It’s almost one year since Linde Material Handling launched its new generation of IC counterbalance trucks– creating a future ‘Swiss Army Knife’ for intralogistics.
The digital truck is fully networked and can be equipped with numerous assistance systems and lighting solutions to create a comfortable and safe workplace for the operator. Furthermore, the modern, maintenance-friendly industrial engine with integrated particle filter as standard and improved Linde hydrostatic drive ensures sustainability and high productivity.
Following the start of production earlier this year, customers in the UK have been taking delivery of their new digital truck and are already reaping the benefits.
Jacksons Fencing was one of the first companies in the UK to receive delivery of the new model. Currently, seven of its 20-strong fleet have been upgraded. Andy Tune, Director commented “The first thing I noticed was that the engine noise is notably quieter than the previous model. This not only makes the site a more enjoyable place to work, but is also appreciated by our neighbours.”
“The steering also seems to be smoother and more consistent, with visibility to the front and up through the glass roof noticeably improved.”
Unrestricted all-round visibility is an important prerequisite for quick, precise and safe goods handling with any forklift. In this respect in particular, the designers at Linde have created a revelation: The field of vision through the mast alone has been increased by a whopping 20 percent compared with the outgoing model. Slim A-pillars and asymmetrical mast profiles open up additional viewing windows making it easier to position the load with millimetre precision. The lower counterweight allows a better rear view; and the reinforced glass roof option combines maximum upward visibility with improved protection.
The weatherproof cabin of new Linde models H20 to H35 also offers improved side visibility – thanks to fully glazed doors. Additionally, the “Protector Frame” concept with overhead tilt cylinders and load-bearing frame ensures mast stability and improved residual load capacity. In terms of safety, Linde Material Handling pursues its “Vision Zero”: In the long term, the aim is to reduce the number of accidents to zero. Lighting options such as LED Stripes and VertiLight for non-dazzling illumination contribute to this endeavour as does the Linde Load Assist system which is fitted as standard and which actively intervenes as soon as the load approaches the capacity limit. Further safety systems available as options include the warning and assistance systems Linde Safety Pilot and Linde Safety Guard which provide important additional information to the operator, helping to prevent mistakes and accidents involving either the truck itself or co-workers in the truck’s vicinity
The operator takes centre stage
Danny Roberts is the Operations Director of Veterinary Wholesaler, National Veterinary Services Ltd. Two months ago, they received delivery of their new engine counterbalance truck from the exciting H20-H35 range. “For us it was all about comfort. It’s really important to us that our operators are comfortable with the truck, it’s their working office. That’s why we ensure they are part of the decision-making process. We had the truck on demo for no more than two weeks and that was all it took.”
Danny continues “The ergonomic operators workstation ensures a comfortable, fatigue-free and efficient shift. Operators have a more spacious cab offering generous headroom and legroom and have reported a significant improvement in the visibility conditions of the truck”
The most important factor in obtaining the best economic return from a material handling truck or fleet is still the operator. And the more ergonomic and safe their environment, the better they are able to work. This is why the new Linde forklift generation was designed with the operator taking centre stage: The truck’s step has a reduced height of 465 millimetres and is more than twice as wide as before. A range of twelve different operator seat options are available – all the way to a heated super-comfort seat with separately adjustable backrest and automatic weight adjustment. The cockpit offers more than 10 centimetres of increased headroom and retains the generous foot space of earlier models; freely configurable switches have been integrated into the armrest which house the Linde Load Control levers for working hydraulics. All models are equipped with electronic seatbelt monitoring: If the operator has not properly attached the seatbelt, the truck will travel only at a creep speed.
Carl Thornton, from Threesixty Innovation is experiencing the new range first-hand. Operating in 66,000 square foot of warehouse space, two gas powered H 25’s shift over 200,000 items a month. Carl commented “The truck feels safe, really solid. It’s just like driving a car, extremely smooth. The heated cab also makes operation really comfortable.”
As well as ensuring low emissions, Linde has taken advantage of its continuing development of on-board telemetry by making this truck range fully digital. The operation of every truck can be monitored remotely, recording who is operating the truck and when it has been used allowing fleets to be accurately tailored to the application. In addition, the Connect system fitted to Linde trucks includes impact detection and remote monitoring of operating hours and fault codes as well as providing a vehicle for future enhancements of electronic truck functions as these are developed.
Optimised energy consumption
According to Linde Material Handling expert Stefan Prokosch, the IC drive is expected to remain a preferred choice for many customers for the foreseeable future due to its strong performance and straightforward use. “That’s why we attached great importance to improving the fuel consumption and increasing the handling capacity, while reducing emissions at the same time.” Linde Material Handling has achieved this by using a modern, maintenance-friendly industrial engine, integrating a particulate filter for the diesel version as standard to comply with EU Stage V emissions and further enhanced by the Linde hydrostatic drive. Prokosch continues: “Our measurements show that our forklifts are more economical than those of our competitors and they are also at the forefront when it comes to handling capacity. This enables them to be more cost-efficient throughout their entire service life. At the same time, they aim to be more resource-friendly and to produce less hazardous greenhouse gases”
A modular concept
The series is also ringing in a new era at Linde Material Handling from a conceptual point of view: It marks the end of the design separation between IC and electric forklifts. All new counterbalance trucks in the load capacity range of 1.2 to 5 tons are planned, from now on, to be based on a uniform modular concept. “We want to offer our customers equivalent vehicles for all applications – regardless of the type of drive,” explains Prokosch. In this way, Linde Material Handling makes it easier for customers to embark on the transformation process towards sustainable drive concepts.
There is a good reason why forklifts with diesel, liquified petroleum (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) drives are expected to be the first to be manufactured with this new platform concept: “We wanted to meet the Euro V emissions standard for this load capacity class with a new vehicle and offer our customers an IC forklift that sets even higher standards in the industry and is prepared for Industry 4.0 applications,” says Prokosch, “We are convinced that we have done exactly this with our newly launched forklift model”