What’s New in the Lift Truck Marketplace?

A recent article in Logistics Management titled 2010: Loads of Innovation chronicled some of the new lift truck product introductions on the slate for 2010. Now, lift trucks might seem like a pretty boring topic, but they are the little workhorses of your physical supply chains, and if any of the improvements can improve efficiency, then they’re worthwhile.

So what improvements are coming?

  1. Better Information Management
    More monitoring devices tied to better fleet management systems that track numerous metrics on lift truck utilization that can be used to create better fleet allocations. The systems also track driver certifications and operator checklists to ensure that trucks are only assigned to personnel certified on the trucks and that all daily operator checklists are completed and captured electronically on a daily basis.
  2. Improved Safety Systems
    Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America is adding presence detection as a standard feature on CAT trucks. If an operator leaves the seat, the transmission automatically disengages to halt travel or hydraulic movement.
  3. Better Internal Combustion Engines
    Models are now available with oil pressure management, on-demand cooling and self-clearing, which can remedy an issue that can cost operators up to 4,800 a year if they’re always blowing out the radiator. Other models track fuel utilization and allow operators to choose between economy and productivity modes. The trucks are being built to last longer.
  4. Powerful Electric Engines
    A new generation of 80-volt trucks, which have been employed in Europe for years, are coming to North America. These trucks can easily handle up to 10,000 pounds with a much better battery life.
  5. New Hybrid Engines
    For example, the new hybrid from Toyota Material Handling USA that uses a battery to power all drive and hydraulic functions will cut your emissions in half and be twice as efficient as traditional IC trucks.

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