Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

Forklift Load Centres Explained

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Forklift Basics

Previous blogs have looked at forklift stability and how forklifts do not have a fixed centre of gravity.

A forklift’s centre of gravity changes as the machine performs certain tasks.

This week’s blog will look in depth at an important aspect of unit stability and lifting capabilities ‘load centres’.

All forklifts are rated to a certain safe lifting capacity and height by their manufacturer.

It is a common belief that a forklift can safely lift any load up to the maximum rated lift capacity to its maximum lift height, this is incorrect.

When undertaking lifting operations a forklift can be viewed like a see-saw, with the front axle of wheels acting like the fulcrum of a see-saw.

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When picking up a load on tynes the front end of the unit becomes top heavy, built in counterbalances negate this added weight to ensure the unit stays level and doesn’t tip over.

The lift capacity of a forklift at extended heights is governed by the load centre being lifted.

The load centre is the balance point of a load where it will be evenly balanced whilst sitting horizontally on tynes with one end of the load butting up against the carriage.

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It is also assumed that the centre of gravity in a vertical direction is no greater than the specified horizontal dimension.

Rating plate

The above rating plate shows the load centres both vertical and horizontal of the unit as well as the lift capacity.

The further towards the end of the tynes the load centre is, the units lift capacity decreases to ensure the unit doesn’t become top heavy and overbalance forwards.

Load centre rating

The graph above shows the decrease in rated load capacity the further towards the end of tynes the load centre becomes.

It is imperative that all operators know the load centre of the load they are trying to lift and its effect on the rated capacity of the unit.

If this isn’t taken into account units can tip over causing serious injury to operators, product and property damage.

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For further help on understanding your forklift’s load centre and rated capacity abilities contact Adaptalift on 13 22 54 or email us