Steve Richmond, Director – Logistics Systems, Jungheinrich UK: Ever increasing demand on efficiency and productivity coupled with limited availability and cost of land means that many companies are looking to maximise the utilisation of the cubic area. This means reducing aisle widths and increasing lift heights of equipment.
This applies across the Material Handling Equipment (MHE) spectrum, in the domain of reach trucks, VNA equipment & order picking, as well as automated storage systems.
For example, Jungheinrich Reach Trucks are capable of servicing top beam levels of above 13 metres with the Lithium Ion Reach truck the ETV 216i achieving 10.7 metres. In Very Narrow aisle, the latest order picking trucks can offer picking heights of 14.3 metres and the “flag ship” of the VNA range the EKX Kombi can deliver pallets to a lofty 18 metres.
In the domain of Automation, Jungheinrich once again lead the way. The “best in class” STC mini load cranes is available up to 25 metres, and the pallet handling Automated storage & Retrieval system (ASRS) can ascend to over 45 metres.
In the case of manual trucks, the main effect this is having on truck design is to ensure we can deliver stability and capacity to height as well as ensuring a robust and safe operating environment for the operator. In addition, we must consider environmental factors such as power consumption and energy usage. At Jungheinrich, we are market leaders in terms of alternative power sources, such as Lithium Ion and also regenerative technology where we use lowering of the masts to push power back into the battery, making the trucks extremely efficient.
There is also an ongoing drive towards increasing the operating speeds of the trucks. Travel, lift lower and acceleration are all on the agenda. Couple this with the demand on pushing the boundaries lift heights and residual capacities, and we must also turn our attention to the operating environment of the equipment, most notably the floor. The laws of physics do not change, so the higher and faster we go, the more we must consider how flat and level a floor must be, or develop innovative technologies to deal with the truck / floor interface. The Jungheinrich floorPRO is an example of how this can be achieved with compensatory electro mechanical features on the machine itself.