As loads become more varied and demands on operations increase, forklift trucks are required to move more than ever before, equating to heavier loads and faster movement.
Safety needs to remain a priority in every operation, and there are a variety of things a business can do to improve its operating environment by promoting increased awareness and ensuring suitable processes, however this can be further enhanced at the specification stage and a range of ‘add-ons’ can assist the driver in achieving optimal safety and comfort.
Some of these features are already commonly seen on trucks, however some are much newer to the market, and the mix-and-match options provide real versatility to support every operation.
|Object detection system
|Roof detection system
|Overload detection system
|Pedestrian awareness light
|Seatbelt and door interlock
|Air suspension seat
|Battery disconnect switch
1. Object detection system
In operations where there are a variety of obstacles for the driver to navigate around, or high volumes of traffic and pedestrians, object detection solutions can provide support for the driver in identifying nearby hazards.
The system uses ultrasound to detect obstacles in 3 pre-set zones and warns the driver with an audible signal and visual proximity indication. Two side-facing sensors are used when the truck moves from a stationary position, and if an object is detected the truck will be prevented from moving forwards unless the driver presses the override button.
Two rear facing sensors are used when the machine is travelling in reverse and can be used to reduce reverse speed automatically on detection of an object.
2. Roof detection system
For “in/out” operations, where lift trucks are moving from exterior areas into buildings, such as a warehouse or indoor manufacturing area, a roof detection system can prove helpful. Using radar, the system detects when the truck is underneath a ceiling. When this occurs, the truck can be limited to operate at a pre-selected speed, helping to comply with onsite speed restrictions.
3. Load stability system
Handling loads with variable or unevenly distributed weights can be a challenge in some operations. The load overload detection feature helps support drivers so that they can ensure their payload is securely positioned before transporting it. This promotes good load stability, reduces the risk of a load shifting while being moved and reduces the potential for damage.
The special load stability system can be integrated with forklift trucks, as well as pallet and warehouse trucks, to provide an indicator of weight and stability of a load. It offers continuous weight and stability measurements, but importantly provides the operator with incremental warnings as an issue is detected. This is done visually, via a clear message on the LCD display and a series of green, amber and red lights, and audibly, with a buzzer alarm.
It is also possible to combine the weighing system with speed limitation technology which can automatically restrict the speed of the trucks when loads reach a certain weight. This can in turn help minimise damage to the truck, load or warehouse infrastructure.
4. Pedestrian awareness lighting (PAL)
Front and rear spotlights are automatically activated as soon as forward or reverse motion is selected. They project a blue beam onto the floor, helping to alert pedestrians of an approaching truck and its direction of travel. Red zoning lights can also be used on either side of the truck to indicate the required distance that pedestrians should keep from the truck.
These lights can provide extra visibility when pedestrians and lift trucks are required to operate in the same space, such as racking where trucks move in and out of aisles frequently, warehouses with blind intersections or high noise environments.
5. Seatbelt and door interlock systems
These options mean that the engine will not start until the driver is in the seat with the seatbelt and/or cab door closed.
6. Air suspension seat
The air suspension seat is designed to provide exceptional comfort and ride, and is built to withstand the toughest environments. It can be adjusted backwards and forwards and features lumbar support. This feature reduces the potentially stressful movement of a long shift by ensuring the operator is comfortably balanced and supported when driving.
7. Battery disconnect switch
The battery disconnect switch allows the battery to be disconnected in an emergency or when not in use, which helps to prevent the battery from draining and losing charge.
8. Roller blinds
The roller blinds are simply located on the front and top screens of the truck, helping to reduce the impact of bright sunlight on the operator’s visibility.
9. Telemetry device
Telemetry devices can monitor impact events and diagnostic trouble shooting events. Keeping track of truck usage helps to reduce costs, identify trends and give you a broader picture about your fleet.