How much can a 5 tonne forklift actually lift? Everything you need to know about lifting capacity.

Forklifts are incredibly useful machines; without them, warehouse work would be much less efficient. Inexperienced operators of these machines, as well as people who are just starting out in such industries, often wonder what specific forklift truck will be suitable for their needs. The main parameter of interest is most commonly the lifting capacity. So, how to interpret this?

Forklift lifting capacity

When getting on a forklift, you need to be aware of how heavy a load can be lifted, while still maintaining safety and stability. Often, information about the rated lifting capacity is found on the main dash or control booth of the machine, so it is always easy to find. The load capacity of this equipment depends largely on its size, as this is what allows for stability. Generally, the larger the forklift, the greater the lifting capacity.

Unfortunately, the size of the forklift is not the only parameter that affects its stability (if this was the case, the answer to our question would be very simple). First of all, rating information found on these machines often contains a graph showing the relationship between the lifting capacity and the distance from the front of the fork. The closer the center of gravity of the load is to the fork front, the greater the lifting capacity. This has to do with the "lever" forces which are created by placing the load at the very front of the forks. Another key factor is how high the load is located, as the higher it is, the lower the truck's stability will be.

It’s important to keep in mind that even if the weight of our load does not exceed the nominal capacity, it is still possible to lose the truck's stability. Rapid turns, too high speed or uneven road surfaces can quickly cause you to lose stability. Driving up hills or with goods in a non-transport position also significantly reduce stability. You always have to take account for such factors, and not rely solely on the posted limit of the lifting capacity. Weather conditions are also important; strong wind and rains can have a negative impact on the safety of the goods, equipment and the operator. In addition, in the case of transporting unusually sized goods that can protrude far beyond the forks, the stability will also be significantly reduced, as will the real lifting capacity.

So how much will a 5-ton forklift actually lift?
In short, it depends. Each piece of equipment performs differently, and the higher or farther something is from the truck's center of mass, the less the real lifting capacity will be. If someone wants a very simple approximation, we can expect a 5-ton forklift to lift up to 3.5 tons, in good conditions, with standard goods of normal dimensions.