Data Lift

Lift trucks, pallet trucks get tech’d out

Do you use electric lifts in your facility? If so, make sure you’re up to speed. Most lift trucks are experiencing the same makeover as other industrial machinery; data integration. But don’t stick a forklift in ’em just yet.

New industrial models like this line from Big Joe not only use AC motors and are capable of mass data integration, but also put you in the driver's seat.—Big Joe Lifts photo

New industrial models like this line from Big Joe not only use AC motors and are capable of mass data integration, but also put you in the driver’s seat.—Big Joe Lifts photo

The emergence of data-infused technologies within the lift truck sector—a market expected to reach $51 billion by 2022can be practical or overly ambitious, depending on the business using them. Key factors right off the bat include fleet size, maintenance practices, and downtime averages. Also relevant is the question of whether to use AC or DC motors in your lifts.

For a larger fleet, the transition to AC motors, if desired, could take longer. Certain older lifts outfitted with DC controls and motors should not be discarded if still operational and useful. Provided your company has competent maintenance personnel for such ‘outdated’ equipment, it would be sensible to continue to keep it in use. However, this may require delaying a transition to an all-encompassing data platform that keeps track of all the AC trucks, unless you are able to employ the DC models in their own, separate capacity.

Most facilities have transitioned to AC-powered electric lifts over the past decade, writes Josh Bond of Modern Materials Handling. This was mainly a derivative of the manufacturers, who chose AC due to its heightened capacity for data access with regard to equipment conditioning. Using brushless motors and regenerative braking reduced maintenance costs by as much as $350 in parts alone each year and cut 45 minutes from the previous two-hour length of a planned maintenance event. AC trucks are capable of measuring amperage draw, motor and controller temperature, and maximum voltage on one platform.

An old-school high lift pallet truck, which uses a manual pump mechanism.

An old-school high lift pallet truck, which uses a manual pump mechanism.

Likewise, pallet trucks have gotten smaller, lighter, and more versatile over this time period. Many of these formerly manual operated machines are now automatic, include ride-along features, dust, water, and snow protection, and can be taken outdoors for delivery services. These, also, have incorporated new designs and technology similar to their electric lift cousins—most have AC motors now, adaptive maneuverability for rough terrain, and data incorporation, Toby Gooley of DC Velocity writes. Telematics solutions, which wirelessly send data and instructions to and from lift trucks, are incorporating electric pallet trucks into the Industrial Internet of Things.

Advertisements

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: