Leading forklift manufacturer, Doosan, has been awarded the prestigious Red Dot Design Award for its futuristic Concept Forklift. Efficient, environmentally friendly and with the highest level of safety, the futuristic model of the Intelligent Concept Forklift impressed the judges with its ingenious approach to the challenges facing modern forklift manufacturing.
Doosan Industrial Vehicle (DIV) has worked closely in the planning of the Doosan Concept Forklift Project with Doosan Institute of Technology Industrial Design Team, tasking them with creating a vision of the future that incorporates new materials and production techniques, whilst sticking to the Doosan belief of simple, powerful products with great performance.
The award-winning technologists designed a machine they say could be produced within the next decade. “The hard work and dedication of our research and development teams has brought us great success today,” says Chinwon Park, CEO of DIV. “Developments like the ones recognised by the Red Dot Award will bring us even greater success in the future. Convincing the design experts is no easy task, and we are delighted to receive this recognition.”
Since first being established in 1955, the Red Dot Design Award has received more than 15,000 submissions from 61 countries. This year alone, over 3,500 entries were received from 49 countries, all assessed by an expert panel of judges in Singapore.
“Various elements of the design could be seen on our forklifts within five to ten years,” says Doo-yearn Jo, CTO of the Doosan Institute of Technology. “All our concept vehicles serve a number of purposes,” says Doo-yearn Jo. “There is the very practical purpose of allowing us to consider the future possibilities of our designs in a way that is not linked to current production methods or models.”
According to the design team, the key themes for the concept were “Innovation that embodies efficiency and intelligence.”
As a result, the ICF features many innovations to enhance productivity and usability. To provide a better view of the work area, the cabin elevation and tilting function uses a hydraulic device in line with a high-torque linear motor system. The uncluttered cab interior sees all steering and handling operations carried out via a multifunctional control joystick, helping to provide an intuitive, simplified user environment. Using augmented reality technology, the intelligent work-guide system enables safer and more efficient operation.
Changes to the operator position, mast properties and drive train are also present. Doosan is already a world leader in OLED technology, and the ICF shows how the company may eventually incorporate augmented reality systems into a heads up display. A unique ‘work guide system’ enables operators to see information about their cargo and interpret the best optimized work process they should apply to it, helping to maximize productivity and targets. An extendable counterweight also improves stability and increases loading capacity, but maintaining the minimum turning radius.
Being electrically powered the ICF is able to reduce emissions, excess noise and fuel costs, meeting all future international environmental standards. The highly efficient rechargeable battery enables faster recharging, providing increased work time and productivity.
“With technology constantly moving forward, it is important to look to the future and develop new products, and concepts while still incorporating Doosan’s core values.” says Young Lee, Team Leader of DIV’s Overseas Marketing Team.
With tilting seats, hub drive motors and solar reacting glass, will the technology really find its way into the forklifts of the future? If the market dictates it, Young Lee believes such innovations will make it onto future models. “Take foldable forks. The technology and engineering capability are already with us, as are cameras and sensors mounted on forks and masts. Like all features, we need to demonstrate the need and the benefits to prove the changes are worthwhile.”
Rapid prototyping, or 3D printing, may also prove an important element to the forklift supplier of the future. With the technology already available to reproduce complex structures by effectively printing it, the need to carry expensive parts holdings or even rarely used parts, may become less important. “New technologies can free up the design process,” said Young Lee, “as well as offer exciting new avenues that can be applied to existing products. The true arbiter will be the end user. If they want the technology, it will no doubt come to pass.
“As an exciting glimpse of what the future holds for forklifts, and to see how Doosan are working towards opening up a multitude of new technologies for its customers, the ICF will undoubtedly make other manufacturers take note.”
Concludes Young Lee: “Even though we won’t be seeing the ICF in warehouses for some time yet, there may be some elements that we will hopefully be able to incorporate into our next series of products. We certainly do not rule out providing new and more efficient ways of providing value for money products that make the operator and the owner’s life less complicated through technology.”
The red dot design award ceremony will be held of 25th November 2011 in Singapore. On the same night, Red dot design will also launch the winner’s exhibition and unveil the award yearbook for 2011.