Measuring the Load on the Forks of a Propelled Lift Truck


Methode's Sensor Technology group was asked to develop a durable way to measure the load being lifted by the forks of a lift truck without the need of recalibration, maintenance or replacement.


Methode used one of its most common and trusted technologies to create a custom system that utilizes the truck's lift chain and piston pulley to help the sensors realize the sum of the load.


Methode was tasked with developing a way to measure a load being lifted by the forks of a lift tuck. The first challenge was to determine the point on the fork where the load could be accurately measured, regardless of its location. Using levering technology that reduces safety-critical implementation in both OEM and retrofit applications, Methode's design provided a controlled platform to monitor load measurements. The second challenge was to provide a solution that could withstand excessive industrial use without requiring recalibration, maintenance or replacement. As lift trucks typically have a long life, the need for a rugged design was significant. The final challenge was to address the use of the measurement and how it could be utilized within the truck controls or operator monitors without outside override of the system. As the measurement could be used to limit lift, load height and transport controls, the ability of measurement assurance became critical.

Methode developed a custom-designed product that applies the magnetoelastic technology to a mechanical approach, mounted at the truck-end of the lift chain. As the load is transferred from the piston pulley to the truck connection, the load sum is realized regardless of the fork location or height. Methode's Magnetoelastic technology has been proven over years of production in some of the harshest industry environments. Life testing has provided data that assures a level of confidence in the elimination of recalibration without catastrophic failure to the lift mechanism. As Methode's magnetoelastic solution is non-contact, there is no direct connection to the lift process, eliminating the impact and vibration issues that older technology encounters. This is accomplished by a sophisticated approach to the mounting device and provides not only a safe application but the ability to retrofit trucks that are currently in the market. To provide a variety of solutions to the OEM customer, the sensor can function as an input signal to a monitor, monitor with alarm, or even a truck mounted printer, providing the operator with a weight measurement for records or for the transport driver for load leveling.

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