Given the importance of materials handling equipment, what are the major considerations that must be made to ensure that you, the food supplier, purchase the right equipment for your individual application?
The first consideration is to select the right manufacturer and distributor. The selected manufacturer must be able to offer you a wide range of trucks with a variety of different options, tailored to the specific needs of your operation. You should ensure their equipment is reliable and consider the total cost of ownership throughout the life of the equipment. Finally it is vital that the equipment comes with a fast and reliable parts and service support.
Get more when you choose the right manufacturer and distributor
Hyster has had a strong reputation for its design engineering since the company began in business over 75 years ago; offering the most comprehensive lift truck range in the industry from the mighty Reachstacker, found in major container terminals to the small, but versatile pallet truck, found in supermarkets and stores throughout the world. The range is not only wide, but within each truck type there are options which ensure you have the solution which best suits your application.
A great example of this versatility is found with the Hyster Matrix reach truck, launched in 2002. The Matrix has enjoyed great success and offers customers a choice of five different chassis lengths to enable them to select the best solution for their needs.
In addition to the right product, you must ensure this is backed up by support from a reliable distributor. The distributor must ensure rapid service and provide help, support and advice on how to select the optimum fleet for exiting operations and for new installations. Hyster has a network of large independent distribution partners across Europe. Each distributor can advise on issues such as optimum fleet size, the relative advantages of purchasing or renting equipment and alternative solutions to finance investment in new equipment.
While the Hyster name is synonymous with providing tough trucks for tough jobs across many market sectors, a major trend in recent years has been the growth of its extensive warehouse truck range. This offers everything from the groundbreaking new VNA (very narrow aisle) turret trucks right through to small pallet trucks. The range has gained in popularity because it has been developed in consultation with Hyster customers to meet their specific needs. Products have gone trough a rigorous cycle of research, design and testing, before being introduced to the market. Each product series offers a variety of configurations to provide performance matched to specific customer applications. This means that warehouse operators can get increased dependability, more productivity, greater energy efficiency, lower maintenance and running costs. The result is an improved operation and a reduction in the overall cost of ownership of the product.
Get more benefits from low maintenance.
Important aspects of low cost of ownership are that the truck does not break down and maintenance costs are low. On Hyster warehouse trucks, the maintenance intervals are set at every 1000 hours for most major components. Easy service access speeds up routine maintenance, while the dash display delivers diagnostic data to enable service staff to detect faults easily and anticipate periodic maintenance needs. Hyster warehouse trucks have a high commonality of parts, minimising the level of spare parts that must be stored for a mixed fleet.
Reliability is another main feature of Hyster warehouse products. Every new model rigorously tested before it goes into production. State-of-the art systems and components also increase the reliability of the equipment. These include powerful, yet virtually maintenance-free, brushless AC drive motors, providing high torque and rapid direction changes to meet the demands of frequent stop and go operations. The trucks have a CANbus electronic communication system - the truck’s ‘electronic brain’ – which monitors all functions. Trucks have pin code access which enables the warehouse managers to tailor the truck’s performance levels to suit individual operator ability and monitor the causes of any damage.
Get more productivity through driver comfort and control.
An efficient truck needs an efficient operator if it’s to deliver high
For this reason all Hyster products pay great attention to the standard of ergonomics, On counterbalance trucks, features include full suspension seats, fingertip controls built into an e-hydraulic armrest, fully adjustable steering columns and carefully positioned dash displays with see-at-a-glance controls and alphanumeric displays giving direct feedback of the truck’s condition. On warehouse equipment trucks, the tiller head has been designed to reduce operator fatigue with controls located close to the tiller arm. The latest tiller head design promotes improved speed, travel, direction and braking control, and combines with electronic power steering to further boost operator productivity and throughput.
Finally, it is important that the truck you buy is powered by the right fuel for your operation. Fuel emissions have always been an issue in the food industry, due to their possible contamination factor. Diesel fuelled trucks, for example, have only been practical for outside operations. LPG and natural gas (when fitted with exhaust filters) can be used both inside and outside. Electric trucks are ideal for indoor operation. However, the problem has always been the allocation of battery charging and changing areas and potential decrease in work rate throughout a shift. Now, new developments in battery technology have made electric trucks more efficient, whilst labour-saving features such as Hyster’s side battery extraction system are increasing their viability. In the future new types of fuels, such as bio diesel and hydrogen will develop greater importance.
With so many choices and so many options open to you, the best person to talk to is your Hyster dealer. They will ensure that you have the right product for your requirements, wherever you are in the food chain!