Forklift Operation - Maintaining the Stability Triangle
Amongst the important basic discussions with lift trucks is taking into account the center of gravity and the stability triangle. Among the most difficult things for an operator of a lift truck 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 formed when imaginary lines are drawn between these three points. The operator should ensure that the center of gravity, which is created, along with the machine and his load, remains within the stability triangle in order to guard against the forklift losing balance and tipping over.
Centers of Gravity
How is the center of gravity defined? When it comes to using a lift truck, we should be concerned not just with the load's center of gravity but as well with the combined center of gravity. This includes the load that 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 can be more easily detected in a uniform load situation, like for instance a bale. A uniform load on a 48 inch long pallet, for instance, will have the load center at 24 inches. This load center is really common for many lift trucks with smaller capacity. However, if a load is not centered properly, like with things that are not symmetrical, perhaps an engine for instance, then a lot of caution and care should be taken in order to estimate the center of gravity.
In addition, the lift truck has it's own center of gravity. This shifts each and every time the lift truck picks up a load. When the load is raised, the center of gravity shifts forward. Care must 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 over the maximum allowable, given the center of the load. Also, the load center has to be considered. Be very careful whenever lifting the load, the load center also shifts forward.
If the center of gravity is maintained and the stability triangle is respected, the operator and all employees and pedestrians close by can stay a lot safer. This would guarantee a balanced machinery, balanced loads and safer for everyone.