Importance of Properly Maintaining Forklift Chains


One of the most critical moving parts to maintain on your forklift are the chains.

The chains move every time you raise and lower the mast, this can exert large amounts of strain (especially when utilised as part of a 24/7 operation).

This weeks blog looks at the dangers of old forklift chains and what to look for to avoid the associated risks and hazards.

It will also discuss how to properly inspect your chains to determine whether or not to replace them.

forklift chains move whenever the mast moves

Dangers of Old Forklift Chains

The critical part of forklift chains are the pins that connect the links together to create the full chain length. The pins hold the full weight of the loads you are moving.

Over time due to the enormous pressure exerted on the pins and chain they wear out.

forklift chains plate and pin diagram

Due to this excessive operational usage there is a strong chance incorrectly maintained chains can fail (snap/break).

Should a chain fail the operator and those in the near vicinity are at risk of sustaining serious injury or even death depending on the size of the load being carried.

Stock and/or property damage are also significant risks if a chain was to break.

Signs you need to replace your forklifts chains

  1. Protruding or turned pins – without correct lubrication pins within a chain can twist out of place, resulting in the chains integrity being compromised. Chains should always be well lubricated at all times with appropriate lubricant
  2. Plate cracking – stress, corrosion, environmental factors or overloading can result in cracks appearing in the chains plates. If cracks are detected the forklift should be immediately removed from service and the chain replaced
  3. Misalignment – enlarged holes on the outside of plates and/or worn down heads of pins holding the plates together are both signs of misalignment. Continual operation of a misaligned chain will result in damage to both the chain and sheaves, with eventual chain failure
  4. >3% wear or elongation (it is rec

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