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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.

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.

How to Invest in Material Handling Equipment

Although necessary for manufacturing and warehouse operations, material handling equipment can be expensive and overwhelming. However, taking the time to research equipment and choose the right investments can help your business grow exponentially. Your facility has individual needs and preferences that will determine the appropriate material handling equipment. Identifying the type of forklift and engine needed, purchasing from a reputable dealership, and strategizing your financial commitments will help you make the best investment.

Choose the type of forklift needed

In the material handling equipment market, there are many forklift models available. When choosing the best machine, you’ll want to consider the size, load capacity, and height limit. If you are operating indoor forklifts, choose machinery that is the right size for your facility. For example, if your warehouse has narrow aisles or tight spaces, you’ll want to invest in a forklift that can operate safely. When determining the load capacity for your forklifts, overestimate rather than underestimate to avoid a potential accident.

Pick an engine

Forklifts usually run on either an internal combustion or an electric engine. When determining which is right for your operations, first ask if the forklift will be operated inside a building or outdoors in the elements. Forklifts with electric engines are typically used indoors. The machines burn cleaner and run more quietly, making them better suited for operating in a busy, crowded environment. An electric counterbalanced forklift is energy efficient while an internal combustion truck has the advantage of lower maintenance expenses.

Purchase from a reputable dealership

Once you are confident in the type of forklift you need, you’ll have to decide who to purchase it from. You’ll want to choose an internationally recognized, experienced company with an excellent reputation. Next, verify that the machinery comes with a warranty that the dealer will honor. Most dealerships are willing to help you choose the right machine and ensure that the transaction runs smoothly.

Strategize financing

When adding new or used forklifts to your fleet, you have several financing options: purchase, lease, or buy in bulk. When purchasing a new forklift, you may be able to negotiate a monthly payment plan that fits in with your budget. To test out a machine or to hire one for a quick job, consider leasing a forklift from a reputable company. If you decide to buy a fleet of forklifts at wholesale price, you may save time and money. Selling outdated or unwanted machinery for extra funds can help you finance your next investment.

At KION North America, we provide high-quality forklifts at reasonable prices. Our widely acclaimed dealership network can help you invest in the material handling equipment that will save your warehouse time and money. Call (843) 875-8000 or visit our website to find the authorized dealer nearest you today.

The Essential Forklift Safety Checklist

Every year, forklifts are involved in 11% of accidents and are responsible for 100,000 injuries worldwide according to OSHA Safety Management. Forklift safety is essential for protecting the health and well-being of your employees. Accidents also result in costly lawsuits that are damaging to your brand’s reputation. Here are five tips that you should always include in your routine safety checks.

Check protective gear

Although the specific standards for safety equipment may vary slightly depending on your employer, protective hard hats, glasses, and reflective clothing will likely be a part of your uniform. You should always refer to the official employee dress code since safety equipment such as face shields or gloves may also be part of the requirements.

Refer to safety guides

The safety guidebook for forklift use and the operator’s manual should always be accessible to employees. Managers should also be available to answer any questions regarding safety. Make sure that employees are up-to-date on the latest forklift technology and safety requirements. Although certification programs are available online for forklift operation, managers should also include a job-specific safety course for all new and existing employees.

Measure fluid levels and tire pressure

It is important to ensure that forklifts have enough battery fluid, water, and hydraulic fluid to operate safely at all times. When forklifts are driven in an industrial environment, there is also a risk of punctured tires. Since daily wear and tear can cause tires to deflate, measure the tire pressure and watch out for any slashes or nails.

Perform a visual inspection

Next, carefully look over the entire forklift for any cracks, leaks, or defects. If anything seems amiss, call someone to repair it. Ignoring a leak and operating the forklift isn’t worth the risk of injury to an employee. Don’t forget to check the overhead guard, lift chains and rollers, forks, mast assembly, and hydraulic cylinders at the start of each day. Finally, check the load-handling attachments to make sure they aren’t loose.

Evaluate safety equipment

After the visual inspection, you’ll want to examine the safety features in the forklift. Seatbelts should fasten securely and be free of any tears or fraying. You’ll also want to test the brakes, steering, horn, and front, tail, and brake lights. Any problems with the safety equipment could put the lives of your employees at risk.

At KION North America, we understand how important safety is to your operations. Discover how our lines of Linde and Baoli forklifts are the leading brands in safety and technology.

How Data, Automation, and Regulations Are Changing Manufacturing

The enormous demands of e-commerce are driving manufacturing plants to continuously expand storage capabilities and pick, slot, and load products faster. The cold food industry has always faced unique challenges when delivering to customers, but it has grown more complex in an age of quick turnover and delivering meal prep kits directly to a customer’s door. In addition to the refrigerated foods sector, other manufacturing industries are streamlining data analytics, automation, and improved safety regulations into their day-to-day operations.

Analyzing data

Data analytics have become a huge part of warehouse operations. The information collected influences the vast majority of management decisions. With data, managers can modify distribution centers according to customer purchasing habits and preferences. Additionally, data can highlight inefficiencies in picking and slotting strategies. Managing a fleet of wireless forklifts and collecting data from robot and AI systems can be expensive, but this technologically-driven practice provides unmatched insight into warehouse operations. Increased demand for products and their fast delivery means that warehouse managers will have to improve current sorting, picking, and slotting systems. Data analytics are the backbone of this advancement.

Incorporating automation

Automation is becoming a fixture of nearly every industry, and manufacturing is no exception. With automation, warehouses can operate 24/7 without compromising efficiency or productivity. Automated storage retrieval systems maintain a database of product locations that is updated in real-time. When the system receives a directive to ship out a particular item, it can quickly and accurately find and retrieve the product. Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, products in the warehouse are assigned a tag identifying both the item and its location. Automated systems can read the radio signals emitted by the products which leads the AI directly to the item it needs. Although expensive, automated systems have a lower margin of error and can operate for significantly longer hours than a human employee.

Developing regulations

Protecting the health and safety of workers is one of the most important aspects of the manufacturing industry. “There will be more workplace regulations considering the harsh environment, leading to worker fatigue due to heavy protective gear to combat the cold,” said Bob Hasenstab, general product manager at the Summerville, S.C. branch of KION North America. “Use dedicated ‘stay in’ equipment with freezer cabs that allow operators to work a full shift without more stoppage time. These heated cabs have features like dual-pane, shatterproof windows, heating strips with block-outs for scanners, heated seats, insulation and energy saving systems.” In an effort to increase employee comfort and productivity, many warehouses are adding heated seats, floorboards and drive handles to cabs.

KION North America is a member of the KION Group–a global leader in industrial trucks, related services and supply chain solutions.  We offer an impressive line of industrial forklifts including Linde and Baoli. Our sister company Dematic offers a comprehensive range of intelligent supply chain and automation solutions. For more information visit us at our website.

Linde at Work: Contemporary Marketing Group

Contemporary Marketing Group located in Norcross, GA relies on around half a dozen Linde Series 346 forklifts to carry out daily operations in their facility. The company, whose customers include big-box retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s, produces flooring and countertop samples and displays for the home center industry.

When asked what went into the decision-making process to purchase Linde forklifts, company president Dwayne Slifko said that the equipment sold itself when they were given the ability to try the machines out in their facility.

The customer service on the front-end from both their KION North America regional sales manager, Rick Cates, and their authorized dealer, Lift Atlanta, coupled with the after sales support, gave Contemporary Marketing confidence in their purchase.

Based on their usage and application, Contemporary Marketing went with the E20 model from the Linde Series 346–an electric counterbalanced forklift which offers a 4,000 lb. load capacity. Assembled in Summerville, SC, this series features the Linde Combi-axle which provides excellent stability and exceptional maneuverability in confined areas.

To maximize productivity and uptime, the Linde Series 346 includes features like automatic deceleration, dual independent control systems, a maintenance-free brake system and continuous on-board diagnostics. Paired with a completely sealed AC-drive system, these features yield extended component life and extended maintenance intervals.

As with all Linde forklift operators, the employees at Contemporary Marketing also benefit from numerous ergonomic features including a full suspension seat, ample foot room, and adjustable steering column and armrest.

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

How Forklift Dealers and Manufacturers Expand the U.S. Economy

A new report by the International Truck Association (ITA) and Oxford Economics explains how forklift manufacturing brings in billions of dollars and almost 210,000 jobs into the U.S. economy. Overall, the industrial truck and forklift industry contributed $25.7 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2015. The industry also contributes to improving American services by paying $5.3 billion in taxes to local, state, and federal governments in 2015 alone. This massive industry has touched nearly every product sold in the United States at some point in its manufacturing or shipment.

Worker benefits

Industrial truck manufacturers directly employ around 60,000 people in positions such as sales, manufacturing, and customer support. Each worker directly employed by the industry supports 2.5 additional jobs in other economic sections. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that over 540,000 people are employed as forklift operators nationwide. Manufacturing jobs offer higher wages than the median income in most states. The industrial truck and forklift manufacturing employs more veterans than any other industry, according to the ITA and Oxford study.

Industry benefits

Without high-tech forklifts, warehousing giants such as Amazon would struggle to meet customers’ demands for fast shipping. An increase of two-day or overnight shipping orders means that Amazon needs organized warehouses and powerful forklifts that can keep inventory moving in and out. Food, furniture, transportation, and every other industry imaginable relies on forklifts and industrial trucks to meet customer demand.

Economic benefits

The industrial forklift and truck manufacturing sector also provides $3.5 billion to trade, transportation, and utilities. Forklifts have been compared to the “workhorses” of America in recognition of their enormous contributions to the transportation industry. Industrial forklift and truck manufacturing also contributes $2.1 billion in business and professional services. This industry employs far more than just drivers– managers, HR representatives, agents, janitors, and many more careers are all links in the chain. The truck and forklift manufacturing industry also funds  $1.1 billion in health and education services.

Forklifts power not just warehouses, but the entire world. Without the help of forklifts, anything from your morning cup of coffee, to your ride to work, to your dinner out would not be possible. At KION North America, we are committed to the continual improvement and advancement of the forklift industry. To learn more about our history and our mission, click here.

Product Spotlight: Baoli KBG25/35

The Baoli KBG25/35 is an internal combustion truck equipped with pneumatic tires. Offered in two different models, this forklift has a  capacity ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 pounds and is great for a multitude of applications.

Released in 2015, the Baoli KBG25/35 like other Baoli brand products is fully integrated into the KION North America service and supply chain. This means that Baoli shares resources with other KION brands, including the longstanding Linde Material Handling brand. In North America, the two brands share an established sales and service network.

Standard / Optional Features

The Baoli KBG25/35 is equipped with front LED work lights, a Bolzoni side shifter, triplex mast, back -up alarm, strobe light and many other features that can make your business more efficient and contribute to a safer work environment. Baoli trucks come with many operator comfort and safety features at no extra cost. If the standard features aren’t enough for you to accomplish the task at hand, the Baoli KBG has optional features as well. Some of these features include fire extinguisher mounted to overhead guard, fourth-function control valve and Baoli safety orange paint color.

Comfort and Safety

With this truck, comfort does not take a back seat. The KBG25/35 provides a smoother ride thanks to its fully suspended cab, neoprene mounted steer axle, softer riding solid pneumatic tires and adjustable, comfort suspension seat. Hidden tilt cylinders give the operator more floor space and foot room. The tilt steering column accommodates the driving position of different operators.

The KBG25/35 includes multiple features to help protect the operator and others in the workplace. The overhead guard includes a Plexiglas® cover that shields the operator from rain and small debris. An orange seat belt with sequential interlock requires the operator to be seated and to fasten the seat belt before starting the forklift. The orange color helps supervisors see from a distance that their operators are wearing their seatbelts. The standard flashing strobe and backup alarm can be supplemented with a blue spotlight that helps others in the workplace be aware of an approaching forklift. A sound-insulated engine compartment reduces noise, helping the operator to hear his/her surroundings.

Performance and Quality

The performance of the Baoli KBG25/35 exceeds the standard for economy segment forklifts. The K25 engine has been proven over decades of use in forklift applications. Its IMPCO fuel system provides outstanding performance with plenty of power, and good fuel economy thanks to an innovative deceleration fuel shutoff that maximizes engine efficiency.

Understanding that high lifts can be challenging,  the Baoli KBG25/35 was designed to offer good forward and upward visibility, with capacity to spare for most loads. The controls are both easy to reach and responsive.

Additionally, routine maintenance is really easy on this forklift. The engine hood opens to a nearly 90-degree angle, providing easy access to components. The easy-to-read dash display provides important information about the unit. Maintenance costs are reduced with longer maintenance intervals and features like a timing chain driven camshaft that requires no belt changes.

The Baoli KBG25/35 is backed by KION North America’s standard warranty. Baoli spare parts are kept in stock at KION North America’s warehouse in South Carolina, making delivery possible within 24 hours throughout the U.S. by authorized dealers.

If you’re looking for a quality forklift that you can rely on that won’t break the bank, look no further. For more information or to request a demo of the Baoli KBG25/35 forklift contact your authorized local dealer today.

Forklift Attachments: Which Ones Are Right For Your Operation?

Forklift attachments replace the traditional fork with a product ideally suited to the loads you intend to work with. Without the proper attachment for your forklift, you risk damaging the products, the forklift itself, or injuring an employee. When selecting a forklift, be aware than an attachment will alter the capacity of your forklift, and you should make adjustments accordingly when deciding how heavy of a load you should attempt to transport. Smaller attachments are better suited for lighter loads. Ensure that operators are trained to safely use forklifts and their attachments, and never exceed the carrying capacity of a lift. Attachments can help you safely lift products, limit any damages, and improve productivity by saving time and money in your warehouse.

Side shifters

Side shifters operate with the forklift and are one of the most a popular attachments. Drivers can shift the product to the right or left without leaving their seat. If a load is improperly aligned, it can easily be corrected with the aid of a side shifter. Not only does this streamline the process and make it more convenient, it also saves the forklift unnecessary wear and tear. If you need to handle two pallets at once, side shifters are also available in double.

Fork positioners

These handy tools also help operators work more efficiently, since they automatically adjust the distance between the forks in order to accommodate different pallet sizes. Once again, drivers don’t even need to leave their seats.

Clamps

Paper roll and flat surface clamps help protect products from damage. Paper roll clamps are used for holding on to paper while its unrolled and are suitable for many different applications. If the load can’t be transported by a pallet, you should use paper roll clamps. Transporting heavy appliances such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators should be undertaken with the help of flat surface clamps.

Slipsheet attachments

If you are operating a food-processing warehouse, you may want to consider the cost-cutting push/pull attachments. These forklift attachments push the load directly off of the forks, eliminating the need for pallets. Multiple load handlers are also popular in the food industry since they allow you to double or triple the efficiency of your forklifts.

Forklift spreader

This commonly used attachment works best when lifting heavy loads such as plasterboard, timber, or roof sheeting. With a spreader, you reduce the risk of damaging a heavy load that may exceed the carrying capability of a regular forklift. Pallet forks are another useful attachment for lifting heavy loads generally up to 1800 kg. Increased operator visibility is an added benefit of pallet forks.

At KION North America, we provide the equipment and skills needed for creating a safe, efficient facility. We offer an impressive line of state-of-the-art forklifts that make your handling and logistics operations significantly easier. Linde and Baoli forklift brands are ideally suited for the modern operation.

Linde at Work: Cambria

Recently, Bennett Material Handling delivered three Linde H50Ts and one H30CT to the Cambria headquarters in LeSueur, Minnesota. Cambria is the only family-owned, American-made producer of natural quartz surfaces which are used primarily in the kitchens and baths of homes and businesses.

Their surfaces are made of pure, natural quartz and feature unparalleled strength and durability resulting in a finished product that is nonporous, scratch- and stain-resistant and maintenance free.

Cambria trusts Linde products to efficiently move these products around their facilities and have purchased nearly 40 Linde forklifts to date. They operate 32 facilities throughout the country, including a state-of-the-art production center, fabrication and distribution centers and Cambria galleries. Each of their 16 distribution centers is equipped with a Linde H30CT and H50T.

The H50T model is part of Linde’s Series 394—a series of internal combustion powered counterbalanced forklifts equipped with pneumatic tires. The load capacities for this series range from 8,000-11,000 lbs.

The H30CT is part of Linde’s Series 1313. Like the Linde Series 394, these are internal combustion powered counterbalanced forklifts, but instead, they are equipped with cushion tires. The load capacity for this series ranges from 5,000-6,500 lbs.

Both models are equipped with Linde’s patented hydrostatic drive system—making them capable of handling the harsh effects of ramps, dust, heat, humidity and pushing. The hydrostatic drive is the unique power transfer from the engine to the wheels allowing these trucks to be very precise and among the easiest to control on the market. Known as the ultimate drive system, the hydrostatic transmission is superior to any other in achieving maximum lift truck performance

In keeping with the corporate identity, all forklifts purchased by Cambria are painted black at the factory in Summerville; The gold dragon logo is added to each truck upon delivery.

Submit your photos of a Linde (or Baoli) at work to: marketing.na(at)kiongroup.com