Want to extend your industrial equipment life expectancy? Here’s how to do it. If you rely on equipment like forklifts, terminal tractors, aerial lifts, and electric tugs, you need to know how to get the most out of your equipment. Industrial equipment won’t last forever, but you can extend your equipment’s lifespan with the right strategy.
Industrial Equipment Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of your equipment will depend on many different factors, including how often it’s used, how well it’s maintained, and what it’s used for. At some point, a piece of equipment will become too costly to continue using, but that point will vary depending on the business.
Factors That Impact Industrial Equipment Life Expectancy
- The following factors will play a major role in how long your equipment lasts:
- The Environment: Dirty, rough outdoor environments will wear down equipment faster than clean, easy, indoor environments.
- Proper Maintenance: Just like a car, your equipment needs periodic maintenance to prevent major problems. Periodic maintenance will prolong the life of your industrial equipment. Ignoring maintenance can lead to costly repair jobs.
- Operator Error: Sometimes operators make mistakes that damage equipment.
How Many Hours Does a Forklift Last?
Forklifts are probably the most widely used piece of industrial equipment around, especially in warehouses. It’s a big commitment to buy a forklift, used or new, so it’s a good idea to know how long you can expect your forklifts to last.
Forklift life expectancy varies, but in general, a forklift will last 10,000 working hours. This number, however, is dependent on several factors, including the environment in which it’s operated. For example, a forklift operated on uneven terrain won’t last as long as one that is operated on a flat, easy surface. Also, a forklift operated in a dirty, outdoor environment won’t last as long as one used indoors.
A forklift will last much longer when it’s properly maintained, properly used, and stored where it’s not exposed to excessive hot or cold temperatures. Other factors that impact the lifespan of a forklift include how often it’s used to carry heavy loads and the type of forklift and year it was built.
Electric Forklifts Have a Lifespan Based on the Battery
One important thing to remember is that electric forklifts have a different industrial equipment life expectancy because of the battery. Just like traditional forklifts, they’ll last longer when used in a clean, indoor space. However, the batteries will only take a finite number of charges before they need to be replaced.
General Warehouse Equipment Lifespan
In general, each piece of equipment in your warehouse will have a different lifespan depending on factors specific to the equipment. For instance, a used piece of equipment won’t last as long as a new piece of equipment, but there are benefits to buying used. Also, if you’re using your equipment continuously you can expect far more wear and tear than if you’re only using it periodically.
You Need Warehouse Equipment and Supply Protocols
To maintain your warehouse equipment in good working order, you need protocols that keep you on top of maintenance, repairs, and inspections. Most companies use software to keep track of these things. Here are several things that should be included in your protocols.
Perform Regular Equipment Inspections
Inspections should be performed regularly to maintain safety and make sure your equipment is in working order. Each piece of equipment will be on a different inspection cycle, but here’s a general outline for two common machines:
- Aerial Lifts: Inspect after every 150 hours of operation or 90 days.
- Forklifts: Each operator should inspect a forklift before use, even if it was inspected by the last person to use it. This is actually an OSHA requirement.
Always refer to OSHA for inspection standards—then you can create stricter standards if you need to for your own purposes.
Manage Repairs Quickly
Your equipment will last longer when you handle repairs right away. Never let a needed repair go undone for long. Always get repairs made quickly, and if you can’t get to a repair right away, take the equipment out of service temporarily. Never allow workers to use a piece of equipment that is waiting to be repaired.
Get Your Forklifts Fully Serviced
It’s recommended that forklifts be fully serviced after every 200 hours of use. This includes inspecting mechanical components, adding fluids, changing the oil and air filter, adjusting the idle and ignition timing, and greasing up certain components.
After every 600 hours of use, you’ll want to have your forklift’s radiator cleaned and possibly replace the hydraulic filter.
Ensure Workers Use Equipment Properly
Whether it’s a forklift or an electric tug or any other piece of equipment, make sure all operators are certified and validated in their ability to operate the equipment. This helps ensure your workers will use the equipment properly. If you discover that anyone is misusing the equipment, put a stop to it immediately.
Ensure the Right Equipment Is Used for the Right Job
Different pieces of equipment are meant for different uses. Always ensure equipment is used for its intended purposes only. Using machinery in other ways can create safety hazards and can damage the equipment.
Prolong Industrial Equipment Life Expectancy
Whether your equipment is new or used, make sure to follow the steps outlined in this article to prolong the lifespan of each machine. In the long run, by performing regular maintenance and inspections, you’ll save money on repairs that result from neglecting that maintenance.