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The importance of Forklift Rating Plates

Filed under: Safety

It is imperative that all forklifts are operated correctly and within their maximum limits.

To ensure this occurs and to provide owners and operators with knowledge of these limits all forklifts under Australian standard AS2359.2 – 2013 must be fitted with a rating plate from the manufacturer that clearly defines the unit’s specifications.

This blog will explain how to read and understand the specifications on a rating plate for both combustion and battery electric models.

Combustion Engine Rating Plate

combustion engine rating plate

The top third of the plate as shown in the image above, details identifying specifications for the unit, including:

  • Unit manufacturer
  • Unit model
  • Year of manufacture
  • Unit serial number

Operators and fleet managers can use this information to identify a particular unit amongst a fleet or to track a unit’s service or parts history.

This information aids manufacturers in ensuring that the correct service and spare parts are provided for the particular unit.

Unit technical specifications of how the unit has been manufactured are listed next, including:

  • The nominal engine power of the unit, in the example this is 31 kW
  • Any attachment and tynes that have been fitted to the unit, the example unit is fitted with 1,020mm side-shift carriage and 1,070mm long tynes
  • The un-laden unit weight is 4,060 tons without it carrying any load
  • The tread width and size of the tyres fitted to the unit
  • The number of degrees the mast is able to tilt forward and back from directly vertical in the example this is 6 degrees
  • The table at the bottom of the plate provides, The maximum lifting capacity of the forklift:
  • - when the mast is fully extended and vertical
    - when the mast is fully extended but is either fully tilted forwards or backwards

It is imperative that all operators know and understand the technical specifications of the unit they are operating. In particular:

  • Knowing the attachment/tyne dimensions will ensure only suitable loads are picked up to avoid damage to the tynes or cargo.
  • Knowing the unladen weight of a unit will ensure it is operating in areas where surfaces are strong enough to support a fully loaded unit.
  • Tyre dimensions will aid in the replacement of tyres when necessary.
  • The most important information on the rating plate is the load table; this shows where the centre balance point is on the tynes where loads should be positioned to ensure maximum stability. It also shows the decrease in available lifting capacity (the higher the mast is vertically extended and/or tilted). This ensures that only correctly weighted loads are lifted ensuring the safety of the unit, cargo, operators and any pedestrians in the surrounding areas.

Battery Electric Rating Plate

battery electric rating plate

Rating plates for battery electric forklifts are similar to combustion engines.

The identifying information is listed the same including any attachments. 

Battery specifications are listed next, including:

  • Laden and un-laden weight of the unit when the battery is mounted
  • Battery voltage
  • Minimum and maximum allowable weights for the battery mounted on the unit

This is important and must be consulted when installing new batteries; it will also ensure the unit only operates in areas with enough support for a fully loaded unit.

Similar to combustion engine plates the battery electric plate lists the tyre type and the tread width, along with the number of degrees the mast can tilt forward and backwards from vertical.

The table again shows the maximum load capacity when the tynes are fully extended vertically and also tilted forward, however this time it lists the capacity for two separate load centres

Please note that for both combustion and battery electric forklifts the maximum load capacity decreases the higher the mast is extended vertically to maintain stability. For a full list of accurate load capacities at various heights rated for an individual unit please consult your forklift manual.

Damaged or unreadable rating plates must be replaced via the manufacturer. It is imperative that all forklift operators familiarise themselves with a units rating plate, before they begin operations to ensure their own safety and those around them as well as property and equipment safety.

As the exclusive supplier of Hyster forklifts in Australia, Adaptalift’s spare parts division is the only supplier of official Hyster OEM rating plates. 

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Reference List

  1. Standards Australia, 2015, AS 2359.1:2015 Powered industrial trucks - Powered industrial trucks, Standards Australia, retrieved 11th of May 2017 AS 2359.1:2015 Powered industrial trucks - Powered industrial trucks.pdf


Published By: Paul Hinz

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