Anyone who knows how to operate a forklift also knows at least a little bit about hydraulics systems. While the proper jargon might be just out of reach, it’s likely that you already have a basic understanding of how forklifts function.

But clarity can improve your working knowledge and help you to better understand and operate a forklift. Having a well-rounded understanding of hydraulics can also help you when purchasing a new machine. Besides, you’ll be able to share your new wisdom with coworkers and friends!

What Is a Hydraulics System?

A hydraulics system can vary significantly in size and usage. However, one thing remains consistent across the board. All hydraulic systems use incompressible liquids (typically oils) to generate strong forces. Many modern cars use a hydraulic braking system, as the hydraulic pistons can produce incredible power.

Essentially, a hydraulic system is a space-saving, robust machine that can do things most simple tools cannot. However, a hydraulic system’s most magnificent companion may be levers, and levers are one of the least complex machines to build and operate.

How Do Hydraulics Work?

Imagine that you have a metal piston rod in your hand. Think of how much pressure you can apply to it. Do you have a good idea? Great, now go ahead and multiply that base level of strength by a hundred. You currently have a good idea of just how powerful hydraulics are.

A fit person cannot compete with the strength and persistence of a hydraulic system. That same imaginary piston rod, when inserted into a barrel and squeezed against hydraulic fluid, becomes a dangerously mighty hammer.

The pressure generated by compressing incompressible fluids is what makes this possible.

Hydraulics System Components

Though hydraulic systems may vary greatly in size and power, they all contain the same essential components. These parts are designed to reduce heat energy and improve overall efficiency.

The hydraulic power pack is perhaps the most vital component, as it contains the hydraulic pump, the motor, the actuator, and the control valves. Without a power pack, a hydraulic system wouldn’t be able to function.

The Forklift Hydraulic System

Forklifts rely on hydraulic cylinders to lift massively hefty loads. These cylinders are typically located on either side of the carriage, above the forks. When coupled with a lift chain, these cylinders are able to produce enough power to raise or lower items.

Both tilt cylinders and lift cylinders are used in forklifts. Lift cylinders move in only one direction and provide the majority of power to the machine. Tilt cylinders, on the other hand, can push and pull loads.

Determining which cylinder is malfunctioning is the first step in making correct and necessary forklift repairs.

Ready to Improve Your Forklift Skills?

Armed with this valuable information, you can begin to make the necessary repairs and purchases to keep your forklift operating smoothly. The best equipment for the job is never too far away, and there are plenty of professionals on-hand to help with questions or concerns.

Proper forklift training and certification, coupled with this basic understanding of how a forklift hydraulic system operates, can make an average workforce stellar. Don’t wait another minute to improve your technique, your skills, and your chances of success!