Lift Truck Awareness Helps Reduce Costs & Maintenance

Author : Molokini


As demand grows in a materials handling operation and loads become more varied, the risk of damage to trucks, loads and infrastructure can increase, resulting in extra costs, additional maintenance and more downtime. Solutions from Hyster Europe can help tough applications overcome these challenges and reduce human error. 

“Many operations are being tasked to handle more loads, faster. Quite often the loads are heavier and need to go higher than before,” says Daniel McNeil, Application Solutions Manager for Hyster Europe. “To manage this, lift truck operators need to be trained to operate accurately and efficiently, but purchasers also need to specify suitable lift trucks for their application with features that support strong driver awareness as standard. Certain add-ons may also help.”
Here are six ways that Hyster can help enhance operator awareness. 
1. Driver awareness as standard
All trucks should be built to provide good driver awareness, something that Hyster incorporates into every truck design as standard. The Hyster® Fortens® forklift truck series, for example, is built with an innovative operator compartment design that offers good visibility, assisting drivers with elevated awareness of their environment. 
With low whole-body vibration, reduced ear noise levels and conveniently located, intuitive controls, drivers can experience greater comfort and ease of operation, all of which can contribute to better awareness and accurate truck control. 
2. Object detection system
In operations with high volumes of traffic or pedestrians, Hyster® object detection solutions can provide support for the driver in identifying nearby hazards, in turn potentially avoiding costly damage.
The system uses ultrasound to detect obstacles in 3 pre-set zones and warns the driver with an acoustic signal and visual proximity indication.  Two side-facing sensors are used when the truck moves from a stationary position, and if an object is detected the truck will be prevented from moving forwards unless the driver presses the override button.  
Two rear facing sensors are used when the machine is travelling in reverse and can be used to reduce reverse speed automatically on detection of an object.  
3. Roof detection system
For “in/out” operations, where lift trucks are moving from exterior areas into buildings, such as a warehouse or indoor manufacturing area, a roof detection system can prove helpful.  Using radar, the system detects when the truck is underneath a ceiling. When this occurs, the truck can be limited to operate at a pre-selected speed, helping to protect infrastructure, such as indoor flooring, from damage.
4. Overload detection system
Handling loads with variable or unknown weights can be a challenge in some operations. The load overload detection feature helps support drivers so that they can adjust their operation according to the load. This reduces wear on the truck, and resulting maintenance, while maintaining good load stability during handling.
The special overload detection system can be integrated with Hyster® forklift trucks, as well as pallet and warehouse trucks, to provide an indicator of weight and stability of a load. It offers continuous weight and stability measurements, but importantly alerts the operator when the truck is approaching, or has reached, overload conditions. This is done visually, via a clear message on the LCD display and a series of green, amber and red lights, and audibly, with a buzzer alarm.
To further support efficient operation, the Hyster® solutions team can combine the weighing system with speed limitation technology.  With either roof sensing speed limitation, or RFID speed limitation located in the warehouse floor, applications can automatically restrict the speed of the trucks when loads reach a certain weight.  This can in turn help minimise damage to the truck, load or warehouse infrastructure. 
5. Pedestrian awareness lights
“Our added awareness solutions don’t just exist to support lift truck operators,” explains Daniel. “We also have options that exist to help improve awareness of trucks by those working in the same area.  This can be as simple as having a hi-vis seatbelt for the driver, or something more advanced, such as pedestrian awareness lights.”
Front and rear spotlights are automatically activated when the truck moves. They project a blue beam onto the floor, helping to alert pedestrians of an approaching truck and its direction of travel. Red zoning lights can also be used on either side of the truck to indicate the required distance that pedestrians should keep from the truck.
These lights can provide extra visibility when pedestrians and lift trucks are required to operate in the same space, such as racking where trucks move in and out of aisles frequently, warehouses with blind intersections or high noise environments.
“When it comes to improving efficiency, applications should always start by coupling the right lift truck with a correctly trained and skilled operator,” says Daniel.

“However, added awareness systems can allow trucks to be customised to both operational and driver needs, which in some applications can help to reduce damage, maintenance requirements and costs.”
For more information on the best solutions for your application’s challenges, speak to your local Hyster® dealer.

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