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Forklifts

Lift truck technologies continue to develop, and there are a dizzying number of options available. These posts can help you navigate the growing field of forklift management.

Topics

  • Construction Ergonomics: Safety Solutions for Overhead Work

    The right construction ergonomics program can prevent costly injuries, improve staff morale, and boost productivity. But different tasks create different ergonomic risks. Workers who spend most of the shift with arms raised and necks tilted back — while installing conduit, ducting, or overhead lighting, for instance — may develop any number of musculoskeletal disorders. Here are a few tips for... Continue Reading
  • The Electrician’s Guide to Careers in Construction Month

    October is Careers in Construction Month, a yearly promotion led by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The event is meant to spread awareness about construction trades, including electricians — a worthwhile effort, given this age of labor shortages in the construction trades. So how can construction electricians participate in this industry event? Here are just a few ideas... Continue Reading
  • Maintaining the Cold Chain: The Role of the Distributor

    Food safety depends on maintaining the cold chain at every step, from producer to processor to foodservice operation to, eventually, the diner’s plate. In the United States, a handful of federal agencies regulate all the industries involved in taking food from farm to fork. These include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and even... Continue Reading
  • Preparing the Forklift Battery Room for DC Peak Season

    Every retailer has a peak season, and distribution centers are no different. Certainly, the peak can differ between one outlet and another — an office-supply store may experience peak season during the final days of the summer, when parents stock up for back-to-school season, while most general ecommerce DCs brace for the winter holidays. Whenever peak-to-average order ratios soar, it’s... Continue Reading
  • How Automotive Manufacturers Can Improve Material Flow Systems During Plant Shutdowns

    Automotive manufacturers can’t push out the next big model without retooling plants, and that means periodic shutdowns at factories across the U.S. But while teams of workers busily upgrade assembly lines, plant managers also stay busy planning to move the entire operation forward. Disruptions of day-to-day plant operation create tremendous opportunities for improvement. This is especially true in the automotive... Continue Reading
  • Alternatives to Going Forklift-Free at Automotive Manufacturing Facilities

    Automotive manufacturing facilities have long been at the forefront of lean manufacturing — after all, the practice was born out of Toyota’s process of continual improvement, or kaizen. But unlike some other sectors, many auto manufacturers are choosing not to go forklift-free to achieve their goals. That’s because automakers have discovered how to become leaner without sacrificing the muscle of... Continue Reading
  • USDA FSIS Regulations and Forklifts in Food-Handling Applications

    Within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is tasked with keeping unsafe food products — particularly meat, poultry, and eggs — out of the U.S. food supply chain. The FSIS carries the weight of law and conducts inspections of food-handling and processing operations to make sure they’re not at risk of spreading foodborne illness.... Continue Reading
  • Understanding the Forklift Stability Triangle

    The forklift stability triangle is a fundamental concept that operators of counterbalanced lift trucks must understand. In order to maintain longitudinal, lateral, and dynamic stability, operators must be able to locate the center of gravity of a loaded truck and ensure that it falls within this imaginary triangle that spans the front axle to the center of the steer axle.... Continue Reading
  • Cold Storage Forklift Battery Maintenance

    Cold storage is hard on lift truck batteries. Poor inventory management and maintenance is even worse. The combination of an extreme environment and shortcuts in battery handling practices can cause major reductions in battery capacity and lifespan. That’s why it’s important to use best practices for forklift batteries in cold storage applications. Here’s what you need to know to keep... Continue Reading
  • Electric Forklifts in Cold Storage: Solutions to Common Challenges

    Cold storage facilities are the backbone of the supply chain for crucial products, including frozen and refrigerated foods, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemicals. Unfortunately, the extreme temperatures needed to preserve perishables can reduce efficiency in electric forklifts — or even damage them outright. Thankfully, there are a number of mitigating strategies that can improve forklift performance in cold storage applications. For instance:... Continue Reading
  • 3 Green Warehouse Improvements You Can Make Right Now

    Whether it’s for cost-saving or environmental responsibility, warehouses are going green and saving money in the process. Here are a few simple ways warehousing companies can reduce costs while limiting their carbon footprint with green practices. 1. Upgrade to LED Lighting Switching to LEDs can save an operation more than 60 percent on energy costs compared to fluorescents and other... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Battery Wastewater for the Green Warehouse

    When you run electric forklifts, you have to wash the batteries, and that leads to the problem of forklift battery wastewater. To be sure, choosing electric forklifts over internal combustion ones offers a multitude of environmental and economic benefits for warehouses. A smaller carbon footprint, lower fueling costs, and less maintenance are just a handful of the many benefits of... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Sales Grow for the Third Consecutive Year in a Row, Says ITA Report

    The Industrial Truck Association (ITA) has announced that 2017 was the third consecutive year of record-breaking forklift sales in North America. Over 250,000 units were sold marking a nearly 10 percent increase from 2016. These record-breaking numbers took even industry insiders by surprise. “The 2017 sales numbers of 253,146 exceeded most industry expectations,” said Brian Feehan, president of the Industrial... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Work Platforms for Safely Performing Overhead Tasks

    Without Forklift Work Platforms, performing overhead tasks in warehouses is dangerous business. A cursory glance at a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) fact sheet is enough to make a warehouse manager wonder, “What can I do to protect my workers?” That’s where heavy-duty safety equipment like Forklift Work Platforms come in. These dedicated personnel-lifting devices can make overhead tasks, like... Continue Reading
  • Park & Charge Technology for Electric Forklifts: Required Support Equipment

    There is a lively debate between proponents of conventional forklift battery charging and those of fast charging, or park & charge, technology. As with any competing technology, there’s no easy answer about which system is superior. Different fleets have different needs, and that means either type of technology could be a better fit. That said, here are some of the... Continue Reading
  • Safety Requirements for the Forklift Battery Room: Back to Basics

    There are two very important reasons to maintain a safe battery room — to protect employees and to comply with federal and local regulations. Heavy-duty, ergonomic battery-changing equipment with abundant safety features helps every operation using electric forklifts to accomplish both these goals at the same time. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gives both general and specific guidance... Continue Reading
  • OSHA Guidelines for Forklift Traffic on Dock Ramps and Yard Ramps

    Loading ramps can be perilous places for forklift operation. So it’s no surprise that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has quite a bit to say on the topic. Much of their advice is common sense, but it never hurts to have a refresher and a checklist of requirements for investing in dock ramps. Some of the more general... Continue Reading
  • Disposing of Wastewater Created by Washing Forklift Batteries

    Maintaining a well-functioning lift-truck fleet requires washing batteries, and that process creates wastewater. The EPA classifies this dirty water as hazardous waste, and as such, it requires careful attention. Businesses in many other industries, such as metalworking and metal fabrication, die casting, truck wash centers, and more fall into the same boat. When operations create wastewater, they have three basic... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Battery Maintenance During Peak Season

    The holiday season is in full swing, and that means warehouses are working overtime to fulfill orders. While permanent staff and temporary workers put in extra hours, don’t forget that your equipment is working hard, too. To get the most out of it, a little preventive maintenance can go a long way. Washing Batteries Improves Forklift Performance It’s a bit... Continue Reading
  • Why A-Frame Gantries Are Best for Vertical Forklift Battery Extraction

    A-frame Gantry Cranes are the safest and most efficient way to vertically remove forklift batteries from trucks. While it’s certainly possible to remove a battery from a forklift with a second lift truck, or even to use a modified hydraulic engine hoist to replace a forklift battery, only Gantries designed specifically for the unique working traits of forklift batteries can... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Battery Handling Equipment for the Coming Year’s Budget

    Improved battery room configurations and new equipment can yield big gains in productivity and profitability. As the end of the year draws closer, managers of large forklift fleets consider placing an investment in this type of infrastructure in the coming year’s budget. BHS custom designs its battery handling equipment for safety, efficiency, and lifetime cost savings. A complete system can... Continue Reading
  • Preventative Maintenance for AGV Batteries

    Automatic guided vehicles (or automated guided vehicles, depending on who you ask) are touted as the future of material handling. They’re driverless forklifts or carts that follow paths through floor implants, pre-programmed routes, or by using cameras or laser guidance. As advanced as AGV technology has become in recent years, one thing about these devices will be familiar to anyone... Continue Reading
  • Switching from Liquid Propane to Electric Forklifts in the Produce Industry

    In the mid-1990s, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) noticed an alarming trend. The state is the country’s largest provider of 11 types of produce, including apples, Concord grapes, and pears. In fruit-packing warehouses across the state, workers were being exposed to dangerous — and sometimes even poisonous — levels of carbon monoxide on the job. A... Continue Reading
  • What Type of Forklift is Right for Your Warehouse?

    When it’s time to build a forklift fleet, start by choosing the right power source. The choice between electric and internal-combustion (IC) trucks is not just an issue of expense. It’s also crucial to running a safe business. That’s because internal combustion engines — whether they’re powered by diesel or by propane — emit carbon monoxide. This dangerous gas can... Continue Reading
  • Choosing Electric Forklifts in Mexico: The Battery Compartment

    The vast warehouse industry in Mexico continues to shift from gas to electric forklifts to reap the economic and environmental benefits associated with electric power. As electric fleets grow more common, warehouse managers must continually ensure that they configure their operations to be as efficient as possible. One of the most important choices when building a fleet of electric lift... Continue Reading
  • Developing a Forklift Battery Watering Strategy that Works

    Ask any battery room operator how often to water forklift batteries and you’ll probably get one of two responses: “Check them once a week and water as necessary,” they’ll say. Or they might say, “That depends.” The second response is about as accurate as it is frustrating, which is to say, totally. The fact is, battery watering can be tricky... Continue Reading
  • How Lead-Acid Forklift Batteries Continue to Evolve

    With all the digital ink spilled over lithium-ion and hydrogen fuel cells, it can be easy to forget that manufacturers of lead-acid batteries continue to make improvements on the traditional chemistry of electric motive power. Here are a few of the advancements in lead-acid battery technology that will allow them to compete with newer power sources for electric forklifts: Integrated... Continue Reading
  • Power Requirements for Tomorrow’s Counterbalance Forklifts

    Nearly 60 percent of American forklift users rely on counterbalance trucks to meet the bulk of their material handling needs. Even more than 60 percent of the forklifts in North America run on electricity. (Both statistics date to 2014, the last year the Industrial Truck Association has compiled so far). But times are changing for electric counterbalance forklifts. New motive... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Batteries: Lead-Acid vs. Lithium-Ion

    In 2015, the first lithium-ion battery pack for an industrial lift truck hit the market. That’s astonishing, given that just six months prior, industry journal Material Handling and Logistics reported that lithium-ion batteries were “not available for lift trucks,” because “lift truck applications may have different requirements, such as lower voltage or higher peak currents than existing motive power applications.”... Continue Reading
  • Are Lithium Ion Forklift Batteries Catching On?

    It’s safe to say that we live in the era of lithium-ion batteries. They power our phones, our laptops, our tablets, and even our hoverboards (sometimes disastrously). You might notice a stunning omission to that list. Nearly 10 years ago, the first lithium-ion forklift battery propelled an experimental lift truck across the floor of a major Japanese manufacturer’s facility. Fast... Continue Reading
  • Seamlessly Transitioning to Electric Power for Forklifts

    By 2014, over half of the forklifts in the United States had already made the shift to electric power. Only 36 percent of the U.S. forklift market stuck with fossil fuels that year. Reluctance to make the switch to a greener, more cost-effective source of motive power usually boils down to two things: anxiety about higher up-front costs and fear... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Battery Handling Equipment for Smaller Fleets

    Not every forklift user operates a vast fleet of hundreds. In fact, most don’t. A 2010 survey by industry journal DC Velocity found that the bulk of their respondents (57 percent) operated fewer than 25 lift trucks. Only 12 percent regularly used more than 100 trucks. The same survey uncovered another key statistic: almost 90 percent of the respondents said... Continue Reading
  • Battery Changing Solutions For Existing Pallet Trucks

    Most of the published advice on forklift battery management is aimed at larger fleets. But what about the small operation — the kind that only runs one or two forklifts? Facilities with smaller forklift fleets — even down to a single truck — probably realize that an extensive forklift battery changing system doesn’t make sense for their bottom lines. After... Continue Reading
  • Electrical Distribution for Forklift Battery Rooms

    Every battery room has distinctive power requirements, but these can change as operations grow. Don’t just wire the charging areas for your current needs; plan ahead for future changes — or, even better, ongoing expansion. Powering The Fleet’s Power Source Think of the battery charging area as the power source for your entire forklift fleet. In a way, charging systems... Continue Reading
  • Designing a Better Forklift Battery Room

    So you’ve decided you need a new battery room. Maybe your current battery charging area is outdated, or perhaps your fleet is just now large enough to justify the expense. Regardless of the reason, your new battery room’s success depends on a great plan — from choosing the ideal location to optimizing equipment. Battery room planning tools from BHS help... Continue Reading
  • Yard Ramp Transportation and Positioning

    If your business ships and receives materials by the truckload — but your facility doesn’t have a dedicated loading dock — you essentially only have three choices: Unload trucks manually. This option carries high labor costs, has limited efficiency, and poses serious injury risks for workers. If you expect to handle pallet loads, this option isn’t realistic. Build a new... Continue Reading
  • Safety Tips for Operating Lift Trucks On and Around Dock Ramps

    In most warehouses, loading docks are buzzing hubs of activity. They’re also dangerous places to operate a forklift, and workplace safety organizations have developed a wide range of regulations and recommendations to keep workers safe on and around the dock. Some of these standards include: OSHA Standard 1910.22 Walking-Working Surfaces OSHA Standard 1910.176 Material Handling OSHA Standard 1910.178 Powered Industrial... Continue Reading
  • Finding Government Tax Credits and Incentives for Electric Forklifts

    Electric forklifts are superior to combustion-powered trucks in many ways, but while they offer excellent performance with lower fuel costs, full-scale fleet conversion is often a tall order. Electric lift trucks can be expensive, and some businesses stick with gas-powered trucks — despite the clear drawbacks of combustion technologies — to avoid the capital costs of a brand-new fleet. Government... Continue Reading
  • Lift Truck Fleet Rightsizing: Are Heavy-Duty Forklifts Overkill?

    Downtime is the enemy of a productive facility. If your lift trucks are off of the floor, they’re not making money — and for many operations, that’s a scary proposition. As a result, some businesses end up overpaying for their lift trucks, choosing gas- and diesel-powered units where electric power would be a much less expensive (and much more productive)... Continue Reading
  • Reasons to Switch from Combustion to Electric Forklifts

    At one point, nearly all forklifts were powered by internal combustion. The market has shifted as electric forklifts have become more efficient; according to numbers from the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), 63 percent of new lift trucks purchased in 2010 used electricity as a primary power source. That number is up from 2007, when the market was only about 57... Continue Reading
  • TVA Offers Incentives for Diesel Lift Truck Fleet Conversion

    If you’ve been thinking about converting your lift truck fleet from diesel to electric, there’s never been a better time. Few projects offer a better long-term return on investment, and forklift fleet conversion is a relatively simple process. The Tennessee Valley Authority recently announced a program incentivizing diesel-to-electric lift truck conversion, providing hundreds of businesses in the region with an... Continue Reading