In the world of forklifts there haven’t been any groundbreaking changes in recent times. All the major players, Toyota, Crown, and so forth make good machines that are quite capable of doing the job they are expected to do.
So where does that leave companies who want to improve their forklift fleets and improve their bottom lines? Manufacturers’ Monthly caught up with Andrew Satterley, Adaptalift Hyster CEO to hear his answers to this question.
“I think it’s more been around some of the offerings that would come with the forklifts,” Satterley said. “It’s the subtle things that are having the biggest impact for all the players in this industry.”
For Adaptalift Hyster the focus has been on fleet management.
“Our tool is called ForkTrack and what that provides to the companies that use it and to the operators is a complete fleet management and safety system for the equipment,” Satterley said.
For example, it ensures operators put their seatbelt on before they can start operation; it records who is using the equipment at any given time (via. ID cards); it causes the equipment to shut down on impact; etc.
On top of that, it includes advanced features such as a digital weight indicator, speed and zone control, Lift/tilt Lockout, Overload lockout, etc.
“It even has a really cool feature – the automatic email alert. It will send emails, depending on the event, to whoever is set up to receive them,” Satterley said.
“The recipient will be informed that the forklift has had an accident; it’s in lockout mode because the weight is too heavy; and so on...”
According to Satterley, such systems are where the real advances in forklifts are. Systems like ForkTrack are having the largest impact for large warehouses right now.
By way of example, Satterley pointed to the contract Adaptalift Hyster won with Coca-Cola last year.
“One of the reasons we won the Coca-Cola contract this year was base around telemetry and it’s become a big topic for these big warehouses,” he said.
“And we’ve been able to reduce the amount of forklifts Coca- Cola have with this product. So we’ve been able to say - ‘We can make it more efficient. You don’t need as much equipment. You just need to use it more effectively.’ ”
ForkTrack is manufactured by Adaptalift Hyster and it is used on all Hyster forklifts sold in Australia. According to Satterley, it has proved successful and Adaptalift is negotiating with Nacco Materials Handling Group (who manufacture Hyster) to make it a standard feature of their products globally.