Centre of attention

Yes that’s a play on words as we need to look LOAD CENTRES (LC) and how they affect the performance of a forklift.

A forklift is rated at a certain capacity i.e. the maximum weight that it can lift. So a 2 ton forklift will be able to lift 2 tons given that the centre of the load is no longer than 500mm. The forklift thus has a capacity of 2 tons with a 500mm load centre. In simple terms this means that the load that is being lifted should not be longer than 1 meter (1 000mm) – the CENTRE of the load would thus be 1000/2 = 500mm.

What happens if the load centre is larger than 500mm? The forklifts capacity decreases i.e. it can’t lift 2 tons anymore because the load is too long (facing forward form the face of the forks). A practical analogy would be that a person could hold a pole cradled in their arms against their chest, now try hold that pole with your arms straight out forward in the palms of your hands – you will find it very difficult.

In practical terms lets look at some real figures – a forklift with a capacity of 2 tons will lift in the following manner depending on the load centre:

Lifting capacity (kg)        Load centre (mm)

               2 000                                   500

               1 805                                   600       

               1 645                                   700

               1 515                                   800

               1 400                                   900

So when renting or purchasing a forklift make sure you know what the load centre is because it will most definitely influence the lifting capacity of the machine.