Design that contributes to safer forklift trucks

Design that contributes to safer forklift trucks

May 13, 2021 | by

Crown lift trucks are designed to optimise safety in the warehouse while minimising downtime and maintenance costs

Warehouses are busy places: accidents can happen with potentially serious consequences for people, equipment and the company. These risks can be minimised through training, facilities management and by using the safest equipment for the task. Crown vehicles include a wealth of ergonomic and technical touches that help lift truck fleets perform flawlessly while significantly improving driver safety.

Lift truck drivers have to work in tough conditions as a matter of course: it’s all part of the job. And that means that safety must be of paramount importance. When developing new lift trucks, Crown engineers aim to meet conditions typically found on customers’ premises by focusing on key factors such as sightlines, vehicle driving characteristics, operator safety and ergonomics so drivers can work productively and safely. Further, Crown’s InfoLink® fleet management system helps to maintain high safety standards and monitor
compliance with health and safety guidelines, while the comprehensive lift truck control system Crown Access 1 2 3®, allows warehouse managers to adapt the performance and driving behaviour of their lift trucks to individual driver preferences and specific operating conditions.

Operator safety – a Crown priority
Warehouse personnel often have to move large quantities of goods around warehouses in very tight timeframes. In such hectic environments, mistakes can happen – mistakes that may place drivers in danger.
With this in mind, Crown engineers fitted the WT 3000 rider pallet trucks and RC 5500 stand-up counterbalanced truck series with a patented entry bar safety switch at the opening to the operator compartment. This slim, unobtrusive bar ensures that the vehicle comes to an immediate standstill if the operator’s foot projects outside the compartment. By ensuring the driver is positioned safely in the operator compartment, the entry bar safety switch enhances driver confidence, resulting in higher productivity.
Crown engineers are also well aware that workers in warehouses must perform their tasks in a wide variety of conditions and at various different heights. The WAVE® Work Assist Vehicle provides a perfect example of extreme versatility. When carrying goods by hand, workers on tall ladders face a twofold risk: they are in danger of falling as they climb up, and as they climb down. The multifunctional WAVE was developed specifically to make ladders obsolete, increasing safety and productivity while reducing manpower requirements, because one person can accomplish what normally takes two.

A fit driver is a safe driver
As a general rule, an operator’s concentration gradually wanes as a shift wears on. To obviate the onset of fatigue, Crown designers have focused on incorporating a host of ergonomic touches that help drivers work with greater concentration. The weight-adjustable FlexRide™ driver platform on the WT 3000 Series of rider pallet trucks helps to cushion juddering and vibration caused by travelling over dock boards and ramps, enhancing driver comfort and productivity throughout the working shift. Better still, lightweight electronic steering and intuitive controls make the trucks easier to manoeuvre in narrow loading spaces. Because lift trucks that are easy to control they are also easier to drive safely.

Crown lift trucks help you see better!
To drive trucks safely, drivers need good sightlines and wide fields of vision. The laterally offset mast developed by Crown for the ESR 5000 reach truck series gives drivers an excellent view of the load wheels and forks. This makes it easier to position and manipulate loads, enhancing all-round safety. The patented overhead guard on the ESR 5000 Series provides an almost unobstructed view overhead. The MoveSeat™ developed especially for the ESR 5000S – swivels through 30°, giving drivers a better view of the surrounding environment and the front forks. And the FlexBack™ head- and backrest tips backwards so a driver can look up easily without straining his neck or back.

Technology that thinks with you
Training is vital in order to work safely in a warehouse. But what happens if a lift truck is operated by an unauthorised driver with minimal or no training? The Crown InfoLink fleet management system is designed to minimise such anxieties. All vehicles are secured by an access code, so they can only be operated by authorised and trained personnel. The system stores driver profiles with details of the certificates and training courses required to operate each vehicle and quickly matches drivers to vehicles according to need. But there’s more: InfoLink warns warehouse managers when licences are about to expire, or when the number of trained drivers falls below an optimum threshold – helping customers to make sure their trucks and drivers are working in safe, predictable conditions in warehouses and loading bays.

Finally, Crown’s unique Access 1 2 3 lift truck control system helps each truck to perform safely and reliably by continuously analysing all the factors that impact on performance and safety, including load, speed and steering angle. The result is a lift truck that not only responds instantly to driver input, but also reacts to specific situations when accelerating, braking or changing direction. If, for example, a driver drives round a bend too fast, Access 1 2 3 automatically reduces the lift truck’s speed, helping to avoid a collision and keeping driver and load safe from harm.

Many factors contribute to warehouse safety, but truck design can play an important role without sacrificing productivity.