Proper Liftgate Maintenance Makes A Big Difference In Efficiency and Safety
All fleets are concerned with vehicle productivity and safety because this helps improve their bottom line. That is one reason why, depending on the vocation, fleets add liftgates to their trucks and trailers.
There are many different styles of liftgates, including conventional; raillift/railgate; column lift; stowaway/tuckunder/flipaway; side loader; top lift; cantilever and gas bottle. Nevertheless, all liftgates are designed to enhance productivity in loading and unloading operations, especially when the shipping or receiving location doesn’t have a loading dock and manual loading and unloading is required.
The liftgate “has become an essential enabler and driver of efficiencies,” say officials at Maxion Lift Corp. (www.maxonlift.com), a leading North American liftgate manufacturer.
In addition, liftgates help fleets be more efficient, note officials at Thieman Tailgates (thiemantailgates.com), which markets a full-line of hydraulic liftgates for light, medium and heavy duty trucks and trailers. If specified properly for a given application, liftgates add flexibility to a truck or trailer, allowing them to load and unload at a dock, as well as at ground level for onsite deliveries at locations that don’t have docks.
Liftgates can also increase productivity, particularly with heavy cargo. This can help minimize product damage since cargo delivered with the help of a liftgate is less subject to damage from dropping or mishandling.
Additionally, liftgates help to reduce the physical demands on truck drivers when loading/unloading cargo from a truck or trailer by reducing the amount of times the loads must be handled physically. Liftgates also make it safer for the driver when loading/unloading, activities that are a regular and frequent source of workplace injuries.
Why Routine Maintenance?
Routine maintenance is essential in maximizing the useful years of a liftgate and in providing safe operation to those that rely on this equipment, Thieman Tailgates officials stress. Besides ensuring that the liftgate is operating as intended, periodic maintenance is an opportunity for a technician to confirm that all critical components are lubricated, check that all fluid levels are correct and address any minor issues that are discovered before they become anything of great significance, add Maxon officials.
There are a number of things fleets can do to maximize the reliability and life of their liftgates. First and foremost, advise officials at both Thieman Tailgates and Maxon, adopt the liftgate OEM’s guidelines/recommendations that detail the required maintenance and inspection, and the frequency of each.
Preventive maintenance (PM) intervals are based on liftgate cycles or a prescribed time interval. In a high-cycle application, PM intervals need to be increased accordingly.
Too often, officials point out, PM intervals are not observed and a liftgate only receives attention once a component has failed, causing the liftgate to become inoperable.