Faster, higher, safer

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The forklift truck market has seen a host of new launches to meet the demand for trucks that reach higher, travel faster and are more environmentally friendly.

It’s been a busy time for forklift truck manufacturers with a series of new product launches as well as a reshuffle among the distributors.

The reach truck sector has seen a number of high profile launches – notably from Linde, Crown and Jungheinrich.

Linde used IMHX to launch its new generation of reach trucks – the R 14 – R 20 which comes in a range of capacities from 1.4 to 2.0 tonnes. The trucks have lift heights up to 13 metres, ensuring that additional pallet storage locations can be reached, maximising the use of warehouse space.

The technology behind this feature is a lift mast concept with stronger profiles that reinforce the mast and enable a reduction in mast deflection in combination with a residual load capacity that has been increased by up to 20 per cent.

Operators can adjust the steering wheel, display, joysticks and armrest, to suit their body dimensions, using the adjustable operating console. Vibrations caused by uneven road surfaces, are shielded from the operator by an air-sprung seat. Linde reckons these features represent an innovation for seat comfort in this truck class.

To improve visibility the trucks can be kitted out with an optional toughened glass roof, which also protects the driver from falling objects.

Additional safety features (some of which are optional) also include the side hoop guard at shoulder height; the optional BlueSpot with LED technology to warn the operator about pedestrians or truck drivers at confusing intersections; and the standard four-wheel braking system including a holding brake for very short braking distances in scenarios where the operator needs to stop the truck abruptly.

The trucks offer lifting speeds with a load of up to 0.55 m/s, an increase of up to 41 per cent in comparison with the previous series (the trucks can also lift at up to 0.7 m/s without a load, which is an increase of up to 27 per cent).

Driving dynamics

The lowering speed without a load has also improved to up to 0.55 m/s, an increase of up to 22 per cent in comparison with the previous series. To match energy consumption as precisely as possible to the power output, there are three different driving dynamics settings to choose from: “Performance” for the highest power output, “Efficiency” for the best combination of handling performance and energy efficiency, and “Economy” for simpler applications.

Jungheinrich has expanded its reach truck range with the addition of the ETV 318. This has a capacity of 1,800kg and can lift a 1,000kg load up to 11.5 metres. It comes with a choice of configuration packages which enable the truck to be tailored to each user’s needs before it leaves the factory.

For example, if the user’s application involves frequent lower level pallet movements with longer travel times between stops, the truck can be set-up to offer faster travel speed. Alternatively, if the user demands higher mast movements with shorter journeys between picks or pallet put-away, the ETV 318 can be configured with higher mast lifting speeds.

The ETV 318 uses AC technology which offers high performance and reduces operating costs to a minimum.

The ETV 318 also benefits from a sealed electronic controller and on-board software specifically tailored for forklift truck use.

As an aid to throughput efficiency, the software employed on the ETV 318 can link the truck to the user’s warehouse management system. This enables the ETV 318 to raise the forks to the correct height semi-automatically for the operator to perform the pick or pallet put-away operation. So, when linked to a site’s WMS, the ETV 318 becomes, in effect, a semi-automated truck.

To reduce energy usage the ETV 318 has both regenerative braking and regenerative mast lowering features (at high lift heights). Every time operators brake or lower the forks, the truck reclaims the excess energy and uses it to charge the battery.

It has been well documented that all trucks perform better over a long shift if the operator is made to feel comfortable and Jungheinrich has invested in ensuring that the ETV 318 has an ergonomically efficient cab. The cab is equipped with an adjustable seat.

Military grade

Because it is made from high strength laminated glass used on military-grade vehicles, the roof not only offers a clear view upwards but also ensures that the operator is protected from falling objects.

Jonathan Morris, sales director of Jungheinrich says: “A recent workshop was held to test our reach truck against four competitor models. The trials were based on the internationally-recognised materials handling industry ‘VDI’ cycle which measures pallets moved and energy consumed during a defined route.

“On average, our competitors’ reach trucks used 30 per cent more energy during the VDI cycle than the Jungheinrich reach truck and achieved an average of 24 per cent less throughput during the same cycle,” he says.

Crown has launched the ESR 5200 series of reach trucks which have Crown’s Optimised Cornering Speed system which detects whether the truck is driving into or out of a curve and adjusts speed and acceleration accordingly.

The range includes two models designed for smaller storage units, the ESR 5220 and ESR 5240.

The 1120 mm wide ESR 5220 is designed to work in tight spaces – two trucks can pass in an aisle 2.5 metres wide.

There are also two high performance units, the ESR 5260 and ESR 5280S, which have lifting capacities of up to two tonnes and a maximum lift height of 13 metres.


Both trucks can handle 1.2-tonne loads at 12-metre elevations. Optional regenerative lowering on ESR 5260 uses the energy produced while lowering the fork carriage and load to recharge the truck’s battery.

Field of vision can be an issue with reach trucks as the driver sits behind the mast. Crown has patented a laterally-offset clear-view mast to give the best possible field of vision.

The ESR 5280S is fitted with Crown’s MoveSeat, which swivels ten degrees in the direction of travel when driving power-unit-first, or 20 degrees in the direction of travel when driving forks-first. This gives operators a full view of their working environment.

The trucks use Crown’s Access 123 system control. The optional wireless InfoLink fleet and operator management system provides real-time and historical operating data on truck and operators.

New look Samuk makes show debut

Samuk made its first appearance at IMHX following its acquisition in September 2012 by a new holding Company owned by Cooper SH Directors, David Cooper and Tony Rooney. The Cooper SH business has been restructured to encompass a “General Handling” portfolio to house the Samuk brand of small volume lift trucks based at a centralised Midlands facility. Cooper SH is already distributor for Konecranes lift trucks and Mantsinen material handlers.

David Cooper says: “Bringing the two businesses under one corporate roof will help to make both businesses stronger. There are opportunities for shared expertise and resources as well as helping us to significantly reduce operating costs.”

Within the new structure, the specialised handling division will focus on heavy lift trucks, port and container handling and, as before, will primarily represent a direct-sell and support operation.

Case study- Second life from Flexi

Flexi Narrow Aisle took the opportunity to launch its ECO AC range of remanufactured ‘second life’ articulated trucks at IMHX.

Flexi ECO AC trucks are built with many new component parts –only the truck chassis, four counterweights and heavy fabrications are re-used, and these components are tested and repainted.

Because the heavy steel and cast-iron parts used in their construction are recycled, the trucks deliver clear environmental benefits.

The trucks come with an identical warranty but cost some 30 per cent less than an equivalent new model.

Used trucks selected to undergo the ECO AC makeover process are stripped down. All original parts are graded and either disposed of or reworked for onward sale to the global spare parts market.

All the cast-iron and steel components of the truck are assessed and tested to ensure that they are fit for re-use.

Once passed fit for re-use, the iron and steel body parts are cleaned and repainted before joining the Flexi ECO AC production line where the new componentry – pumps, motors and all hydraulic parts and Zapi AC motor technology – is introduced.

“We know from talking to our customers that there is a potentially large market of articulated truck users who are keen to take advantage of the large reduction in carbon saved in the manufacture of the Flexi ECO AC product,” says John Maguire, Flexi Narrow Aisle’s sales and marketing director.

“The significant cost savings that our remanufacturing process allows us to pass on is an added benefit.”

l To keep pace with growing demand, Flexi Narrow Aisle has increased production space and output capacity at its Tipton factory by nearly 50 per cent. The 2.5 acre site now provides over 50,000sq ft of factory space.

Counterbalance trucks- Toyota unveils 80 volt Traigo

Toyota Material Handling gave a preview of its new Traigo 80-volt electric-powered forklift at IMHX. The truck, which completes the Traigo family of counterbalance trucks, is due to go on sale later this year.

The Traigo 80 has capacities from 2.0 – 3.5 tonnes, including compact models and is designed for a wide range of applications from occasional to high intensity use.

It uses AC electric drive-and-lift technology, as well as Toyota’s System of Active Stability (SAS).

The Traigo family includes models from the 24 volt, 48 volt and HT ranges.

Toyota says the Traigo 80 provides improved productivity for users, maximum speed – paired with better energy efficiency. It also offers clearer through-mast visibility in operations with a choice of masts to suit different application needs.

Sales and marketing director Tony Wallis says: “Our Traigo 80 electric range with higher productivity and lower energy consumption and CO2 will support customers’ operational objectives in a more sustainable way. In addition to this, many improved features to support safety in applications make our Toyota Traigo 80 a range that raises the bar in the material handling business.”

l Doosan introduced its diesel 4.0t to 9.0t capacity trucks with the Euro Stage IIIB engine at IMHX.

Doosan’s G2 Engine uses exhaust gas recirculation to recirculate a proportion of the exhaust gas back into the engine. This reduces the oxygen content to a lower combustion temperature resulting in a reduction of NOx formation, while particulate filters remove Particulate Matter (PM) such as carbon soot.

Doosan has been focusing on reducing emissions through a variety of ways in the run up to the implementation of Euro Stage 4 / Tier 4 emissions regulations, which come into force for off road vehicles by 2015.

DIVUK’s Paul Watson says: “To be in this market, manufacturers need to stay ahead of the regulations and look at ways of improving emissions standards. Happily, we not only have a great tradition in engine manufacturing, but we also benefit from the valuable lessons learnt in our construction and other leading divisions.”

Doosan also showed its latest range of pedestrian and ride-on pallet trucks, the LEDH series, for the first time in the UK.

The LEDH series is available in four different models – pedestrian, flip-down platform, built in back or side protection. The pallet trucks are intended for use in intensive applications where plastic or thin metal covers are likely to be damaged, thus reducing customer costs.

l A new range of lift trucks was introduced by HC Forklifts, the company established by Eqstra Industrial Equipment to import and distribute the HC range of forklifts manufactured by Chinese group Hangcha.

New launches included the XF range of IC counterbalance trucks and the A-Series four wheel electric trucks, as well as the PPT20 two tonne pallet truck.

The new XF series of IC counterbalance trucks includes a number of upgrades over previous models including a choice of transmission.

The A-Series electric 2.0 to 2.5 tonne trucks are 48 volt machines while the 3.0 to 3.5 tonne trucks are 80 volt.

These new products add to the HC range that includes IC counterbalance trucks from 1.5 to 25 tonnes capacity, a full range of electric counterbalance trucks ranging from 1.2 to 5.0 tonnes as well as a range of warehouse equipment including reach trucks, pallet stackers, power pallet trucks and tow trucks. New product development is set to extend this range further with new products already nearing production.

Power- Lithium power comes of age

Lithium-ion technology is coming of age in the forklift truck market. Jungheinrich was showing its new lithium ion-powered pallet truck – the EJE 112i –while EnerSys was showing the latest addition to its Hawker XFC range – its first lithium-ion battery for use in the motive power sector.

Jungheinrich reckons Lithium-Ion technology offers a number of significant environmental and productivity benefits over traditional lead acid batteries. The battery used to power the EJE 112i weighs 14kg. It looks very like a brief case and can be handled easily without lifting gear.

Charging takes 30 minutes to deliver a 50 per cent charge and the battery is fully charged within 80 minutes. The short charging times enable more flexible truck utilisation and ‘opportunity charging’ – something that will be particularly welcome at sites running multiple shifts. A single charge is sufficient to power the truck through a typical eight hour shift.

The smaller and lighter battery means that the truck’s battery compartment is smaller. The length of the EJE 112i is 425mm -which is over 70mm less than a comparable model with a similar capacity powered by traditional lead acid technology. The combined weight of the EJE 112i and its lithium ion battery is 289kg – some 30 per cent less than the weight of a lead acid powered model of the same load capacity.

The Hawker XFC-Li is the first motive power battery concept from EnerSys to use lithium-ion technology. It is a 24V battery with 38Ah capacity that incorporates cells with a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cathode and graphite anode with an inherently safe lithium-ion electrolyte.

Benefits include greater power density, longer pack life and excellent performance at low temperatures compared with conventional units. The battery can be fully recharged in less than one hour from 80 per cent depth of discharge and short, opportunity charges are readily accepted due to its very low internal resistance.

Each battery is equipped with a battery management system (BMS) for continuous monitoring of the individual cells to ensure correct use and safe operation with protection against over temperature, overcharge, over voltage, under voltage and short circuits. The BMS also incorporates cell balancing technology which promotes maximum performance throughout the battery’s service life.

The second new battery is a 24V model with 82Ah capacity which is based on the same thin plate pure lead technology used in the existing Hawker XFC range. A full recharge can be completed in under three hours from 60 per cent depth of discharge.

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