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Product Spotlight: Linde Series 346

The Linde Series 346 is exactly what customers have to come to expect from Linde products. This truck raises the standards for comfort, efficiency, economy of operation and durability. Offered in eight different models, the Linde 346 has a lift capacity ranging from 3,500 to 4,000 lbs. This truck can fit well in a multitude of applications, including general warehousing, manufacturing and beverage.

Ergonomics

The ergonomics on the Linde 346 are phenomenal. Linde engineers painstakingly developed the truck around the operator to help ensure the most stress-free environment as possible. All areas where operator and machine meet were carefully designed. Equipped with an adjustable armrest, a vibration-isolating suspension seat and generous amounts of legroom, the 346 can make any size operator feel comfortable. With all of these ergonomic features, driver fatigue becomes less of a problem in your workplace.

Safety

At the end of the day, safety is the most important feature on any truck whether you’re the manufacturer or the operator and the Linde 346 doesn’t fall behind anyone when it comes to the safety of the operator and the people around the truck. A key element of forklift safety is visibility of the load through the mast. Linde has installed a unique mast design to optimize the view. This was achieved by replacing chains with cylinders in the main lift stages. This allows for a drastically wider field of vision. The truck also has standard safety features including two spotlights, an overhead guard and an emergency power cut-off.

Efficiency

Becoming more efficient is everyone’s end goal and depending on your working environment the 346 can help with that. This truck features the new Linde drive axle, which is an assembly that includes drive motors, hydraulic motor, reduction gears, brake system and power modules. This system has eliminated long power cables, which is one of the major sources of excessive energy consumption. Linde has also made energy visible, meaning the new Linde electric trucks have a unique energy management system, including an advanced battery state of charge indicator. This measures the current and available voltage to provide a continuous update of the battery’s overall condition.

Maintenance

All machines require maintenance, but the Linde series 346 has maintenance intervals of 1000 hours. This truck has many design features that allow for this high maintenance interval. Some of these design features include automatic deceleration, maintenance-free brake system and electronic diagnostics. This truck is also equipped with an AC system for all motors which operates without brushes and is completely sealed extending component life.

If you are looking for a quality electric forklift that you can rely on without breaking the bank, the Linde 346 could be a great fit for your operation. If you think there are other options that would benefit your workplace, please see a list of options on our website or for more information please contact your authorized local dealer today.

Three Tips to Improve Electric Forklift Battery Life

The majority of warehouses are making the switch from internal combustion forklifts to electric forklifts in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Electric forklifts, such as the Linde 346, produce zero emissions, have a longer economic life and more precise truck control than typical internal combustion forklifts. However, while electric forklifts are more efficient, they require proper maintenance; especially when it comes to the battery. Here are three ways to improve your electric forklift battery life.

Don’t over-charge

Flooded, lead-acid forklift batteries have a limited number of charge cycles. You should charge the battery after an 8-10 hour shift, or when it’s discharged more than 30 percent. Don’t charge the battery during lunch break, or “when it’s convenient” because it will reduce the battery’s lifespan. This kind of opportunity-charging requires a specific battery and charger combination that also needs formal training.

Check the water level

Water plays a pivotal role in the life of the battery, so make sure to check the fluid level of the battery every five charging cycles. The water should only be refilled once the battery is fully charged. Also, keep in mind that you only need enough water to cover the plastic battery element. For additional details, refer to the manual provided by your battery manufacturer.

Keep the batteries cool

Temperature is important in keeping your forklift battery healthy. For optimal operation, keep the temperature in the charging rooms below 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius). If the battery is overheated, the lifespan will be decreased, so you need to make sure that the battery is well ventilated when it’s charging and in use.

Follow these three steps to ensure a long battery life for your electric forklift. Check out our Linde and Baoli products if you’re looking to purchase an electric forklift, or contact your local authorized dealer. At KION North America, we understand the importance of an efficient forklift. Please contact us if you have any further questions at 843-875-8000.

Linde at Work: South Carolina Aquarium

In May, KION North America loaned one of its Linde Series 346 electric forklifts to the South Carolina Aquarium to assist in the transport of Kiki—a female sand tiger shark that has called the Charleston-based attraction home for the past four years.

The South Carolina Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the natural world by exhibiting and caring for animals, by excelling in education and research, and by providing an exceptional visitor experience.

Kiki, who now lives at Marineland in Florida, is 6.5 feet in length and weighs about 165 lbs. The aquarium wanted to use an environmentally-friendly forklift that aligns with its mission to inspire conservation to secure the lid on the tank used for transport. With a load capacity of up to 4,000 lbs. and manufactured less than 30 miles away, the Linde Series 346 was the perfect solution.

The counterbalanced electric forklift offers more precise load placement, greater accuracy, and reduced noise and vibrations—all great features when you’re working near a live animal.

“Kiki is very special to us and to the species as a whole because she is a new, active participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for sand tiger sharks,” said Bethany Morgan, public relations manager for the South Carolina Aquarium.

The goal of the Survival Plan, with a focus on captive breeding efforts, is to protect sharks and learn more about their genetic diversity and health. Sand tiger sharks have a very low reproduction rate compared to others, which makes it difficult to manage their populations. In collaboration with staff from Marineland and Georgia Aquarium, South Carolina Aquarium biologists participate in breeding workshops and assist with reproductive health exams on sand tiger sharks.

“These efforts will offer valuable insight into the sharks’ reproductive abilities that will hopefully sustain wild populations in the future,” said Morgan.

Has your company benefited from using a Linde (or Baoli) forklift? We’d love to hear about it. Submit your photos of our trucks at work to marketing.na(at)kiongroup.com

Identifying Forklift Wear and Tear

Forklifts are designed to last, but wear and tear inevitably occurs with use of the machine. Similar to cars, forklifts require regular service and maintenance, so you want to avoid reckless driving and handle your machine with care. But no matter how careful you are, forklifts will wear down over time.

It’s crucial to know if your machine needs to be repaired or removed from service to get as much life as possible out of the lift. Here are five places to look out for signs of forklift wear and tear.

1. Tires

Forklift tires are built to withstand a lot of weight, but like your car’s tires, will need to be replaced at some point. There are a few ways to tell when it’s time to replace a tire or two on your lift:

  • Worn low: Most tires have a defined line to let you know when it’s time to switch them out, sometimes referred to as the 50% wear line. If this line has been breached, it’s time to change the tire.
  • Chunking: Chunking refers to losing pieces of the tire rubber peeling away from the tire. Not only is chunking unsafe, but also renders the wheel useless, and the tire should be replaced immediately.
  • Flattening: Flattening occurs as a result of misalignment the forklift coming to a sharp halt. Change the tire if you notice it has any bald spots.

2. Forks

To get the most out of a forklift, the forks must be in good condition. Forks that are bent or cracked from picking up, transporting or unloading pallets cannot successfully transfer a load. As soon as you notice any of these issues, stop using the lift and take it for servicing immediately.

3. Chain

When properly lubricated, forklift chains can perform up to 6,000 hours of work. However, if you notice protruding or turned pins, plate cracking, misalignment, broken links, rust, or erosion, the chain needs to be replaced. Prevent these issues by keeping the chain lubricated.

4. Mast

The mast is the vertical assembly on the front of the forklift that’s responsible for raising, lowering, and tilting a load. One sign of wear and tear on the mast is metal on metal contact. Grinding sounds during operation, or visible scrape marks, are the result of metal of metal contact and serve as a sign to replace the mast.

5. Oil

Keeping proper levels of oil and immediately repairing oil leaks will protect your machine, as well as your facility as a whole. Oil lubricates the forklift’s mast when it is extended, and too little oil can result in increased friction and temperature that will most likely destroy other parts of the machine. Not to mention, an oil leak is hazardous to operators and pedestrians.

If you notice any of these signs of wear and tear on your forklift, you need to call for service. It’s important to catch these signs early in order to get as much life as possible out of your machine. At KION North America, we ensure quick delivery of parts and a range of services designed to fit your needs. Contact your local authorized dealer if you have any further questions about forklift maintenance.

Product Spotlight: Linde A Man-Down Turret Truck

Many companies are utilizing Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) solutions due to the ever-growing need for the more efficient use of space. This can be an efficient way of organizing the internal flow of goods so higher outputs can be achieved. The Linde A man-down turret trucks are designed for fast, reliable storage and the retrieval of full pallets. Generally, VNA solutions are equipped for both pallet handling and order picking. This truck is similar to the Linde K Series, but the operator stays level with the ground, which eliminates the order picking capability of the man-up truck.

Operator-focused design

Commonly referred to as the “Amod,” the Linde A man-down turret truck features an operator-focused design with ergonomics that are second to none. The driver’s compartment is no exception. The truck offers an adjustable seat, choice of travel pedals, easy access to all controls, and a low fatigue and intuitive operator interface which allows the operator to focus on the task at hand.

Safety

Active and passive safety is the number one design characteristic of any Linde truck. Linde engineers apply some of the best safety features in the industry including a cantilever-supported overhead guard for better visibility and a multi-function electronic control handle for intuitive load manipulation.

The truck can be enhanced further by adding additional optional safety features to meet a company’s specific needs such as a backup camera or laser pointer to show the operator the exact position of his forks, helping him or her to stack or retrieve pallets quickly and safely.

Reliability

Reliability and productivity of this truck are designed into its core. Linde’s man-down Amod is built using the latest AC and CanBus technology, and with sealed maintenance-free motors, Linde engineers achieve unmatched durability. These features combined yield one of the most reliable trucks on the VNA market.

Because the operator stays at ground level, the Linde A man-down turret truck provides an economical solution in applications that require high storage density combined with full pallet handling. Powerful, high-performance traction and hydraulic motors ensure high pallet throughput and exceptional productivity.

If you need additional equipment to complement the Amod’s functionality and further increase your facility’s efficiency and productivity, visit our website to view our entire product line or contact your authorized local dealer today to schedule a site survey.

 

 

Combating the Manufacturing Labor Skills Shortage

The manufacturing industry boomed throughout the 20th century, providing 19 million jobs during its peak in the 1970s. Today, however, manufacturing is experiencing a labor skills shortage, despite the prevalence of jobs in the field. With many baby boomers retiring, manufacturers are struggling to recruit millennials.

Manufacturing jobs appear not to have the same appeal to the latest generation to enter the workforce, forcing companies to find new ways to recruit talent.

Partnering with colleges

Millennials grew up in the digital age, so they’re comfortable withand interested in technology. To match millennials’ interests and promote manufacturing, colleges are starting to invest in manufacturing programs. The programs prepare students to work with manufacturing systems and develop the skills required of the field. Colleges across the country are participating by creating programs and degrees in manufacturing, dedicating millions towards training, offering certification from the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, and more.

Redefining “manufacturing”

Many millennials are deterred from a career in manufacturing because they perceive it as hands-on work that’s “grimy and dangerous.” However, leaders in the field are changing the public’s perception of manufacturing through education. Millennials are the most educated generation, with around 61% having attended college, so they’re looking for a job where they can apply their knowledge. Manufacturing offers career opportunities in a wide array of fields, including but not limited to biochemistry, aerospace, industrial engineering, and supply chain management.

Embracing technology as a communication tool

While technology is advancing manufacturing, hands-on work is still necessary, which is where the majority of millennials lack crucial experience. This absence of apprenticeship among the next generation of manufacturers is called the skills gap. However, the gap can be filled through the use of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The system allows all employees to access important supply chain management information anytime they need it on any electronic device. The ERP will help reduce training time and close the skills gap.

Through education, embracing technology, and redefining common notions of manufacturing, it’s possible to reverse the existing labor skills shortage. Like the rest of the world, the manufacturing field is evolving with new, advancing technologies and practices every day. At KION North America, we not only want to recruit the next generation of manufacturers, but also get them excited about the industry and its plethora of opportunities.

Interested in a career in manufacturing? See if working at KION North America might be right for you.

Linde at Work: Ratto Bros.

In Modesto, about an hour and a half to the east of San Francisco in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Ratto Bros. grows 40 different types of leafy and root vegetables. Nearly 1,000 acres of farmland produce a rich and varied harvest of savoy cabbage, kale, leek, celery root, beetroot, kohlrabi and much more. In the area where the herbs are packaged, the air is filled with the fresh aroma of mint, basil and coriander.

Each day, up to 12,000 packages leave the site for delivery to customers which include major US supermarkets such as Safeway and Kroger. Ratto Bros. uses a fleet of 15 forklifts and 20 hand pallet trucks manufactured by Linde to execute this impressive feat of logistics.

Currently in the hands of its fourth generation of expert vegetable farmers, Ratto Bros. is a family-owned business. Running it in an ecologically sustainable way is a core principle of Ratto Bros. and, according to operations manager Anthony Ratto, the choice of forklift brand is an important element of this strategy.

“Linde’s technology helps us pursue a sustainable farming model,” he says. “To me, sustainability involves a range of things, and one of them is using our production resources, such as water, soil and energy, in a responsible way.”

The electric forklifts and pallet trucks are primarily used in its 70,000-square-foot cooling and packing facility, with the batteries charged by the company’s own solar farm.

With the help of Linde equipment, Ratto Bros. is able to achieve its goal “to meet and exceed the demands of its corporate customers while retaining the values of hard work, high-quality products and lasting relationships.”

Has your company benefited from using a Linde forklift? We’d love to hear about it. Submit your photos of our trucks at work to marketing.na(at)kiongroup.com

Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Forklift

A forklift is more than just machine—it’s an investment for the good of your business. Purchasing a forklift is not a decision that should not be taken lightly. Every forklift model has its advantages and choosing the model that best suits your material handling needs takes time and careful consideration.

Asking the right questions is vital when investing in new equipment. Whatever your forklift needs may be, make sure to ask these five questions when considering your next purchase.

What is my budget?

Deciding on a budget will not only save you time and resources, but it will also narrow down your options. If you’re not sure whether purchasing a new forklift is the right option for you, other possibilities include leasing, renting or buying used.

While buying a used forklift may seem tempting, keep in mind that buying used means you’ll get shorter life out of the machine. A new forklift is a larger investment, but purchase ensures brand new parts.

Will I be driving the forklift inside or outside?

It’s important to know where you will be operating to determine what type of forklift you should purchase. Electric forklifts are often thought of for use indoors. However, a Linde forklift with its splash-proof electrical system can also be a great option for outdoor use.

When it comes to the difference between indoor and outdoor forklifts, it comes down to the tires versus the power source. Electric forklifts commonly have cushion tires, which are ideal for smooth surfaces or loading docks. They also offer a smaller turning radius and last longer than their pneumatic counterpart.

Internal combustion engine forklifts with pneumatic or super-elastic tires have strong traction on rough or uneven terrain, making them the perfect choice for outdoor applications like construction sites or lumber yards.

What are the maintenance costs?

Owning a forklift is a big responsibility, so make sure to ask about maintenance costs when considering the purchase of a new machine. Typically, there are two types of maintenance agreements that are offered by the forklift dealer.

Planned Maintenance (PM) is a basic plan that states the dealer will perform service to the forklift over a determined schedule. Full Maintenance (FM) charges the customer a monthly fee to cover breakdown and maintenance over a certain period.

Does the brand of forklift matter?

While it may be tempting to purchase a forklift based solely on price, the brand of forklift does in fact matter. You should never buy a forklift based on price alone. Brands like Linde and Baoli are backed by more than 100 years of material handling expertise, making them more reliable. Small or unknown brands may be less expensive, but what you may save in up-front price, you’ll most likely pay for in replacement parts when your forklift breaks down.

Should I try before I buy?

You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, and the same should apply when purchasing a forklift. Before purchasing, request a demo to test the machine in your facility. Test driving a forklift will give you a good idea of how well it functions and how suitable it is for your needs.

By asking these questions and talking to a knowledgeable dealer, you can be sure that you are making a great investment for your business. At KION North America, we provide innovative forklift models to help your business become more productive and profitable. Check out our website to learn more about our models and find a dealer near you.

Product Spotlight: Linde K Man-Up Turret Truck

With the ever-growing need for the more efficient use of space, many companies are switching to Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) solutions. Switching to VNA solutions means you can handle more goods in less time, less space and with less damage. The Linde K man-up turret truck is a great solution for warehouse applications. This turret truck is built for pallet handling as well as order picking applications up to 59 feet.

Operator Comfort

The Linde K man-up turret truck provides the highest standard of comfort and safety than the average competitor models. With features like the glass front panel and door, the operator will immediately feel at ease as soon as they step foot in this truck. The more comfortable the truck, the more relaxed and efficient the operator will be. Often referred to as the Kmod, it was designed to ensure low fatigue operation, and the new full-graphic display guarantees just that. This display shows information like time, current lift height, load weight and driving speed. This truck also benefits from two independent braking systems and an innovative rescue alarm that detects unusual operator behavior and attracts attention in emergency situations.

Intelligent Design

The Linde K truck is one of the most reliable and intelligent trucks on the market—requiring very little servicing. An optional online diagnostic GPRS service that allows the truck to report a fault directly to a technician can also be added.

Additionally, this truck has several innovative assisting systems. One of these systems is the Dynamic Reach Control which is effective compensation of lateral mast movements while the reaching of forks and reach adjustment depending on lift height and load weight. Another system is the Lift Height Preselection—where different rack heights can easily be entered into the system’s memory so that the driver then only needs to enter the rack destination. With systems like these and many others incorporated into this truck, the Linde Kmod sits atop of its class in reliability and intelligence.

Customization

Linde K man-up turret truck is also one of the most customizable trucks on the market. Knowing that not all warehouses are the same, Linde makes the customer’s wants and needs a reality with many optional features. Customizable options include the masts, power packages, different cab variations, chassis size, and batteries. The customer can even choose between two different control panels. The standard control panel can be easily adjusted in height, tilt and angle to suit each operator, and the split control panel can be easily adjusted from standing to seated operation.

For more information or to request a demo of any of Linde brand VNA solutions, contact your authorized local dealer today.

5 Essential Elements of Forklift Safety

Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicate that approximately 34,900 forklift injuries occur every year. A number of factors contribute to accidents, including equipment and operator error. To reduce the risk of injury, it is crucial that operators understand the dangers asociated with improper operation of a forklift.

In honor of National Forklift Safety Day on June 12, KION North America urges facility managers to stress the importance of safe forklift operation throughout their facilities. Here are five essential elements of forklift safety that your company must put into practice.

Complete the required training

Only employees who have received proper training and certification can legally operate a forklift. Operators who fail to complete the necessary training have an increased risk of injury to themselves and those around them. Allowing an employee without the proper certification to handle a forklift can result in tens of thousands of dollars in fines for the employer.

OSHA’s training program entails practical training and a workplace performance evaluation. Additionally, OSHA requires that operators are evaluated every three years. An operator must meet OSHA’s training course requirements to continue operating a forklift.

Perform regular checkups

To maximize forklift safety, operators should perform routine inspections of their equipment. Items to check include seat belts, tires, lights, brakes, backup alarms, fluid levels and the forks. Any issues with equipment should be reported to a supervisor, and the forklift should immediately be removed from service.

Stay aware of surroundings

While operating the equipment, operators should be aware of their surroundings as well as worksite rules and guidelines. Carefully observe signs for maximum permitted floor loadings and clearance heights. Operators should also pay attention to the height of the load when entering and exiting the warehouse.

In regards to pedestrians, it’s important that operators slow down when approaching heavily-populated areas, such as intersections, corners, and stairways.

Maintain load stability

One of the leading causes of forklift-related injuries is tip-over, which can occur when a forklift carries an unstable load. Operators should ensure loads are completely balanced and secured on the forks before operating to prevent tip-overs.

Operators should also keep the load low to the ground to increase safety. When traveling on ramps and grades, the load should point up the incline regardless of the direction of travel.

Store forklifts properly

After a shift has ended, it’s important for each operator to park the forklift in its designated, authorized area. The forks should be fully lowered to the ground, and the parking brake should be applied. Finally, the forklift should be turned off, and the key should be removed from the ignition and stored in the proper place.

Proper operation of forklifts and other material handling equipment is essential to the safety of your warehouse. Let National Forklift Safety Day serve as a reminder to practice these and other elements of forklift safety year-round.

At KION North America, warehouse safety is a top priority. That’s why we provide facility managers with outstanding forklift models leading the way in efficiency and safety. Contact your local authorized dealer today to find the best forklift for your material handling needs.