Hyster® trucks have been meeting the needs of tough timber applications for 90 years, but how are they helping wood handling operations get ready for the future?
In 1929, the very first Hyster® trucks were developed for the logging industry. Now, Hyster® forklifts and warehouse equipment are more commonly found supporting wood handling operations further down the supply chain – after de-barking and the sawmill. This includes wood manufacturing, recycling and storage applications.
“After all these years, Hyster® lift trucks are still built with the robustness needed to handle the difficult working conditions found in the timber supply chain,” says Josie Burrell, Industry Manager for Hyster Europe. “However, Hyster Europe is also responding to the demands of modern wood operations with solutions for electrification, automation, digitalisation, and more.”
Hyster® Robotic Truck Solutions
According to global research by Accenture*, digital transformation is a growing focus for the forest products industry, with 82% of companies surveyed stating that they are investing more in digital technologies than the previous year. In regard to robotics, the report stated that 50% of respondents either already have widespread adoption of technologies or pilot programmes in place, with a further 37% claiming that their robotic technology strategy is being defined/developed.
“We expect that the adoption of robotics throughout production and storage applications will continue to be of interest in the timber industry,” says Josie. “New Hyster® robotic lift trucks offer these companies affordable automation, ideal for operations just starting out on their digital journey.”
Robotic forklifts from Hyster Europe support Industry 4.0 operations, improving accuracy, efficiency and consistency, and integrating into digital warehouse management systems. The truck range, which includes Pedestrian Counterbalance Trucks, Tow Tractors and Low-Level Order Pickers, can help drive efficiency for repetitive handling tasks such as moving pallets or towing trailers.
Unlike automated guided vehicles (AGVs), Hyster® robotics solutions are truck-based, allowing them to easily integrate into existing infrastructure and to change with the needs of the operation. For maximum flexibility, the robotic Hyster® lift trucks also offer the option of manual use.
Zero Emissions Electric Forklifts
Although Hyster® heavy-duty lift trucks support many applications handling loads of timber from 8-16 tonnes, smaller electric lift trucks and warehouse trucks are also commonly used throughout the wood supply chain.
“We have found that many of our customers in this industry have a strong environmental focus,” says Josie. “Our electric trucks offer the reliability, efficiency and manoeuvrability needed in timber handling, but with the added benefit of zero emissions.”
In many timber applications, four-wheel electric counterbalance trucks in the Hyster® J1.6-3.5XN range can be found working both indoors and outdoors. These trucks are an economical option with a low cost of ownership and less maintenance requirements. Electric lift trucks also help applications to reduce the risks around dust, which can be a particular challenge in wood industry production.
For more arduous timber applications, larger electric trucks, such as the Hyster® J5.5XN electric forklift with a longer wheelbase, provide extended capability up to 5.5-tonne lift capacity.
Customisation options for wood applications
“The right choice of truck and power option always comes down to the particular application,” says Josie. “However, customisation also plays an important part in meeting the different handling needs in the wood supply chain.”
For instance, a wide range of specialist attachments is available to help make Hyster® lift trucks efficient from the sawmill and the drying kiln, to fibre reel production and the palletised goods warehouse. This includes Power Pile Slope carriages and Levelling Fork solutions for the range of 10-16-tonne capacity Hyster® lift trucks.
Technologies to support driver awareness and damage avoidance are also popular customisations. Solutions such as cameras can also be implemented to assist drivers handling large loads which would otherwise impair their visibility.
For further information, visit www.hyster.com or contact one of the global network of local Hyster® distribution partners.