Mitsubishi may have earned a near-legendary reputation for the reliability of its forklifts… but how does the new RBN series reach truck perform? And, crucially, how does it compare to the competition?
The answer is that this new series delivers: high and handsomely.
Beneath a stylish yet purposeful exterior, the RBN is packed with high-tech goodies… but it also scores highly on the fundamentals: smooth, precise, handling; rapid service access; high residual capacity; and a low, low centre of gravity that makes the truck feel like it's on rails.
So let's look at just a few of the advanced features that combine to deliver such unprecedented levels of driver satisfaction and productivity. Starting with the revolutionary Visionmast.
'Hot extrusion' technology has allowed the development of a unique construction in which the hydraulic cylinders are enclosed within the profile of the mast's first stage. This adds extra stiffness to the mast, as well as clearing the view. In fact, the whole structure of the mast – specifically designed as a reach mast – is now stiffer, lighter and more compact than that of a traditional mast. The result: less sway, higher residual capacity and better visibility. The fork carriage has been similarly reorganised to give the cleanest and clearest of views.
Figures for the Visionmast's residual capacity, incidentally, are 40% better than those for a conventional mast. In fact, it's worth noting that a 1.4 tonne RBN model now has an equivalent or better residual capacity up to 9 metres than most of its competitors' 1.6 tonne machines.
Fitted with powerful AC drive and hydraulic motors, the RBN delivers high torque for smooth, fast, precise performance. Of far greater interest, though, is the state-of-the art electronic control system. Uniquely, Mitsubishi designs and manufactures its own controllers and software in-house – for perfect compatibility with the trucks and their roles. The control system governs many functions, including the exceptionally effective mast damping, automatic speed reduction, electronic fault-finding and programming.
Over 25 different parameters can be programmed to meet the needs of the load, application and driver perfectly. Drivers are individually identified by a PIN code, punched in at start-up. To optimise safety the RBN features an automatic speed reduction system that constantly monitors lift height and steering angle, stepping in to slow things down – firmly but gently – if the driver attempts a trick manoeuvre – such as cornering or moving a very high load – too rapidly. Electronic diagnostics have gained from the introduction of a CAN-bus system, which reduces wiring and makes fault finding quick and simple.
When it comes to speeding up service access, the RBN offers another unique feature: a tilting cover. Sounds dull? Well this nifty innovation – found only on the RBN – allows gases to dissipate freely, so that the battery need not be removed for charging… saving precious time and money.
Slip into the cockpit of the RBN and the first impression is one of real spaciousness – thanks to the slimmed-down mast. All controls fall easily to hand – or foot. The steering console, for instance, adjusts for both column length and angle. It also folds conveniently aside – for easy access – and then returns to the selected position. There's a very comfortable, full-suspension seat, of course, which adjusts to the weight as well as the height of the driver.
To make the driver feel even more at home, the designers have installed more storage than you'll find in an IKEA warehouse. There are dedicated spaces for absolutely everything – from pens and pencils to bottles, cans and cups, scissors, other tools, mobile phones and documents. There's even an optional reading lamp and litter bin. What's more, the truck comes with a smart driver's bag that stows neatly behind the seat.
Summing up the new trucks, Terry Foreman, General Manager of Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK, said: “We believe that with the RBN series Mitsubishi has raised the bar in terms of handling, lifting capacity, driver comfort and sheer performance. And with ten models now on offer, the choice for anyone who test-drives the RBN will not be 'which manufacturer?'… but 'which capacity?'”
A review of the new RBN series – with some stunning downloads – can be seen at www.top-trucks.com. Alternatively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mitsubishi-forklift.co.uk. Address for Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK: Wyvols Court, Swallowfield, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 1WY. Tel: 0118 988 0221, fax 0118 988 0347