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How tough forklift trucks boost warehouse performance

Reliability is the most important truck feature for many warehouse managers according to research conducted by Hyster. But how do tough and reliable trucks have an impact on warehouse performance?

"We know how drivers operate, what they are expected to do and the challenges they encounter," says Robert O’Donoghue, Senior Product Strategy Leader, NACCO Materials Handling Group, explaining that the company has a deep understanding of all kinds of warehouse applications.

"That is why Hyster has made such a significant investment in developing some of the toughest and most reliable warehouse trucks on the market," he says. "Our aim is to keep businesses moving."

Ongoing Hyster studies across major industries throughout the world have shown that the reliability of handling equipment is one of the major impacts on warehouse performance. Issues with reliability have a detrimental impact on costs, throughput and driver productivity.

While reliability is fundamental, other factors contribute to the ultimate goal of reducing the customer’s total cost of ownership, such as energy efficiency and truck performance.

"Hyster has a full warehouse range from pallet trucks, stackers and reach trucks through to order pickers and VNA (Very Narrow Aisle trucks), as well as electric counterbalanced and compact LPG engine powered trucks. Common to all is the intelligent Hyster design bringing reliability, strength, low cost of operation and energy efficiency to every application," he says.

Electric forklifts
For businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce their energy bills and get better shift life, the powerful Hyster® JXN electric forklift range is one of the most energy efficient on the market. With pneumatic and cushion tyre variants, the tough 1.5-5 tonne capacity models excel in indoor or outdoor arduous operations. In fact, such robust design and outstanding traction was previously only expected from IC trucks.

Pallet trucks and stackers
To enhance the operator’s productivity when transporting, stacking or loading pallets, Hyster pallet and stacker trucks provide high reliability, power and precision with a low cost of operation.

Order Pickers
Pick speed and reliability are essential in picking operations, and the Hyster low level order picker with scooter like control is designed to get the best performance from individual pickers, ensuring loads are placed at the optimum height for the operation with maximum machine reliability. At height, pickers gain maximum pick face access using the Hyster K series of rising cab order pickers, with fast simultaneous lift and horizontal movement (using rails or wire guidance).

Very Narrow Aisle (VNA)
To maximise space with very narrow aisles and tall racking, the Hyster VNA truck has been developed to help operators efficiently retrieve pallets in high intensity operations up to 17m. To deliver one of the quickest VNA transits in the industry, the horizontal movement intelligently combines with vertical movements, and the patented QUAD form mast design provides unmatched rigidity and torsional strength, with proven reliability.

Reach Truck
As one of the most important trucks in any warehouse, the reach truck must deliver maximum reliability and driver productivity to optimise pallet throughput. Offering travel speeds of up to 14 km per hour and a lift speed of 0.8 metres per second, the new Hyster Reach Truck has been designed to lift loads up to 12.5 metres. Residual capacity is maintained to greater heights thanks to the new unique patented channel mast design and visibility is enhanced through reduced total channel width.

Easy to control, the new reach truck gives superb narrow aisle manoeuvrability, maximum reliability with proven components and it has a low step height to make it easy for operators to get on and off during a busy shift.

The new Hyster reach truck is set to propel Hyster to the forefront of reach truck design, now making the brand one of the strongest partners for warehouse operations all over the world, especially when combined with the complete warehouse portfolio.

From concept through to launch, each new Hyster product follows a carefully structured development process, including steps confirming that the product design will deliver all the intended benefits to its users. Stringent testing and life-cycle simulation assure the dependability of the truck design. Many tried and tested components are used across the product range.

Product testing is an essential part of the production process. A 50 metre test track at the NMHG factory in Masate, Italy, where most Hyster warehouse products are built, enables equipment to be tested to their full capabilities. Tests include energy efficiency, lift and travel speeds, productivity, and stability.

"Through strict quality testing, we develop products that we know will deliver reliability, dependability and a low total cost of ownership" adds Robert. "To support the testing carried out during development of the product, we also follow up with customers to gather results from real life applications to give the inside story and the ‘proof’ we provide to the rest of the world."

All Hyster manufacturing sites are ISO certified and employ world class manufacturing technology and state of the art processes. The Hyster quality process is adhered to at every manufacturing stage for every piece of equipment.

Further proof of the quality processes is the number of awards the NMHG Masate Plant has received over the years. These include DFT certification for the company-wide Demand Flow Technology system, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification and three Regional Training Awards. In 2013 the plant also received OHSAS 18001 Certification and produced approximately 20,000 units.

"Using 3D warehouse simulation software, we can demonstrate how our products will work in the application before they are specified or implemented," says Robert. "The Hyster warehouse simulator supports the decision making process by calculating throughput and allowing the customer to visualise the impact of using different layouts and truck combinations."

Helping warehouse customers to specify the right mix of trucks, the 3D warehouse simulation software from Hyster shows how the warehouse would work based on the fleet or trucks recommended and core data provided about the warehouse dimensions and the operation. The software tests different fleet options to identify output and cost before companies make any investment in equipment.

Once in operation, the new Hyster Tracker, a Wireless Access Monitoring System, enables effective fleet management helping to keep tough Hyster forklift trucks running for even longer and even more productively.

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