KION North America

Forklift Battery Types & Battery Charges

Forklifts are a critical part of your warehouse; therefore, understanding the basics about forklift battery types as well as battery charges will help your company run more efficiently and effectively. Most forklifts come with standard flat plate batteries, but, there are a variety of other types that can be helpful. Read below to gain a better understanding of forklift batteries.

Types of Batteries

Tubular plate batteries offer longer run times and higher voltages under larger loads in comparison to the standard flat plate batteries. These tubular designed plates have fast charging capabilities which are great for high production applications. Each week these batteries require a finish and equalization charge for continued success.

High amp-hour batteries are more dependable batteries than tubular plates. If operation occasionally experiences higher demand than normal of if it is on the edge of needing a secondary battery, these high amp-hour batteries are especially helpful.

Waterless batteries sound deceiving, when in fact they do need water to function; however, less frequently in comparison to other batteries. Waterless batteries can also reduce labor costs, which can be beneficial to a company using these forklift batteries.

Maintenance-free batteries do not require watering and are considered clean or green for applications that handle more precious products such as food or pharmacy.

Battery Chargers

Charges are necessary components of the functioning capabilities of your forklift’s battery that allow you to quickly charge your battery without decreasing the battery’s lifespan. Battery chargers not only charge your battery but also monitor overheating or overcharging. Charging batteries are a necessary part of the function of a forklift as well as the overall function of a warehouse, helping it run more efficiently. Of course, different types of batteries require certain types of chargers to allow them to function properly and significantly help lengthen your batteries their lifespan. 

Understanding the different types of batteries can help you make the best decision in regards to how to power your forklift. Becoming knowledgeable about the different types of batteries, as well as how they are charged is important to your business. Get knowledgeable.

Why You Should Use Daily Safety Checklists

Safety checklists may seem like repetitive or even unnecessary actions; however, using them not only helps the safety of your employees, but they also positively influence the overall function of your warehouse itself. Understanding the purpose behind daily safety checklists is something you should check off your list. Read more below to gain a better understanding of the importance of using daily safety checklists and how to implement them:

Utilizing Checklists

There are a variety of general checklists that are offered to companies to ensure warehouse safety. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, provides safety checklists that correspond to laws and regulations that help to keep employees working their workspace safe. Following the checklists that they offer will help guide your warehouse’s general safety. These checklists also assess employees to ensure they are properly handling materials and equipment and following procedures set by the warehouse.

Making Warehouse Specific Checklists

By creating your own warehouse specific checklists, you are helping to ensure the safety of your warehouse. Tailoring checklists to your own work environment helps to ensure more safety. By including employees in the process, discussion and feedback can result in even stronger safety protocols. Evaluating safety checklists periodically helps to cover all areas of a warehouse, making sure nothing is left unsafe.

Equipment Safety Checklists

Using warehouse safety checklists daily helps to ensure general safety; however, by following equipment specific checklists for machinery such as forklifts can help avoid potential safety concerns. Operating forklifts pose numerous hazards; however, using daily checklists to make sure they are functioning properly will help prevent major issues caused by these machines. Conducting safety checklists for all equipment in your warehouse will further help keep employees free from danger.

Using daily safety checklists are essential to the overall safety of your warehouse and your employees. Safety is of utmost importance to us at KION; therefore, we understand the importance of using safety checklists.

What to Do When You Run Out of Warehouse Space

Running out of space in your warehouse can be a result of various situations. Sometimes it means your sales are up with more space for growth, or sales are down with stagnant products piling up. Whatever the case may be for your company, a solution must be found for the lack of warehouse space, the most valuable asset. There are a few things to consider when you are faced with a full warehouse:

Evaluate Inventory

When faced with little warehouse space, sometimes, the build-up of unnecessary inventory has occurred; therefore, evaluating the inventory in your warehouse can help you free up space. Managing inventory allows for more space availability. When evaluating your inventory consider reorganizing the space as well as cleaning up any clutter that is adding to the lack of space issue will not only help solve the problem, but it will also increase functionality and efficiency.

Utilize Floor Space Properly

Re-evaluating how you manage your space is essential in utilizing your warehouse space properly when faced with a lack of space. By using stackable and resealable containers, aisle space has been proven to increase. However, narrow aisles can be just as efficient; therefore, measuring your aisles can help you to minimize space used and maximize space available. Keep the size of your material handling equipment in mind when to plan out floor space specifically within the aisles.

From the Ground Up

Not only is floor space important to utilize, but also vertical space in your warehouse. Looking up when faced with an issue like warehouse space, will expand your possibilities and space. With regulations in mind, expand up to help clear more space on the ground. Properly using stacking methods will also increase efficiency within your warehouse while maximizing the air.

Change Your Rack Design

Another way to solve the problem of limited space within a warehouse means putting your thinking cap on when it comes to your storage system, specifically pallet rack design. With safety in mind, think about ways to potentially reposition, add or remove, or change the pallet racking design altogether. Utilize different pallet racking systems to maximize your warehouse space.

Running out of warehouse space happens often; however, understanding solutions to the problem will help prevent it from occurring in the future. A full warehouse means a re-evaluation is necessary to open up space as you move towards future success for your company.

Pallet Jackets and Trucks: Electric vs. Manual

Contrary to popular belief, the biggest machine is not always the most reliable, in terms of getting the job done. Although forklifts are made in varying sizes, they are not always the most efficient in material handling due to their inability to fit in all spaces in a warehouse. That is why pallet jacks are also very common in warehouses because they can handle most goods and deliver to any area regardless of space or size. They are a very versatile piece of handling equipment and are a valuable additive to a warehouse. Similar to a forklift, the purpose of this machine is to efficiently transfer pallets and other heavy material goods to various locations within the warehouse and loading dock areas. Similar to our post forklifts, pallet jacks have advanced since their beginning, and offer a variety of features, weight and pull capacities, and size. Below are a few of the differences between electric and manual pallet jacks for those who may be interested in purchasing a new one.

Things to Consider with Manual Pallet Jacks

Manual pallet jacks are amongst the most commonly used in warehouse for simple reasons; anyone can use it as it does not require any specialized training to operate, and it is much less expensive to use and maintain than an electric pallet jack. They are usually a fan favorite because; they do not require a motor; they are powered by human force and are smaller, making them more conveniently stored. They are usually able to carry up to 5,500 lbs; which is favorable for warehouses with large loads.

The downsides to using only a manual pallet jack are worth considering depending on the type of environment of the warehouse. If the facility is large or is usually handling large loads, one person operating the pallet jack may become difficult or tiring. The risk of danger and injury is greatened with a manual pallet jack. For example, if a worker has to carry a large load up an incline or rough surface, without the help of someone else, the worker could lose control of the load and face serious injuries. If you work in a large facility, the possibility of different departments needing to use these manual pallet jacks is high, since they are so accessible, and you may find that they become unavailable when you need them the most. 

Things to Consider with Electric Pallet Jacks

Although not as common, electric pallet jacks are still a favorite for equipment operators. These machines are not as strenuous on workers because electric pallet jacks operate on a motor rather than human power. They can handle more weight with their weight capacity being 6,000 lbs. Unique to the electric pallet, the motor in the jack assists in lifting and lowering the forklift, whereas the manual pallet jack is restricted to staying on the ground. Due to this, the electric jack increases productivity for warehouses because they can carry larger loads, go farther distances at a faster rate, and move loads to high or low areas.

The cons of electric pallet jacks cannot be ignored when comparing the costs to manual pallet jacks. One factor that deters buyers from purchasing an electric pallet jack is the cost. One electric pallet jack will cost you anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on the brand and the features. You also have to consider maintenance fees as well for the motor and the wheels. Another way that electric pallet jacks can pull at your pockets is with their constant need to have their fuel resupplied. Even if the motor is battery operated, it will still need to recharge, meaning you will need a charging station. Lastly, another con to having this equipment is that it requires a strict operating training and certification process. Unlike manual pallet jacks, OSHA states that those who are not trained on how to operate this equipment will not be able to use it. This requires employers to fund training, which requires extra time and money.

Although both types of pallet jacks offer their own benefits and disadvantages, it is still a wise investment to make for your company.  It is a huge asset that can help to drive your productivity results and help your facility operate at a higher level. The smallest tool can make a significant impact on your company, and this proves true with the pallet jack.

Forklift Pricing—What You Need to Know

The right forklift is the critical component for a growing business. But how do you know what the best type of forklift is for your company or if you’re paying too much? Although buying a forklift can be a big investment, it doesn’t have to break the budget. Below we have provided some tips to help you find the correct forklift machine(s) that helps to maximize productivity for your company.

Types of Forklifts

There are seven different classes of forklifts, which may seem overwhelming; but helps to reemphasize why you need to be so selective when selecting a forklift. The first class, electric motor rider trucks, operate on an electric motor and a battery. They are equipped with cushion tires and do not emit pollutants making it more suitable to be used indoors. The second class of forklifts, electric motor narrow aisle trucks, are very similar to the first class except they are specifically designed for narrow aisles. If you are looking for lift trucks for short distance jobs, class three electric motor hand trucks will get the job done. These machines are designed specifically for short distances and lifting and unloading just a few inches off the ground.

Class four and five forklifts are very similar; their tires are what distinguishes them and help to identify their function. Internal Engine Combustion trucks with cushion tires are designed for smooth, indoor areas. This truck with pneumatic tires is designed for outside areas with rougher surfaces; these trucks are better at carrying and unloading larger loads and operate at a higher capacity. Class six forklifts are known as electric and internal combustion engine tractors. Unlike the other types of forklifts, their primary function is to tow instead of the lift. Finally, the last class of forklifts is known as rough terrain forklifts. These machines are going to be the most durable and are typically used on construction sites.

Shopping Efficiently without Cutting Costs

It is best to know that you are going to spend between $15,000 to $30,000 on these machines due to different features and functions. For this reason, opting for a lower priced machine may not always be the best decision because a low selling price may run you a large bill in maintenance cost in the future. For example, an electric forklift is more expensive than an internal combustion forklift but requires much less maintenance, which means lower maintenance costs.

According to OSHA, “forklift overturns are the leading cause of fatalities involving forklifts” which is why it is better to not skip out on paying for features such as seatbelts, notification alarms, or monitoring systems to reinforce stability. It is best to measure a forklift’s long-term costs versus the upfront price.

Top 6 Forklift Options to Reduce Maintenance Costs

One of the biggest keys to having a profitable business is to find ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction. Buying a forklift, regardless of size, is expensive enough so the maintenance can be even steeper in price. We have compiled a list to help your company save some coins in maintenance costs to make sure you are providing quality as a standard to your company and your customers.

Repair Floors and Eliminate Sources of Tire Damage

Worn out floors can cause serious damage to your forklifts’ tires if the floors have holes or are badly worn down. Debris and waste such as plastic, wooden pieces, and other trash can also cause tire damage, which eventually leads to your machine needing new tires. Making sure that your manufacturing site upholds cleanliness standards and investing in smooth, even floors can eliminate the chances of employee accidents and machine damage.

Introduce Forklift Operating Safety Training

When is the last time your forklift operators participated in a forklift operating safety training? If you could not answer immediately, that means that it is time to plan for a training session. These sessions act as a refresher on safety protocol, while also update operators on any new driving/handling techniques when operating the forklifts. The benefits of these training sessions are that they increase forklift operator awareness and significantly decrease the amount of damage to the machines and any inventory.

Sticking to One Brand of Forklifts 

Various companies make forklifts, and not all of these machines are made the same. Different companies like to add on signature gadgets to build their brand stand out, and these additions can come additional costs. It may be a smart investment to be consistent with the brand of forklifts that your company uses to ensure that you do not have to kick out extra maintenance fees for different brands of forklifts.

Replace Tires and Wheels Frequently

Due to the lack of suspension that forklift machines have, their tires and wheels are prone to become worn down very easily and require frequent maintenance. An excellent investment tool would be to invest in shock absorption pads and replace tires and wheels frequently. Even the most skilled forklift driver is bound to have an incident on while operating the machine. These minor accidents can accumulate damages very quickly, and soon, you will need to replace an expensive machine. Investing in shock alarms to help indicate and absorb some shock will help keep track of how often to replace tires.

Setup a Maintenance Program

Having a contract with a maintenance provider could help companies maintain repair costs. Instead of having unexpected, or large repair bills, Have a monthly fixed price with a service provider to address any problems and eliminate the potential for any significant issues in the future. This is why sticking to one brand of forklifts is essential because this one factor could help to regulate the monthly cost of your maintenance bill. Even if there are no significant repairs one month, the constant upkeep on your machines will save you a ton in the long run.

Investing in Multi-Function Display Screens

Multi-function display screens are vital to any machine. Their primary function is to display the performance of forklift, determine its current condition, and if it’s time for any maintenance checks. It can control and regulate the speed of the forklifts and even measure oil levels. This is a brilliant investment to have seeing as it does most of maintenance monitoring for you.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: 5195 LINDE NARROW AISLE REACH TRUCK

At Linde Material Handling, we are looking back on more than 70 years of designing the most reliable forklift trucks in the industry and our new warehouse products are no exception. The new Linde Series 5195 narrow aisle reach truck combines operator comfort with increased efficiency and enhanced visibility. These features make the Linde reach truck the right choice for every warehouse environment.

Ergonomics

With the Linde’s ergonomically focused compartment, adjustable steer tiller and control handle coupled with the most operator room in the industry, the compartment can be adjusted to provide the operator with a comfortable working environment, reducing fatigue and maximizing overall productivity.

Maintenance

With a service door that opens well nearly 180 degrees, technicians have full and easy access to all necessary componentry, allowing for the truck to remain in service longer. The new Linde reach truck also has a 2-piece cover that grants additional access to critical components and makes service a breeze. Technicians will appreciate the onboard diagnostics used to quickly and effectively check and address truck systems. The CAN bus electronics integrate truck systems with reduced wiring and electrical connections. Overall, the Linde Series 5195 reach truck enables easier and faster maintenance.

Performance

Linde’s powered lowering drastically increases lower speeds, reducing cycle times, and pumping energy back into the battery. Long run times and reduced cycle times make the 5195 series an efficient material handling solution. Variable steering resistance and an informative display with the truck status support the operator staying in perfect control of the truck and its valuable loads during operations. The 5195 series preserves the engineering pedigree of all Linde products, holding industry leading residual capacities, allowing heavier loads to travel higher and reducing adding to the flexibility of your warehouse’s storage capabilities.

Efficiency

Linde’s cushioned hydraulic system allows for delicate handling of any load, including controlled acceleration, smooth maneuvering and responsive braking with or without a load. This increases operator efficiency while helping to guard against product damage. 

Confidence

Linde’s glass overhead guard provides the operator with zero obstructions while checking load placement on a rack. With the glass overhead guard, the operator can stay within the compartment throughout the handling of the goods even at higher heights. This increases fork accuracy, and in turn, decreases cycle time and product damage. 

For more information or to request a demo, contact your authorized local dealer today.

How to Get the Maximum Trade-In Value for your Forklift

Selling a used forklift can give you or your company extra funds to upgrade an existing fleet or invest in a new make or model. Knowing what your forklift is worth “as-is” can be a difficult task because there are many things to consider. Understanding these top four selling criteria will ensure every re-seller gets their maximum trade-in value.

Age

The age of your forklift should be your first consideration. Forklift ages are typically done by the number of hours used in operation. 7,500 to 9,500 hours is optimal for high selling prices. Anything above 12,000 hours will get a lower asking price, and the type of forklift matters also. For example, if the forklift is electric, the condition of your battery will matter more than the hours spent. However, just like a car – the more they all have been used the less valuable it becomes.

Appearance

Of course, the appearance of the forklift matters a great deal during a resale. The fewer scuffs the better and it’s a good idea to clean it up before showing it to any potential buyers. A quick clean and technician tune-up can boost your potential sale price. Honesty is the best policy here, so be sure to explain any dents, marks, or scratches to anyone inquiring. Appearance isn’t the sole factor, though. If you have a well-functioning forklift, many buyers will prefer optimal functionality over a perfect appearance.

Maintenance

If you’ve maintained your forklift well you can expect a better market value. Unfortunately, this cannot be done before the sale so to ensure top dollar for your machine – value the maintenance of your fleet over time. Have routine checks and tune-ups to extend the forklift’s lifetime and re-sellability. A faulty forklift will do poorly on the resale market, so make sure it’s operational and functioning before selling.

Type

The type of forklift you’re selling will affect the market value. Electric forklifts get the best market value, but only if the battery is healthy and working. Gasoline and propane forklifts are lower in value, but can still be resold. Propane forklifts may be especially taxing to sell due to the over-saturation of availability. The accessibility of these forklifts makes them the least valuable.

Whether you’re selling a gas, electric, or propane forklift, it is important to know what will get you the most for your money when reselling. Being sensible to the current state of your machinery in terms of age, history, and type of forklift you’re selling will guide your valuation and ultimately secure you the maximum trade-in value.

How Forklifts Help After Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are an inevitable part of life. Preparing for them and cleaning up after them are two of the main options we have in response to an unstoppable hurricane, flood, or forest fire. Forklifts may be operational for the most part, but in times of need, they excel at picking up the pieces of a natural disaster. Here are some ways forklifts prove instrumental in our response to emergencies.

Preparations

The calm before the storm can be a critical time to make arrangements for the impending disaster. Forklifts aid in preparation in various ways. For example, KION helped haul large amounts of sandbags to help prevent flooding in the Lowcountry of South Carolina during the last hurricane scare. Most importantly forklifts prepare and help to brace communities when facing the aftermath of what’s to come.

Utility

The pneumatic tires on most forklifts are perfect for driving over rugged terrain and uneven surfaces. This makes them invaluable in the wake of a hurricane or earthquake. Cleaning up debris is the first step to rebuilding a community and forklifts offer the tools to efficiently do this. Hand pallets are also immensely useful to provide the supplies in an organized and quick fashion. Access to food, water, and supplies is the most vital form of relief in these affected communities and forklifts help them get there.

Relief

It’s always important to keep the safety and operational standards up to date in case of an emergency relief project. Warehouse managers can contribute to relief by supplying forklifts to the affected areas. Getting supplies to the location, transferring them quickly to the communities, and ensuring a quick clean up is something forklifts provide in the face of a natural disaster.

Forklifts are useful before and after a natural disaster strikes. Aiding in preparation for the storm and supplying relief efforts afterward can make a huge difference in the lives of those affected. Forklifts help communities recover from the disaster and make it possible for them to thrive again.

Spring Forklift Maintenance Checklist and Inspection Guide

With spring officially set to commence on March 20th, there is no time like the present to get a head start on spring cleaning. Follow this instructional guide to get a head start on your forklift inspection and possible subsequent maintenance to ensure safe, clean, and workable conditions for their employees.

Forklift Statistics

Some statistics are important to check intermittently. Your forklift’s service history will tell you a lot about the systems prior issues and possible concerns. Another useful piece of information will be the level of your forklift’s oil.

Search for Wear and Tear Plus Leakage

Forklifts do the grunt work for us, therefore they are bound to wear and tear over time. Check the battery, electrical cables, as well as the spark plugs for degradation. Time can also cause the metal to corrode, which may result in leakages. Check for both of these factors to ensure your forklift will work for years to come.

Check the Cooling System’s Radiator Hose

If your forklifts radiator hose clamps and caps, you’re in the clear. Ensuring the forklift does not overheat is a crucial factor in the longevity of your machinery.

Inspect the Air Intake System

Inspecting the air intake system is important to ensure the forklift will continue working as intended. Seeing that the air intake system is sealed is a good sign your forklift is operating smoothly.

Examine Breaks

Examining the break height and pressure will help determine the safety of them. If they give little resistance, it may be time to replace them. Brakes are an essential safety feature in warehouse operations, so be sure to check them out!

Examine the Forks

Now, this may seem obvious, but you’re looking for any visible cracks to the fork. There are a few other considerations to this inspection, though, including fork height and thickness. If your forklift is experiencing extreme wear and tear, the forks will begin to bend lower and become thinner.

Check the Steering Wheel

The steering wheel directs the entire forklift and is a vital function of the machinery. Checking the valves within, the rubber that encases, and the hoses that connect to the steering wheel will allow you to see if it is functioning properly.

Check the Transmission Fluid

Not only should you be checking the transmission fluid’s levels, but the color and odor as well. The transmission fluid should still have a bright pigment to it. If it appears dark in color, you may have reason to believe the fluid is contaminated.

Check the Tire Pressure

Checking the tire pressure ensures that no tire-pops will ensue due to a heavy weight load. While checking the tire pressure, be sure to check out if the front and rear-end tires have any holes or tears on them, as well. Ensure the safety of your staff by having regular inspections and safety checks. Following this checklist and maintenance guide will help gauge which forklifts are on their last leg and which ones are reliable, safe, and running smoothly