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The forklift mast, or upright, is the mechanism on the front of the forklift that does the lifting. The carriage is attached to the forklift mast and the forks to the carriage.
The upright consists of nested rails that allow the forklift mast to extend to its maximum fork height. Your maximum fork height is determined by the number of rails nested into the mast which is defined by four different forklift mast stages. Forklift chain sheaves, commonly referred to as chain rollers, chain pulleys, and chain guides, are used to guide the lift chain and roller chain on a forklift mast. The chain sheave is a critical component to the forklift mast and can prevent the forklift from operating if damaged or misaligned. Chain sheaves come in different heights, diameters, material, and groove counts. The height measures the height of the pulley if laid flat. The material can come in PVC, aluminum, and metal. Most pulleys will come with one or two grooves which determines the number of chains that can run over them. Forklift wear pads can be used in a number of areas such as the side shift carriage, forklift mast, and fork tines to cut down on wear. Forklift chain, or leaf chain, does the heavy lifting so it is important to keep the chain well lubricated and maintained. A worn forklift chain can put both the operator as well as nearby workers at serious risk. Leaf chain should last 3-5 years but it is recommended that the chain be inspected every three months because things like dust, debris, and rain can accelerate the wear of your leaf chain.
Pins that are turned out of place due to a lack of lubrication as well as cracks in the plates are both signs that the chain needs to be replaced. As part of OSHA's pre-operation inspection of a forklift, mast chains must be inspected for cracks, broken links, rust, corrosion, loose link plates or stiff links, or any visible defect of any kind. On top of a visual inspection, it is recommended that a certified technician measure the elongation of your mast chain. The chain must be replaced if elongation is greater than 3 percent. Forklift chain comes in a variety of pitches, lacing, and lengths. Most chain suppliers will cut the chain to size but it is up to you to know the pitch and lacing. The lacing indicates how many plates make up a chain column and how many chain columns make up the chain. Leaf chain comes in 2x2, 2x3, 3x4, 4x4, 4x6, 6x6, and 8x8. The pitch measures the distance between links. The larger the pitch, the heavier duty the chain. Lastly, ANSI certified chain comes in two types: AL Series and BL Series. AL Series should be used under conditions in which wear is not a problem and there are less than 100 cycles a day. Otherwise, BL Series should be considered because they consist of link plates that are thicker than their AL Series counterparts. A 1 stage, or simplex, is best for lower lift heights and can typically lift up to the height of the forklift cab.
A 2 stage, or duplex, can extend double the height of the cab.
A 3 stage, or triplex, can lift three times the height of the cab.
And a 4 stage, or quadruplex, can lift four times the height of the cab. The forklift mast then has a lift chain and anchors that work in tandem with the hydraulic cylinder to provide the power for the lifting. Older forklifts may have a single cylinder in the center of the rails which blocks the operator's sight of the forks. Most modern forklifts operate with two cylinders, one on each side, as to not block the view of the operator.
Mast parts include bushings, hose guards, shafts, sheaves, side-shifters, and wear pads. Hydraulic parts include hydraulic tubes, hydraulic pumps, hydraulic hose reels, hydraulic cylinders, auxiliary valves, knobs, and torque generators. Bushings, often referred to as sleeve bearings, are cylindrical self-lubricating copper parts that are slid over smooth rods to allow smooth, sliding motion between two components to cut down on wear. A forklift mast may use bushings to guide the rails as well as to guide the carriage into the interlocking mast rails. Cable tracks, otherwise known as cable carriers or hose guards, are used on forklifts to support moving hoses and cabling in scenarios where the hoses and cables require flexing. Cable carriers are snapped together to create the length you need to prevent tangling and damage to your wires, cables, and hydraulic hoses. Shop for all of your forklift mast and forklift mast parts from vetted suppliers on Gearflow.