Today’s advanced technologies are morphing the lift truck into a mobile data platform. Some of today’s lift trucks, enhanced with microprocessor control equipment, are veritable data collectors that produce actionable information to help companies increase productivity and efficiencies while decreasing overall operational costs.
Other technologies are producing a range of choices including all-electric and AC trucks, programmable trucks and ergonomically designed trucks focusing on operator comfort. New trucks offer increased efficiencies comparable even to internal-combustion-engine (ICE) trucks.
Here’s a look at the latest technologies available from the major lift truck vendors.
Today’s Trucks: Data Factories
The Raymond Corp.
The Raymond Corp. highlighted its iWarehouse Fleet Optimization system at last month’s ProMat. The brains of this system reside in microprocessor control equipment called iMonitors. This advanced system provides “snapshots” of a company’s fleet, helping customers work more productively, better utilizing their fleet and better managing their assets, explains Alan Marder, director of technology solutions for the Greene, NY-based company.
“Ask companies how many of their trucks are being operated at any moment and they most likely will not know,” says Marder. “Our customers can use our iMetrics Reports to drill down further to see which trucks are idle and why. We can provide management with data they never had available previously.”
With actionable operational data at their fingertips, managers and upper management can know with certainty things like how many hours a truck runs during any shift, how many hours the lift has been lifting, how fast the truck has been driving, and if any impacts occurred. With a better understanding of their utilization hours, they can determine if they have the right amount of trucks and drivers to perform the task at hand. They also know about operational truck concerns, such as if the battery needs recharging.
Raymond’s iWarehouse system allows management to know all the costs involved within their facility, enabling them to control their costs more effectively, says Marder. He adds that companies can expect to increase their productivity within the 5 percent to 15 percent range with this kind of knowledge.
CROWN EQUIPMENT CORP.
Just released this past December, Crown’s Insite is a comprehensive data management system that helps customers find ways to increase their productivity and efficiencies while lowering their overall costs.
Microprocessors collect data pertinent to the truck’s operation, using a combination of operational tools. “Our data management tools pool collected data to provide valuable information so our customers can make better operational and business decisions,” reports Maria Schwieterman, marketing product manager for the New Bremen, OH company. This system is also available for trucks produced by other manufacturers.
One of these tools—Crown’s InfoLink wireless fleet management system—brings operational data to managers. Now they know how many hours each truck operates; they can control who is allowed to operate particular trucks; they can ensure that each operator conducts safety inspections; they can manage planned maintenance programs; and they can track when trucks have had an accident. “It also records an equipment pre-inspection checklist used to meet OSHA regulations so there is no need for the daily paper collection of this data,” notes Schwieterman.
When InfoLink is coupled with another tool—Crown’s FleetSTATS fleet service tracking, accounting, and support program —this combination offers companies a comprehensive asset utilization system helpful in lowering operational costs through usable information on truck performance, maintenance, and cost.