Home>Handling and Storing>Lift trucks & ancillaries>Materials handling challenges and how to address them

Materials handling challenges and how to address them

29 January 2021

Every manufacturing, processing and storage application is different, yet when it comes to materials handling, there are some common challenges that may lie ahead in the new year

EACH YEAR, many businesses are looking to further improve their environmental credentials, and forklifts can play a big part.

CHALLENGE 1: Achieving greener operations

Although IC engine powered trucks are becoming increasingly ‘green’ with reduced emissions and greater fuel efficiencies, many of those seeking environmental solutions consider switching to electric trucks. And in the right applications, they are the ideal solution.

One example is the Hyster J7.0–9.0XNL forklift series with fully integrated lithium-ion batteries. The zero-emissions electric lift trucks with 7-9 tonnes of lift capacity offer comparable diesel engine performance, and rapid opportunity charging, achieving 100% charge in just 80 minutes.

Challenge 2: Reduce damage and costs

Hyster lift trucks are helping manufacturers and processing applications to reduce damage, and the associated costs, while keeping productivity high.  In industrial manufacturing, for instance, when uploading loads of raw materials from a trailer and transporting them with a forklift to a warehouse, it is important not to cause damage as this could prevent the material from being used in production, leading to unnecessary costs.

The Hyster J1.5-3.5UT four-wheel and J1.6-2.0UTT three-wheel electric forklifts may be well suited to these lower intensive activities. Designed to be simple to use and easy to maintain, the uncomplicated electric lift trucks include a wide mast window, so drivers benefit from excellent visibility, while a robust mast provides stability, helping to prevent the loads from being shaken or damaged.

Challenge 3: Increase efficiency

With supply chains under pressure, operations may be dealing with unexpected levels of demand, or experiencing a need to do more with less. This makes the right choice of materials handling equipment critical for efficiency.

With supply chains under pressure, operations may be dealing with unexpected levels of demand

For example, manufacturing or logistics applications currently using hand pallet trucks in the warehouse may find that switching to the new Hyster PC1.5 ultra-compact lithium-ion pallet truck brings efficiency gains, without complex maintenance requirements. Operations with lean fleets will benefit from these dependable pallet trucks that are ready to go when needed.

Case study

Braunmetall was founded in 1992 in Germany as a non-ferrous metal trading company for the roofing trade. The sale of copper, zinc and aluminium strips for the roofing industry is still the mainstay of the company. However, its secondary business area is in foil and embossing technology. Depending on the application, the company produces foils and thin strips made of aluminium, copper, and stainless steel in a wide variety of composite.

Its major customers rely on “just-in-time” delivery so quality, service and meeting deadlines are of the utmost importance. High reliability is one of the reasons why Braunmetall chose a fleet of 13 Hyster lift trucks, order pickers and pedestrian-controlled warehouse equipment.

“In addition to simple operation, handling and fast spare parts supply, the most important thing for us is operational readiness,” says Carsten Braun, the owner and managing director of Braunmetall.

The company relies on five Hyster electric lift trucks, including the J2.0XNT and J3.5XN models, which are primarily used for loading and unloading trucks, and for transporting coils to the warehouse and production lines. The robust and energy efficient Hyster® electric counterbalance lift trucks stand out for their manoeuvrability and the low energy consumption.

They also feature robust chassis construction and strong side covers to offer protection against possible impact damage. In addition, the two-tonne J2.0XN capacity truck has a Zero Turning Radius (ZTR) axle which provides a tight turning circle and allows the truck to be used in compact aisle widths and on busy loading and unloading ramps.

The Hyster J3.5XN electric forklift trucks offer the same performance compared to a combustion engine and are used both indoors and outdoors at Braunmetall. Thanks to efficient three-phase motor technology for the drive and lift, the trucks are well suited to the application’s demanding and long shifts. Easily accessible components and on-board diagnostics also help reduce downtime.

To help cut embossed composite foils to size, the company uses six Hyster S1.6 pedestrian stackers. The trucks can be controlled by remote control - depending on how many foils are to be loaded onto the pallet, the employee can lower the forks.