Forklift breaks are designed to stop your lift while carrying a full load, that’s why when not carrying a load your forklift breaks can feel aggressive. Condensation can also form because the brakes do not heat up very often. The brakes can also be more intense if there is rust or brake dust build up while it sits overnight.
Brake squeal or other noises are often questioned by forklift operators, but these sounds do not always signify a problem with the forklift. There are several different brake designs and materials which can cause problems with ability to troubleshoot. There are several different speed reduction and braking systems available for forklifts. Here are some examples…
Drum & Shoe Brakes
This brake includes a drum, shoes and hydraulic wheel cylinders. This is the most common brake design used on forklifts.
Air brakes use compressed air pressing on an actuator to apply the mechanical force to the brake shoe or pad. Air brakes are used in larger heavy vehicles. These systems require an engine-driven air compressor and air pressure is tightly governed.
Disc brakes consist of a rotor, a mechanical, hydraulic or air-operated caliper and friction pads. This type is only used in some forklift applications.
Discs similar to transmission clutches are inside the drive axle and are coated and cooled down by the transmission fluid or axle oil. Hydraulic pressure is used to squeeze the friction disc packs and slow the drive axles. The advantage of wet brakes is they rarely require replacement.
Air brakes use compressed air pressing on an actuator to apply the mechanical force to the brake shoe or pad. Air brakes are used in the bigger/heavier vehicles. These systems require an engine-driven air compressor.
Hydrostatic Drive Brakes
The forklift is driven by hydraulic oil from a pump. When drive is not requested, oil stops flowing and a natural braking effect is the result as oil can’t exhaust out of the wheel motors. This type of brake is used in some forklifts, many aerial lifts and primarily for construction equipment.
Dynamic, Plugging or Regenerative Braking
Drive systems on electric forklifts and other electric systems have the capability of using magnetism in the drive motors to magnetically slow the drive motor by changing direction.
Contact The Lilly Company if you have any questions regarding brakes!