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AM Davis Blog
Monday, July 08 2024
The Effects of Heat on Your Forklift

We’ve written about what you can do to avoid overheating of your forklift’s engine. Now let’s discuss the damage that can occur if you allow it to happen.

Heat can significantly affect the performance and longevity of a forklift engine. Here are some potential effects:

  1. Overheating: Excessive heat can cause the engine to overheat, leading to a breakdown or even permanent damage. Overheating can cause parts to expand and seize up, resulting in costly repairs.

  2. Reduced Efficiency: High temperatures can cause the engine to run less efficiently. This can result in decreased power output and increased fuel consumption.

  3. Oil Breakdown: Heat can cause the engine oil to break down more quickly, reducing its ability to lubricate the engine parts effectively. This can lead to increased wear and tear on the engine components.

  4. Cooling System Stress: The cooling system has to work harder in hot conditions to maintain the engine at an optimal temperature. This can lead to wear and potential failure of components such as the radiator, water pump, and hoses.

  5. Increased Wear and Tear: High temperatures can accelerate the wear and tear on engine components, such as gaskets, seals, and hoses. This can lead to leaks and mechanical failures.

  6. Battery Performance: Heat can negatively affect battery performance and lifespan. Overheating can cause the battery to lose charge more quickly and reduce its overall efficiency.

  7. Air Intake and Combustion: Hot air is less dense than cool air, which can affect the engine’s air-fuel mixture and combustion efficiency. This can result in reduced engine performance and increased emissions.

To mitigate these effects, it’s important to perform regular maintenance, ensure proper cooling, and monitor the engine’s temperature closely, especially during hot weather conditions. Learn more about Planned Maintenance by AM Davis.

Posted by: BarryL AT 09:09 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, June 18 2024
Forklift Engine Cooling Tips

Getting hot under the collar is about as good for your forklifts as it is for you.  Heat results in increased engine wear, part failure and lift truck maintenance expenses. Like most other facets of your operation, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and keeping your engine operating at recommended manufacturer temperatures will improve your productivity and bottom line.

If your lift trucks are inspected as part of a regular planned maintenance program with inspections being performed by trained lift truck professionals, it is likely that these elements of your cooling system are being inspected and abnormal wear is being brought to your attention. However, one oversight and the end result could be a repair bill mounting into the thousands. 

Keeping your forklift engine cool includes:

  1. Replacing engine coolant with coolant, not water – Water in your coolant system can be a very short-term patch, but can result in long-term damage to your engine and early failure. Water has a lower boiling temperature than coolant and will cause your engine to run at a higher temperature, resulting in oil viscosity breakdown and undue engine wear.
  2. Check the condition of the radiator – Check for leaks, cracks or any other signs of damage. If you see any, get it fixed as soon as possible.
  3. Clean the radiator – The radiator can get clogged with dirt, debris, and bugs. Use a soft brush or a pressure washer to clean the radiator fins.
  4. Replacing hoses before you see damage – Hoses wear over time, often from the inside out. Inspect for leaks on a regular basis and replace hoses at manufacturers recommended intervals. Leaks can result in loss of coolant over time, increase engine temperature and lower performance. Hose failure and the resulting spill can produce a hazardous situation for everyone in the vicinity.
  5. Check the condition of the water pump – Look for any signs of leaks or damage. If you see any, get it fixed as soon as possible.
  6. Check the condition of the thermostat – If the thermostat is not functioning properly, it can cause the engine to overheat. Replace it if it’s not working correctly.
  7. Keeping the pressure on – The coolant system is pressurized to raise the boiling point of the coolant. Radiator caps maintain the pressure in the system. When the cap is not functioning properly, coolant can boil out onto the floor at near normal operating temperatures, causing operators or technicians to incorrectly believe that the engine is overheating.  Pressure testing the radiator cap is the only sure way to maintain proper coolant system pressure.
  8. Keeping Your Engine Properly Belted – An engine’s fan belt creates air flow over the engine, removing external surface heat.  It also drives the circulation of the engine’s coolant through the engine, keeping the internal temperature at normal operating limits. Worn belts can reduce the flow of coolant, increasing the temperature and creating a long-term problem for your engine. Belt failure can result in immediate overheating, engine damage and an expensive repair. Have your belts inspected for wear and replace them at factory suggested intervals to ensure proper coolant flow inside and out.
  9. Inspecting your engine’s fan – Driven by the fan belt to perform, a properly operating engine fan allows for the normal conduction of heat from the inside of the engine to the surface where the fan whisks away the excess heat. A cracked or damaged fan can reduce the effectiveness of the fan and increase engine temperature. Be sure to inspect the fan for wear and damage and replace it with a manufacturer’s suggested replacement. Heavy steel fans can produce undue wear on the engine and reduce the fan’s capacity to remove heat, or even create its own heat by increased demand for energy by a heavier fan.
  10. Regular Coolant Fluid Replacement – Like oil, cooling system fluid has a recommended maximum useful life, and that can vary widely depending upon how your system was serviced and the type of coolant used to replace your current fluid.  Every engine and application is different so don’t solely rely on factory recommended intervals for a flush and refill. Consult with us about an application survey and we can assist you in setting a schedule for regular coolant replacement that makes sense for YOUR operation.
  11. Avoid idling for extended periods – Idling for long periods of time can cause the engine to overheat. If your operator is pausing operation for more than 15 seconds, consider having them turn the forklift off. This also saves some fuel and reduces emissions.
  12. Park in the shade – Whenever possible, park in the shade to keep the engine cool.

If your lift trucks are not on a regularly scheduled Planned Maintenance program, they should be. Let us take the worry out of what and when to inspect, letting you tend to the business of what you do best. Contact Us Here or give us a call at 804-233-0051.

Posted by: BarryL AT 10:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, May 16 2024
Keeping Your Warehouse and Employees Cool This Summer

Ensuring that warehouse employees stay cool during the summer is of paramount importance for several reasons.

  • Firstly, maintaining a comfortable working environment contributes to employee well-being, morale, and productivity. Excessive heat can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and heat-related illnesses, affecting employees’ ability to perform tasks efficiently and safely.
  • Secondly, prioritizing employee health and safety by providing cooling measures reduces the risk of heat-related incidents such as heatstroke or dehydration, promoting a safer workplace overall.

Additionally, a cool working environment demonstrates care and consideration for employees’ welfare, fostering a positive work culture and improving employee retention. By investing in measures to keep warehouse employees cool, businesses can enhance productivity, reduce absenteeism, and create a more supportive and conducive work environment for their teams.

Things you can do to help cool your warehouse and employees this summer include:

  • Insulation: Ensure that the warehouse is well insulated to prevent heat from entering. This includes insulating walls, ceilings, and doors.

  • Ventilation: Install proper ventilation systems such as fans, vents, or air conditioning units to circulate air and remove hot air from the warehouse.

  • Reflective Roofing: If possible, use reflective roofing materials that can reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption into the building.

  • Shade and Trees: Plant trees or install shades outside the warehouse to provide natural shade and reduce heat transfer through walls and roofs.

  • Heat-Emitting Equipment: Keep heat-emitting equipment away from sensitive areas or install heat shields to redirect heat away from the main workspace.

  • Cooling Zones: Create designated cooling zones within the warehouse where employees can take breaks and cool down.

  • Hydration Stations: Set up hydration stations with water coolers or dispensers throughout the warehouse so that workers can easily access cold water and stay hydrated.

  • Cool Break Areas: Create designated cool break areas with shade, fans, and seating where workers can take regular breaks to cool down and rest.

  • Use Reflective Clothing: Provide workers with light-colored, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing that reflects sunlight and helps keep them cool.

  • Use Coolants: Use evaporative cooling systems or coolants like misting fans or wet mats to lower the ambient temperature in specific areas.

  • Schedule Work: Schedule heavy-duty tasks or work that generates a lot of heat during cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or evenings.

  • Regular Maintenance: Maintain HVAC systems regularly to ensure they are functioning optimally and providing efficient cooling.

  • Monitor Indoor Temperatures: Install temperature monitoring systems to track indoor temperatures and take proactive measures when temperatures rise excessively.

  • Employee Awareness: Educate employees about heat-related illnesses, provide training on staying cool, and encourage them to stay hydrated and take breaks in cooler areas.

  • Encourage Communication: Encourage workers to communicate any discomfort or signs of heat-related stress promptly so that appropriate action can be taken.

Equipment you can install and items you can purchase to help minimize heat in your material handling and warehousing operation include:

  • Industrial Fans: High-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans and industrial ceiling fans can help improve air circulation and create a cooling breeze throughout the warehouse.

  • Evaporative Coolers: Also known as swamp coolers, evaporative coolers use water evaporation to lower the ambient temperature. They are effective in dry climates and can be used as a cost-effective cooling solution.

  • Portable Air Conditioners: For specific areas or temporary cooling needs, portable air conditioners can be used to cool down workspaces quickly.

  • Heat-Reflective Roofing: Installing heat-reflective roofing materials can reduce heat absorption into the warehouse, keeping it cooler during hot weather.

  • Shade Structures: Outside the warehouse, shade structures such as awnings, canopies, or trees can provide natural shade and reduce heat transfer to the building.

  • Cooling Vests and Personal Cooling Devices: Providing employees with cooling vests, neckbands, or personal fans can help them stay cool while working in hot conditions.

  • Thermal Insulation: Proper insulation of walls, ceilings, and doors can prevent heat from entering the warehouse, reducing the workload on cooling equipment.

  • Misting Systems: Misting fans or misting systems can be installed to create a fine mist that evaporates quickly, lowering the surrounding air temperature.

  • Temperature Monitoring Systems: Installing temperature monitoring systems can help track indoor temperatures and optimize the use of cooling equipment for energy efficiency.

Choosing the right combination of equipment based on your warehouse’s size, layout, climate, and specific cooling needs can significantly improve working conditions during the summer months.

Visit OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention website to learn more about heat awareness and what you can do to prevent heat illness in your workforce this summer. Having a happy, healthy workforce is key to long-term productivity and performance.

Posted by: BarryL AT 01:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email