“What’s the trick to get my forks to last longer?” It’s a simple question that our customers ask from time to time. There’s not one simple answer through; there’s several. Preventing fork damage starts with selecting the right forks and continues day-in and day-out with utilizing best operational practices. The following are our top 5 tips to preventing fork damage.
Always go with quality. There’s a reason this is at the top of our list. The best way to prevent fork damage is to start with the highest quality steel you can outfit your vehicle with during the purchasing process. Don’t just look at price; look at the composition of the steel the fork is made out of. Arrow, for instance, uses 15B37H carbon-boron alloy steel that’s been heat-treated throughout the fork for increased strength. This steel has been proven to better withstand impact and adverse temperatures compared to 40CR steel.
Be conscious of load capacity. Nothing damages forks faster than giving them more weight than they can handle. Lifting loads that are beyond the capacity rating can not only permanently damage your forks, it can lead to tipping your vehicle, which can injure the operator and damage the forklift. Always consider the load capacity of your fork BEFORE lifting. A miscalculation can be costly.
Know your workspace. A good pair of forks can instantly be ruined as the result of a collision. This is why we stress that operators take the time to thoroughly familiarize themselves with their warehouse layout and identify potential troublesome areas. Be mindful of high traffic intersections of the warehouse and places where space is tight, and therefore, requires a more cautious approach. Safety should always be at the forefront of the operator’s mind.
Heel protection. As every operator knows, the heel of the fork is the most critical part in terms of what bears the majority of load weight. Once the heel is compromised, it’s not going to be long before the entire fork needs to be replaced. That’s why it’s important to protect the heel by minimizing instances of dragging or impact. For impact protection, we recommend buying our Fork Shields, which are specifically designed to protect the inner heel of your forks from nicks, gouges, and accidental damage resulting in stress cracks.
Always use best operational practices. The best way to prevent fork damage is to always make sure you’re using them properly. This means not letting your forks hit the ground, always using both forks for lifting (not just one), and never using your forks for anything other than lifting. Proper fork usage is one of the best damage prevention measures and operator can take.
We hope you found these five tips on preventing fork damage helpful. As always, if you have any questions or would like to make a purchase, please give us a call at 800-821-7563 and one of our sales associates will be happy to assist you.
Not all forklift forks are going to be the same. This may or may not be obvious to those who have been tasked with purchasing new forks only to find themselves overwhelmed by selection. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in price and delivery—buying whatever is cheap and quick—that the actual quality of the forks may sometimes be forgotten.
As an example, a pair of Standard ITA Forks from three separate companies can look almost identical to each other, but also be vastly different in quality. Use the following tips to help you determine fork quality before you buy.
Steel quality: All forks are made from steel but not all steel is created equal. That’s why when shopping for forks it’s incredibly important to take note of the type of steel your forks are made out of. 40CR steel is a standard alloy steel, and although it does meet ANSI/ITSDF and ISO standards, there are much better steel compositions out on the market for forks. Arrow, for instance, uses 15B37H carbon-boron alloy steel. This particular type of steel has a lab-proven impact toughness far exceeding that of the 40CR steel. This translates to a product that is less susceptible to cracking, thus, extending the overall life of the forks.
Heat-treating: A surefire way to increase the quality of a pair of forks is by heat-treating them. This significantly reduces the chance of wear and/or cracks when handling heavy loads or dealing with high impacts for all climate conditions (extreme hot or cold). While shopping for forks, you’ll not only want to make sure that they’ve been heat-treated, but more specifically, that the entire length of the fork has undergone this process—not just the heel. Arrow heat-treats the entirety of every fork it produces to ensure the highest quality product in every part of the fork.
3rd party governing standards: Many companies will tell you they have the best forks. They’ll tell you they’re #1 in product quality and have the most reliable forks in the industry. But how can you know for sure? In order to go to market, forks must pass certain standardized tests—most notably—the standards set by ANSI/ITSDF and ISO. If you want to ensure the forks you’re about to buy are high quality, make sure that they comply with these standards. Don’t just listen to what the company says about their product; listen to what other organizations are saying as well. All Arrow forks meet or exceed all ANSI/ITSDF and ISO standards.
Warranty: Last but not least is the warranty. When you purchase forks, you always want to make sure you’re protected. Buying forks that aren’t under warranty—no matter how inexpensive they are—is a risk you simply shouldn’t take. This is why Arrow offers a three-year limited warranty on products with any defects due to material or workmanship on the entire line of our fork products. When you buy, you should be able to buy with confidence.
To recap, fork quality isn’t determined by price. Price is typically determined by fork quality. Be mindful of steel composition, how the fork was made, and whether or not the product is meeting or exceeding the standards set forth by ANISI/ITSDF and ISO. And never buy forks that aren’t under warranty.
Arrow Forks can be viewed by clicking HERE. We have the largest stock and widest selection of forks in the country; we even do custom orders based upon your design with lead times averaging 3 – 5 days.
If you have any questions, please contact us at (800) 821-7563 to speak with our sales department.