How do forklifts work?

A forklift, at its core, works like a golf cart but with rear-wheel drive and a raisable fork, which cargo is placed on, on the front. The ability to vertically lift and lower the fork at the operator’s discretion is achieved through a lever that controls pressure within the machine’s hydraulic cylinders.

On the technical side of things, forklifts are powered by two intertwining mechanisms, hydraulic cylinders and roller chain pulleys, which utilise pressure to raise and lower cargo on the fork. Lifting power is created by pressure in the hydraulic cylinders, whereby an air pump draws air into the hydraulic cylinders which is then filled with gas. As the pressure builds it is focused across the forklift’s piston head, resulting in a net upward force. This results in a physical equilibrium where the force from the gas equals the downward force of the forklift’s load.

What is a Forklift?

A forklift is an industrial vehicle used to lift and move materials over short distances. Forklifts have been used on sites around the world for more than 100 years, where they’ve become a staple for most warehouse and factory operations. Forklifts vary in load capacity and power supply, with some powered by propane gas, petrol, diesel, and even electricity.

What forklift licence do I need?

In Australia, you’ll need to be over 18 and have undertaken a certification to operate a forklift. There are two types of licences available, LF and LO. LF permits you to operate any forklift except for order pickers and stock pickers, while an LO will only allow you to operate order picker and stock pickers. The cost to acquire a licence is typically around 400 to 600 AUD.

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