When it comes to lift trucks, operators want a material handling solution that’s durable, robust, productive and able to handle the heavy lifting.

Enter today’s material handling workhorses. Here’s a rundown of newly introduced lift trucks that offer a plethora of promising features.

Easing second-level order picking

Food processors want lift trucks that can stand up to difficult working conditions. That’s why Hyster Co., a part of NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc., Greenville, N.C., launched the Hyster LO2.5 lift truck.

Designed to be freezer ready, the LO2.5 low-level order picker eases second-level order picking through its fully adjustable electronic power steering, automatic speed reduction in cornering and suspended platform with an operator-sensing floor mat, thus reducing electric steering effort by 90%, says Jonathan Dawley, president.

“The LO2.5 truck features numerous operator compartment and platform advantages for efficiency and ergonomic benefits,” he adds. “The control handle reduces the arm movement needed to change directions, helping to reduce fatigue, increase productivity and allow the operator to remain inside the truck footprint for protection. The truck also has coasting and lift/lower function buttons on both sides of the truck, allow the operator to also walk next to the compartment and lift/lower the forks without being on board or on one particular side of the truck. The LO2.5 lift truck’s electro-mechanical disc brakes are top-mounted for ease of maintenance or inspection.”

Yale Materials Handling Corp., also part of the Hyster-Yale umbrella, developed the Yale MO25 center rider lift truck, designed to ease second-level order picking through its fully adjustable electronic power steering. The MO25 features numerous operator compartment and platform advantages for efficiency and ergonomic benefits. The control handle reduces the arm movement needed to change directions, allowing the operator to remain inside the truck footprint for protection.

Combination of design attributes

The Raymond Corp.’s pallet trucks offer a unique combination of design attributes that deliver greater productivity, increased energy efficiency, easier maneuverability and fewer maintenance points. In a nutshell, they’re “designed to be material handling workhorses,” says Susan Rice, product manager of pallet trucks and stackers. And, the Greene, N.Y.-based manufacturer’s newest introduction—the 8000 Series pallet truck—provides nothing less.

“The differences begin with advanced engineering, which helps achieve peak efficiencies through the use of industry-leading materials and components and fine-tuned designs, which maximize performance,” says Rice. “In fact, third-party testing by the United States Auto Club verified that Raymond pallet trucks are up to 33% more energy efficient and 6% more productive than those offered by competitive manufacturers.”

Raymond lift trucks feature stainless-steel pins that prevent corrosion and moisture accumulation, composite bushings coated with Teflon that eliminate 32 maintenance points on the truck every 250 hours and new debris diversion truck tires that come with a lip on the hub that prevents shrink wrap and other debris from damaging the drive motor seal.

Improving the way operators work

Productivity and durability are huge issues for refrigerated and frozen food customers. Forklifts work in demanding environments that are cold and wet, and face a lot of wear and tear as they move in and out of different temperature zones each day, according to Andy Smith, senior marketing product manager for Crown Equipment.

That’s why the New Bremen, Ohio-based manufacturer designed three new lift trucks that improve the way operators work.

For starters, the Crown SC 5200 is a sit-down counterbalanced forklift that allows operators to increase productivity thanks to optional fingertip and joystick hydraulic controls and an optional 2-stage lift mast that delivers flexibility in multiple demanding applications.

Meanwhile, the new Crown RM 6000 Xpress Lower Technology lift truck reduces cycle times by decreasing the time spent waiting for the load to lower.

“Technology inside the truck increases lowering speeds to an industry-leading pace of up to 240 feet per minute, without using any additional energy,” says Smith. “The patent-pending design delivers three automatically-controlled lower speed zones to ensure optimum performance and safety.”

And, the Crown RM 6000 Quick Change Load Wheels is a unique load wheel-changing system that reduces the time it takes to replace load wheels and return the truck to operational status.

“The design allows the load wheel assembly to be swapped out in the aisle, eliminating the need to move the truck to a maintenance area and wait for an available technician to jack up the truck, replace the load wheels and bring it back into service,” Smith adds. “The result is a load wheel change that occurs in only 2.5 minutes, which can equate to a savings of more than 25 minutes compared to a standard load wheel replacement.”

Intelligent electronics

Houston-based Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc. created the new Jungheinrich EFG 2-5 series of 3- and 4-wheel electric counterbalanced pneumatic tire forklifts.

Designed with capacities ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 pounds, “Jungheinrich’s proprietary and innovative AC technology is both highly intelligent and extremely powerful,” says Michael Wiesenegg, product line manager for the Jungheinrich brand. “The electronic control system allows the operator to experience smooth travel, dynamic reversing and pinpoint positioning with minimal energy consumption. Customers will also benefit from the lift truck’s five levels of pre-programmable performance modes, an added benefit for applications with operators of varying skill sets.”

The new EFG series also includes a wide range of features for operator comfort through even the longest shifts, including low-effort electric power steering, an adjustable arm rest with easy access to controls, nearly wear-free brakes, an automatic parking brake and highly-sealed components that substantially reduce the amount of downtime required for maintenance by blocking dust and moisture from critical electronics.

Convenience, versatility and simplicity

Combining the vertical lifting of a small-powered stacker with the convenience, versatility and simplicity of a 2-wheel hand truck, the new Model LNB-350 Lift’n Buddy, Fargo, N.D., makes it faster, safer and easier to transport and reposition items in virtually any work environment.

Whether in manufacturing, warehousing/distribution, shipping/receiving, retail or restaurants, Model LNB-350 helps transfer loads to and from shelves, workbenches, conveyors, delivery trucks, customer vehicles, etc. At the touch of a button, the unit’s powered platform positions loads at a comfortable height to eliminate bending and stretching. A linear actuator ensures smooth lifting and lowering with zero drift. The tethered push-button control allows the user to adjust height from any side of the load.

Built on a lightweight, durable aluminum frame, Model LNB-350 can handle loads up to 350 pounds and lift to a full 36 inches. Heavy-duty, 10-inch polyurethane tires roll effortlessly over uneven floors, pavement, thresholds and carpeting without going flat or leaving skid marks.

Options and accessories for the Model LNB-350 Lift’n Buddy include multiple handle styles, custom platforms and finishes, an attachment for lifting 5-gallon pails, a kick stand and a cylinder-handling kit.

Floor-level lifts

Floor-level lifts can be loaded and unloaded by a hand pallet jack. That’s why Attleboro, Mass.-based Presto Lifts Inc. created the XZ Series hydraulic floor-level lifts. This ergonomic solution for lift-table application can handle loads up to 6,000 pounds.

The platform of an XZ lift lowers to floor level, leaving the pan-style platform no more than half an inch above the floor for easy roll-on/roll-off. Accessible from all four sides, XZ lifts rise to a height of just over 35 inches to minimize bending and lifting, thus reducing employee fatigue, injuries and production times. A yellow 6-inch flexible strip is mounted to the lip of the platform to protect against toe injuries. The lift motor can be controlled by a foot switch or push buttons.

Today’s lift trucks prove to be the right material handling solution to handle the heavy lifting and then some.

Selecting the Right Lift Truck for your Facility

How can refrigerated and frozen food processors determine which lift truck is right for their plant? Easy—understand the customer’s needs.

Applications and lift truck usage varies widely, even within refrigerated and frozen food processors, says Jonathan Dawley,  president of Hyster Co., a part of NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc., Greenville, N.C.

“Assessing each operation’s needs and site requirements is a foundational step to selecting the right equipment,” he adds. “Contacting a lift truck manufacturer can provide the expertise and input needed to analyze and determine the best lift truck equipment that will enable a plant to operate as efficiently and productively as possible.”

Partners need to evaluate a customer’s needs based on operational elements, such as storage requirements, warehouse layout and product throughput, adds Susan Rice, product manager of pallet trucks and stackers for The Raymond Corp., Greene, N.Y.

 “In general, processors need equipment that is productive, energy efficient, durable and is easy to maneuver and maintain, especially since these attributes apply to cold storage applications,” she says.