Handling materials in cold stores is one of the most challenging tasks in industry. Your forklift trucks will suffer in a number of ways under the sub-zero conditions; electronics can malfunction, lubrication, battery capacity, etc.
So what can you do to ensure that you keep your trucks running efficiently in cold store operations?
Density – It makes much more sense to keep a cold store as heavily stocked as possible as it’ll lower the amount of energy required to keep the store at a low temperature. But this means you need to strike a balance between handling capacity and density.
Careful consideration must be taken when calculating cold store layout to strike the right balance.
Truck performance – Cold temperatures can have a variety of effects on a forklift. It can disturb the machine’s electronics, make the oil thicker, and make metal joints much more brittle. So how can you avoid this? You obviously can’t increase the temperature in the cold store. So the thing you have to ensure is up for the job is the truck. When purchasing a fleet you must ensure that they have been designed to work in colder conditions and can withstand such temperatures.
Condensation – One other major problem is that when you take the forklift from such cold environments, back into warmer temperatures. Metal will contract when frozen and then expand when warm up, which as you can imagine causes problems. It’s recommended that you keep the fork lift in cold store, and if it must be taken out, leave it out long enough to dry. If you’re regularly in and out then shorten the time spent inside and lengthen the time outside so that the temperature of your forklift doesn’t fall below 0°C.
The driver – Keeping the forklift truck operator warm is of paramount importance. Driving in such temperatures can seriously affect their abilities, so ensure that you provide them with adequate clothing.
Maintaining your forklift in cold store environments is of paramount importance. If it’s neglected you may find yourself having to replace fleet vehicles on a regular basis.