Lift Truck Tips: Do more with less; lift trucks and attachments

Lift truck attachments are helping operators and operations make up for lost capacity and helping avoid upgrades

By ·

Perhaps the greatest lesson the recession of 2009 taught survivors is how to do more with less. That lesson is well represented in the lift truck world by how companies use the latest lift trucks and attachments.

For example, a couple years ago the in-freezer picking operation at Aldi Foods’ Center Valley, Pa., distribution facility employed a few manual order pickers operating electric pallet trucks. Toyota Industrial Lift Truck Company (TILT), the grocery distributor’s lift truck dealer, saw what was going on and demonstrated to Aldi’s management that its entire freezer operation could be run using one electric lift truck and a layer picker attachment (Cascade Corp., 503-669-6300, http://www.cascorp.com)).

Doing more with more is over. Today, lift trucks are more finely tuned to their capacity rating. Don’t expect a 5,000 pound truck to do the work of a 7,000 pound truck. That said, attachments are being designed to help lift trucks make up for any lost capacity.

Brad Vandehey, product manager for Cascade, a leading attachment provider, told me that some of the newer rotators are designed to maximize the capacity of heart-of-the-line 5,000-pound lift trucks. The weight of the attachment can be reduced by hundreds of pounds because it can be mounted closer to the carriage and has a smaller gear mechanism while enhancing speed and visibility. A lighter attachment means improved lift truck capacity.

“This may in some circumstances prevent the user from having to upgrade to a larger more expensive Class III 6,000-pound truck,” Vandehey says.

Attachments are also coming with new hydraulics to minimize driver input into clamp force control. With clamps, one of the most challenging aspects is adjusting the appropriate force to a load. Now that’s becoming an automatic feature on clamp systems. Now they can sense the amount of hydraulic pressure in the hoist system, interpret this information, and set the clamp pressure without driver input.

Even the B 56 industrial truck standard is changing, to reflect improvements in attachment safety. B 56.1, section 7.25.7 states: “The manual operation or physical action of the control used to release a load bearing clamp shall require two distinct motions or operations by the operator before the clamp is opened and the load bearing force is released.”

As a result, attachment providers are offering products requiring two actions (a button push and handle movement) to prevent the driver from accidentally moving the clamp open handle and dropping the load when it is lifted.

Lift trucks and their attachments are great examples of the teamwork required to do more with less in these tough economic times.

Contact Tom Andel at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


About the Author

Tom Andel
Tom Andel is a Contributing Editor to Logistics Management.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Cascade · Forklifts · Lift Truck Tips · Lift Trucks · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Your Guide to Voice for the Warehouse
Is voice a good fit for my operation? How would voice work in my warehouse? With the help of the Vitech Guide to Voice, you can find all the answers to your voice questions in one place.
Download Today!
From the October 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
An early adopter, Rochester Drug Cooperative is using robotic piece-picking technology to complement picking of slow-moving items. System report for Rochester Drug Cooperative, Robotic picking and inventory management, Innovative distribution center robotics solutions , IAM Robotics case study
Injecting agility into WMS implementation
The Big Picture: Business as Unusual
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...
Manufacturing Day: 2,716 events from Hawaii to Alaska to Puerto Rico
Events to be scheduled throughout the month, so the remaining 249,185 manufacturing firms in the...

System Report: Pouch sorter powers Stage’s fulfillment needs
How a hometown department store chain transformed its e-fulfillment processes with pouch sortation...
Cubing and Weighing Equipment: Measure Up
The use of cubing and weighing equipment is growing beyond dimensional weight applications.