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Fork Specifications and Why They Are Important to Safety

Welcome back to the Arrow blog! As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation, in addition to engineering quality products for your customers.

With National Safety Month right around the corner, we wanted to gear up by covering a topic that affects safety that you might not be thinking about: Fork Measurement.

For the sake of this blog, we will look at measurement in two different ways: Specifications and Wear.

Fork Capacity

Operators should know the technical specifications of their forks, specifically capacity. Fork capacity is important to safety, since it tells you how much weight your forks can hold. If a forklift operator does not know the capacity, they may overload the forks and cause damage to assets and/or injury to themselves and others. Capacity related accidents are all over this Most Common Forklift accidents list, which is unfortunate because many accidents are easy to avoid.

How to Find Your Specifications

If you are using the correct forks for your machine, the capacity on the machine’s data plate will be correct. Forks are usually ordered by length, so the length should not be hard to find, but you can also measure your forks to determine the length as well. While length does not impact capacity, it is important to know for irregular load situations that may require tools like fork extensions.

Fork Wear & Capacity

Forklift forks need to be in good condition to work safely and efficiently. According to Tri-Lift Industries, once forks are 10 percent worn, capacity decreases by 20 percent. That means a 1,000-pound reduction on a 5,000-pound capacity forklift! That is why it is so important for your forklift operator or technician to check all their equipment before using it. Our patented Fork Wear Indicator makes this a much easier task. The first step toward keeping people safe on the job site is knowing how much weight each piece of machinery can safely lift!

How to Measure Fork Wear?

If you’re using Arrow ITA forks, you might have our patented Fork Wear Indicator, which would be the fastest and easiest way to measure your fork wear.

Measuring fork wear is also pretty simple with a Fork Wear Test Caliper. Test calipers are a quick way to understand how worn your forks are and what that means for your capacity and maintaining safety. All the instructions for use are on the linked page.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more safety conversations from now through June!

Why Does ISO Certification Set Us Apart?

ISO Logo

Welcome back to the Arrow blog! As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation, in addition to engineering quality products for your customers.

We often talk about the quality and consistency of our products. This is because we believe in our process, and we have the credentials to prove it. Arrow is an ISO 9001:2015 Certified company. This certification requires us to uphold high quality process standards that lead to better products and more customer satisfaction.

As a bonus for this blog, we were able to get some thoughts and insights from Clyde Pearch, owner of Eagle Group. Pearch and Eagle Group have prepared hundreds of companies for initial ISO Certification and recertification audits. He is here to make sure we uphold the ISO standards and prepares us for recertification. Hopefully his perspective can provide further understanding of ISO in general, the certification process and what it means for Arrow and other ISO certified companies.

What is ISO?

On their website, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) describes themselves as an independent, non-governmental international organization that brings experts together to develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

According to Reciprocity, ISO has developed around 22,000 standards across many industries, but there are four main categories that standards can fall under:

  • ISO 9000 – Quality Management
  • ISO 22000 – Food Safety Management
  • ISO/IEC 27000 – Information Security Management Systems
  • ISO 31000 – Risk Management

ISO standards are an internationally accepted way of optimizing your business process with a focus on improved quality and consistency. For the sake of this blog, we will focus on the certification held by Arrow Material Handling Products: ISO 9001:2015.

What is ISO 9001 Certification?

ASQ breaks down ISO 9001 perfectly:

“ISO 9001 is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. It is the most popular standard in the ISO 9000 series and the only standard in the series to which organizations can certify.”

ISO 9001 is based on seven Quality Management Principles (from ISO QMP Book):

  1. Customer Focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Engagement of People
  4. Process Approach
  5. Improvement
  6. Evidence-based Decision Making
  7. Relationship Management

These QMPs are a set of fundamental beliefs, norms, rules and values that are widely accepted for use as a basis for quality management. ISO suggests that these QMPs be used as a foundation to guide an organization’s performance improvement.

ISO 9001:2015 refers to the most current version of ISO 9001 that was released in September of 2015.

Pearch believes ISO 9001 certification can be a powerful asset for many businesses. When asked why, he said, “ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) can be used as a tool within an organization whether it is privately held or a public company, NGO, etc. The QMS requires a company to clearly define, document and monitor key business processes. By doing so the leadership of the company establishes key performance indicators or KPIs to set goals, objectives with targets to support operating the business in an effective and efficient manner.”

Why is ISO Important for Arrow?

Arrow is one of over 1 million companies worldwide (Jill Jusko, Industry Week 2010) that is ISO 9001 certified. According to Statista in 2020, Arrow was one of only 20,900 companies in the United States with an active ISO 9001 certification.

Even though many companies adopt the ISO standards, many will execute and implement things differently. Arrow uses the PDCA model. As further explained by our auditor:

“The PDCA model is the key principle that company leadership applies to ensure the QMS is being maintained. Principles and phases are applied as follows:

  1. Plan – company leadership works with employees and other interested parties establishing the framework of the QMS to align with the ISO 9001 requirements, establishing methodology and objectives to monitor and measure QMS performance.
  2. Do – company leadership and employees apply the documented QMS policies, procedures, work requirements within the business.
  3. Check – Leadership and employees report on the performance of the QMS with company established KPI’s, QMS audits, Management Review of QMS with updates to QMS, KPI’s, overall system performance including Risk & Opportunities all with assigned actions to support Continual Improvements.
  4. Act – is taking the results of the Check phase to adjust the products, procedures, processes by rolling out changes needed to support (Delight) the customer!”

Pearch adds, “Big picture – using ISO 9001 (QMS) as a tool in the leadership tool bag that helps keep employees, suppliers, contractors and distributors focused on keeping customers happy, being more productive, fostering team commitment, promoting the use of best practices (5S, Lean, safety in workplace, etc.) and lastly will help a company to improve business success with increased revenue and profits.”

Not only does ISO 9001 certification place us in exclusive company, but it also represents a commitment to excellence. ISO 9001 certification requires passing performance audits as well as a 3-year recertification process. This means that in addition to optimizing our process for the initial certification we also subject ourselves to regular audits to maintain our certification and ensure the continuous improvement of our processes. This commitment to a superior quality management system has led to many quality improvements for Arrow and we strongly believe this commitment contributes to the consistent production of quality products.

We hope this provides some context on why we are so confident in our products and capabilities. We are committed to quality and consistency, to produce better products for you and your customers.

Thanks for supporting the Arrow MHP Blog! Join our email list below to be notified of future blog posts and product updates.

Attachment Awareness 3: Skid Steer Attachments

Welcome back to the Attachment Awareness series on the Arrow blog! This series explores how attachments for various pieces of equipment can improve the overall experience of operation. Throughout this series, we will explore attachments for forklifts, telehandlers and skid steers and the benefits these attachments provide: improved safety and increased productivity. 

In our first and second installments, we looked at static attachments and hydraulic forklift attachments and what benefits they provide for operators. This installment will provide an overview of the attachments Arrow offers for skid steers.  

Skid Steer Loaders were created in 1957 and get their name from the way the vehicle is driven. The skid steer uses differential steering to make turns. This means that the wheels or tracks only drive forward. Each side of the skid steer has its own engine and controls. Turns are made by adjusting the speed of either side of the skid steer, causing the vehicle to “skid” in the direction you would like to turn. This type of steering allows for very crisp turns that are useful in tight spaces — illustrating the precision the skid steer is known to provide.  

Skid Steers are one of the most common and versatile pieces of equipment you can find; being used in demolition, construction, loading, digging, mowing, landscaping and more.  

Types of Skid Steer Attachments 

As mentioned above, skid steers have attachment options in the static and hydraulic category. We will explore some of our most popular options of each that your customers can use to add efficiency and productivity to their operations.  

Static Attachments

Buckets – Buckets allow for more efficient movement of materials. There are different types of buckets that can be used for digging and shoveling as well. 

Pallet Forks – One of the most common tools used in material handling, pallet forks give a skid steer the capability to lift and move pallets of different sizes and weights. This essentially transforms the skid steer into a forklift when the transportation of pallets is needed.  

Grapples – An add on or accessory for buckets or pallet forks, grapples allow the skid steer to grab larger objects like big pieces of debris and move them. Hydraulic option also available.

Hydraulic Attachments

Auger Drives – Auger drives attach to a skid steer to allow for drilling into many different ground types. With the appropriate bit, auger drives can be utilized to remove stumps, mix concrete or split logs

Tree Shears – Help keep large plots of land clear of trees and shrubs. Tree Shears can be specifically designed for your skid steer to cut flush to the ground to ensure efficient clearing.  

Brooms – Attaches to the front of the skid steer to help collect debris and sweep it into a bucket for easy dumping. 

auger drive skid steer attachments
Auger Drive Connected to Skid Steer

With in-house engineering and production teams, custom forks and attachment requests are always welcome. Help your customers do more with their assets — with solutions from Arrow!   

We hope you were able to take valuable information about the versatility and productivity skid steer attachments can add to your operation. 

If you have questions on skid steer attachment options from Arrow, please contact us. Do you have a favorite attachment for your skid steer? Do you get requests from customers for specific attachments?  Let us know what you learned in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on social! 

Equipment Winterization

Arrow Material Handling Winterize Post

Happy New Year and welcome back to the Arrow MHP blog!

As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation, in addition to engineering quality products for your customers.

This month we want to share useful information about Equipment Winterization that you can use to add value to your customers.

What Does That Even Mean?

Winterization, in layman’s terms, means to prepare equipment for harsh winter temperatures and elements. Whether or not the equipment is being used during the coldest winter months, there are steps that should be taken to protect and maintain the equipment during this time of year. This is important information for you to know and pass along to customers to avoid potential future machine issues.

What Does Winterization Consist Of?

As mentioned above, winterization is something that should be done for machines that are both in use and resting through the winter months. Altorfer provides a great list of tips to make sure equipment stays in peak form during the winter months. These tips include things most people would anticipate like filling with proper lubricants, checking fluid levels before each use, inspecting and inflating tires, storing indoors away from freezing temperatures and precipitation and keeping batteries charged and in warm conditions.

Other tips that may be less obvious that can also be helpful may need a little more explaining, so we will break those down below:

Condition hydraulic hoses

Hoses can strain and crack in cold conditions, so it is important to condition the hoses before each use. This means running the motor to raise the hydraulic oil temperature and keeping the machine running for at least 60 minutes. Using special arctic hydraulic oil can also help performance during cold conditions.

Inspect the engine, body and undercarriage

Perform a visual inspection before each use to make sure all parts inside the engine are clean and free of wear and cracks. If any wear is found, those parts should be replaced before use. It is also a good idea to have a mechanic inspect the machine before winter to ensure optimal performance.

Refill fuel tank after each use

Refilling the fuel tank after each use can prevent the tank from freezing overnight. Cleaning and draining the water separator will also help protect the fuel tank from dirt and other debris.

Safety in Winter Conditions

We are always concerned with safety and how we can help our dealers and their customers promote safer conditions. The winter has adverse effects on certain pieces of equipment and the safe operation of those machines. For example, forklifts can face a 25-50% decrease in cycle times in cold weather. This can lead to an inability to perform tasks that are usually easy. This can also slow down reaction times for the machine. This is something to keep in mind when selling forklifts during winter months and when customers are having machine issues during winter months. Some of the tips above would help them get closer to normal effectiveness.

Protecting people should also be a big priority in these conditions and Equipment World provides some things to remember in extreme conditions:

  • Be more careful when entering and exiting machines. Surfaces can get slippery and cause falls leading to injury.
  • Keep job site clean and organized to eliminate accidents and damage. In lower visibility and precipitous conditions, it is more imperative to be proactive.
  • Use insulated gloves to touch the metal surfaces of the machine. Some of the surfaces can get so cold as to cause instant skin damage upon touching with bare skin. Additionally, The Forklift Pro reminds operators that tight fitting and high visibility clothing is still the recommendation. It is imperative to uphold these standards in cold weather to protect from injuries that can be caused by wearing bulky, loose-fitting clothes.

Having your customers follow these steps should help their equipment (or your equipment if you are renting to customers) work more consistently in colder temperatures and help prevent downtime due to unexpected maintenance and accidents. As a bonus, providing useful tools and insight can strengthen your relationships with customers and help build trust. We hope you were able to take valuable information from this blog to pass along to your customers. Are these tips you already knew? Any tips you would add for fellow readers? Let us know in the comments!

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