Improving visibility for operators and managers
October 02, 2012 - MMH Editorial
Peerless Pump Company, one of the largest manufacturers of centrifugal pump systems, recently reconfigured its 300,000-square-foot facility in Indianapolis. When analyzing its lift truck fleet, the company recognized a need for improved operator load-handling visibility. Using an all-new narrow aisle reach truck with unique ergonomic features, the company improved worker comfort as well as safety and productivity.
The mast and reach mechanism on the old lift trucks obstructed operators’ view of the rack and load when lifting to or from the second tier of racks. This issue was present in the existing equipment and in many of the lift trucks the company evaluated during the facility review.
“We were beginning to think this was just one of those things we were going to have to live with,” says George Pickett, manufacturing manager of facilities for Peerless. “It’s important for our operators to have optimal visibility. A dropped load could quickly result in personal injury, equipment damage, or a chain reaction leading to a collapsed rack.”
Ultimately, the company selected a new model narrow aisle reach truck, the first with a mono mast and the first pantograph reach truck that can reach 505 inches while lifting 1,000 pounds more capacity.
The mono mast is offset 7 inches to the left of the operator and narrows as it lifts. The reach carriage has also been reshaped to create a larger window at eye level giving the operator a better view of the fork tips and load. And, the load backrest was designed with a notch in the upper corner so that operators can easily scan at ground level from their position in the forklift.
Six months after the company purchased eight of the new lift trucks, operators report significantly improved visibility as well as reduced fatigue at the end of the shift. Operators no longer need to bend and shift to see the load, and they have the all-new option to sit down on the reach truck.
Read more from the 2013 Casebook.