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7 most common mistakes in forklift exams

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As with any other exam, preparing for your forklift evaluation can seem extremely daunting. Having your level of knowledge and expertise with a subject being tested in a short time period can feel overwhelming for many, but there are reasons to feel hopeful. Again, as with any other exam, undergoing a successful forklift evaluation comes down to one principle – practice.

The mistakes you need to avoid

When employers are testing your skills operating a forklift, they are really checking for one vital ingredient – can this person handle a forklift safely and securely? With that in mind, preparation for your forklift evaluation should be focussed on ensuring that you are as informed as possible about the correct way to operate a forklift. Here is a list of the seven most common mistakes that you need to avoid during your forklift examination.

1) Poor forklift operator behaviour

Aside from just testing technical expertise, one key area that is being tested during a forklift examination is the examinee’s behaviour whilst operating a forklift. Employers want to know that you will be conscientious and responsible whilst operating a forklift, and thus it is essential to ensure that you take your job as a forklift operator seriously. Messing about or showing a lack of concern for safety regulations will not do. Employers do not want an employee with bad behaviour to enter their organisation, as it could be dangerous to the other people working in the area.

2) Insufficient forklift pre-use inspection

Before operating a forklift, there are a number of pre-use inspection checks required to ensure the machine is operating properly. If these checks are not carried out, there could be potential danger for the operator or any other employee in the vicinity of the forklift. For example, it is essential to complete steps such as ensuring that you troubleshoot the lift truck, and check to see if there is any damage from previous usage.

3) Incorrect loading of the materials to be transported

As a forklift operator, you will spend your time transporting loads from one place to another. Thus one key area of safety concern is the stability and security of the load being transported. The examinee must ensure that the object being transported on a pallet has its weight distributed and balanced evenly before attempting to lift it up. When lifting the object, the fork tip must be 1 foot away from the pallet carrying the object. Always ensure that there is no other person in the vicinity when you are loading up the forklift. The load being carried must be lifted slowly and carefully to avoid unnecessary injury or damage to the load.

4) Malpractice whilst in transit

Another common mistake made is examinee behaviour whilst in transit. It is essential to remember that the forks should never be raised or lowered when the forklift is in transit. Moreover, the speed of the forklift must be kept at a low and controllable rate, and you must always be aware of other employees moving around in the vicinity. When in transit, all body parts must be kept within the confines of the forklift. As a forklift operator is likely to be working within the vicinity of other forklifts, you must be aware of any other machines around you. Moreover, always ensure that you stop before any corners to ensure you do not run into another machine.

5) Incorrect unloading of the materials being transported

Once you have arrived at the location for unloading, it is important to ensure that you have enough space available to place your load down safely. Furthermore, you need to have sufficient reversing distance away from the load, so that your forklift does not come into contact with the object or material. It is always essential to check that no other employee is in the vicinity of the unloading, and you need to make sure you have a clear and unobstructed view of what you are doing. Once you have placed the load down, lower your forks to a few inches above the ground before you head to your next destination.

6) Poor forklift parking procedures

When it is time to park the forklift, lower the forks until they touch the ground. You need to ensure that you turn off the control of the forklift, and engage the brakes – checking that they are fully engaged. Once that is completed, you need to turn the keys to the off position. If you have to park your forklift on an inclined surface, ensure that you block the wheels to prevent unwanted movement.

7) Malpractice whilst fuelling and charging the forklift

When refuelling and recharging, make sure that the engine is always off. There are many potential dangers if the engine remains on during this process, especially the potential for fuel ignition. You should always have a fire extinguisher ready at hand in case something goes wrong during the refuelling and recharging process. Moreover, you should ensure that you are wearing fireproof coverings to prevent any further hazard. If there is any spillage during refuelling, the ground must be cleaned up immediately.

As with every common mistake made during forklift examinations, always remember – safety first!

10 most common questions about electric forklifts

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Electric Forklifts

When deciding which type of forklift is the right choice for your needs, it can feel daunting to know how to make the right decision. With so many different styles, shapes, and sizes of forklift on the market, it is important to ensure that you find the type of forklift that is best suited to your needs.

A popular choice of forklift, is an electric forklift. Whilst there are many similarities between electric forklifts and more traditional, gas and diesel operated machines, there are some notable differences that are important to take into consideration. As such, here is a list of answers to the most common questions asked about electric forklifts to help you make the most informed decision possible about the best forklift for you.

 

1) How long do electric forklifts last?

When it comes to determining how long electric forklifts last, the lifespan is usually measured in hours. If an electric forklift is used on a single-shift operations with an 8-hour working day, the average forklift will be running for approximately 2,000 hours per year. An average electric forklift has a predicted lifespan of 10,000 working hours – thus it should last for approximately 5 years.

 

 

2) Can electric forklifts be used outside?

Electric forklifts are typically designed to work best indoors or in colder climates, and so theoretically it could be used outside. However, it is advisable that if the majority of the working hours of a forklift are expected to occur outside, then a gas or diesel alternative should be sought.

 

 

3) Can electric forklifts be used in the rain?

Following on from the last point, an electric forklift should never be used in places where rain or snowfall are frequent occurrences. Exposure to rain or snow can lead to electric forklifts short circuiting, and thus the dangers require the use of an alternative gas or diesel forklift.

 

 

4) Do electric forklifts require fire extinguishers?

There is no legal requirement to equip electric forklifts with fire extinguishers. However, it is advisable that the working conditions an electric forklift is expected to operate within should be evaluated for potential fire hazards, and if it is a high risk area, then equipping the forklift with a fire extinguisher would be a good idea. Moreover, if an area is deemed high risk for potential fires, then there may be regulations that require employees to have adequate fire protection.

 

 

5) Can I use a car battery for an electric forklift?

As car batteries are constructed for different purposes, the use of a car battery in an electric forklift is not suitable. Electric forklift batteries are of a type known as “deep cycle”. This means the battery is able to be discharged and recharged multiple times during the expected lifespan of the battery.

 

 

6) How do I charge an electric forklift?

As has just been mentioned, electric forklift batteries are designed to be of a deep cycle variety. An electric forklift deep cycle battery can be recharged using a special compatible battery charger that takes its power from regular mains electricity. It is recommended that the deep cycle battery is given a full 8-hours to ensure a complete and thorough charging.

 

 

7) What type of power supply do I need to charge an electric forklift?

The charger that you will need to repower an electric forklift depends entirely on the size of the battery, and thus on the size of the forklift. An electric forklift charger will gain its power from mains electricity, and the size of the required charger will depend on whether it is a single or three phase charger.

 

 

8) How fast does an electric forklift drive?

An electric forklift has the same performance levels as gas and diesel forklifts. The maximum allowable speed for any kind of forklift during operation is 8mph, and therefore in terms of speed, you will not notice any difference between an electric forklift compared to a gas or diesel forklift.

 

 

9) Are electric forklifts more cost effective than gas and diesel forklifts?

In general, electric forklifts are more cost effective than gas and diesel alternatives. Electric forklifts have fewer moving parts than their gas and diesel counterparts, and thus have lower maintenance requirements. Moreover, there is no need for oil changes or tune ups, and this helps to keep maintenance costs low. Furthermore, the cost of charging an electric forklift is lower than the cost of refuelling gas and diesel forklifts. However, electric forklifts have higher initial investment costs due to the necessity of purchasing an industrial battery and charger, but in general, electric still remains more cost effective.

 

 

10) What is the biggest electric forklift that you can get?

The largest electric forklift that can currently be purchased on the market has a 25 tonne lifting capacity. If you require heavier loads to be lifted, then perhaps looking into gas and diesel alternatives may be the way to go.

To learn more about how an electric forklift can benefit your business, contact us today!

Why CAT Electric Forklifts are so good

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CAT have been designing and building forklift trucks and lifting equipment since the 1960s. Their brand is synonymous with high performance, reliability and a long service life in a range of settings. They have been the trusty workhorses of countless businesses, keeping them running smoothly and consistently across the seasons and in a range of different environments.

As a leading CAT electric forklifts dealer in London, we understand the intricacies that make CAT electric forklifts some of the best in the business. We are well placed to offer advice about the merits of these fine pieces of machinery, so here we provide an overview of what makes a CAT electric forklift so good.

cat forklift

Perfect for indoor work

An electric forklift truck is the perfect option to work in an indoor environment. In a warehouse or other storage facility, there will be people working in a busy enclosed environment, so the last things you want from your machinery are lots of engine noise and polluting fumes being spewed into the environment. With CAT electric counterbalance trucks the engine doesn’t run on petrol or diesel, so it doesn’t have a noisy combustion engine and doesn’t release any fumes.

They are therefore an excellent option for jobs like transferring goods into and out of racking, bringing materials to the production line, clearing waste packaging and performing loading tasks. A single charge, which can be done as a facility is closed (overnight, for example), will typically enable the operator to get through a shift without needing to recharge, so productivity is maximised while noise and pollution are kept at a minimum.

 

Environmentally friendly without sacrificing power

CAT electric counterbalance trucks will help you improve the carbon footprint of your business. The electric engine has zero emissions, and the energy used to recharge the battery causes a fraction of the pollution that a petrol or diesel engine would emit during a single shift.

Energy efficiency has become a major issue in recent years, and companies are encouraged to make changes to their processes that will improve their energy efficiency. With CAT electric counterbalance trucks you get long shift cycles from a single charge and emissions-free usage at all times. This will lower your fuel costs and boost productivity, as well as making the working environment of your employees more pleasant and lowering your overall carbon footprint, so it’s a win all round.

 

Great technology at your disposal

One of the reasons CAT electric forklifts stand out as the best in the business is the technology they are built with. The cutting-edge battery technology provides maximum length to shift cycles so operators can keep going right through their shift on a single charge. They are also designed to be easy to maintain, with simple daily maintenance routines and advanced diagnostic systems that can indicate when there is an issue that needs to be addressed. With the right training, your staff will be able to personally manage the basic upkeep of their machine, cutting your maintenance costs significantly.

The technology at play in CAT electric counterbalance trucks also means you get superb manoeuvrability. This is an essential feature when working in a tight indoor environment like a warehouse. CAT knows where its electric forklifts are most likely to be used, so they include a number of design features that make them effective at navigating the narrow spaces of an indoor storage environment. With well-trained operators, a fleet of CAT electric forklifts could enable you to get the most out of your storage environment by narrowing the lanes and adding more units – your CAT forklifts will be able to manage the narrow spaces.

Another great feature of CAT electric forklifts is the fact that they can be personalised with a range of attachments and programmable operating characteristics. Every working environment is unique, and it is a real bonus to have equipment that can be adapted and optimised for your specific needs. The CAT range of electric forklifts offers great flexibility in every single model, so you will be able to tailor them to do the very best for your work environment.

 

A comprehensive, all-in-one package

With CAT electric counterbalance trucks, you get a flexible, reliable powerhouse that will enable every operator to do their very best work. Perfect for indoor environments, the low noise output and zero emissions will be welcome features to all your staff, and also help towards lowering your company’s overall carbon footprint. You get great power and long shift cycles out of the high-tech battery-powered engine, with a simplistic maintenance cycle to ensure you have no trouble keeping your machines ship-shape. And the advanced technology of every truck means you get fantastic manoeuvrability and flexible operating characteristics that enable you to tailor your machine to the specific needs of your workplace. What more could you ask for?

Hiremech are Tottenham Hotspur’s preferred supplier for 2018

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Hiremech are proud to announce that we are Tottenham Hotspur Football Club‘s preferred supplier for high-quality forklift trucks. Most of the team at Hiremech are proud Spurs fans, so we are very glad to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the club for another season.

As the preferred supplier, we have provided the club with a specially branded truck, which will be used to move equipment, merchandise and more around the spacious new ground. More Spurs-emblazoned trucks and machines will follow, and we will always be on hand to repair, maintain and service them – any excuse to spend more time at the football ground!

As you can see, Hiremech CEO Paul Green was extremely pleased to hand over the first vehicle to the ground’s logistics manager, Paul Bailey. The pallet truck will play a key role in moving goods and equipment around the spacious new stadium, and it will soon be joined by many more.

hiremech forklifts given to tottenham hotspurs

High-quality trucks supplied by Hiremech

As a leading supplier of forklifts in the North London area, Hiremech has established a reputation for excellence. We only supply the finest equipment from trusted manufacturers, in perfect condition and with a full guarantee – and we offer forklift sales and hire at extremely competitive prices. Every forklift that leaves our premises has been fully tested by our trusted mechanics, so the safety of you and your workers is guaranteed.

Rental contracts are flexible in order to meet the needs of your business, and we sell new and used forklifts at prices to suit every budget and need. For your convenience, we will even deliver directly to your site – and collect the machine at the end of the rental term. You also have access to our engineers at any time, covering emergency breakdown repairs, routine maintenance and more.

As well as delivering top quality equipment to our beloved local football club, we can supply custom branded trucks and machines for your own company as well. We are London’s official approved Caterpillar dealer, so we can supply some of the best machines on the market while also delivering great value. More information about our forklifts and accessories can be found on our website. You can also contact Hiremech directly for quotes.

It is these great qualities that have led Tottenham Hotspur to put their faith in our company and use our high-quality equipment for their ground logistics.

spurs branded pallet truck from hiremech

A new home for our local club

We are located close to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London, so we are ideally placed to supply and maintain the trucks for the club. The stadium is slated for completion in September 2018, after a series of delays pushed the opening beyond the start of the new season.

Tottenham Hotspur had a great season in 2017/18, finishing third behind the two Manchester clubs. However, the upheaval of playing away from their home stadium may just have affected their performance and stopped them pushing all the way to the top.

The club has its sights set on becoming title contenders this season as well, and they opened the league games with a strong start by beating Newcastle in the first week. They should soon be saying goodbye to their temporary home of Wembley, as work on the new stadium is finally heading towards completion.

The club expects to play the majority of the 2018/19 season in their finished North London home. It is hoped that settling in their fantastic new stadium will boost team performance and give them the edge to win the league.

 

spurs forklifts from hiremech

Common questions about forklifts

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Forklifts come in all shapes, sizes and are suitable for many different types of job. It can be a little confusing in knowing what the best type of forklift is for your particular job, and the rules surrounding them. That’s why we have answered some common questions about forklifts for you. We hope that you find them helpful.

 

Can you drive a forklift on the road?

The general rule is that if you plan to drive a forklift on a public road, and wish to go further than a distance of 1,000 yards, then you have to comply with Road Vehicles Registration 1986. If the forklift weighs more than 3,500kg it will need a HGV licence, a lower weight will need to be taxed for private goods. It is allowed to travel distances less than 1,000 yards, but it must be insured and registered.

 

Can you tow with a forklift?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions, and we suggest that you do not use your forklift to tow a trailer. This is because the forklift has not been designed to tow. Yes, there is usually a tow bar on the machine, but this is intended for rescue purposes, should the forklift break down.

 

What is a counterbalance forklift?

The counterbalance forklift is the most common and can be found in storage depots and warehouse environments. It balances loads and can reach out to 20 feet.

 

When would you use a reach forklift?

The reach forklift is used in restricted indoor spaces, as it is small and compact. The arm reaches forwards to pick and lift loads. It can reach a height of 40 feet.

 

Can you use a forklift on uneven surfaces?

Yes, you can. You would need to use the rough terrain forklift, as this can be used on rough and uneven surfaces. They have pneumatic tyres and are useful for agricultural and construction work.

 

Can you use diesel forklifts indoors?

It is highly advisable that you avoid using a diesel forklift in an inside space. This is because the diesel fumes are dangerous to health. A better alternative is an electric forklift. If you do need to use a diesel forklift inside a warehouse, then make sure that the space is well ventilated.

 

How high can a forklift lift?

The counterbalance truck is the forklift with the highest reach. An average reach is usually between 10 to 15 feet. However, there are some counterbalance forklifts that can reach heights of up to 36 feet.

 

How fast can a forklift go?

Forklifts can be incredibly speedy, it all depends upon their size and type of fuel. However, there is a speed restriction of 8 mph on all forklifts, but this is further reduced in built up or pedestrian areas to only 3 mph. This is obviously to keep the driver and the local community safe.

 

Can you rent a forklift?

Many people don’t realise that they can rent a forklift. This can usually be for both long and short-term hire use. Many forklift companies also have staggered payment systems in place to make the hiring process so much easier while helping with cash flow. Hiring is advantageous when you need to use several different types of forklift, or even if you just have an occasional job.

 

How old do you have to be to operate a forklift?

The rule here is that all forklift operators must be of minimum school leaving age. The exception to this is when operating in ports, as the age is increased to 18. Hiring a person under the required age is against the law, and could see you issued with a hefty fine.

 

Why do forklifts not tip over?

Well, the answer to this is that forklifts do sometimes tip over, although it’s not a common occurrence. When this happens, it is due to several factors. They include carrying a load that exceeds the forklift’s threshold, operating on an unstable base, and the experience of the operator.

 

Where are forklifts used?

Forklifts are used in many different environments. They can be seen lifting and carrying in industrial warehouses, on construction sites, farms and dockyards. In fact, anywhere that lifts and transports heavy loads will benefit from a forklift.

 

Do forklifts have rear wheel drive?

The rear wheels are important for the forklift, as they help to manoeuvre the forklift in circles. It is the front wheels that help to balance the forklift and steady the load.

 

Do forklifts need a reversing alarm?

A forklift does not need to have a backup alarm, but in certain operating conditions you may need a forklift fitted with a reversing alarm to increase safety.

 

How are forklifts powered?

Forklift are powered by several methods. You can choose from gas, diesel, and electric forklifts. What you choose depends upon the power required, storage facilities and working environment.

To find out more about using, renting or buying a forklift, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! Fill out the online form or give us a call.

Why buy your forklifts from Hiremech?

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If you are looking for warehousing and construction equipment in London and the south-east, you need a company you can rely on and products you can trust. Safety is paramount in any commercial or industrial environment, so you need to buy forklifts that are easy to operate, fit for purpose and maintained to the very highest standards. This is why you need to call Hiremech and let us help you with your forklift needs.

buy forklifts hiremech

Whether you need a single forklift truck or an entire fleet, Hiremech has you covered. We are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of forklift trucks and lifting equipment, and we are London’s exclusive Caterpillar approved dealer.

This means you can count on us for quality. Every truck we sell is serviced and maintained to the highest standards, so you don’t need to worry about safety or performance. We are also one of the market leaders for value. All of our forklifts are used and refurbished, but they come to you in near-new condition – for a fraction of the cost.

London’s premier Caterpillar truck supplier

If you are looking for Cat machinery at affordable prices, Hiremech is the company to call. We have an exclusive supply contract in the London area with Caterpillar, who are one of the leading names in construction and industry. What’s more, we offer used equipment in a fully refurbished condition, so you can pick up top of the range machines at prices to suit any company’s budget.

High quality trucks at affordable prices

Buying used machinery can sometimes be a risk, especially when you choose an unreputable supplier. Hiremech takes the risk out of buying second hand trucks. All of our equipment is refurbished in-house by a team of skilled experts, using genuine parts at all times. Our work is guaranteed for your peace of mind.

If you want to cut the cost of buying equipment but you don’t want to compromise on quality, you need to choose Hiremech. We have established a strong reputation for quality and service during our 20 years in the business, and we are the supplier of choice for some of London’s most prestigious and well-known companies.

Our range includes diesel, electric and gas powered trucks. We have reach and counterbalance forklifts, and a range of flexitrucks which are perfect for warehousing functions. Capacity ranges from 500 kg to 10,000 kg, and we have plenty of accessories to customise your new truck for your company’s needs.

Simple, straightforward purchase packages

To make buying a new forklift simple and easy, Hiremech offers two purchase packages for your company. The silver package includes a full clean and service for your new truck, plus a 3 month guarantee and a 12 month LOLER certification: including all chain and fork testing as standard. This is the ideal package for first time buyers, small startups and replacement equipment.

Opt for the gold package and you get all of the above, with the guarantee extended to six months for labour and parts. You also get a full respray for your new forklift, along with new (or near-new) tyres and forks. The gold package also includes additional truck safety features, including a reverse alarm and beacon lights, fully tested to the highest standards. We also throw in a comprehensive aftercare package.

Leading the way in aftercare and support

Hiremech pride ourselves on looking after our customers throughout the sales process. From the moment you contact us, we do all we can to accommodate your needs and provide the best service for your business. This includes a follow-up package that includes servicing and maintenance, spare parts and repairs. We even arrange operative training so your team can learn to use your new forklifts safely and effectively.

If you are looking to buy forklifts from Hiremech, or just want to find out more, give us a call today on 0208 880 3322 or drop us an email at sales@hiremech.co.uk. Our friendly sales team are waiting to take your call and help you place your order.

The future of forklifts is lithium

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More companies than ever before are turning to lithium power to run their vehicles and equipment. Lithium is a popular choice in the warehousing and construction sectors, with a huge number of lithium forklifts now being developed, rather than diesel- or gas-powered. In the future, lithium power could be the default for all forklifts and similar work vehicles, thanks to its rechargeable properties and its efficiency.

testing lithium forklifts battery

About lithium power

Lithium-ion batteries are extremely commonplace in the modern world. Lithium is most commonly used to power smartphones, tablets and laptops, providing plenty of power in a compact capsule that can be recharged relatively quickly. More recently, electric car manufacturers have used lithium to power their vehicles: and the use of lithium batteries is catching on in the construction and industry sectors. Aerospace engineers are also experimenting with lithium power.

 

Lithium batteries work by passing positive and negative electrodes through the battery unit, and passing them back when the battery is recharged. They have a relatively long shelf-life and can power a device for several years before they need to be replaced. They can be recycled, making them an environmentally friendly option as long they are disposed of correctly.

They can replace traditional fuel-driven engines. This leads to a reduction in carbon emissions. Battery powered vehicles are economical, requiring regular charging rather than refueling with costly diesel or petrol.

Lithium forklifts

It has been more than a decade since the first lithium-ion powered forklift appeared, but the technology is only just starting to catch on among mainstream manufacturers. In the last few years, there has been a surge in lithium-powered machinery development, and some of the biggest names in industrial equipment manufacturing are using lithium power to replace fossil fuels, and bulky, dated acid-powered batteries.

Lithium batteries can store more energy than a traditional battery unit, so they are far more efficient. Lithium forklifts can run for three times as long before it needs charging, so your workers can be more productive and your equipment has far less downtime for charging. This is great news for owners of busy warehouses, where every minute of downtime is extremely costly.

Lithium batteries are newer than acid-based batteries, so they tend to be more expensive to purchase in the first instance. Over time, the cost will reduce as the batteries become more common – but they may always cost a little more than the older style of battery. However, those costs will likely be offset by the savings you can make through improved work rate and reduced charging time.

Counterbalance trucks and lithium

The most frequently used type of forklift truck is a counterbalance truck. These are weighted at the back to compensate for the heavy load lifted at the front, to prevent the truck from tipping. However, modern electric forklifts often have no counterbalance, because the heavy internal battery serves a dual purpose. If you use electric forklifts, you will know that the low gravity centre of the heavy battery weight keeps them very stable – sometimes to the point of reducing mobility!

Lithium batteries, on the other hand, are extremely lightweight. The battery in your mobile is virtually weightless, for example. Of course, a battery large enough to power a forklift will have more bulk and weight to it – but it will still not be sufficient to act as a ballast for the truck. It is common to add additional ballast weight to these types of battery packs to retain manufactures specification/tolerances.

If you would like more information on lithium forklifts, contact Hiremech today. We can discuss your forklift needs and help you find the right truck for the best price. Call now on 0208 880 3322, or email sales@hiremech.co.uk and let our friendly sales team help you.

The benefits of electric forklifts

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If you are looking for a new forklift truck for your business, you might be confused by the many, many options available. Do you need a reach truck, a flexitruck, or a counterbalance forklift? And how should your new truck be powered: by gas, by diesel or by electricity? Thankfully, Hiremech are on hand to talk you through the options and to make buying a forklift truck simple. Below is our guide to electric forklifts, and how you can apply the benefits of electric forklifts to your business.

benefits of electric forklifts

Electric forklifts

Electric forklifts are powered by an internal battery, similar to the one in your car. The battery will require charging at regular intervals and water levels topping up to keep the forklift operating. The majority of modern forklift trucks use electricity as a power source, as it is cleaner and more cost-effective than a fuel-powered machine.

Many forklifts use old-style lead batteries, which are bulky, heavy devices containing chambers of lead-based acid. The batteries have a long life and many have recharge abilities, but they do need replacing when the electric charge runs down. They can be dangerous if damaged, as they contain a powerful corrosive substance that can damage skin, paint, metal and plastic on contact. They are also extremely heavy – though as we will soon see, this can be an advantage.

Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, are lightweight and rechargeable. A scaled-up version of your mobile or laptop battery, the lithium battery provides many hours of power between charges. Lithium powered forklifts are becoming much more common as companies look for cleaner, greener ways to operate – and to cut their costs.

Counterbalance trucks and electric power

The most commonly used kind of forklift is a counterbalance truck. This is what you will typically picture when thinking of a forklift: a small, sturdy cab with a fixed set of front forks, and a heavy weight attached to the back. The counterbalance stops the truck from tipping when a heavy load is lifted and keeps the truck stable when it is loaded and in motion.

Many electric forklifts are counterbalance trucks in the true sense of the word, but they lack the counterweight at the back to hold down the truck. Instead, the internal battery performs this function. A heavy internal battery can keep the truck weighed down during operation and make it far easier to use and manoeuvre the vehicle. Lithium batteries are lighter, so they do not work as a counterbalance and a weight is generally added to the battery pack to retain manufactures specifications.

Recharging your forklift

Any time that a piece of equipment is out of action, your business is losing money. Having to recharge a forklift every few hours is not ideal in a busy working environment, and in the past, this has put off companies from choosing electric power. However, modern batteries can carry more charge between each top-up, so they are far more efficient than they used to be. More companies are making the switch to electric power as a result. One of the benefits of electric forklifts is that their lithium batteries are great for increasing operating times between battery charges. Consequently, they are becoming more commonplace.  Lithium cells also have the added benefit in that they can be opportunity charged in-between shifts or during breaks without any damage to the cells.

If you want to explore the benefits of electric forklifts for your business, contact Hiremech and see what we can offer you. We have a huge range of electric trucks available, all refurbished to the highest standards. We will talk you through the many options available to you, and help you make an informed decision about your needs.

You can contact the Hiremech team on 0208 880 3322, or email the sales team on sales@hiremech.co.uk. We can provide quotes, advice and details on the great range of forklifts we have in stock. Call now and see how we can help.

 

How to pass your forklift driving test

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When training to pass your forklift driving test, it is important to choose an accredited training provider like Hiremech, as this will guarantee that you will receive tutoring from an experienced, qualified instructor, and that your licence will be to the latest RTITB Accredited standards.  Any existing or prospective employers can check the RTITB national database to confirm the validity of your certification for the equipment you have have been trained on.

 

All forklift training courses comprise of a written test taken after a formal lecture on the basics of functionality, safety and good working practice while operating a forklift. This test must be passed before a worker can be granted a forklift licence/certificate.

 

Of course, different criteria will apply depending on the type of forklift you want to operate – tests to gain the qualifications to drive more complex forklifts may require extended study time, but the following general questions will crop up on most tests…

 

practice to pass your forklift driving test

Questions

1. If the forks are touching the floor, is it safe to drive the forklift truck?

2. Is it safe to use a mobile phone while operating a forklift truck?

3. Should you honk the forklift truck’s horn when passing an intersection?

4. When parking the truck, should you lower the forks until they touch the floor?

5. Does a forklift require an alarm when moving in reverse?

6. Are rear view mirrors necessary on a forklift truck?

7. Can employers evaluate the performance of their forklift operators every three years?

8. When loads obstruct the view of the operator, are they allowed to travel in reverse?

9. Should the operator reduce speed before turning?

10. When transporting a load, what is the maximum height the forks can be elevated from the ground?

11. Does the stability of the forklift truck suffer when it is lifting heavy loads at a considerable height?

12. Is it safe for colleagues to ride on a pallet while the forklift is moving?

13. Does the forklift need to be switched off for refuelling/recharging?

14. Should the Occupational Health & Safety Administrator (OSHA) perform a daily inspection before work is undertaken?

15. At the end of a shift, is it good working practice to lower the mast and forks until they reach the floor?

16. Should the brake be applied before exiting the forklift truck, even if it is stationary on a flat surface?

17. Can forklifts be driven forward at a slope of 10 degrees?

18. Should forklift training be specific to the type of truck the user will be operating:

19. Does tilting the mast help make the load secure?

20. Does the operator need to know all the information indicated on the load capacity plate?

21. Can only one passenger ride in or on a forklift?

Answers

 

1. No

2. No

3. Yes

4. Yes

5. Yes

6. Yes

7. Yes

8. Yes

9. Yes

10. Six inches

11. Yes

12. No

12. Yes

13. Yes

14. Yes

15. Yes

16. Yes

17. Yes

18. Yes

19. Yes

20. Yes

21. Yes

Practical training

After learning about health and safety and watching an instructional video, learners do a hands-on practical training session. It will require the driver to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have learned during the lectures they have sat through. This part of the test can be workplace-specific, and will concentrate on the characteristics of the forklift, how to operate the truck safely, how to refuel or recharge the unit, how to inspect the unit prior to operation, and understanding the importance of pedestrian behaviours in the workplace. On the final day, each learner will take both a theory and practical assessment to put what they have learned to the test.

At Hiremech, our driver training packages provide RTITB accredited, industry-recognised qualifications. Training can be undertaken at our fully-equipped training centre or onsite at your place of work.

We offer training for powered pallet trucks, stackers, counterbalance forklifts, reach trucks, scissor lifts, order pickers, truck conversion courses and more. If you or your team need to pass your forklift driving test to operate a forklift in London, simply book a training course with Hiremech today by calling 020 8880 3322.

How to carry out daily maintenance on your forklift

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If you operate a forklift truck as part of your job, then carrying out daily maintenance on your forklift is vital. Not only will it keep you and anyone else in the vicinity safe, but it will also ensure you comply with the legal requirements in this area. As a business owner, it will also help you avoid any financial comeback from injuries caused on your premises by faulty machinery.

performing daily forklift maintenance

When should you perform a daily maintenance inspection?

As the name would suggest, this should be done each and every day when using a forklift. It should be carried out as the first thing you do on your shift before you start using the machine. Once you have completed the check and filled in the necessary paperwork to pass to the back office, you can then begin work unless a serious fault has been identified.

What do you need to carry out as part of the daily maintenance on your forklift?

The end goal of this daily check is to ensure that you will be using a forklift that is fit for purpose, will handle the jobs you will be using it for and has no obvious damage or defects. If you do notice anything out of place as part of your checks, then it is key you note it down and report it.

The following components need to be checked before each use of a forklift:

  • Fork Arms
  • Carriage Plate
  • Backrest Extension
  • Mast
  • Mast Roller / Slides
  • Lift Chains
  • Chain Pulleys
  • Hydraulics & Hoses
  • Wheels
  • Tyres
  • External Condition of truck
  • Operating Position
  • Operators Seat
  • Gas Powered Trucks
  • Starting Procedure Engine Trucks
  • Starting Procedure Electric Trucks
  • Lights
  • Audible Warnings
  • Hydraulic Controls
  • Drive & Braking
  • Steering

Forklift arms

The first thing to check when doing the daily maintenance on your forklift is that fork arm heels are not cracked, and that the fork tips are not damaged.  Damaged or faulty forks can result in damaged goods costing your employer money and also be a safety risk to you or other staff.

Once this has been done, test the performance of the forklift by raising the forks to their max height and then lowering them again. This should be done slowly to avoid causing any damage as part of the maintenance routine. When doing this part, it is vital to listen as well as look. Keep an ear out for any strange sounds you wouldn’t expect to hear normally. During this part of the check, it is key to test the tilting mechanism also to make sure it feels smooth and as intended.

Brakes

Naturally, the brakes on the forklift you will be using are a hugely important safety feature. They must be in good working order before you start grafting with the machine. No-one wants to be using a forklift with a heavy load whose brakes aren’t working properly!

The best starting point here is to apply some pressure to the foot brake. A foot brake in good working order should not need lots of pressure applying to get a response. Next, check the parking brake to make sure the forklift will not move when engaged. Lastly, make sure to find out that the brake lights are also working so people will know when you are coming to a halt.

Check the steering

The steering system within any forklift is obviously key to safe and reliable handling. As part of the daily maintenance on your forklift, take your vehicle for a drive without any load on it. Make sure that the steering responds as it should and works as expected. Remember to check going forwards and backwards when you do this! This part of the check is good for throwing up any issues with tyre pressure (mostly solid compound tyres), wheel alignment, and the gearbox.

External condition

Although the above three areas are the most key, you should also just have a general walk around to see if anything else catches your eye. If you spot any damage or something that is hanging off for example, then this is naturally something to report.

Let Hiremech help today

If you need any help with hiring or buying the best quality forklifts to use or repair for any of your existing fleets, then let us help. We offer a wide range of forklifts to suit any business needs, so give us a call today.