How can modern technology help the forklift driver work better?
Just like modern cars, modern forklift trucks are also increasingly equipped with electronic tools that make the truck work more efficient and safer. What the Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Alert and Pro-Collision System are in road traffic, features like Intelligent Curve Control, Sensitive Drive System, 360 Degree Steering and Auto Fork Levelling are helping the forklift driver.
Today, we hardly come across too long braking distances due to slipping wheels in road traffic anymore. ABS prevents the brakes from blocking and similar systems are available for the modern forklift truck. Intelligent Curve Control reduces the chance of tilting in fast curves. The system adjusts the driving speed of the truck according the steering angle of the steering wheels. Simply put: it decreases automatically the driving speed, even if the forklift driver keeps the acceleration pedal pressed. As soon as the wheels return in straight driving position, the speed gradually increases again. In this way, this system helps to prevent an unsafe situation and ensures a smooth driving behaviour when curving.
With Auto Fork Levelling, the forklift driver sets the mast vertical and, at the same time, the forks fully horizontal. This way he can safely and stress-free position the forks underneath a pallet, without less risk of pushing it out of the rack or damaging it. After all, a falling pallet can have disastrous consequences. This feature saves time with 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 a cautious approach together with maximum accuracy. Sensitive Drive System is triggered by both the acceleration pedal and the controls for mast operation.
We know 360 degree steering mainly from warehouse trucks such as the reach truck. As the wheels keep on turning, the driver is able to simultaneously turn and change direction. This creates a smoother driving style that also saves energy. After all, you do not have to brake first, change direction and then accelerate again. This steering system has recently become available on a few more advanced 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 also the company always remain responsible for using a lift truck in the most safe way. The fact that modern technology can provide a pleasant and above all safe helping hand is no superfluous luxury.
The Welfaux Conclusion
Make sure to always perform a risk analysis in your warehouse to detect dangerous situations and be vigilant about checking your fleet for safety or productivity enhancing features.
Just remember, modern features are great to work with, but training and educating your drivers is just as, if not more important. Always have regular refresher courses.