Sunday 25th Sep 2016 - Logistics Manager

Winter is coming… prepare for the worst to minimise forklift maintenance costs

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snowtruckPredictions on the severity of this year’s winter conditions may be as diverse as the British weather itself, but what remains certain is that businesses need to plan ahead for every eventuality, says materials handling solutions provider Briggs Equipment.

“Of course, most businesses will already have effective plans in place to meet the Christmas rush,” explained Gavin Wickham Operations Director . “However, before these plans swing into action there are a few additional checks they need to make to ensure the risks posed by unforeseen events – including the weather – are kept to a minimum.”

The performance and reliability of even the very best forklifts or other pieces of materials handling equipment can be compromised by extreme weather, particularly snow and ice.

“As firms prepare for the seasonal rush it’s easy for operators to overlook some simple maintenance checks – leaving them open to some potential problems when they may be at their busiest,” Gavin said. “There are some obvious checks, such as inspecting tyres, that many firms will have done already but there are other vital truck components they need to consider.

“Hoses that connect various hydraulic elements of the lifting system should also be checked at regular intervals as they naturally work loose over time.

“Tightening them up is a relatively simple process and is certainly a worthwhile thing to do now as they will be subject to intense pressure over the next few months. Failing to spot a loose connection could lead to a serious, but totally avoidable failure.”

Gavin advises the following checks:

• Make sure the coolant system in diesel engine trucks has a suitable concentration of anti-freeze

• Ensure oil and other lubricants are kept topped up to keep the truck running smoothly in the cold

• Check that the service schedule on all trucks is up to date and carry out daily checks on significant components

• Ensure that operators know how to use the equipment safely in adverse conditions and provide adequate training if necessary