Forklift Operation - Maintaining the Stability Triangle
The stability triangle and the center of gravity is among the key basic operating factors. Among the most difficult things for an operator of a lift truck to judge is the significance of maintaining their center of gravity within their stability triangle.
The Stability Triangle
To explain it simply, a forklift has a 3-point suspension system. When drawing imaginary lines between these three points, the stability triangle is formed. The operator should make certain that the center of gravity, which is made, along with the equipment and his load, remains in the stability triangle in order to guard against the forklift losing balance and tipping over.
Centers of Gravity
How do you define the center of gravity? When in regards to lift truck operation, we should be concerned not just with the load's center of gravity but as well with the combined center of gravity. This comprises the load which is being picked up as well as the lift truck itself.
The load center is defined as the center of gravity of the load. In a uniform load situation, like a bale for example, the load center can be more easily detected. A uniform load on a 48 inch long pallet, for instance, will have the load center at 24 inches. This is a common load center for numerous lift trucks with smaller capacity. However, if a load is not centered properly, like with things that are not symmetrical, maybe an engine for instance, then great care and caution must be taken in order to estimate the center of gravity.
Additionally, the lift truck has it's own center of gravity. This shifts each time the lift truck carries a load. When the load is lifted, the center of gravity shifts forward. Care must be taken to be able to maintain the center of gravity within the stability triangle of the forklift. This occurs by following the numbers and not raisin more than the maximum allowable, given the center of the load. As well, the load center should be considered. Be aware that whenever raising the load, the load center moves forward also.
The operator and everyone else who works in the nearby vicinity or close-by, can stay much safer if the center of gravity is maintained and the stability triangle is respected. This will guarantee a balanced machinery, balanced loads and safer for everyone.