Paresh Vekaria

Paresh Vekaria

Mechanical Engineering MEng

Forklift Truck Steering Geometry

The project investigates an industry wide problem of increased tyre wear on forklift trucks. The motivation behind the study is to make the trucks more sustainable, by reducing the turnover of worn tyres, and reduce customer maintenance costs. The project was in collaboration with Nacco Materials Handling Group, a USA based manufacturer of forklift trucks. In order to analyse the current steering set up on the forklift trucks, the steering geometry was modelled on MATLAB Simulink and validated through experimental testing. Analysis found that there was an average Ackerman steering error of 20.723% and 14.740% for the short and long wheelbase forklift truck models respectively. This would result in tyres to scrub during a turning manoeuvre, which would in turn cause an increased rate of tyre wear. Based on the findings, two new concepts were proposed; one which controls the wheels' steer angles individually and another which utilises differential steering with rear rollers. The roller concept employs a front axle differential steering system and a rear roller system, removing the Ackerman steering geometry and its possible limitations.