Noise Control Solutions for Forklift Trucks
Forklift Trucks (FLT) are among one of the most hazardous types of vehicles in the workplace, most often found in warehouses, workshops, and factories. The HSA highlights the dangers of operating a forklift, however, they are often underestimated, and incidents can often have a lasting impact.
One of the key aspects of forklift operation that is often overlooked is noise exposure
Forklift operators are often exposed to a range of occupational noise sources and sometimes for over eight hours a day. Very often, a source of this noise can come directly from the forklift truck itself and can have a significant impact on not only the productivity of the fork truck operator but also on their health.
Noise Exposure Limits
The NIOSH suggest that the recommended exposure limit (REL) for occupational noise exposure is 85dB (A-weighted) over an eight hour time period. Exposures at and above this level are considered dangerous. Forklift manufacturers often design trucks so that they will not exceed these 85dB noise limits. To provide optimal working conditions for operators, one of the most effective ways to target forklift noise is in the design of the forklift itself. There are some key design points that can be considered when optimising the acoustic design of a fork truck and its cab, to enhance its performance, comfort levels, and overall noise levels.
Ventac design and manufacture noise reducing solutions for fork truck manufacturers across the EU & USA
Due to the size of some fork trucks and the power that they require to operate and move large containers, vehicle operators are exposed to high volumes of noise on a regular basis (leading to noise-induced hearing loss). Because of this, many fork trucks manufacturers now produce forklift vehicles that emit noise levels below the occupational noise standard of 85dB to provide optimal working conditions for the operator.
Some of the key noise sources are identified below.
- Cab Lining & Interior Trim
- Floor Plate
- Floor Mat Underlay
- Engine Bay
- Panel Joins & Penetrations
1. Cab Lining & Interior Trim: industrial vehicles such as fork trucks are prone to having a harsh acoustic environment caused by the high level of hard reflective surfaces such as glass.
2. Headliner: the headliner is a good place to introduce noise control solutions due to its proximity to the driver’s head and because it is a relatively easy area to treat. A major part of increasing productivity is focused on increasing comfort levels within the cab so that the operator can complete large applications and operations.
3. Floor Plate: the floor plate is a complex area which can lead to several acoustic challenges. The floor plate is an acoustic weak area for service areas not covered by the floor mat.
4. Floor Mat Underlay: the floor mat is an important acoustic component and its composition is integral to its performance and maintenance. Ventac supplies moulded acoustic floor mats to industrial vehicles and forklift manufactures. Contact a member of our team to find out more.
5. Engine Bay: treating the engine bay for noise can reduce both noises within the cab of the truck and reduce drive-by noise for other workers in the vicinity. This treatment is particularly beneficial for when the fork truck is in idle conditions.
6. Hydraulics: the hydraulic system is an important noise source when the truck is in the lift condition. It generates a highly tonal noise which impacts the sound quality of the vehicle and travels as both structure-borne and air-borne noise throughout the vehicle.
7. Panel Joins & Penetrations: these are natural acoustic weak points and an opportunity to exclude these can have a positive impact on the baseline noise of the vehicle. Acoustic weak points can limit the effectiveness of other noise reduction treatments.
There are significant opportunities to treat and reduce the noise emitted from forklifts to increase the comfort and productivity output of the vehicle.
To learn more about Ventac’s acoustic solutions for the Fork Truck Industry, contact a member of our Vehicle Noise Control Team.