Forklift Operation - Maintaining the Stability Triangle
Amongst the key basic discussions with lift trucks is taking into account the center of gravity and the stability triangle. Amongst the most complicated things for a lift truck operator to determine 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 should make sure that the center of gravity, that is created, together with the machinery and his load, remains in the stability triangle to be able to prevent the forklift from losing balance and tipping over.
Centers of Gravity
How is the center of gravity defined? When it comes to utilizing a lift truck, we need 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. A uniform load on a 48 inch long pallet, for example, will have the load center at 24 inches. This is a common load center for many smaller capacity lift trucks. Then again, if a load is not properly centered, such as with non-symmetrical things, maybe an engine for example, then a lot of care and caution have to be taken in order to gauge the center of gravity.
Moreover, the lift truck has it's own center of gravity. This shifts each time the lift truck picks up a load. Once the load is lifted, the center of gravity shifts forward. Care should be taken in order to maintain the center of gravity within the forklift's stability triangle. This happens by following the numbers and not lifting more than the maximum allowable, given the center of the load. What's more, the load center should be considered. Be very careful whenever raising the load, the load center also shifts forward.
If the stability triangle is respected and the center of gravity is maintained, the operator and all employees and pedestrians close by can stay a lot safer. This would guarantee balanced loads, a balanced equipment and safer for everyone.