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Operating A Forklift In Unpredictable Weather – Rainy Conditions

We have entered that time of the year where many are experiencing the unpredictability of mother nature.  Whether it be extreme spikes in temperature or the sudden torrential downpour, the weather can often catch us off guard.  When operating machinery, like a forklift, it is imperative to be alert on any given day, but especially when the weather takes a turn.  Below we highlight several tips and considerations for operating a forklift in the rain.

Eliminate Distractions

Keeping focused on your equipment and your surroundings should always be a priority while operating a forklift.  That means limiting the amount of outside distractions is crucial to maneuver the truck effectively and safely.  Make sure you are wearing proper attire while working in outside conditions so that you are protected inside your workspace.  For instance, not keeping your head covered can cause a decrease in visibility and focus, creating a potential hazard. Also, strong winds can be associated with heavy rains, so wearing water and windproof jackets and pants will also aide in protection and less distractions. 

To decrease the likelihood of taking your eyes off the road, it is a good idea to leave cell phones and audio devices off the truck.  Eliminating those appliances will help keep you focused on the job at hand.  In addition, keeping food and drinks out of the workspace will prevent the urge to take your hands away from the control deck, thus keeping you in control of your forklift.

Watch your Speed

Just as we slow our speed in our car during rainy weather, the same applies for maneuvering a forklift.  Even with the latest improved features on Linde trucks, of automatic acceleration and deceleration that deliver smoother transitions with speed, wet weather can still greatly affect the driving experience.  Operating the forklift cautiously, during compromised weather, will ultimately make you, the operator, more effective and efficient over the course of the day as well as decreasing the probability of an accident.

Be Alert to Driving on Multiple Surfaces

If you are operating between multiple terrains (indoor and outdoor applications) it is extremely important to be aware of the surfaces you are driving on.  When transporting loads back and forth from the yard to the warehouse, the inclination may be to increase speed since the surface you are driving on is now dry.  However, the wheels on the forklift will still be very wet and will make abrupt stops difficult.  Maintaining consistent, slower speeds, while transitioning from outdoors to indoors, will create a more secure logistical operation.

With the Linde internal combustion trucks, you can automatically rely on the ability of being prepared to deliver solid production in any weather condition. But with the Linde outdoor electric trucks, you’re also assured a precise and agile operating experience with Linde’s robust drive technology, backed by attentive traction control and precise navigation.

Baoli – A dependable, reliable utility truck at a great price

In the world of material handling, companies have many factors to consider when purchasing a forklift truck.  Businesses want forklifts that are not only productive and reliable, but also cost effective.  Companies often have limited choices due to pricing and find themselves settling for less.  By choosing the Baoli brand, companies no longer need to compromise.  Baoli offers dependable, reliable utility trucks at a great price, with exceptional product support and a premium warranty.  Baoli support is fully integrated into the KION North America supply chain and service system. 

Smart Engineering and Exceptional Value

Baoli brand trucks have built their reputation on value – a cost-effective choice, exceeding expectations.  Baoli’s advanced fuel systems and electronic control units (ECU) make these trucks more fuel efficient.  Not only that, but the Baoli brand offers a 500-hour maintenance interval, decreasing costs and downtime.  Baoli is a high-quality, tough as nails truck, with a focus on operator comfort and dependable performance.

Baoli offers the following optimized standard specifications:

  • KION North America warranty
  • Wide view mast, good forward visibility
  • Overhead guard optimizes visibility with plexi-glass cover for added protection
  • Rear pillar assist with horn for operator convenience and security
  • Fully suspended and cushioned operator compartment
  • Adjustable comfort suspension seat and tilt steering column
  • Proven quality engine exceeding the economy segment standard
  • Low center of gravity
  • Highly fuel efficient

Power and Performance

Baoli offers many diesel and LPG forklift options with capacities of 5,000 – 10,000 lbs. and electric forklifts with a 3,500 lb. capacity.  The Baoli brand is designed to accomplish the most demanding jobs. Baoli trucks offer proven engines, used in forklifts worldwide for reliability and durable performance.  With proven power systems and standardized components, Baoli upholds the values of an industry leader.

Exceeding Industry Standards

Cost effective does not translate to limited features.  Baoli trucks constantly exceed industry expectations, combining comfort, convenience, and ease of maintenance into one ergonomically designed package. Equipped with operator comfort and convenience features including a fully suspended and cushioned operator compartment, adjustable suspension seat, and tilt steering column, the Baoli brand comes with the features and options you need at the price you want.

Maintaining Your Forklift – Keeping It Clean Will Prolong Its Working Life

When considering ways to extend the life of your forklift, one often gravitates to the more obvious ideas.  Depending on how your truck is powered, you may be thinking regular oil changes, keeping a close eye on the motor/engine, following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule or regular up-keep of the tires.  One, as important step to maintaining a forklift that often gets overlooked, is cleaning/disinfecting the truck.  Below we will highlight some important steps that will ensure your forklift is functioning at peak performance and will remain running for a long time.

Clean off exterior debris

Just as you would clean your personal car when it becomes visibly dirty, the same applies for the forklift.  Depending on your truck’s source of power will determine what tools you can clean with.  For an electric truck, knocking off accumulated grim with a broom will help dislodge unwanted particles, making it easier to clean.  An air compressor can also assist with the removal along with non-toxic bio-degradable solutions.  Keep in mind that water can affect your trucks electrical components, so use caution to prevent electrical damage.

As noted in the Linde service guide operators manual,hot steam or cleaning materials with a powerful degreasing effect should only be used with great caution as this will affect the grease filling of bearings with lifetime lubrication, causing it to escape. As re-lubrication is not possible, the bearings will be irreparably damaged.“

When cleaning a non-electric truck, it is advised to use a pressure-washer to knock-off hard to remove substances.  In addition, the use of the pressure-washer will prevent the operator from getting too close to the truck, during cleaning, protecting one from potential hazardous run-off or splash-back.

The Linde operator’s manual states, when cleaning with a water jet (high-pressure or steam cleaner etc.), it should not be applied directly to the area of the front axle, electric and electronic components, connector plugs or insulating material. Water should not be used for cleaning in the area of the central electrical system and switch console.“

Don’t forget the underside of the truck

It is often noted that we clean what we see, however, hidden parts of the truck are as important, if not more to maintain.  Depending on where you work, your truck may be used in many different environments.  Dirt and grim can easily build up in those hard to reach areas, causing potential issues to the undercarriage of the truck.  Keeping those areas cleaned, will prevent major issues down the road.

Work from the top of the truck down

For heavier soiled areas, pre-soaking your truck may be necessary.  That will allow build-up to soften, making it easier to clean.  When cleaning your truck, make sure to start at the top and work your way down.  That way, grim and dirt will flow down, and you are not having to re-clean areas.

Allow proper dry time

Once your truck is sufficiently cleaned, park it in an area that will allow appropriate dry time – preferable in the sun.  Allowing your truck to dry will ensure that its components are working efficiently and will prevent damage to the truck.

Protect yourself

No matter how you plan to clean your truck, make sure you are using protective gear.  When using cleaning materials or tools, there is always a chance that substances can splash back on you.  Be sure to wear protective eye-wear, boots and gloves, as well as long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.

Operating A Forklift In The Sun – How To Work Safely

For most in the material handling industry, when considering safety guidelines when operating a forklift, we often think of specifics of running the truck. For instance, how to safely maneuver it, ensure the operator is protected, as well as others around, and that the truck is being used properly. However, looking at the environment the truck is being used in can be just as important. Extreme hot and cold temperatures can not only affect the truck, but also the operator. Below we highlight tips on operating a forklift in the sun – a topic that may get overlooked.

Build a tolerance for working in the heat

As with anything extreme, building one’s tolerance to withstand hot temperatures while operating a truck is key. If an operator is not well versed in working in certain temperatures, he/she can put themselves at risk for injury. Heat takes a toll on the body and can often fatigue and disorient a person if exposed to the sun for too long. Operating a truck at the same time can have dire consequences. Establishing a schedule for increasing one’s time in the sun, while maneuvering a truck, will better protect the operator.

Guard yourself against the sun

If you must work in the sun, it is extremely important to guard yourself against any additional negative effects of the sun’s rays. Wearing clothing that covers most of your body will help protect your skin and decrease the likelihood of burns. Also, shielding your face with a hat will aid in protecting your face as well as decreasing glares from the sun to help prevent vision impairment. Above all else, make sure you are applying sunscreen before going out in the sun and reapply later in the day if you notice you have perspired a lot.

Hydrate

As obvious as it may sound, making sure you stay hydrated while working in the sun is imperative. When working in high heat temperatures, the body is continuously perspiring, which is the body’s automatic response to cooling down the body. However, that water loss needs to be replenished. Make sure to hydrate with water and not caffeine, even if you feel like you need a pick me up. Caffeine can lead to additional body fluid loss. Taking regular breaks to re-hydrate and refresh will be extremely beneficial to the forklift operator.

Take scheduled breaks

Make sure you are maximizing all scheduled breaks by going inside during those times. Taking a break from the truck, while still outside does not allow your body to cool down and take the respite it needs. To continue working in the sun, your body needs to have frequent opportunities to recharge. During this time, monitor yourself for signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. There are several signs and symptoms to be aware of according to WebMD.

Some symptoms of heat exhaustion

  •  Fatigues
  •  Nausea
  •  Headache
  •  Excessive thirst
  •  Muscle aches and cramps
  •  Weakness
  • Confusion or anxiety

Some symptoms of heatstroke

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dry skin
  • Profound sweating

For more signs and symptoms Click Here

Linde at Work: SNS Worldwide

SNS Worldwide is a second-generation, family-owned and operated warehousing and transportation company. The company offers global transportation, truck loads, LTL, express air and expedited team service, in addition to superior warehousing, drop shipping, logistical planning and complete fulfillment services.

Located in Linden, New Jersey, SNS is centrally located within minutes of all major ports, airports and New York bridges and tunnel crossings. To help keep their operation running smoothly and efficiently, they rely on Linde Series 391—internal combustion counterbalanced forklifts with pneumatic tires.

“I am a working owner of a family business and I have driven all types of fork trucks throughout my 34-year career,” said John Connelly, president of SNS Worldwide. “These are the best built forklifts on the market.”

Last summer, SNS experienced a surge in business that resulted in the need for an additional lift truck to keep up with the pace. Connelly contacted their sales representative from Liftec—an authorized Linde dealer in their area.

Liftec had a Linde forklift available with about 8,000 operating hours on it—a brand Connelly said he had never used before.

“After the first day of driving it for 9 hours straight, I realized I wasn’t really as tired as I should have been compared to if I were driving my other branded forklifts which have 50% less hours on them,” he said.

By the end of the first week, Connelly was so impressed with the quality, comfort and ease-of-use that the company decided to invest in two new Linde forklifts as permanent additions to their fleet.

“Now, my staff fights over them,” he said. “As a business owner, it’s very comforting to know that your employees are excited to be out on the floor operating a quality piece of equipment.”

From the owner side, he added that by investing in Linde forklifts it’s one less thing off his plate to be concerned with since he knows the equipment will perform every day.

“Like with most things, you get what you pay for,” said Connelly. “Superior dependability comes at cost, but that cost is evaporated when you have no downtime.”

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: 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