How a Hydraulic Forklift Works

If you’re in the material handling business, you may operate a hydraulic forklift every day. But do you understand the mechanics behind how it works? Here’s the intriguing information you’ve always been curious about.


The Science of Hydraulics

Hydraulic pressure relies on a simple yet powerful concept: pressurized fluid can generate significant power. Blaise Pascal, a French scientist who lived over 300 years ago, discovered that liquid cannot be compressed, underpinning the entire hydraulic system. This principle means that when pressure is applied to a confined liquid, it transmits the same pressure in all directions.

To understand this concept better, picture placing your finger over a running garden hose—the pressure build-up is similar to what happens in a forklift’s hydraulic system, which contains confined, pressurized liquid. This pressure forces the liquid against a giant piston, transferring energy to the piston and forcing it upward. This movement raises the forks and keeps them elevated until the forklift operator releases the hydraulic pressure. Operating a hydraulic forklift is quite straightforward since the pressure can be adjusted with the simple push or pull of a lever.


Components of a Hydraulic Forklift

The following forklift parts work together with powerful results:

·       Hydraulic fluid comes in several forms, including water-based, petroleum-based, and synthetic formulas. Each type has advantages and is selected based on the forklift’s operational needs.

·       A reservoir holds the hydraulic fluid until it’s needed.

·       A pump supplies hydraulic fluid into the system, with the pressure equal to the flow it produces.

·       A control valve regulates the direction and flow of the hydraulic fluid.

·       A flow divider alters the hydraulic line, adjusting the force needed for heavier or lighter loads.

·       A return line completes the cycle by returning the fluid to the reservoir.

·       A return filter ensures the hydraulic fluid is contaminant-free before returning to the tank.

·       A relief valve acts as a safety feature, protecting the hydraulic system from excessive pressure.

·       Hydraulic cylinders, sealed tubes with a rod inside, are necessary to move hefty loads. Lift cylinders move in one direction and provide most of the machine’s power, while tilt cylinders push and pull loads.

·       A sump is integrated into the forklift’s frame, allowing this cool metal to act as a heat sink. This element is crucial because hydraulic fluid generates tremendous heat energy as it resists compression.


Partner with Ring Power Lift Trucks

At Ring Power Lift Trucks, we pride ourselves on our expertise and dedication. After over 60 years in the forklift industry, our commitment to excellence has never wavered. We cater to a diverse range of forklift needs throughout the Sunshine State, offering both new and used forklift sales and rentals. Our 19 Florida locations ensure you’re never too far from exceptional forklift services. Call us at 877-544-5438 or contact us online, and let our team guide you to the best forklift solutions for your operation.



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