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29

Jan

2020

Getting to know electric forklifts

Electric forklifts are rising in popularity. If you’ve been thinking about incorporating forklifts into your business operations, then you may have considered investing in electric models. Additionally, you may already have forklifts in your workplace but feel that they don’t meet your needs. Either way, if you’ve been thinking about purchasing a forklift then you should consider whether an electric truck is right for you.

There are many benefits to using electric forklifts, but they aren’t suitable for all environments. If you’re struggling to make sense of the type of forklift that your business requires, then this article is for you. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about electric forklifts, including information about the trucks themselves and also the industries that can benefit from them. Furthermore, we’ll also discuss the sustainability and eco-friendly nature of electric models. Forklifts can be a rather substantial investment for a company and buying them can make a noticeable dent in your capital, so you must invest in vehicles that are right for your needs.

What are electric forklifts?

An electric forklift is pretty much what it sounds like, a forklift that relies on electricity to operate. More specifically though, an electric forklift is much like an electric car and uses rechargeable batteries. The batteries used in electric forklifts are designed to charge quickly and also to provide a good usage time from each battery charge. Because of the way that electric forklifts operate, they can be put on charge during times that they are not required, which means you’ll always have a charged battery when you need it. If your workplace doesn’t operate during nighttime hours, then this is the perfect time to charge them. If you do run a 24-hour business, however, it’s best to charge during quieter periods.

Electric forklifts are becoming increasingly common in several different industries and provide a modern solution that is both more economical and environmentally friendly. These aren’t the only positive factors associated with electric forklifts however, there are many reasons why opting for electric models can be great for your business. As we are now at a time where technological advances allow us to take our business to the next level, electric forklifts are a fitting addition to any workforce that relies on modern technology.

What types of electric forklifts are available?

There is a range of different models available to suit a variety of different industries from manufacturing to warehousing and distribution and everything in between. Some workplaces may require several different forklifts to operate effectively. Fortunately, there are electric models available that cater to even the most specialist environments including those in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries.

Pallet trucks

These forklifts assist those that regularly move heavy goods over short distances. They allow the operator to carry a large load from one area of a warehouse to another, or move them between shelves. These forklifts are great solutions for those with low-level shelving, requiring lift heights of generally less than one metre. Electric pallet trucks are perfect for transporting loads weighing one ton or less.

Low-level pickers

These electric forklifts are ideal for any business that regularly picks orders from racking in warehouses. The vehicles can make order picking much faster and allow the operator to access loads as high as 4.6 metres. They are also capable of transporting heavier loads of approximately 2.5 tonnes. Unlike other models, the forks are located at the back of the vehicle, meaning the user can transport the heavy load with good visibility in front of them.

Reach trucks

A reach truck is perfect for any business that regularly requires the movement of goods from high racking. They allow the operator to access loads as high as 13 metres and transport loads that weigh as much as 2.5 tonnes. They are designed to safely move goods from areas of a warehouse that may have been inaccessible in the past, meaning they can provide warehouses with access to previously unusable but valuable space.

VNA trucks

A VNA truck is an incredibly valuable piece of machinery to have in any warehouse or retail environment that includes narrow aisles. They allow operators to access loads that are stacked at a high level in even the tightest of spaces. In addition to this, their compact design means they effortlessly manoeuvre in tight spaces.

Myths associated with electric forklifts

Electric forklifts aren’t powerful

As we now live in an age where electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, power shouldn’t be a worry. Electric cars are capable of transporting a car full of adults over a large distance, so electric forklifts are more than powerful enough to transport loads over a short distance. It is important to remember that the batteries in electric forklifts are specially designed to provide the user with a powerful commercial-grade machine.

They’re expensive to purchase

Electric forklifts are very reasonably priced solutions that also offer companies additional savings in the long run in regards to operation and maintenance costs. It is important to recognise that forklifts that rely on other forms of fuel to power them can be very expensive to run, especially if they are required to be constantly operating throughout the workday.

They come with additional training costs

Although you may need to train your staff to operate an electric forklift, there is no real difference from providing additional training to staff as a result of upgrading your fleet. If your workers are already competent in forklift driving, then there shouldn’t be much additional training required to ensure competency with electric forklifts.

They’re only good for indoor use

Although electric forklifts are generally used indoors more often, they are also a great option for moving goods outside over small distances. Many businesses are now using electric forklifts to transport materials across building yards. Electric models are designed to be able to move loads across varying surfaces including smooth concrete floors and through bumpy and uneven environments.

They require a lot of maintenance

Electric trucks are designed with maintenance in mind. This means that manufacturers go out of their way to provide electric solutions that are virtually maintenance-free. This includes all aspects of usage including charging, operation and battery maintenance.

Benefits of electric forklifts

An electric forklift can be a very welcome addition to any workforce providing assistance and increasing levels of production and company profits. Furthermore, investing in electric models mean that there are fewer costs associated with operation and maintenance. They are easy to operate and any worker that already has a forklift licence and experience should be able to transition easily and have no issues operating all types of electric models. They are also ideal for a range of environments that have narrow aisles or small turning circles, so they are a versatile option that can be used in a variety of industries. As the trucks can move across all types of surface, concreting bumpy areas to accommodate the trucks isn’t necessary.

Electric forklifts also come with an array of safety features to ensure the safety of the operator at all times. Safety can be a concern when working with forklifts or in environments that involve transporting large loads of goods. Manufacturers of electric forklifts take health and safety very seriously, adding safety features to prevent injury to the user, other workers around them and also the area and machine itself. Health and safety is a very complex area in industries that require forklifts – that’s why electric forklift manufacturers take many different scenarios into account and include collision protection and systems that automatically shut off the trucks if users leave them running.

Sustainability

As a nation, we are becoming more aware of the impact we are having on the environment. This is especially true for large businesses and corporations that are now realising that they have a responsibility to use sustainable solutions and reduce carbon emissions and waste. Doing so can not only save you money as a business but can also have an impact on your public perception and company image. Using electric forklifts means fewer CO2 emissions with batteries that are specially designed to work as efficiently as possible. By adding electric forklifts to your fleet, you’ll also reduce the level of noise pollution and also any pollution associated with burning fossil fuels. Electric forklifts are much quieter and don’t produce any nasty fumes when they are used.

Industries that can benefit from electric forklifts

The manufacturing industry often requires a range of forklifts that can operate in a variety of environments, which means electric forklifts are an ideal choice for this. Warehouses that focus on retail distribution can also benefit from using electric models, especially pickers that can decrease order picking times significantly. The chemical and pharma industry can also benefit from choosing electric models that come with explosion protection, optimised for use in hazardous environments and transporting chemicals and gases.

Jungheinrich’s solutions

Jungheinrich electric forklifts are a great solution for all types of operations that require trucks with the range of benefits discussed above. Their range includes pallet trucks, low-level order pickers, reach trucks, and VNA trucks. All Jungheinrich forklifts provide eco-friendly, sustainable solutions and are heavily equipped with safety features to prevent accidents in many different scenarios. Their forklifts feature lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries that are optimised to provide high powered vehicles with minimal charging times.

The range comes with several additional add-ons to enhance the ability of the forklifts and provide further support and assistance to operators. The trucks and the batteries are low maintenance and parts can be sourced easily if required. Adding Jungheinrich electric forklifts to your fleet can help to increase levels of production and keep your workforce safe.

If you’d like to know more about how electric forklifts could work for your business then get in touch today.

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