Warehousing goes greener

It is heartening to see a growing trend in the warehousing and logistics sector for more eco-friendly operations that minimise harm to the environment. As sustainability becomes increasingly important, there is a shift to replace traditional combustion engine forklift trucks with highly efficient, eco-friendly electric forklifts.

“The investment in electric forklifts transforms warehousing operations, by reducing harmful carbon emissions, enhancing energy efficiency, lowering noise levels and minimising downtime,” states Brenton Kemp, managing director of Criterion Equipment, exclusive distributors of TCM forklift trucks in Southern Africa. “Our team of specialists works closely with all sectors of business to improve the efficiency and sustainability of each customer’s materials handling operations, by matching the correct forklift truck with exact requirements.

“Criterion Equipment’s flexible range of TCM forklift trucks includes the 4-wheel electric counter-balance FB-IX series, engineered for high productivity and safe operation. These versatile electric forklifts – known for reduced operating costs, greater controllability, low noise and modern ergonomics – have been particularly well accepted for use in warehousing and storage facilities. Of particular importance are impressive energy-saving features that improve productivity by ensuring low electric consumption and allowing longer working hours per charge.

“These machines are particularly well suited for use in warehousing and logistics for many other reasons – apart from low noise levels during operation, FB-IX forklifts have important safety features that mitigate the risk of accidents, ensuring a secure working environment. These features include stability control, load weight sensors, automatic braking systems and audible alarms to alert nearby personnel.

“Versatile FB-IX machines are able to safely and efficiently handle various tasks – from loading and unloading goods to stacking and transporting heavy materials – in warehousing, logistics, manufacturing and construction.”

The counter-balance FB-IX series – a Class 1 sit-down rider type machine, available with standard wheel bases and a load capacity range between 1,8 tons and 3,5 tons – offers smooth acceleration, precise control and excellent manoeuvrability, even in tight spaces.

TCM FB-IX forklifts are available with the option of traditional lead-acid or Lithium Ion batteries for enhanced propulsion. Traditional lead-acid batteries are cost-effective and suitable for standard applications, while Li-Ion batteries provide extended life and enhanced performance, making them ideal for intensive operations that demand longer runtimes and reduced charging times.

There are three ECO modes available – Power (P), Normal (N) or Custom (C). In addition, selection of N mode and ECO mode together, provides up to 11 ½ hours of operation time before the next battery charge is necessary. Users are able to easily select the most suitable operating mode for travelling or load handling, to suit specific driving skills and working conditions.

The custom mode allows easy adjustment of the truck’s characteristics for efficient operation in all conditions. This includes control of acceleration and response of the accelerator and hydraulic lever, to suit the operator’s preferences. And to save unnecessary power consumption during truck idling, an ‘auto power off’ facility cuts the power off automatically after 15 minutes of inactivity. This also acts as a safety feature to prevent possible accidents when the operator gets back on the forklift.”

Electric energy is efficiently recovered by the standard TCM regeneration system which includes accelerator-off, switch-backs, braking, slowing down on downhill and lift/tilt operations. The optional ‘smooth run system’ has two accumulators that absorb vibrations in the lift cylinder when going over bumps, to enhance safe and comfortable operation. This system also reduces shocks and noise levels during all stages of load handling – from no load to full load.

These robust forklift trucks have advanced design features for reliability and durability, including a rigid single-piece, integrated frame and side body. A cast steel bumper protects the rear frame from impacts that occur during busy operations, significantly extending the life of the machine. The IPX4 Index Protection (IP) rating prevents the ingress of water spray from all directions, even during outdoor operation in rainy conditions.

The ergonomically designed operator’s compartment offers improved comfort, precise control and reduced fatigue. In situations where operators need to get on and off the truck frequently – particularly in warehouse applications – the low-floor and wide-step designs, significantly reduce operator fatigue. Important design features include an adjustable seat, intuitive controls and excellent visibility.

TCM FB-IX forklift trucks have fewer moving parts, which reduces the need for regular engine maintenance, compared with conventional combustion engine forklifts.

Optional attachments for this series include fork extension sleeves, fork positioners, load grabs, rotating forks and wide view masts.

Criterion Equipment’s range comprises all models of TCM forklift trucks, covering most forklift classes. These include Internal Combustion (IC) counter-balance trucks, electric counter-balance trucks, reach trucks, powered pallet trucks and rough terrain forklifts. Mast configurations vary from standard two stage 3 m masts to high-reach three stage masts.

The company supports these machines with a technical advisory, spare parts, repair and maintenance service to ensure optimum performance from every machine.

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