, the load center shifts forward too.
The operator and everyone else who works close-by or in the nearby vicinity, could stay much safer if the center of gravity is maintained and the stability triangle is respected. This would ensure balanced loads, a balanced machinery and safer for everyone.