Forklift Operation - Maintaining the Stability Triangle
The stability triangle and the center of gravity is amongst the important basic operating factors. Amongst the most difficult things for a lift truck operator to judge is the significance of maintaining their center of gravity within their stability triangle.
The Stability Triangle
To explain it clearly, a forklift has a 3-point suspension system. When drawing imaginary lines between these three points, the stability triangle is created. The operator has to ensure that the center of gravity, that is made, along with the equipment and his load, remains within 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 using a lift truck, we must be concerned not only with the center of gravity of the load being lifted but as well with the combined center of gravity. This includes the load that is being picked up and the lift truck itself.
The load center is defined as the load's center of gravity. In a uniform load situation, such as 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 load center is very common for many lift trucks with smaller capacity. However, if a load is not correctly centered, like with items that are not symmetrical, perhaps an engine for example, then great care and caution need to be taken in order to estimate the center of gravity.
The lift truck has its own center of gravity, which shifts each time the lift truck carries a load. When the load is lifted, the center of gravity shifts forward. Care must be taken in order to maintain the center of gravity within the forklift's stability triangle. This happens 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 everybody else who works close-by or in the nearby vicinity, can stay much safer if the center of gravity is maintained and the stability triangle is respected. This will guarantee a balanced equipment, balanced loads and safer for everybody.