The importance of retaining the most appropriate mix of lift truck fleet, in the most fit-for-purpose state, is often overlooked. Selecting the right trucks for the job should not be regarded as a one-off activity – fleet requirements can change over a period as tasks and operational needs bend to the demands of the customer.
Along with a constant assessment of fleet usage should come regular inspections, not only to ensure up-time of the equipment, but to maintain the health and safety performance of the truck.
Andrew Elliot, sales and marketing director at Toyota Industrial Equipment Europe, understands the importance of regular inspections: ‘Each truck should be examined at least every 12 months to check compliance with local legislation. A Thorough Examination Certificate is a legal requirement across Europe. Depending on the application, intensity of use and attachments, regulations may require trucks to be officially examined every four or six months.’
Assessing the condition of equipment on a daily basis is also imperative, points out Elliot. While this may seem obvious, it’s surprising how often these basic daily checks can be overlooked. Each pre-shift inspection should check that the horn, brakes, steering and motor are working properly, as well as ensuring that the tyres, battery and fluid levels are satisfactory. While these basic checks are necessary on all trucks, different models are likely to require other checks.
A good forklift inspection programme should ensure that the same operational checks are carried out across all trucks and a checklist should be developed to guarantee that a consistent procedure is in place for reporting safety issues.
But aside from the importance of regular inspections, the most appropriate machines for the task should be deployed. And to keep up with recent model introductions by the lift truck manufactures, it would be timely to visit either theLogistics Link Exhibition at Sandown Park, 6th – 7th February or the IMHX show at the NEC, Birmingham from 13th – 16th March. Of course, LogiMat 13th – 15 February in Stuttgart and SITL, 27th – 29th March in Paris, are also coming up.
At Sandown Park, Narrow Aisle will be unveiling the latest version of its Flexi articulated truck, the G4. With safety in mind, a switch has been fitted in the seat which prevents operation unless the driver is in position. A further safety advance is the redesigned accelerator and brake layout.
Yale Europe, present at both the UK shows, will be showing off their new Veracitor GDP/GLP 40 – 55VX series of engine powered counterbalanced trucks. The introduction of the 4.0 – 5.5 tonne capacity trucks has extended the range from 1.6 to 5.5 tonne capacities. Three configurations are available – the Base, Value and Productivity models have modified transmission systems which are claimed to deliver dramatic improvements in productivity.
At IMHX Barloworld will be presenting Hyster’s new H4.00 – 5.50FT Fortens range of counterbalanced lift trucks, as well as new and extended fleet management solutions.
Linde will also be demonstrating a number of new products. These include the X range reach truck, the compact electric counterbalance truck with integrated drive axle and energy management system, and the latest additions to the 39X series of engine powered forklifts with hydrostatic transmission and capacities up to 2.0 tonnes.
And of course, it’s always worth checking out what’s new at Jungheinrich, Toyota, BT and Atlet.