The joystick is an extension of the forklift operatorís arm. Therefore, the joystick contributes largely to forklift safety, efficiency, and maneuverability. Forklift joysticks are manufactured to the highest standards to deliver excellent ergonomics and reliable operation, but malfunctions are common as the joystick succumbs to wear and tear from everyday use.
Modern forklift joysticks are the result of blending hi-tech software with advanced hardware. Intending to optimize productivity while reducing operator fatigue, forklift manufacturers like Raymond, Crown, Hyster, Yale, and Schaeff/Schreck are constantly innovating to further improve driver ergonomics.
Joystick movement is constantly monitored by the controller. The best forklift joysticks should have a well-defined and linear output signal with the actuation angle. It may not look like it, but joysticks are high-precision and sensitive electrical devices that require professional care and installation. A good joystick should maintain a precise output signal regardless of movement or position, while the mast reaction should be proportional to the actuation angle of the joystick. Discrepancies between the output signal and actuation angle will result in jerky movements and rougher operation.
The joystick is more than just a one-trick pony. Forklift joysticks are designed to do more than guiding the forklift or raising/lowering the mast. Most joysticks have a forward and backward tilt function along with multiple auxiliary controls. Above all, joysticks are held by hand and should be ergonomic to operate without causing discomfort.
When choosing a new joystick for your forklift, you should also consider the built-in safety features of the unit. The best joysticks for forklifts are IP67 rated to protect against moisture and water intrusion while having a two-channel output signal enables a smooth and linear operation. And since forklifts come in many models and sizes, choosing an OEM joystick is your best recourse. In some cases, the lower control mechanism in a particular joystick is non-repairable. This means the joystick assembly should be replaced as a whole including the control handle. This holds true for some older Hyster forklifts in our fleet.
Problems associated with faulty joysticks include irregular mast movements and imprecise operation. If the mast is not lifting fast enough or is not lowering or lifting properly, the first thing to check is the hydraulic fluid level or the forklift chains. In the absence of physical component damage, the joystick should be next on your list. Keep in mind that joystick problems may not only cause accidents or injuries in the workplace, but it greatly diminishes productivity and efficiency.
In terms of forklift maintenance, it helps to be proactive. So not wait for the forklift to break before diagnosing a problem or fault. Minor glitches like small oil leaks or a faulty joystick can cause big problems later on. The trick is to inspect your forklift every day and to act immediately when a problem becomes obvious.
Cloud Electric has a huge inventory of batteries, controllers, battery chargers, and forklift joysticks. We carry OEM joysticks from top brands such as Hyster, Crown, Raymond, Yale, and Schaeff/Schreck at friendly prices.