lift trucks | KION North America

Tag Archives: lift trucks

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.

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.

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.

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.

Top Forklift Models and Why You Need Them

Although forklifts have been a staple in the material handling and logistics industry for over a century, the models on today’s market offer dramatic improvements in safety, carrying capacity, and fuel economy. With so many forklift models to choose from, it can be difficult and time consuming to decide which equipment is right for your facility. Linde, Baoli, and Dematic offer material handling equipment and supply chain solutions that can help your business increase its productivity and profitability.

Linde

A pioneer in technology and manufacturing, Linde has provided transportation and handling equipment for over 150 years. With its impressive history and reputation, it’s not surprising that Linde continues to provide outstanding machinery. Their electric truck models can easily navigate narrow aisles while the internal combustion counterbalanced pneumatic truck models boast unrivalled controllability. Linde’s quality models are durable and present a lower maintenance cost for managers.

Baoli

An internationally recognized brand, Baoli appeals to the economy segment with cost-effective, high quality forklifts. The forklifts can be purchased with diesel, electric, or LPG engines with load capacities ranging from 3,500 to 7,000 lbs. For the budget-conscious manager, the electric counterbalance sit-down truck provides comfort and an energy-efficient design. The internal combustion counterbalanced cushion tire truck exceeds the fuel efficiency standard for economy segment trucks. KION provides unmatched product support and a standard warranty.

Dematic

With its cutting-edge line of Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs), Dematic is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. The robots, which are autonomous and fully mobile, can boost warehouse productivity and efficiency. With the ability to reduce product damage, AGVs can help your warehouse become more profitable and respond to labor challenges. Dematic AGVs are available in Standard, Hybrid/Series/Dual-Use, and Custom models for the tech-savvy warehouse. The Hybrid/Series/Dual-Use model begins as a manually operated Series vehicle from KION. Dematic adds a full automation pack to the vehicle that allows it to operate manually or as a top-of-the-line AGV.

KION North America is leading the industry by providing innovative forklift models that help businesses become more productive and more profitable. To learn more about our technologically advanced models, check out our Linde and Baoli forklift lines and tailored supply chain solutions from our sister company, Dematic,

Linde at Work: Southeast Wood Treating

Since 1979, Southeast Wood Treating has been the industry leader when it comes manufacturing and distribution of treated outdoor wood products. The began as a family-owned, local pressure treating company in the small town of Louisville, Alabama and today is one of the largest producers of pressure treated lumber in the United States.

Southeast Wood Treating began using several different models of Linde brand hydrostatic forklifts nearly 20 years ago. In our experience, equipment from other brands that we’ve had would have to be traded in between 9,000 and 15,000 operating hours,” said Richard Queen, human resources director.  “Our Linde units have logged upwards of 20,000-25,000 hours before needing to be replaced.”

In 2014, the company purchased 16 new Linde Series 396 forklifts from their authorized KION North America dealer Springer Equipment Company. “With greater productivity, we have had greater efficiency and lower operating costs as well as lower manpower costs,” said Queen. “The bottom line is that we handle more lumber with fewer lifts and fewer people by using Linde forklifts.”

The Linde Series 396 and the brand’s other hydrostatic drive forklifts offer some of the lowest maintenance and operating costs on the market thanks to extended maintenance intervals and lack of mechanical wear components like service brakes or a torque converter transmission. Other efficiency features include low fuel consumption and low tire wear, which financially have positive impacts on a company’s bottom line.

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.

Product Spotlight: Baoli KBG25C

Released in October, Baoli KBG25C is the first internal combustion, LPG-powered forklift to be made available in North America from the Baoli product line that is equipped with non-treaded cushion tires. With a load capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, this forklift is among the top of its class in both efficiency and performance.

Performance

The Baoli KBG25C is designed for indoor, warehouse use and is an ideal choice for businesses that primarily operate LPG-powered equipment in their facilities. They are popular in freight forwarding applications and other warehouse environments that are not suitable for electric forklifts.

Built using quality components, the performance of this truck is outstanding. The proven IMPCO K25 LPG engine delivers 60 HP of power to more easily handle heavy loads. Depending on the requirements of your facility, this forklift is also available with either a triplex mast or simplex “trucker’s” mast (pictured).

Additionally, being able to work in tight spaces is vital in the North American market as many facilities have narrow aisles and dense floor-level storage. The Baoli KBG25C yields a tight turn radius allowing it to work in aisles as narrow as 13 feet. Along with the compact design, this forklift maximizes fuel efficiency with its innovative deceleration fuel shutoff—ultimately reducing operating costs.

Reliability

As with any piece of equipment, routine preventative maintenance is crucial to maximizing efficiency and performance. To help you get the most out of your investment, performing maintenance on the KBG25C has never been easier. The hood opens to a nearly 90-degree angle allowing the operator to easily access the engine. Removable floor plates and side panels give the operator access to a majority of the truck. Taking accessibility a step further, it also has dash access to the brake fluid. These features help save your business time when it comes to keeping up with maintenance and keep your business running smoothly.

Even though a truck has outstanding performance, it never hurts to have a good warranty you can rely on. All Baoli forklifts, including the KBG25C, are backed by KION North America’s standard 2-year warranty which covers standard equipment for the first year and unlimited hours, in addition to standard powertrain coverage for two years or 4,000 hours. An optional extended warranty for one additional year or 2,000 hours can be purchased.

Whether needed for routine maintenance or repair, one of the worst things that can happen to a company is when your equipment is inoperable while you are waiting for spare parts to arrive. However, Baoli brand equipment is fully integrated into KION North America’s supply chain and service system. The company’s South Carolina-based warehouse is stocked with a variety of spare parts and with a network of authorized dealers throughout the United States, this makes delivery possible within 24 hours.

Safety and Comfort

Like the comparable electric version of this truck, the Baoli KBG25C is equipped with a host of standard comfort features at no extra cost including a tilt steering column and a comfort suspension seat making it comfortable for any size operator. Work assist features on this model include LED work lights and a rear pillar assist handle with horn.

The Baoli KBG25C isn’t only comfortable to operate, but is also one of the safest trucks in its class. An amber warning light and forward facing twin LED spotlights are mounted to the overhead guard. Combined with a backup alarm and travel speed reduction, the standard safety features will make your workplace a safer environment for everyone. Additional safety options available include a rear-facing blue spotlight, road lights (brake, reverse and turn signals), fire extinguisher and Baoli safety orange paint (pictured).

If you are looking for a quality LPG-powered forklift without breaking the bank, the Baoli KBG25C could be a great fit for your operation. For more information or to request a demo contact your authorized local dealer today.