I am sometimes asked whether you can extend the life of a leaf chain fitted to a forklift, simply by swapping or reversing ends?
Often in business it's the small details that make all the difference, details that save time and money and transform a difficult complex task into something easy.
When you need to replace a leaf chain on a vital piece of equipment, you may almost certainly need it replaced quickly and with minimum disruption to production. You don’t want to waste time trying to identify which type of leaf chain you need, it’s length and other specifications.
When you buy leaf chain you will probably find that it arrives in a box. When you receive it, you’ll have to sort it out and add other components to it before using it in the production line. You may have to cut it to length and store the rest. It can be quite a complex, time-consuming process locating all the components from different deliveries, and then assembling them ready for production.
When designing lifting or handling equipment such as forklifts and telehandlers, most design engineers would look to comply with the specific standard for the machine they are designing.
For any machine sold in Europe, that’s the Machinery Directive – Directive 2006/42/EC – a standard that is intended to ensure common levels of safety in machinery that is used throughout Europe.
Leaf chain anchor bolts are a crucial part of a leaf chain assembly – if they are not designed without considering all the relevant factors then they may not conform to industry standards or they may even fail. Here are the main considerations when designing an anchor bolt for use with a leaf chain.
Leaf chain is a type of chain found most commonly on telehandlers and forklift trucks. In both applications it plays a crucial role. Failure of a leaf chain component can result in catastrophic consequences – leading to a loss of production with associated financial implications or even worse, serious injuries to an operator.
Whatever the role of a leaf chain, it will inevitably wear, and this wear, if unchecked, will lead to failure. It is vital to take steps to prevent as much wear as possible and essential to monitor leaf chain wear so problems can be addressed before a major incident occurs. You should be aware that as well as measuring leaf chain wear to avoid any potential financial loss, it is also a legal requirement.
The Machinery Directive, Directive 2006/42/EC, is a European Union directive that is intended to ensure a certain level of safety in machinery and machine parts that are sold in the European Union. The directive, therefore, covers forklift trucks and other similar lifting equipment.
As leaf chain specialists we are often asked to consider how these standards and guidelines apply to leaf chains used in these types of machinery.
Some years ago, a number of forklift manufacturers started to factory-fit leaf chain with plastic guides. These guides were added to prevent wear on hydraulic cylinders or to control guide hoses which were routed through or near the mast of the forklift.
Leaf chain with plastic inserts is now available in a variety of pitch sizes and lengths and are found typically fitted to forklift trucks manufactured by Linde, Boss, Komatsu, Still, Toyota, Cesab, Hyundai and Jungheinrich.
When it comes to forklift trucks and other materials handling equipment that use fixed leaf chains, the saying “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” is not entirely true, as another weak point is potentially the anchor – where the leaf chain is attached to the lift system.
A key part of that anchor assembly is the leaf chain anchor pin – sometimes called a clevis pin. They often get overlooked, but they play a key part in safely joining the leaf chain to the leaf chain anchor bolts, therefore securing it into the lift system.
Installed and maintained correctly, the hard-working leaf chain on your forklift or telehandler will give many years of service. But any industrial leaf chain will suffer from wear or potential environmental damage and should be periodically inspected.
To carry out a leaf chain inspection, you need to know certain facts about the leaf chain, facts which are not discernible from a visual inspection. Knowing the part number can help, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.