Forklift chains are a necessary and important feature of a forklift. They lift thousands of pounds of material, and failure in any part of the forklift chain can cause a safety issue for the operator and anyone nearby.

Inspecting forklift chains should be part of your forklift operator’s daily inspection. Here are ten common forklift chain problems and solutions:  

  1. Problem: A worn contour is typically caused by normal wear on the sheave or abnormal wear from rubbing on the guides. Solution: To fix a worn contour caused by normal wear, replace the leaf chain when worn down 5 percent. If it is caused by abnormal wear, check the leaf chain alignment, or increase the clearance.
  2. Problem: Worn surfaces on outer plates or pinheads caused by misalignment and rubbing on the side flanges. Solution: Check the leaf chain alignment and correct the clearance as necessary.  
  3. Problem: Tight joints caused by dirt or foreign substance packed in joints, or corrosion, rust, or bent pins. Solution: Clean and re-lubricate the leaf chain or replace it entirely. 
  4. Problem: Missing parts. If your leaf chain is missing parts, it is usually because it was omitted in the original assembly. Solution: In this case, you need to replace the leaf chain completely.
  5. Problem: Abnormal protrusion or turned pins, usually caused by excessive internal friction caused by high loading and inadequate lubrication. Solution: Replace the leaf chain, improve lubrication, and eliminate overload conditions.  
  6. Problem: Cracked plates from fatigue caused by loading beyond the chain’s capacity and endurance limit. Solution: Replace chain with leaf chain of larger dynamic capacity or eliminate high load conditions.  
  7. Problem: Fractured plates in tension mode caused by high overload. Solution: Replace the leaf chain and correct the cause of the overload. 
  8. Problem: Enlarged holes caused by high overload. Solution: Replace the leaf chain and correct the cause of the overload. 
  9. Problem: Corrosion due to environment. Solution: Replace the leaf chain and protect it from a hostile environment. 
  10. Problem: Worn leaf chain anchor bolt connecting pin caused by normal wear. Solution: Replace worn leaf chain components as necessary and always replace the components when fitting new leaf chains.  

In a single-shift operation working on flat, even surfaces, chains can last 3 – 5 years. In more harsh environments, chains may need to be replaced much sooner. Even though inspecting forklift chains should be part of your forklift operator’s daily inspection, for safety reasons, it is necessary to schedule a professional assessment at least once a year.

Our service associates are experts at finding and fixing forklift chain issues. Contact us to schedule a service appointment today!