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Even though cars and forklifts tend to get all the attention in the warehouse and shipping areas, pallet jacks are the workhorses that keep things moving.
Pallet jacks are an intricate part of the warehouse equipment ensemble. Knowing the parts of the pallet jack, how they work, and how to maintain them is essential for anyone who works with them regularly.
This article is for you because today, you're getting educated about pallet jack parts. Keep reading!
Pallet Jack Overview
A pallet jack, or a pallet truck, is a piece of equipment used to lift and then move pallets. Pallets are used in a variety of material handling and shipping applications. They make it easy to move and position them in:
- distribution centers
- manufacturing facilities
- commercial and industrial environments
Pallet jacks come in manual and motorized versions, with the type and capacity depending on the application. Common features of pallet jacks include:
- adjustable forks
- push-pull handle
- steering wheels
- pump lever
Pallet jacks are available with great capacity ratings and can save time and energy when moving large pallet loads.
Pallet Jack Anatomy
Understanding the anatomy of a Pallet Jack is beneficial to maximize its capabilities. The Pallet Jack is composed of several basic components. Each component has a specific function and recognition and understanding of each component will help in the successful use of the Pallet Jack.
The handle of a pallet jack is the point of control for the operator. The handle is the primary control and it must be easy for a user to reach and operate with minimal effort. The handle consists of multiple parts:
- comfort grip
- tilt wheel
- control buttons
All components must be ergonomically designed so as not to put a strain on the operator’s wrist and hand. When it comes to maintaining the handle on a pallet jack, it should be checked for any loose screws or bolts that may have come loose over time, as well as any wear or tear.
The control lever takes user input and applies it to the pallet jack’s hydraulics to initiate and control movement. It allows for the raising and lowering of the forklift, left and right steering, and forward and reverse drive.
To ensure safety, the control lever often features an emergency stop switch. Once positioned appropriately, the forward and reverse control is engaged. This sends the pallet jack on its way, allowing for the safe and efficient movement of goods, materials, and products.
As part of regular pallet jack maintenance, regularly inspect the control lever for any wear and tear. Lubricate the lever and fix any broken or worn-down parts.
The hydraulic pump of a pallet jack is an integral component of its anatomy. It consists of a motor, pump, wheel, and other components that work together to create the power needed for the pallet jack to be operational.
The motor takes energy from a power source and converts it into hydraulic power. This power is then used to move the pallet jack’s wheels forward or backward when operated.
The pump draws in hydraulic fluid, compresses it, and sends it to a valve, which regulates the pressure. This pressure is what forces the wheels to move when the pallet jack is pushed or pulled.
It is what allows the pallet jack to jack up heavy loads. Without the hydraulic pump, pallet jacks would not be able to easily move heavy loads quickly and safely. To maintain the hydraulic pump, regularly lubricate its components, check for hydraulic levels, and service any seals or gaskets.
Located at the front of the machine, these wheels enable the jack to move the pallet in different directions. They are typically made from hard rubber, ensuring a secure grip on the surface.
The key to these wheels is that the material is wear-resistant and of a consistent hardness which is important for movement. On either end of the wheel axle, bearings are installed to provide friction-free movement of the wheel.
The steering wheel works in tandem with the electric or manual pallet jack handle to control the power to move the jack forward and backward. It can provide full control of the operator when maneuvering a loaded pallet.
Maintaining the steer wheels involves lubricating the wheel, inspecting its integrity, ensuring tires are properly inflated, and ensuring all parts are securely tightened.
Forks & Fork Frame
The forks are made up of two metallic parts connected to the forks frame which houses the hydraulic system and controls. The forks are wide and resilient and are designed to handle large, heavy loads regularly. The width and depth of the forks support a balanced and secure load that can be safely transported.
The fork frame supports all the components of the pallet jack and ensures its structure. This welded metal frame is used to carry the transverse bar, handle, and loaded forks.
It houses the pump and cylinders. These are used to lower and raise the forks A handle is there to adjust the desired height needed to load and unload. It stands as the main platform and support of the pallet jack.
The load wheels are the most essential part of the unit and receive the most strain due to the heavy pallet loads. The load wheels consist of two 3-inch-diameter swivel casters, forming the backbone of the pallet jack.
The casters are loaded with bearings that help the pallet jack navigate over rough or uneven terrain. Furthermore, the load wheels play a critical role in the pallet jack’s overall ability to hold and maneuver a pallet load.
To maintain the load wheels, it’s important to inspect them regularly for wear or damage. Lubricate the bearings and steering mechanism of the pallet jack with quality grease to keep it running smoothly. Replacing the pallet jack rollers with high-quality components should be done regularly to keep the pallet's load wheels as efficient as possible.
Get To Know The Pallet Jack Parts
The pallet jack is a precise, multifaceted machine. Each one of the pallet jack parts, from wheels to pumps, serves a very specific task, all in the pursuit of ease of maneuverability.
Knowing the pallet jack anatomy can help ensure proper maintenance and optimal performance. An understanding of the anatomy of the pallet jack can help achieve the highest workplace efficiency. Contact your local pallet jack repair shop for more tips and advice.
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