How modern technology helps the forklift driver work better
Just like modern cars, modern forklift trucks are increasingly equipped with electronic tools that make them work more efficiently and safely. While the Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Alert and Pro-Collision System aid drivers in road traffic, features like Intelligent Curve Control, Sensitive Drive System, 360 Degree Steering and Auto Fork Levelling help the forklift driver.
Today, we rarely come across excessive braking distances caused by wheels slipping on the road surface. ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) prevents a road vehicle’s wheels from locking, and similar systems are available for the modern forklift truck.
Intelligent Curve Control reduces the risk of tilting during fast turns. This system adjusts the truck’s driving speed according the angle of the steered wheels. Simply put: it decreases the rate of travel automatically, even if the forklift driver keeps the accelerator pedal pressed. As soon as the wheels return to a straight driving position, the speed gradually increases again. In this way, Intelligent Curve Control helps to avoid an unsafe situation and ensures smooth driving behaviour when turning.
Auto Fork Levelling enables the forklift driver to set the mast in a vertical position and, at the same time, keep the forks fully horizontal. It provides a safe and stress-free way of positioning the forks underneath a pallet, with less chance of pushing it out of the rack or damaging it. Always remember, a falling pallet can have disastrous consequences. This feature saves time on every task, as additional corrections of the mast or forks are no longer needed.
The thinking truck
With the Sensitive Drive System, it seems like the forklift is thinking along with the driver. It senses what the driver’s intention is: working rapidly with fast reaction times or taking a cautious approach with maximum accuracy. Sensitive Drive System is triggered by the actions of both the accelerator pedal and the mast operation controls.
We associate 360 Degree Steering mainly with warehouse equipment, such as reach trucks. As the wheels keep on turning, the driver is enabled to turn and change direction simultaneously. This creates a smoother driving style that also saves energy. It means you don’t have to brake first, change direction and then accelerate again. This steering system has recently become available on a few of the more advanced counterbalance forklifts.
Of course, in materials handling, as in road traffic, electronic devices are just tools. They are there to support a professional whilst performing a task. The driver and his or her company must always remain responsible for using a lift truck in the safest way. The fact that modern technology can provide a pleasant and, above all, safe helping hand is no superfluous luxury.
- Perform a risk analyses in your warehouses to detect dangerous situations
- Check your fleet for safety or productivity enhancing features or contact your forklift dealer to discuss the options
- Modern features are great to work better, but keep on training an and educating your drivers. Consider an update course.