Forklift torque converters work the same way as automotive TCs. And that’s a fact. Car engines connect to transmissions by clutches. And torques similarly use fluid couplings to let the engines spin as needed.
But furthermore, the question may have already popped into your mind: When might I need to get a forklift torque converter? That’s a great question, friend, and it deserves its answer.
How does a Torque Converter work?
Torque converters are essentially types of fluid coupling that can transfer any related prime mover’s rotating power, as needed, to get the operation vehicle moving along as it should. Like the TC in a car, the TC in a forklift can work much the same way, respectively. The prime mover acts, as mentioned above, in much the same way as an IC or Internal Combustion engine would, concerning any rotating driven load as well.
Within certain cars that use automatic transmission, furthermore, the TC will work to connect the load to its power source. One may usually find the load carefully placed between the engine’s transmission and its flex plate. Within a manual transmission or stick shift car, that same load may be found in a similar area called the “mechanical clutch.”
And in addition, the TC’s main character trait that distinguishes it the most and truly fulfills its purpose would be that of none other than its very ability to duplicate --- or multiply, in a sense --- the torque. This happens when its output rotational speeds have diminished. When they’re so low, fluid protruding from the turbine’s curved vanes now deflects off the stator. It’s been locked against its clutch, which is of a 1-way nature. Thus, what you get is something quite similar to a reduction gear, all in all.
Signs that you need to replace the torque converter
First of all, whenever you notice any symptoms or “clear signs from heaven,” as some call them, you can know for sure that it’s time to replace. The first sign would be that the current torque converter on your forklift has been overheating. This is rarer than would come to expect, and the only truly viable fix is to discontinue the use of the forklift and get a replacement for this part as soon as reasonably possible. Another symptom may include high stall speeds --- this is a definite one you should watch out for and can’t afford to ignore at any cost.
Also, has the forklift been making strange noises, stranger than usual? Then this is another clear sign that you need to get the torque converter on it fixed ---- or changed out. Dirty fluids and slipping are also common signs. Watch out for them.
So, in essence, we’ve seen the forklift torque converter briefly. You got to see how it works. And you got to see when it needs to be replaced.
More Specific Details on Forklift Torque Converters
Moreover, these mentioned features extend far beyond the traditional simple fluid coupling and don’t merely just match the rotation speeds while not being able to multiply the torque. It reduces the power, by the way. Some of these devices also have lockup mechanisms that will rigidly bind their engines to their transmissions. This will usually occur when both speeds are at a near or full equivalent and are intended to avoid slippage, in addition to efficiency loss that may come as a result.
And forklift TCs do not follow what auto transmissions use for their TCs, respectively, which would be hydro-kinetic devices or even hydro-static systems, most often seen in smaller machines like compact excavators and products similar. Overall, the processes and systems in forklifts are not always as hydraulic as they are in cars. And in terms of mechanical systems, to further add, many varied mech designs exist the use of continuously variable TC transmissions. These may also multiply one’s torque. They’ll often include the Constantinesco torque converter, which is entirely pendulum-based, and a variomatic that can provide its expanding pulleys and a utility belt drive.
In addition, a disk-drive transmission, for adequate friction gearing, of the Lambert style may be included in the mix. And besides forklifts and even cars, for that matter, these types of TCs could even serve other uses, as well. See a few below:
Marine propulsion systems
Numerous types of heavy-duty movers
Transmissions of the industrial power kind include railway engines, construction equipment, drilling rigs, winches, and even conveyor drives. (Notably, forklifts using TCs would fall within this category.)
Other facts one should know about them
Note that the forklift TC you use will generally carry 3 operational stages by which it runs, of which you should learn:
The first is the stalling stage, also just called “stall.” It’s when the impeller’s getting the good power through the prime mover, but its turbine has difficulty rotating. At this unique phase, the TC can produce max torque multiplication, given that the required amount of input power has been properly supplied beforehand. The multiplication that naturally ensues, as a result, is one many have come to know as the stalling ratio or stall ratio, in short.
Next comes the accelerating stage. As you accelerate, a noticeable difference arises between the turbine speed and your impeller. Here, the torque multiplies far below what the stall ratio would.
Last but not least, the coupling phase has more to do with when your turbine has reached 90 % or above (in impeller speed). At this point, all torque multiplication endeavors have come to their halt, and your TC behaves acts as more of a fluid coupling altogether. You may see some fuel efficiency increases at this stage.
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Torque converters are essentially types of fluid coupling that can transfer any related prime mover’s rotating power, as needed, to get the operation vehicle moving along as it should.
Like the TC in a car, the TC in a forklift can work much the same way, respectively.