Forklift Truck Components
On a typical counterbalanced forklift you will find the the
The Truck Frame - The truck frame is the base of the
machine. The mast, axles, wheels, counterweight, overhead guard
and power source are attached to the forklift truck frame. The
frame may have fuel and hydraulic fluid tanks as part of
the frame assembly.
The Counterweight - The counterwight is attached to
the rear of the forklift truck and is a heavy cast iron mass.
It's purpose is to counterbalance the load being lifted. It is
possible that on an electric forklift the large lead-acid
battery may serve as part of the counterweight for the
The Cab - The cab contains a seat for the operator
and the control pedals, steering wheel levers, switches and a
dashboard that contains operator readouts. The cab area may be
open or enclosed, but it is covered by an overhead guard
The Overhead Guard - The overhead guard is a metal
roof supported by posts at each corner of the cab that helps
protect the operator. This includes protection from any falling
objects. On some forklifts, the overhead guard is part of the
The Power Source - The power source may consist of an
internal combustion engine. The engine may be powered by LP gas
(liquefied petroleum gas), CNG as (compressed natural gas),
gasoline or diesel. Electric forklifts are powered by either a
lead-acid battery or fuel cells that provide power to electric
motors. The motors may be either DC (direct current) or AC
Tilt Cylinders - The tilt cylinders are hydraulic
cylinders that are mounted to the truck frame and the mast. The
tilt cylinders pivot the mast to assist in engaging a load.
The Mast - The mast is the vertical assembly that
does the work of raising and lowering the load. It is made up
of interlocking rails that also provide lateral stability. The
rails may either have rollers or bushings as guides. The
forklift mast may be hydraulically operated by one or more
hydraulic cylinders. Or it may be chain operated with a
hydraulic motor providing power. It may be mounted to the front
axle or the frame of the forklift.
The Carriage - The carriage is the component to which
the forks or other attachments mount. It is mounted into and
moves up and down the mast rails. This is accomplished by means
of chains or by being directly attached to the hydraulic
cylinder. Like the mast, the carriage may have either rollers
or bushings to guide it in the interlocking mast rails.
The Load Back Rest - The load back rest is a
rack-like extension that is either bolted or welded to the
carriage in order to prevent the load from shifting backward
when the carriage is lifted to full height.
Attachments - Attachements may consist of forks that
are the L-shaped members that hold the load. A variety of other
types of material handling attachments are available.