AC Motors Help Lift Trucks Reach Higher

Less maintenance, faster acceleration among many advantages.


Yale's new CAN-BUS digital communication system reduces the amount of wiring and connectors by 45 percent, Guckian says. "By reducing the amount of wiring and connectors, you minimize exposure to failure and reduce the cost of maintenance. There are a lot of repairs associated with traditional lift trucks from broken wires and corroded or contaminated connectors due to dust and moisture."

Hyster recently launched its new AC reach truck. "The simplicity of design and the efficiency of AC motors and performance ratings of those motors allow us to achieve our two main goals: reliability of operation and therefore higher uptime and the ability to keep the cost of operation at the lowest level," says George Marshall, director of sales development for warehouse products at Hyster Co., Greenville, NC.

An industry first for Hyster is its AC Walker-Rider product offering power-assist steering. "This allows companies to hire diverse operators—and not just strong individuals who can handle that type of equipment—where steering effort is a particularly important element," notes Marshall. "Now companies can choose from a wider range of operators in varying size and strength who can be equally productive using this equipment."

The Raymond Corp.'s 7420 and 7440 Reach-Fork truck series perform with heavier load capacities at today's higher heights, for both storage and retrieval. Both units come equipped with Raymond's ACR System with AC motors on lift and drive functions for quicker acceleration, smoother direction changes and precise traction and lift. Model 7420 lifts up to 421 inches with a 4,500-pound capacity and a 3,200-pound double-deep reach capacity.

Raymond's Model 7440 lifts up to 444 inches with a 4,500-pound load capacity and a 3,200-pound double-deep reach capacity. "The enhanced mast height and load capacity, combined with Raymond's unique open view mast, are a perfect fit for warehouses with very tall racking," Colborn says.

Toyota's Jimenez adds: "Companies are constantly looking into the development of new products and technologies that will enhance the customer's bottom line. For some, partnering with other companies has been the answer in regards to RFID, fast charging, and fleet management and maintenance solutions."

Optimizing Performance

Lift trucks are getting smarter and smarter. For instance, Yale's bi-directional lift pump and AC motor (an industry first) increases both productivity and efficiency, notes Guckian. "Historically, if your forks were in the air, you would have to rely on gravity to lower them, so if you were lowering empty, the forks lowered more slowly than when loaded."

The bi-direction pump is unique in that it pushes fluid into the cylinder during the lift cycle and then runs in reverse direction during the lowering cycle, thereby creating powered lowering capabilities. "So our lowering speeds are the same whether the forks are loaded or empty (which is about 50 percent of the time), which shortens the lift/lower cycle time, boosting productivity," explains Guckian.

But there's more to the bi-directional story. As loaded forks lower, the motor is being regenerated as mechanical energy is captured and converted into electrical energy by means of a regenerative motor circuit. "This means we are actually putting power back into the battery, improving efficiency so the truck can run longer between charges," Guckian says.

Crown Equipment developed its Access-123 comprehensive control system, which incorporated modules through which data is collected and shared. "By utilizing all the information collected, we can optimize the truck's performance," explains Ranly. Information could include truck direction and speed, fork height, how much weight they are carrying, motor temperature and whether the operator is standing or sitting.

"As the operator continues to make choices in operating his truck, Access 123 constantly evaluates the current operation conditions and controls the truck movements in the safest, most productive manner, optimizing such functions as how fast the truck can move and how sharply it can turn. All of this is done in real time."

Ranly stresses Crown's commitment to its vertical manufacturing capabilities. "We know the level of performance we want up front to optimize the performance of our lift trucks. When you buy off-the-shelf components, you have to take what you get."

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