Is repair possible for broken fork at heel area?

Is there an acceptable repair/ weld procedure to fix a fork that is broken in the heel area? I am referring to a fork capacity rateing at 70,000 lbs. on a Kalmar lift used for lifting steel slab. These large forks are not cheap, can this be fixed safely? Or is replacement nessary? Thanks for your follow-up.
  • Posted 15 Dec 2005 05:20
  • Discussion started by del_d
  • Oregon, United States
Plan then Proceed Do it Right Safety Works
Showing items 1 - 15 of 17 results.
id be scared of the liability of just reccomending any advice whatsoever in this post on this subject lol
key word is alwys LIABILITY with the loads im assuming ur handling
and if u have a 70,000 lbd kalmar id think u could afford the upkeep replacment parts whatever the cost
  • Posted 13 Jun 2006 13:38
  • Reply by justinm
  • New York, United States
In response to the request for advice from an engineering expert I advise as follows.

Fork tynes are manufactured from steels that can be described as spring steel. THe most heavily stressed area is the heel because of the bend and change in the flow of stresses. The top radius at the bend is critical as too small a radius will result in a high stress concentration and the tyne will fail. And because this radius is critical damage to the radius can lead to cracking and failure.
Because this part of the tyne is critical it is essential that the composition and structure of the steel around this bend is uniform, and the heat treatment is also uniform.
It is virtually impossible to weld such a thick section together AND manitain a uniform composition of the steel and uniform steel microstructure. And unless there is this uniformity it is impossible to ensure a uniform outcome from the heat treatment.
Given forklifts are such high risk items the advice hence is that you would never repair a forktyne.
In respect of worn tynes, building them up is possible but once again the risks must be considered. Firstly why are the forks wearing? The forks should not be operating so they are incontact with abrasive surfaces - typically concrete floors. Drivers should ensure they never travel with the forks on the floor.
Finally straightening bent tynes - once again the risks must be considered. If they have bent at the heel then the steel there has already been heaviliy stressed so the risk of subsequent cracking and failure is much higher. Straightening can only be done with appropriate heating and then heat treatment and that can also increase risks of failure.
And once again why have they bent - in normal use they should never bend. Mostly bending results from either using a fork on its own (without reducing the load by 50%) or the fork tip is being used to move loads without recognising that the increased load centre may double the stress on the fork tyne heel. Both situations require serious risk assessment.

Hence this engineers advice:
1. Make sure forklift tynes are not abused and they should last the life of the unit.
2. And if they crack, bend or wear more than 10% due to abuse, replace them with new units.
  • Posted 30 May 2006 19:32
  • Reply by John_Lambert
  • Victoria, Australia
Better to strive and experience all life's colours from pain to ecstasy than to exist in a grey life
Never ever think of repairing forks, unless you would like to do some time behind steel bars recycled from old forks !
  • Posted 28 May 2006 05:45
  • Reply by Middy
  • Canada
Don,t let anyone tell you otherwise Forks can not be Fixed Period.

The other bad news is you need a pair of them.

you do not want to have your load or your staff compromised do you.

I advise you not to consider fixing forks look to a good reputable company like Kenhar to assist you in the rep[lacement of them,

Ask your self this question if you broke the heel off of one fork already how strong can the other one be.l
  • Posted 22 May 2006 12:21
  • Reply by frank_w
  • British Columbia, Canada
FrankieW Service Tech
I doubt any Mfg will want to repair a fork or a pair of forks! there in the business of Mfg and selling forks not repairing them.
  • Posted 19 May 2006 04:15
  • Reply by cownd
  • Arizona, United States
  • Posted 19 May 2006 03:21
  • Reply by marc_h
  • Colorado, United States
Don't even try to repair the fork. Chances are, someone tried to lift the load with a single fork. If both forks were used, this probably would not have happened.
  • Posted 4 Apr 2006 02:53
  • Reply by jimmyjames
  • Michigan, United States
Jim S
Well, the fact that I said "talk to an engineering firm" seems to have been lost.

Hardened steel CAN be aneeled (sp?)
It CAN be repaired and RE-HARDENED.

An engineering firm can tell you wether the risk is there, or if it is really possible at all.

The cost of all the processes my make the attempt futile before you even start.
BUT, it might not.
Just ask someone who knows way more than we do about grain structure and rockwell numbers etc...

If we can safley repair overhead guards, to factory specs, for a fraction of the price for a new one (including all the engineering and inspections and re-certification), then maybe, just maybe, something can happen here.

The phone-call to the engineering firm will likely be free. It doesn't hurt to ask does it?
  • Posted 3 Apr 2006 15:16
  • Reply by mike_n
  • Alberta, Canada
Del, Tom's response is very valid. Please, do not repair a cracked fork unless it is done by the fork manufacturer themselves.
I'm aware of 2 people that have been injured by a "flying fork"; one was the driver, the fork flew back through the windshield of his cab and struck him in the face - he showed me the scar. The 2nd I'm told was a pedestrian and the fork hit him in the chest and threw him back (so I'm told) 20'.
On fork deflection - as Tom pointed out; this shows a fork has lost/losing its strength. Talk to a fork manufacturer and they will only allow a certain amount of fork deflection.
Again, yes Tom: forks are usually replaced by the pair.
I know they can be expensive, but sitting in the witness stand using that as an excuse, a judge probably won't buy it.
  • Posted 24 Mar 2006 09:22
  • Reply by garry_p
  • New Brunswick, Canada
I believe your question has two parts.
<> Can you repair the fork? Yes it can be done. However there would be a huge liability exposure if you do an in-house repair.
<> Should you repair the fork? Maybe..
depending on whether the factory can reman the fork. I suggest you contact the fork mfg and get their suggestion. If they can reman the fork it will be as good as new. If the factory can not reman the fork junk it and buy a new one. However, be prepared for another problem in the process. When a pair of forks have been in service for awhile they will develop a "sag". When you put a new fork beside an old one they will likely not hang the same. The new fork's tip will be higher than the old one. In some applications this is a major problem.
  • Posted 9 Mar 2006 23:50
  • Reply by tom_w
  • Virginia, United States
I agree. Tha answer is replace the fork. The forks are hardened from the heel on out to about 4 or 6 inches You can't repair.
  • Posted 9 Mar 2006 10:31
  • Modified 9 Mar 2006 10:32 by poster
  • Reply by Liftdoctor
  • Indiana, United States
simple answer to this question,ABSOLUTLY NO.
if you repaired the heel and it snapped whilst carrying a load you would be locked up !
  • Posted 5 Mar 2006 04:15
  • Reply by MrWendel
  • south wales, United Kingdom
I'd get in touch with an engineering firm.
It doesn't cost very much to have them write up a procedure. Then all the liability is theirs as well.

You will likely be able to repair the fork. I base this on the fact that when you order forks of that magnitude, the eyelet for the fork-bar can be ordered seperatley and welded on where ever needed.

Just be sure to get the procedure first.
You could specify to have the procedure cover building-up fork wear as well.

On small trucks, simply replace, but in your case it might save you some time and money to get it fixed.

You'd also be ready for the next time a fork broke.
  • Posted 3 Mar 2006 02:35
  • Modified 3 Mar 2006 02:42 by poster
  • Reply by mike_n
  • Alberta, Canada
I would suggest you contact the fork manufacturer to see if they offer repair services. The cost may be cheaper than replacement as long as there is no other wear in the fork. I am sure you have heard of the 10% legal wear limit. Kenhar supplies a simple fork wear gauge to test the shank wear.
  • Posted 11 Jan 2006 12:26
  • Reply by randal_s
  • Nova Scotia, Canada

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