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Linde at Work: Capitol Materials, Inc.

Capitol Materials, Inc., a GMS Company, serves both commercial and residential customers and offers the largest inventory of construction supplies in the southern United States.

The company was founded in 1969 with just one location in downtown Atlanta. Today, they have 19 conveniently located yards across the south including five in Alabama, 12 in Georgia and two in Florida. Their vast product inventory and emphasis on the customer experience have allowed them to achieve their goal of becoming the region’s most complete drywall supply company.

Recently at one of the company’s Atlanta locations, they began the process of switching from diesel forklifts to electric. In a given day, this location serves 100-200 customers using a multi-shift business model to meet demand.

“We decided to use electric forklifts because the reduced fuel cost, the reduced maintenance and less emissions,” said Jamie Walker, assistant manager.

Capitol Materials chose the Linde Series 387—an electric counterbalanced forklift powered by an 80V battery with a capacity range of 4,500-7,000 lbs.

Linde is the only manufacturer that will offer two different chassis versions—low and high. Furthermore the high chassis comes in two varieties— compact and long. This allows users to tailor the machine to meet their exact needs.

The low chassis configuration is suitable for all applications that don’t require as long of run time from the battery, it also provides a lower entry point for the operator and a lower overall height; the high chassis allows for a larger capacity battery and a smaller turning radius for work in tight areas; the high and long provides even longer runtimes and superior capacity retention.

In addition to being beneficial to the company’s bottom line, Linde electric forklifts are operator friendly. Designed based on the principle that a healthy operator is a productive operator, a “floating cab” with neoprene bushings and bearings reduce the vibrations felt at the driver’s contact points with the forklift, keeping fatigue to a minimum.

“The specific features we like in our Linde products is the ease of use, the comfortability, the ergonomic design of the hand controls,” said Walker. “They’re just durable products that we can count on.”

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

How to Make Battery Charging Rooms Safer

Many warehouses are beginning to switch from combustion engine forklifts to electric forklifts in order to lower operating costs and improve environmental impacts. While electric forklifts have a longer lifespan than gas forklifts, they require proper care and maintenance. Lead-acid batteries can take up to eight hours to charge fully, so it’s important that the warehouse has a safe and efficient battery charging room. Here are four ways to make battery charging rooms safer.

Proper ventilation

Forklift batteries can emit hydrogen gas while they are re-charging, and for a short time afterwards, so it’s vital that the charging rooms are properly ventilated. The hydrogen gas level in the charging room should be below two percent to mitigate possible risks of explosion. Installation of exhaust fans, or providing an opening in the roof of the warehouse, will further reduce this risk.

Acid-resistant flooring

The flooring of the charging rooms must be resistant to acid because battery acid is highly corrosive. Unfortunately, spills do happen, but if floor is acid-resistant the spill will be easier to clean up. Without acid-resistant flooring, the corrosive battery acids could result in structural damage to the warehouse.

Availability to safety equipment

All charging rooms should be fitted with a washing area and a Class E fire extinguisher. Forklift operators may need to be able to quickly extinguish an electrical fire, and/or perform an emergency wash. First-aid kits and personal protective equipment (apron, gloves and eye protection) should also be available in the battery charging rooms.

Correct installation of electrical breakers and charging points

Chargers should be mounted on the wall and fitted with an electrical breaker to stop the flow of electricity in an emergency. When charging multiple forklifts, the distance between each truck should be at least three feet. The distance between forklifts provides safe and easy access for operators.

At KION North America, we care about the safety and efficiency of your warehouse. Follow these four steps to make your battery charging rooms safer. If you’re looking to purchase an electric forklift, our Linde and Baoli brands offer solutions for every application. Have more questions? Contact us at 843-875-8000.

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

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 Series 1346

Is your workplace a tight environment with narrow aisles and nonstop commotion? If so, the new Linde Series 1346 may be the truck for you. The Linde 1346 stand-up electric counterbalanced truck was released by KION North America in late October at its annual dealer meeting.

Equipped with new technology this truck is best suited for loading docks, working in narrow aisles and operating in congested areas. The Linde Series 1346 is offered in two models—the E18S and the E20S—which feature lift capacities ranging from 3,500 to 4,000 pounds.

Safety and Comfort

The Linde Series 1346 includes a low-profile front cover and nested mast rails to give the operator increased invisibility of the front chassis corners and drive tire positioning. This truck also comes with Linde Curve Control and tilt assistance making your business a safer working environment. Forklift noise tends to be an issue, but being an electric-powered forklift the 1346 has low noise output making the operator better aware of their surroundings throughout their entire shift.

Designed with superior ergonomics this truck is as comfortable as they come. The operator compartment is spacious and has a 90-degree operating position. Inside the spacious compartment, the operator has the ability to adjust the armrest and steering column to whatever height they find most comfortable making the cab suitable for anyone of almost any size. The truck is also designed with a cushioned backrest so that the operator can lean back to make him/her more relaxed throughout their shift.

Performance and Durability

The performance of the Linde Series 1346 is like no other. This truck combines efficiency and high performance with its high ratio gearbox. The electronically controlled drive and hydraulic functions optimize performance and feature three operational modes: performance, productivity and efficiency. The operator can always be aware of what mode they are in by looking at the onboard display.

The three different modes affect the trucks energy efficiency. The standard setting for this truck is productivity mode, which is more of a “middle setting”, but if you are looking for faster acceleration then you can switch to the performance mode increasing your energy usage. If you switch the truck into efficiency mode then you limit the acceleration of the truck, but use less energy than both of the other modes. However, it is important to note that the operational modes do not change the speed of the hydraulic function, such as lifting or tilting speed.

The Linde Series 1346 has endured extensive driveline testing, duty cycle testing, high impact testing and stability testing to ensure a durable and reliable product you can count on day in and day out. Since the truck is designed for tight spaces it comes equipped with a steel wrap-around bumper to help protect from collisions. All of these features make this truck one of the most durable trucks in the Linde product line.

For more information or to request a demo of the Linde Series 1346 forklift contact your authorized local dealer today.

 

Linde at Work: Georgia Power Company

Last February, Georgia Power Company displayed a Linde Series 388 at their customer resource center—a facility designed as an educational resource to help convert customers from fossil fuels to electric.

The Linde Series 388 is available in seven different models with load capacities ranging from 7,500 to 11,000 pounds, all of which are powered by an 80V battery. Due to systematic engineering, these forklifts can operate in both indoor and outdoor applications. For challenging outdoor conditions, like the often brutal Georgia heat, the Linde 388 is available with an optional enclosed cab with all the amenities that you would find in an automobile.

“The lift looked great, and we had good comments on it, including one from our sales vice president who was in attendance,” said Jim Miliam, technical sales manager of Georgia Power Company. “I believe it really shows the strong partnership we’re building to promote electric lifts together.”

The unit, on loan from Lift Atlanta, is a prime example of how critical the support of a strong dealer network and existing customers are to the success of our business.

Georgia Power is the largest operating company within Southern Company. They have been providing electricity to Georgia for more than a century and serve 2.4 million customers throughout the state each year.

The company maintains a business resource section on their website which includes a page promoting the advantages, performance features and environmental benefits of using electric forklifts opposed to internal combustion engine vehicles. Some of these benefits include overall lower life-cycle costs (average savings of $2,000-$6,000 per vehicle each year), 40% lower maintenance costs, and 70-80% lower fuel costs.

Businesses considering electric forklifts can use the Electric Power Research Institute’s calculator to compare forklift costs and see how electric forklifts can help improve their bottom line. For further assistance about using electric forklifts, Georgia Power Company employs a dedicated product manager to assist businesses.

Depending on your needs, KION North America offers eight other electric counterbalanced sit-down forklift series in their Linde product line in load capacities ranging from 3,500 to 17,500 pounds.

Do you already use a Linde (or Baoli) forklift in your operation? Submit your photos of your trucks at work to: marketing.na(at)kiongroup.com

Why You Should Consider an Electric Forklift

Forklifts are not a one size fits all kind of machine. Different models of lift trucks have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Using the right forklift model can make all the difference in your facility when it comes to productivity and efficiency. And with so many options out there, it can feel impossible to choose.

In order to choose the right lift for your business, you need to figure out what it is your particular operation requires. If you need a lift for an indoor facility, an electric forklift may very likely be the right option for you. Here are a few reasons you should consider an electric forklift for your business:

Cost saving

When it comes to cutting operating and maintenance costs, electric forklifts have the advantage. The cost of fuel is completely eliminated, and the cost of electricity for charging can be considerably lower than fuel costs.

Electric forklifts also have fewer moving parts than engine powered models, making maintenance and service less frequent and less costly.

Quiet

Aside from the back up alarm, electric forklifts make hardly any noise. The quiet nature of the electric lift makes it great for indoor facilities, as there is no noise to impede with the driver’s hearing or communication between workers.

Environmentally friendly

Electric forklifts are also the most environmentally friendly of the lift truck models. With no fuel, the truck produces zero emissions to pollute the air during operation. While the issue of how the electricity is produced does affect the environmental impact, an electric lift is still more green than diesel, hydrogen, or propane lifts.

Additionally, electric lifts produce less fluid waste compared to other models, as they do not require coolants or transmission fluids.

Easier operation

With its low center of gravity and easy maneuverability, the electric forklift is also easier to operate in comparison to other lift models. With only an accelerator and a brake, the operator has an easier time maneuvering the lift. Automatic braking also helps reduce operator fatigue.

These advantages make the electric forklift a great option for indoor facilities and warehouses, especially for environmentally conscious facilities. But in the end, it is up to you to decide the best forklift for your operation. The type of forklift you choose should be based on factors specific to your operation and what you need out of the machine.

To learn more about different forklift options, check out our blog on electric vs. hydrogen powered lift trucks.