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Maintenance frequency and precautions of forklift chain

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    Published by NEWTON April 12,2024

    The importance of forklift lifting chains and maintenance methods

    The lifting chain is the most valuable and important part of the forklift. They carry the entire load during the lifting process, which directly affects safety.

    Electric forklift lifting chain

    Without a chain, no lifting operation can be made. What's more, the use of worn chains can lead to reduced efficiency or even destruction (such as worn forks). Even more dangerous, there is a high risk associated with using a worn chain.

    Electric forklift lifting chain

    So, how do you maintain a lifting chain? How do you know when to replace a chain and what are the classic signs of wear?

    Electric forklift lifting chain

    You can spot signs of wear on your lifting chain with a few simple tips. With wear, the chain will become longer and sagger, which will directly affect the working results.

    Electric forklift lifting chain

    Here are some indicators to tell if you need to maintain or replace your chain:

    Sound: The chain will make noise during operation, such as the slapping sound of the mast when it moves, which may mean that the pin is stuck.

    Slack: Slack on one side of the chain, indicating an unbalanced chain tension.

    Rust: Visible rust on the chain.

    Fork mopping: The fork is dragged on the ground when operating.

    Elongation over 2%: The elongation of the chain is over 2%.

    To determine if the elongation of the chain is more than 2%, simply measure the percentage elongation of the chain using the chain wear indicator. According to the manufacturer's instructions, you can determine if the chain needs to be replaced.

    If the measurement results are as follows:

    The chain elongation is less than 2%, the chain is still in good condition and does not need to be replaced.

    If the chain elongation is greater than 2%, this is a warning sign that the chain needs to be replaced in the report and arrange for a professional service engineer to replace it.

    The chain elongation is more than 3%, which has reached an intolerable threshold and needs to be replaced immediately to ensure safe operation.

    Electric forklift lifting chain

    Note: For VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) trucks, the threshold is 2% or changed stated date.

    These measures should be carried out by an authorized maintenance engineer at each thorough inspection (e.g. every 6 months).

    What are the factors that cause the wear of lifting chains to accelerate?

    If the chain wears out faster than normal, it may be due to some error or external factors. The following are common causes that can lead to premature wear of lifting chains:

    Use unsuitable cleaning agents: When maintaining your chain, always use the grease or lubricant specified by the manufacturer. The use of unsuitable cleaners may cause corrosion and damage to the chain.

    High load and frequent use: The heavier the load and the higher the frequency of lifting, the faster the chain wears out. If you need to use your forklift frequently, work closely with a professional service engineer to develop a more frequent maintenance schedule.

    Working Environment: Certain working environments can accelerate chain wear, such as brine environments (corrosive effects of salt), warm and humid environments (chain degreasing faster), acidic environments (e.g., battery manufacturing, acid vapor release), and food environments (forklifts are often cleaned with high-pressure water guns, resulting in faster chain degreasing). In these environments, it is advisable to increase the frequency of chain inspection and lubrication.

    Impact: The chain hitting an obstacle will cause a significant reduction in life, and the greater the frequency and degree of impact, the faster it will wear out.

    How to maintain a lifting chain in three easy steps?

    If you're looking to maintain and extend the life of your lifting chain, here are three tips to follow:

    Clean the chain with steam or solvents, ensure degreasing, and avoid using additional detergents that can corrode the chain.

    Dry the chain with compressed air.

    Lubricate with the correct type of grease recommended by the manufacturer. For low-temperature environments, special lubricants are available, similar to engine oils. To find the best grease for you, consult the manufacturer or refer to the forklift's user and maintenance manual.

    How often should you maintain your chain?

    Forklift chains should be inspected at every thorough inspection. Otherwise, as an indication, it is advisable to check them every 1000 hours to control and lubricate them.

    Is it possible to repair/maintain my own lifting chain?

    It is possible, but it is undesirable and can be dangerous. In fact, certain elements (such as parts of the mast, such as carriages) had to be fixed, which were too heavy to lift. Even if all the necessary elements are fastened and the chain is accessible, it is important to note that it is attached to both sides. Therefore, if the chain is detached from one side, it may slide violently from the other side. Of course, the stakes are very high.

    Electric forklift lifting chain

    In addition to the human risk, if the chain is not properly maintained, it can damage the chain (by not cleaning it with the right product, not drying it after cleaning or lubrication, which can make it brittle).

    In the end, this maintenance is very confusing, both for the people who perform it and for the environment. To avoid any inconvenience, contact our professional forklift maintenance team and we will support you

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