Forensics

Container Forklifts

Introduction

A forklift that toppled while going around a corner with a container up high. The masts bent and were subsequently repaired by FSM.

Forklift trucks that handle sea containers have a hard life. They operate in all weather, often on uneven surfaces. The containers are unwieldy, awkward objects. The forklifts have to reach high to pick or place a container atop others. The handling of such a large mass up high renders the forklift top-heavy and susceptible to overturning. Containers have to be carried long distances along passages only just wide enough, with sharp corners and poor visibility around those corners.

Combine all this with perhaps an unskilled guest worker who may not be able to converse easily with his boss, and it is not surprising that this class of machinery suffers a great number of accidents and insurance claims. FSM provides services in the event of such accidents. Briefly, we can determine the cause of these accidents and we can economically repair damage.

A container forklift with the masts snapped off.
Examination of the fracture surfaces of the masts shown above revealed that each failed as a result of the existence of fatigue cracks. One of the fracture faces is shown on the right. The area of fatigue is arrowed on the bottom right.

Failure Analysis

The carrying of filled containers, particularly on undulating surfaces, places alternating stresses on masts and they are particularly susceptible to fatigue cracking. FSM metallurgists can identify the failure mechanisms and provide reports that will enable adjusters and insurers to decide on liability.

Repair

FSM metallurgists and NDT specialists have all the necessary skills to evaluate damage and effect repair. The three stages to the successful and safe repair of masts and spreaders are :

Repair welding on the forks of a container forklift.
  1. determining the extent of damage and the steel properties such as strength and chemistry;
  2. carrying out the repair;
  3. testing after repair to prove quality.

Strict adherence to the above is the reason why the FSM repair service is characterised by two distinct features.