Propane Industry Extends Lift Truck Maintenance & Training Program

June 1, 2004
The propane industry is expanding its Forklift Technician Maintenance & Training Program for companies that operate Class 4 and 5 large spark ignition

The propane industry is expanding its Forklift Technician Maintenance & Training Program for companies that operate Class 4 and 5 large spark ignition (LSI) propane-fueled lift trucks. The program will be offered in 20 cities nationwide with the first class to be held June 22 at Gwinnett Technical College in Atlanta.

“The tremendous success of last year’s six-city pilot program has clearly demonstrated the value and need for expanding the program,” said John Kamps, an independent propane marketer and member of the Propane Education and Research Council’s Executive Committee. “The propane industry is committed to helping lift truck operators maximize their lift trucks’ performance benefits while adhering to workplace safety and air quality requirements.”

Last year, classes were held in California (Sacramento and Santa Fe Springs), Illinois (Cicero), Ohio (Cincinnati) and Texas (Irving and Houston). As part of the pilot program, pre- and post-tests were administered to all attendees to assess training effectiveness. The average test score improved by 51 percent upon course completion.

The 2004 program, designed for pre-2002 open-loop lift truck models, consists of a one-day course that trains attendees in the proper procedures for maintaining and repairing propane-powered forklift fuel systems. The first batch of classes this year will be held at the following cities:

• June 22, Atlanta

• July 13, Houston

• July 15, Dallas/Fort Worth

• August 4, Sacramento

• August 10, Cerritos, California

The course, which includes shop exercises that assess the overall fuel system of a lift truck, begins with a classroom session reviewing technical issues and specifications. The class then performs a shop exercise that assesses the overall fuel system of a lift truck. Emission data is collected at idle, part throttle and full load engine settings using an exhaust gas analyzer. Class participants then perform the recommended adjustments and evaluate the results. Participants then return to the classroom to discuss the results and review the identified maintenance approach. At the end of the course, students are tested through laboratory demonstrations and written exams.

As part of the course, each participating company also receives a Lambda air/fuel ratio meter to ensure that students are able to accurately monitor lift truck emissions on an ongoing basis. In addition, participants also receive a two-volume set of materials.

The first volume consists of the course curriculum, which is based on an all-new Forklift & Industrial Engine Propane Fuel Systems Training Manual developed by the propane industry. It includes information on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 58 (Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code), and includes an examination of issues specific to various lift truck manufacturers’ specifications as well as local regulations. The curriculum also includes an introduction to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions regulations for propane-fueled lift trucks.

New this year is a second volume, which contains a complete set of original equipment manufacturer service manuals featuring maintenance information for most fuel systems and lift truck models, from Algas to Zenith. This volume is important in that it features maintenance specifications for equipment that is no longer manufactured or has been discontinued.

“The propane industry understands that there is a clear need for a fresh approach to lift truck fuel system maintenance and repair, and technician training,” said Brian Feehan, executive director of the Propane Vehicle Council. “The propane industry is pleased to bring our successfully demonstrated approach to provide lift truck maintenance personnel with the information they need to reduce emissions, save on fuel costs, and increase efficiency of their propane-powered lift trucks.”

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

• Identify the health signs of air contamination;

• Evaluate the fuel systems and choose tanks, lines, hoses, valves and fittings in accordance with NFPA 58;

• Perform systematic diagnostic and troubleshooting procedures;

• Perform scheduled maintenance and component repairs;

• Understand combustion chemistry and exhaust emissions;

• Use exhaust emissions to diagnose fuel systems performance;

• Adjust air fuel mixtures for optimum performance and minimum pollutants;

• Differentiate between ambient air and tail pipe emissions;

• Determine the proper compliance needed for various emission standards.

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