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Ultimate Guide To Understanding Forklift Tires (2021)

Ultimate Guide To Understanding Forklift Tires (2021)

5th Sep 2021

CONTENTS

1.Introduction

2.Different Types Of Forklift Tires - Pneumatic, Solid, Polyurethane Tires

3.Pneumatic Forklift Tires(Benefits and applications)

4.Solid/Cushion Rubber Forklift Tires(Benefits and applications)

5.Polyurethane Forklift Tires(Benefits and applications)

6.How To Measure And Understanding Tire Sizes.

7. FAQ

INTRODUCTION

Forklift tires are some of the most valuable components of a forklift. Since the Forklift is considered the workhorse of modern businesses understanding its critical parts like the forklift tires is important. Doing so will help you establish which ones are the best for your applications and determining the right forklift tire sizes for your forklift.

Parts of a Forklift Tire

A-Sidewall: The sidewall of a forklift tire holds key information about the tire. From it, you can read the tire's size, brand, and type. It also has a wear line that can help you to establish the amount of wear and tear so that it is easy to know when to replace overly worn-out forklift tires.

B- Tread: Every forklift tire has indentations on the part of the tire that comes into contact with the floor. These indents offer the tires great traction and stability during operations.

C- Inner Diameter: It is the section of the forklift tire where the rim is fitted so that the forklift tire can be attached to a forklift.

D- Outer Diameter: It is the outermost part of the forklift tire that has the treads and determines the height of the forklift.

E- Width: When you look at the tire from the top, the width is that distance from one sidewall to the next.

Parts_of_a_forklift_Tire

Factors To Consider While Selecting A Forklift Tire

Selecting the right forklift tires is not only key for efficient operations but also a critical cost-saving measure: In this section, we classify different factors that you should consider under these three categories;

1) Nature of Operations - You should select your forklift tires based on the number of shifts and trips your forklifts are supposed to make, speed and length of the run of your operations, and weight of the load handled, and load frequency.

2) Technical Requirements - Manufacturers also specify the type of forklift tires that are ideal for your forklift since not every forklift tire can work for your forklift. For safety reasons, always ensure you adhere to these instructions. In your selection, you should also consider the capacity and class of the forklifts you are using.

3) Operating Environment - Your operating environment is also key to determining the types of forklift tires that you should use. Do you operate indoors or outdoors?

For instance, if you operate outdoors in a rough terrain then pneumatic forklift tires are ideal for you. On the other hand, if you operate mostly indoors then you can go for the cushion tires.

If you handle food or medication then you can consider non-marking tires that do not shed harmful compounds. Non-marking tires lack the soot that is usually added during the manufacturing of tires leaving them with some desirable attributes like not leaving marks on the warehouse floor during operation.

While this might be insignificant in other warehouses, it gives them an edge in warehouses where food or medicine is handled and hygiene is a major requirement.

forklift_tires

Five Things You Can Do To Ensure Your Fork Lift Tires Last Longer

Industrial equipment like forklifts and their parts are quite delicate and costly and therefore need premium care. Here are some tips you can follow to ensure your forklift tires last longer.

1) Regular checking And Correcting the Forklift Tire Air Pressure

Different forklift tires come with a recommended air pressure by which they can perform optimally. However, this air pressure is normally affected by different factors.

For instance, continuous use of the tires or increase in external temperatures normally results in temperature build-up in the tires which in turn makes their air pressure to increase drastically beyond what is acceptable.

When this goes on uncorrected the crown of the tire is subjected to a lot of stress which makes it wear off at a much rapid rate.

Therefore, frequently check your forklift tire’s air pressure to ensure it is not lower than 20% of the recommended levels or over-inflated.

2) Adopt Good Forklift Driving Habits

Something else that will ensure your tires last longer is adopting best practices when it comes to driving your forklift during your operations.

Nothing wears out the crown of a forklift tire more than driving habits like spinning or sudden braking which they are not designed for.

Ensure you use certified operators who over time have been trained on proper handling of forklifts.

Frequent in-house training guided by a company policy can also go a long way in ensuring that the forklifts are handled properly.

3) Choose the Right Forklift Tire for Your Application

Forklift tires don’t come cheap and so you should make every effort to ensure you derive maximum value from them before you can replace them. The best way of doing that is simply choosing the right tire for the right job.

For instance, pneumatic forklift tires are ideal for outdoor work, therefore, if you want a tire that will last in that environment you should consider them.

On the other hand, polyurethane forklift tires are ideal for indoor use on smooth floors where they offer much better traction and low resistance for smooth operations.

4) Regular Maintenance of the Forklift.

The frequency of the maintenance of your forklift should be regular so that you are able to identify possible damage to your forklift tires.

Over time, this will ensure that you have lower forklift tire replacement costs and you do not experience any work downtime because of damage to your tires that could have been prevented much earlier.

5) Buy From a High-Quality Forklift Tire Supplier.

Another important factor to consider is that when it comes to purchasing forklift tires the quality you settle on is important.

If you want something with a longer life, you should go for the best quality available. Cheap products will always work against you as they wear off quickly. You will therefore be forced to replace your forklift tires frequently which will prove costly with time.

Unnoticeable damage can also put your entire workforce and business in danger. You can never go wrong with quality forklift tires.

5 Ways You're Damaging Your Forklift Tires

Damaged forklift tires can be a threat to profitable business operations. In most cases, they directly lead to increased fuel consumption, reduced efficiency, and pose threats to safety.

However, most of the damage on forklift tires occurs from engaging in harmful habits that accelerate their wear and tear.

Here are some of the common things that can accelerate the damage on your forklift tires.

1) Running Over Debris

It is common for a busy warehouse to experience an occasional build-up of debris.

When the forklift runs over this debris it creates a situation whereby pieces of the forklift tire are cut off leading to chunking.

The chunking of the forklift tires is a great source of bumpy rides which will make your forklift operators experience fatigue during operations.

Therefore ensure every debris is removed from the path that you are going to use for your forklift operations.

2) Exposure To Oil spills

If you are using heavy machinery with faulty engines it is usual to experience oil spills.

When forklift operators run over this oil spill with the forklift tires, the oil will affect the chemical composition of the forklift exposing it to quick breakdown then accelerated wear and tear.

You should, therefore, encourage prompt cleaning up of any oil spills in your warehouse or you can opt to use the polyurethane tires which are not affected by the oil spills.

3) Improper Application

One of the damaging things you can do to your forklift is using it for the wrong application.

For instance, cushion tires are ideal for indoor work where they enable easy maneuverability, however, when you use them outdoors in rough/rocky environments you will end up accelerating their wear and tear.

You should always be aware of the environment you intend to use your forklift and the kind of forklift tires that are a good fit for that environment.

4) Overloading The Forklift

Overloading your forklift can also be damaging to it.

When a forklift is overloaded, most of the weight is borne by the forklift tires which leads to a rapid build-up of heat.

If this continues for some time, the forklift tires will end up cracking.

It is also a major safety risk as it exposes you to tip-over accidents.

You should, therefore, ensure that your operators do not overload your forklifts.

5) Improper Driving Habits

Training your forklift operators is also a crucial step to ensure you limit damage to your forklift tires.

Proper training will discourage them from engaging in improper driving habits that are damaging to the forklift's components like the tires.

For instance, if your forklift operators engage in spinning or aggressive braking the forklift tires will end up developing flat spots.

These flat spots reduce the traction of the forklift tires exposing the operators to accidents.

Signs Your Forklift Tire Beads Are Damaged

The tire bead is one of the most important parts of the tire. It is designed with a structure that perfectly fits into the part of the rim that it comes into contact with.

It has a core made of steel wires that are meant to hold the bead into position on the rim once the tire is inflated to the recommended pressure.

Like any other part of the tire, the tire bead is usually exposed to damage if it is not properly handled.

Here are some of the major signs that your forklifts tire beads might be damaged and in need of replacement.

Exposed Wires Due To Torn Beads

A lot of force is normally used during the tire demounting process while breaking into the tire beads. In case the procedure is not done in the right way it could lead to the tearing up of the rubber.

If the damage is severe the wires that provide the beads with structure will get exposed.

You have the option of repairing these tires if the wires do not become rusty, otherwise, you will need to entirely replace the tires.

To safeguard your tires from this kind of damage ensure you are always using the right mounting/demounting procedures.

Investing in proper tire lubricants to reduce friction between prying tools and the forklift tire beads will also go a long way.

Bead Scorching Due To Braking

Sudden stops that result from over-speeding usually generate a lot of heat since the forklift operators are forced to brake hard.

Normally when this happens a lot of heat is generated on by the brakes and transferred to the tire beads.

The damage is usually worsened if the tire brakes are faulty.

Since the tire beads are made of rubber which does not handle heat well they will end up getting burned up over a long period of use.

You should train your operators to adopt safe and less damaging driving habits and invest in brakes with great heat dissipation.

Cracking On The Beads

Every tire is usually manufactured with a rim size in mind that it should be compatible with. When a tire is fitted with an incompatible rim size, it will end up chaffing.

The same problem can also result from under-inflation which makes the tire beads not fit sufficiently on the rim. Tires that experience this problem should be replaced immediately.

You can prevent this problem from happening in the future by adequately training your servicemen to ensure they properly match tires with rims of the same size.

When and How to Change Forklift Tires

Forklifts undergo a substantial amount of wear and tear throughout their usage and checking for wear, especially on the forklift tires, is essential.

Forklifts lack a suspension system unlike other automotives. Therefore, the entire weight of the forklift is supported by the tires.

Average forklift tires can support nearly 10,000 lbs.! Using a forklift with damaged tires not only damages your forklift, but also creates a dangerous environment for the operator as well as other workers nearby.

Worn-out tires cause your forklift to become unstable and moreover, riding a forklift with worn-out tires is very uncomfortable and can lead to fatigue and fatal errors.

Worn-out forklift tires also make the operator to absorb all the shock, when the forklift is operated on rough surfaces. To be precise, the transmission must work extra hard to make the tires turn the same amount of rotation, resulting in a breakdown.

Swapping tires is a relatively inexpensive way to maintain your forklift and keep its operation top-notch. Not forgetting the health benefits attributed to the operator when he/she absorbs less shock.

Every forklift tire comes with a methodology to determine when it should be replaced.

In general, the tire letters can act as a guide and when there is less than an inch of space between the outer rim of the tire and the letters then it is prime time you replaced them.

On cushion tires, for instance, each tire has intricate number markings of its size, i.e., a set of size “21x7x15”. When the tire’s rubber wears down until the top of its surface kisses these numbers, it is time to replace them.

On solid pneumatic tires, on the other hand, there is a ring or band that serves as a marker. Once the tire wear reaches this strip, then it is high time for a new outfit. The beauty of pneumatic tires is that they are a solid mass, letting you get the most out of it, but this increases the chances of slipping and tipping due to reduced tread surface and friction with the surface.

Since operating on worn-out tires is hazardous, this article guides you on when to change your forklift tires and how to change them.

Other Signs that your Tires need Replacing

Aside from the ring/band or letter and number markings, there are other determinants that imply the need for forklift tire replacement.

Take a gander at these critical signs to indicate your forklift tires is nearing its end and you should change them to prevent danger and extra forklift wear.

  • Chunking.

If your forklift tires are having pieces, or chunks out of it falling off, it’s a good indicator that your tires need replacing.

  • Tearing on the tires.

Quite similar to chunking, your tires will start tearing off in spots, once they reach critical use.

  • Flat Spots.

Your tires should be well rounded, if they are irregularly shaped due to flat areas, then replace them immediately.

What you need to Replace Forklift Tires

You will require the following items to replace either a Cushion or Pneumatic Forklift Tire

  • A forklift jack
  • Correct size forklift tire
  • Impact wrench
  • Forklift tire press (if changing cushion tires)

Instructions for Changing Forklift Tires

  1. First, find a completely flat surface, clear from obstacles to work on.
  2. Begin by loosening the lug nuts on the wheel that needs replacing with the air impact wrench. Remember, just loosen the nuts and don’t remove them completely.
  3. With a forklift jack, raise the side of the forklift that needs to be replaced.
  4. As the forklift gets off the ground, proceed now to remove the lug nuts.
  5. If your forklift uses solid pneumatic tires, just replace it with a new wheel and continue from step seven. If it’s a solid cushion-type tire, first remove the rubber from the wheel and using a forklift tire press, press a new one on.
  6. Once you’ve replaced the wheel onto the hub, tighten the lug nuts with your fingers first, then tighten them to spec using the air impact tool. Don’t apply too much force as tightening it too much also damages the tire hub, adding costs of repairs and if the wheel is not held in place tightly, it may come loose and drift away from the forklift.
  7. Double-check the wheel to ensure it is spinning freely and most importantly, is balanced.
  8. Lower the forklift and remove the forklift jack.
  9. Test drive to ensure it provides a smooth ride.

Skipping any of the steps or incorporating the use of an improper lifting method has the potential to cause serious injury or even possibly, death.

Essential Safety Precautions for Changing Forklift Tires

If changing solid forklift tires due to regular wear, it is essential that you consider replacing both opposite wheels at the same time.

While your first instinct may involve wanting to save money, an unbalanced forklift is prone to tipping or slipping while under load, leading to injury both to the driver and any others around.

Storing your Forklift Tires

Tires have a shorter shelf life, usually months. Therefore, limit storing tires in stores for long. They should also be stored in a cool, dark, dry, oil and dirt-free area.

Depending on usage, a solid tire normally outlasts a pneumatic tire, to the ration of 2:1, i.e., for every one solid tire used, 2 pneumatic tires have been expended.

The forklift tire market is vast, imbued with different tires suitable for your forklift needs.

Tips for Mounting and Demounting a Forklift Tire

For busy warehouses, tire mounting and demounting is very common however it can be a very risky process.

It is therefore important that proper precautions are taken to ensure that the process is done in a way that exposure to the risks involved is limited.

Let's take a look at some of the most important safety tips to keep at the back of your mind for a successful mounting and demounting process.

1) Proper Training

The place of training when it comes to proper tire mounting cannot be over-emphasized since it comes with several advantages.

First, it makes them comprehend manufacturer specifications and handle the tires from that perspective.

It also makes it easy to implement safe procedures when it comes to the safe mounting and demounting of the forklift tires and the identification of the proper tools to use for every crucial step.

2) Inspect The Forklift Tire For Damage

Throughout use forklift tires usually experience some level of wear and tear that leads to cuts or bulges.

Such tires are usually at a very high risk of bursting during demounting and this exposes the maintenance people to injury.

You should make it a point to inspect tires before mounting or demounting for such damages.

3) Deflate Tires Properly

You should also never attempt to demount a tire that is not deflated.

It is not only difficult enough to demount a tire that is still inflated but you run the risk of piercing the tire during the process.

The rapid loss of air that results easily exposes the tire to an explosion that can lead to serious injuries.

4) Use Proper Lubrication

It is a standard procedure that before you can demount a tire successfully, you need to break into the bead seal which forms between the beads and the rims.

It is usually followed by prying into the tires and this uses a lot of force.

To ensure that you do not damage or fracture the tire beads with this force the use of a lubricant is necessary since it reduces friction between the tire beads and the tools used.

While demounting a tire you need to break through the beads so that removal of the tire is much easier.

The use of lubricant makes it easy for the tools you are using to properly break into the bead without destroying the tires.

It is also recommended that you avoid petroleum-based lubricants as they will eventually damage the tires.

4) Use An Tire Inflation Cage

Inflating a tire after mounting it on a rim can be very risky due to the danger of the tire exploding.

One of the most effective ways to limit exposure to this explosion is using a tire inflation cage.

The inflation cage confines the tires and will limit a tire that bursts within the cage thereby protecting the fitter.

5) Move To A Secure Environment

To keep your workers safe you should ensure the mounting/demounting of the tire is done in a place far from your normal operations.

The environment set aside should also be restricted to the servicemen only.

For instance, when the tire beads and rims are mismatched the tire could blow out during mounting and this will lead to fatal injuries and damages.

Therefore if the process is done in an area where other major operations are usually done the risk of damage is increased and the magnitude amplified.

Make Use Of Proper Equipment

The use of proper equipment for the mounting/demounting process is also crucial for safety.

A good example is when demounting a tire you should always see to it that you chock all the other wheels except the one being mounted so that the vehicle does not move unexpectedly.

The use of a heavy-duty jack to raise the heavy machinery is also recommended. However, it should be on a flat surface with steel stands used for support.

Conduct Proper Inspection

It is a wise thing to conduct a proper inspection of the tires during demounting/mounting.

Sometimes dust particles get stuck in the valves, therefore, they should be checked and the particles removed to ease clogging.

Before mounting the components of the tire should be checked to ensure they are in good condition or replaced.

Some signs to look out for are cracking, deformation or corrosion.

You should also check the inside of the tire to establish the presence of dirt which needs to be cleaned out.

Only Use Matching Components

Using matching components for the tires and rims is important for safe operations.

For instance, using a combination of mismatching tire rims and beads can lead to tire blowouts which will expose the servicemen to fatal injuries.

You can always consult the tire manual provided by the manufacturer or check on the sidewall of the tire for specific details like dimensions of the tire width and recommended rim dimensions.

Different Types Of Forklift Tires - Pneumatic, Solid, Polyurethane Tires

Polyurethane Forklift Tires (Benefits And Applications)

Polyurethane tires are usually made of different compounds that have varying degrees of shore hardness as determined by the durometer.

Durometer in simple terms is a measure of the degree of hardness of non-metallic materials like rubbers, plastics, and polyurethane. Knowledge of a material's durometer is of great advantage especially in material handling as it can help you establish it's suitability for an application.

Durometer also known as Shore hardness is usually measured through the use of the shore A or the Shore D scales. The shore A scale measures softer (flexible) elastomers while the shore D measures the harder(rigid) elastomers.

The measurement is usually given as a number between 0 to 100 on the scales of A or D.

The measurement is usually done through the use of an instrument called the durometer that helps determine the hardness of a material by how much it is resistant to indentation.

Five Major Benefits of Polyurethane Tires

One of the major problems forklift owners usually experience is the frequency of the replacement of forklift tires. A major cause of this is either using the wrong kind of forklift tires for their application or purchasing low-quality forklift tires.

Since different forklift tires have different benefits for diverse applications, in this article, we are going to highlight some of the benefits of using polyurethane tires which usually come with a working life of over 10,000 hours.

1) Does Not Shed Toxic Compounds

Some warehouses handle food or medication and are held at a higher standard in terms of the safety of the operating environment.

For such warehouses, rubber tires are not ideal since they usually shed off carbon which can be harmful when it finds it's way into food.

Therefore, the ideal forklift tires to use in such instances are polyurethane forklift tires since their chemical composition does not allow them to shed any particles that can prove toxic.

You will also love it that they leave the warehouse cleaner as they are non-marking.

2) Resistant To Chemical Corrosion

Since material handling needs differ, it is always wise to use the right material handling equipment to match those needs since failure to do so can be a costly endeavor.

For instance, if you use rubber tires in a warehouse where chemical spills or oil spills are common you will end up spending more on tire replacement.

However, polyurethane tires are perfect for such warehouses as they cannot be easily damaged by corrosive chemicals.

3) Higher Tensile Strength

Even when forklift tires are loaded within their capacity, the weight of the load exposes them to some level of wear and tear.

What happens is that the load applies pressure on the load leading to splitting, tearing or chunking during operations.

However, this problem can easily be solved by using polyurethane tires since they have a high tensile strength which gives them the capacity to bear twice as much the load capacity of rubber tires.

Therefore, wear and tear is reduced helping bring down your tire replacement costs.

4) Lower Rolling Resistance

A tire's rolling resistance is a key determinant of the efficiency of the material handling equipment it is fitted on. Lower rolling resistance ensures the forklifts use much lower energy during operations.

Polyurethane forklift tires have a larger durometer which means they have a much lower rolling resistance which will conserve energy when fitted in electric forklifts.

The end benefit of this is that you will not need to charge your electric forklift frequently reducing downtime which will affect the profitability of your operations.

5) Resistant To Abrasion

If your forklift operates in a harsher environment it will be exposed to abrasion or cuts from sharp objects.

Using rubber forklift tires in such an environment will expose them to increased wear and tear from constant abrasion and cuts.

You can solve this problem by using polyurethane forklift tires which have a higher resistance to abrasion and cuts.

Signs Your Polyurethane Tires Are Damaged

Even though polyurethane tires usually outlast both pneumatic and rubber tires for similar applications, improper use can expose them to damage or accelerate existing damage.

For instance, overloading, over-speeding, and running over debris have been observed to cause serious damage to polyurethane tires as we'll see in this article.

So What Are Some Of the Observable damages to Polyurethane Tires?

1) Cracking

One observable damage to polyurethane tires is cracking that develops on the sides of the tires.

These cracks normally occur when the tires are overloaded which eventually makes them stretched beyond their elastic limit.

You can prevent this from happening by getting polyurethane tires that have a tapered sidewall or going for those with a harder durometer.

2) Chunking

Another sure sign that your polyurethane tires need replacement is when they start chunking.

They can begin chunking if they are exposed to docking impacts where shear forces develop destroying their structure.

It can also happen due to bad driving habits like sudden braking and frequent turns. You can solve this problem by going for tires with a harder durometer or thicker treads.

3) Tearing

In some cases, the damage on the tires manifests as wrinkles on the surface of the tire.

They occur when an operator tries to maneuver around a tight corner with only tires moving while the forklift remains stationary.

This kind of movement exposes the tires to high shear forces that lead to the development of folds on the surface.

You can prevent such damage by going for polyurethane tires that have a harder durometer.

4) Cuts

It is also common to find tires that are still in good condition with cuts on the surface.

The main culprit for this kind of damage is usually the debris that is left lying around the warehouse.

Sometimes this debris can be sharp enabling it to cut through the polyurethane tires while the operator rides over them.

The solution for this is to go for tires with a softer durometer.

5) Meltdown

In a busy warehouse with fewer fleet, practices like overloading and over-speeding meant to ensure the set targets are met are common.

However, when polyurethane tires are exposed to such practices they eventually experience meltdowns.

The meltdown occurs because the polyurethane tires experience an internal heat build-up.

You can prevent meltdowns from happening by using tires with a harder durometer or a center groove to counter the effects of a heat build-up.

Factors That Lead To Damage Of Polyurethane Tires

Polyurethane tires are a type of elastomer that basically refers to artificial rubber.

They have grown in popularity over the years because they combine the desirable characteristics of both plastics and rubber to meet diverse material handling needs.

You are most likely to find them in the material handling equipment like electric forklifts and Load wheels.

However, polyurethane tires have one problem: they dissipate heat poorly which is their main source of damage.

Some of the leading causes of internal heat build up are;

1) Overloading

Overloading your forklift can be damaging to your polyurethane tires.

When a forklift is overloaded it transfers the stress of the extra load to the tires which leads to heat build-up within the tires and polyurethane tires are no different.

If this goes on unchecked the tires will eventually melt down making way for the costly need to replace them.

However, you can prevent this by using polyurethane tires with a higher durometer which boosts the load handling capacity.

Since the high capacity tires can also get damaged by being overloaded a great long-term solution would be to adopt measures that prevent overloading.

3) Over-speeding

Another way you can damage your polyurethane tires is when you engage in over-speeding.

To ensure your polyurethane forklift tires are not damaged you will need to choose those with compounds that prevent heat build-up by keeping the tires cool even during over-speeding.

Although another viable remedy in case you are not ready for an immediate replacement would be to adopt measures that help reduce over-speeding.

4) Long runs

If you are not overloading your forklift or damaging your polyurethane tires through over-speeding they can still be damaged by operations that stretch over a long period of time.

Like in the case of overloading and over-speeding, there will be heat build-up within the tires which can accumulate to dangerous levels.

The remedy for this is simply finding a supplier of polyurethane tires with compounds that help keep the tires cool for any long-run application.

Polyurethane tires are increasingly playing a very important role in the material handling industry due to their diverse applications.

One of the applications where they are proving more productive is on wet floors or cold storage areas.

For such areas, they are usually grooved or sipped so as to drain water from the point where the tires meet the floor for improved traction.

We have provided you below with illustrations that can help you differentiate between the different grooves and sipping for polyurethane tires.

1. Regular Polyurethane Tire

   regular polyurethane tires

 2. Center Grooved Polyurethane Tire

       Center Grooved Polyurethane Tire

 3. Router sipped polyurethane Tire

       Router sipped polyurethane Tire

 4. Diamond Sipped Polyurethane Tire

     Diamond Sipped Polyurethane Tire

5. Thin sipped Polyurethane Tire

      Thin sipped Polyurethane Tire

Cushion Forklift Tires (Benefits And Applications)

Cushion tires are some of the most popular tires when it comes to material handling.

They are entirely made of smooth rubber and are usually ideal for indoor use on smooth floors.

Cushion tires are some of the most common forklift tires and they are normally used on Cushion Tire Forklifts.

They can either have a smooth profile or come with treads(Traction tires). The smooth variety is usually used indoors while the ones with treads are ideal for outdoor applications.

Like every other tire, cushion tires usually experience a high level of wear and tear over time. If they lose over two inches off their original size they need to be replaced.

You should also look for the following signs to justify replacement.

Three Major signs Your Cushion Tires Are Damaged

Flat Spots From Improper Driving Habits

One of the signs you need to look for to establish damage to your tires is the presence of flat spots.

Now, flat spots usually develop when forklift operators make sharp turns with the forklift while it's loaded.

They can also result from parking your cushion tire forklift on the same spot on a cold floor over a long period of time.

Since flat spots make a forklift ride bumpy they increase operator fatigue over a long shift reducing their productivity.

Bond Failure Due To Cracking

Every cushion tire has a weight capacity that it can bear but when this weight is exceeded the result is an internal heat build-up.

Now, this internal heat build-up can also result when the cushion tires are subject to long runs.

The effect the heat build-up will have on the tires is cracking or chunking which is normally visible on the surface of the cushion tires.

Over time this cracking will affect the bonding that exists between the tire and the metallic band leading to a separation.

Poor Traction Due To Tread Wear

Cushion forklift tires are usually ideal for use outdoors as they have treads for better traction.

However, these tires will not prove very helpful if the tread on them is overly worn out.

Tread-wear can either be a normal occurrence or it can result from improper driving habits like aggressive braking.

Luckily any form of tread wear can be checked visibly and you should always replace your forklift tires if there is a 30% wear on the treads.

Therefore, ensure that you check your cushion tires for any form of wear and tear. Some of the observable signs are the presence of flat spots, cracking and excessive tread wear on traction tires.

If some of your considerations when it comes to forklift tire replacement are based on factors such as budget, space, and improved efficiency then you will find them ideal for you, here is why;

1) Low Maintenance Costs

The manufacturing process of cushion tires is much simpler than that of pneumatic tires.

One advantage of this is that it makes them quite cheaper than their pneumatic counterparts, therefore, both purchasing and their eventual replacement won't be a costly affair.

Since they are made of solid rubber they are not exposed to punctures like pneumatic tires and this will eventually translate to low maintenance costs.

2) Great For Saving Space

Cushion tires also tend to be very small which makes forklifts fitted with them very easy to maneuver around the warehouse.

You will find it very easy to make turns, especially in tight spaces since they come with a very small turn radius.

A small turn radius is helpful for limiting tailback accidents which are commonplace in narrow aisles.

This feature also makes them ideal for space-saving initiatives in the warehouse that demand solutions like close racking.

3) Good For Boosting Efficiency

Since they are made with a smooth outer core, cushion tires are a very good bet for indoor work.

You will find them ideal for smooth indoor warehouse floors in which they offer better traction.

In the end, this normally translates into better efficiency and improved safety as the stability of the forklift is enhanced.

4) They Offer Great Lift Stability

Loss of stability, due to incidents like overloading, is usually one of the most common causes of forklift accidents.

However, the stability of the Cushion Tire Forklift is given a boost by the fact that it has a lower center of gravity thanks to its lower ground clearance.

Therefore, you will get a greater margin to lift a load without compromising your safety.

4) They Are Ideal For Space Maximization

If space is an issue then you will also find the Cushion Tire Forklifts vital for your operations.

Since most of them are electric they are naturally compact due to a smaller engine than I.C forklifts.

You can, therefore, use them comfortably in narrow aisles to complement your space maximization efforts.

5) They Are Cost-Effective

For you to operate profitably you need to lower the costs of running your business.

The electric Cushion Tire Forklifts come with the advantage of being low maintenance since they have few moving parts.

Cushion tires fitted on the forklifts also have the reputation of being cheaper than pneumatic tires and are not easily damaged as they are made of solid rubber.

6) They are Vital for Safety

The safety of your operators and warehouse pedestrians during operations is also of great importance.

Now cushion tires have the reputation of being smaller sized than pneumatic tires and that contributes to a great degree to the turning radius of the Cushion Tire Forklift.

Therefore, if you operate in narrow aisles with this forklift you will diminish the chances of tailback accidents by a great degree.

7) They Are Good for Health

You need to provide everyone involved in your business with a healthy operating environment.

One of the best ways to do that especially if your operations are mainly indoors is to go for forklifts with low emissions.

The Electric Cushion Tire Forklifts can help you to achieve that since they offer zero emissions as they are powered with electricity.

Electric Cushion Tire forklifts are also less noisy which is vital for preventing loss of hearing after long shifts.

How Polyurethane Tires and Cushion Tires Compare

Press-on tires usually come in two categories: The polyurethane tires and the rubber tires also known as cushion tires.

Even though these two tire varieties are quite similar in some aspects, they both exhibit some features that make them ideal for specific applications.

1) Indoor Applications

For indoor applications on smooth floors, both the polyurethane tires and cushion tires offer great traction which is ideal for productive operations.

However, the polyurethane tires offer a much lower rolling resistance that is beneficial for conserving the batteries of electric forklifts thereby prolonging use time.

They both do not fair well on floors with debris considering they are used on forklifts with a lower profile.

The presence of debris on the floor can also be damaging to the cushion tires which are usually made of soft rubber.

If the debris consists of sharp objects they will end up tearing or chunking. In comparison, polyurethane tires will remain unaffected since they are more resistant to tearing or chunking.

In cases where oil spills or harsh chemical spills are frequent, you are better off considering polyurethane tires as opposed to cushion tires since they are chemical resistant.

2) Outdoor and Rough Terrain Applications

Cushion tires can be used for light outdoor applications on even ground especially when they come with tread designs for improved traction.

Since they are usually fitted on forklifts with a low profile this can prove to be a major challenge on bumpy ground.

Polyurethane tires, however, cannot be considered for even light outdoor applications as they are very inefficient in such environments.

Both tires are not ideal for rough terrains compared to pneumatic forklift tires that have shock absorption qualities that minimize fatigue in forklift operators.

3) Warehouse Application

Even though rubber tires are ideal for most indoor applications for some applications like warehouses and cold storage the polyurethane tires are more efficient.

For instance, in a warehouse where order pickers are frequent, polyurethane forklift tires are preferred since they offer better traction and a much lower rolling resistance than rubber tires.

They are also ideal for cold storage areas and warehouses which handle fresh vegetables characterized by wet floors.

For such applications, polyurethane tires are usually sipped for better traction and stability on wet floors.

Some warehouses that handle food and beverages or those that have a high standard of cleanliness usually require the use of non-marking tires as per OSHA laws.

Even though cushion tires that are manufactured without carbon which gives them the dark color usually assume non-marking qualities they still shed compounds that can be harmful when mixed with food.

For this reason, polyurethane tires which are generally non-marking and do not shed any compounds are more preferred for such applications.

Pneumatic Forklift Tires (Benefits And Applications)

Pneumatic forklift tires can either be solid pneumatic or air pneumatic.

While the solid pneumatic forklift tires are made of solid rubber, the air pneumatic are filled with compressed air. However, both tires usually come with unique benefits.

Benefits of Pneumatic Tires

They are filled with pressurized air that gives them shock absorption qualities that are beneficial to both the forklift and the operator.

Most of the shock that is generated during operation is not transferred to the forklift since the air absorbs it. This reduces the rate of wear and tear.

For the operator, they will end up less fatigued during long shifts making them more productive.

These tires also come with the advantage of deep treads that are good for traction especially in outdoor applications like construction.

Normally this translates into better stability which is key to safety in external environments where the terrain is usually uneven.

Benefits Of Air Pneumatic Forklift Tires

1) They Have Shock-absorption Qualities

Forklifts with pneumatic tires are the best to use in rough terrains since they have shock absorption qualities.

They get this quality from the compressed air they are filled with that also gives them a cushioning effect.

Forklift operators who use them, especially for outdoor work on rough terrains usually experience a much smoother ride resulting in less fatigue at the end of their shift.

This is of great benefit to their health.

2) Thicker Tread for Proper Traction

Outdoor work in rough terrains demands a lot of stability for the safety of the operator.

This can only be achieved through the use of tires with a proper grip despite the terrain.

Pneumatic tires usually achieve this effortlessly since they come with more defined treads that give them proper traction on the roughest terrains.

Their design also gives the forklift a much higher ground clearance which ensures the forklift can't tip over easily.

3) They Make The Forklift Resilient

Forklifts that operate in rough terrains can undergo a lot of damage due to increased wear and tear.

However, air pneumatic tires help limit the amount of damage to the forklift thereby increasing their life cycle.

The air that they are filled with creates a cushioning effect while the forklift maneuvers on bumpy terrain

This helps protect the forklift against the effects of frequent bouncing that leads to accelerated wear and tear.

Benefits Of Solid Pneumatic Forklift Tires

1) Lower maintenance costs

Since solid pneumatic tires are usually made of solid rubber or they are foam-filled they are less susceptible to damage.

You will find this feature useful when operating in an environment where the tires are exposed to sharp objects as you will be less likely to experience punctures.

Eventually, you will find yourself spending less money on maintenance costs which is one of the benefits of solid pneumatic tires.

2) Unaffected By Shifts In Temperatures

Significant temperature fluctuations in the environment normally affect the pressure levels in the pneumatic tires.

When it's hotter the pressure in the tire increases causing inflation.

On the other hand, when the temperatures fall the tire pressure decreases causing a deflation.

However, solid pneumatic tires do not experience these changes as they are made of solid rubber which remains unaffected by external temperature fluctuations.

This enables them to deliver consistent results and less downtime across all shifts.

3) Reduced Replacement Costs

Replacing forklift tires can prove very costly over time. Pneumatic tires are especially prone to this since frequent damage sets them up for regular replacement.

The cost incurred over time will eat into your profits. However, all is not lost as you have the option of using the solid pneumatic tires that have a longer life cycle in comparison since the hard rubber makes them less likely to experience damage.

How Cushion Tires And Solid Pneumatic Tires Compare

Solid tires usually come in two different varieties - the solid pneumatic tires and the cushion tires.

Even though these two tires are made of solid rubber they have unique differentiating features.

In this article, we are going to look at how they compare in terms of application, size, and structure or design.

1) Applications

When it comes to applications, cushion forklift tires and solid pneumatic tires are quite different.

The cushion tires are ideal for use on smooth even floors characteristic of a warehouse since they have a lower profile.

On the other hand, the solid pneumatic tires are great for use outdoors given the fact that they are much higher which is ideal for navigating rough terrains.

Therefore when it comes to applications, the cushion tires are great for indoors and the solid pneumatic tires for outdoor work.

2) Size

When it comes to size the cushion tires are usually much smaller while the solid pneumatic tires are quite large in comparison.

The small size of the cushion tires makes them perfect for warehouse space maximization efforts as they can easily maneuver tight spaces with a low chance of accidents.

They are popular for use in narrow aisle forklifts.

The solid pneumatic tires are usually much larger and good for navigating bumpy terrain.

However, despite their differences in size both of them come with excellent load-bearing capacity.

3) Structure and Design

Even though they are both made of solid rubber their internal structure is of a different composition.

The cushion tires are made of uniform solid rubber throughout their internal structure while the solid pneumatic tires are made of up to three layers of different rubber compounds.

The structure of the solid pneumatic tire gives them an advantage when it comes to heat dissipation generated from overloading or over-speeding.

Cushion tires would have damaging heat build-up for similar situations.

While the solid pneumatic tires usually come with the traction option only the cushion tires can either be smooth or with traction tread ideal for wet floors.

Important Tips For Proper Rims/wheels Care

Forklift rims wheels usually have a great impact on the efficiency of a forklift.

When they are not properly maintained it could lead to further damage or fatal accidents.

Here are five important tips that you can consider to ensure you give your rim wheels the best care.

1) Avoid Using Unqualified servicemen

The handling of your rim wheels is as good as the people who you entrust with the regular maintenance.

OSHA recommends that anyone that you use to service the rim wheels be someone who has gone through training specific to rim wheels care.

The key importance of training is that it not only helps with compliance with safety procedures but also proper handling of the rims wheels to limit unnecessary damage.

2) Avoid illegal Modifications

Forklift tire rim wheels that have gone through considerable use normally develop cracking due to wear and tear.

It can be tempting to perform modifications that involve welding heating and soldering as a way of repairing the wheels or wheel components.

However, this is discouraged as it will lead to the deformation of the structure of the wheel.

Since such wheels naturally become weaker they can expose your forklift operators to accidents.

3) Avoid Overloading the Forklift

Forklifts are usually designed to handle a specific maximum weight which can be sustained by all the components that support the lifting mechanism.

Therefore when that specified weight is exceeded a lot of strain is put on these components stretching them beyond their capacity.

One of the components that are usually affected is the wheels.

The overloading damages their structure leading to accelerated wear and tear giving way to deformations like cracking.

4) Avoid Over inflating The Forklift Tires

Forklift tires also come with a specified inflation pressure that should be adhered to.

When the tire is overinflated or under-inflated, it can have two effects on the tires.

An over-inflated forklift pneumatic tire will exert a lot of pressure on the wheel damaging its structural composition and eventually leading to cracking.

On the other hand, when the wheel is under-inflated the wheels are forced to bear most of the shock generated by the forklift.

The continuous impact wheels will lead to accelerated wear and tear especially for bumpy terrain applications.

5) Avoid Using Incompatible Components

If you are using multi-piece wheels then you must use components from the same manufacturer.

Components from different manufacturers will most likely be incompatible and rub together instead of fitting in leading to increased wear and tear.

You should always ensure you are using the right components by following the manufacturer's matching charts and following markings on the component meant to guide you.