For Linde Material Handling, the leading supplier of materials handling equipment in the UK, safety is the paramount consideration in the design and manufacture of its wide range of products.
“Safety is built in from the beginning,” says Phil Pearson, Head of Marketing, Linde Material Handling in the UK. “Our trucks are designed to ensure an high degree of stability and safety without the need for supplementary electronic aids.”
For instance, the new series of Linde pallet truck and pallet stacker that were launched earlier this year incorporate a system that regulates travel speed according to the tiller position. A potentiometer measures the angle between the tiller and the chassis which automatically adjusts the speed to the walking pace of the operator. This is a safety feature, but the tiller was also designed to improve productivity – the ‘creep’ speed control allows the operator to manoeuvre the product even when the tiller is an upright position. This makes it especially useful in confined spaces.
“Although some people may feel ‘health and safety’ features can be a barrier to high productivity, we recognise that improved safety and greater productivity usually go hand in hand,” says Mr Pearson.
Linde designs all its products to ensure controls are within easy reach of the operator and convenient and comfortable to use, even when wearing gloves. The controls are very responsive. “With precise, accurate steering, not only do you improve operator safety, you achieve better performance, higher levels of operating comfort and improved fuel or energy efficiency,” says Mr Pearson.
Linde also designs all its forklift trucks to ensure sight-lines are as clear as possible. Good visibility is achieved through careful optimisation of the steel sections of the mast, by carefully considering the cross-members required for mast stiffness and by determining the optimum ways of transferring the loads into the chassis. “We make sure that visibility is as good as it can be, because this improves safety for the operator and others in the warehouse, as well as increasing productivity.”
The Linde N range of pickers features a self-centering steering system, which ensures that when the operator starts to drive the truck in straight line, it never veers to one side. The position of the battery and drive motor gives the operator unrivalled vision, helping to reduce accidental damage to product, truck and operator.
The counterbalance truck with a suspension system is still unique to Linde. By providing suspension mounts on both drive and steer axles combined with rubber isolators at both ends of the tilt cylinders, this concept reduces operator fatigue by limiting the amount of Whole Body Vibration that the operator is subjected to. Less vibration and a slower build-up in fatigue levels lead to better concentration, aiding safety and improving productivity.
In addition to its range of highly innovative vehicles, Linde also provides specialist technical support, fleet management services and driver training, which all incorporate safety as an integral part of the activity. The company offers a range of theoretical and practical driver training courses across the UK, either at the Linde national network centres or at customer sites, from beginner level to instructor training. It also provides awareness courses to management and safety officers.
Mr Pearson says: “Linde’s philosophy has always been to promote safe operations and to build the safety intrinsically within the truck. From restricting access to the truck by requiring pin codes or RFID tags, to getting the centre of gravity as low as possible, we keep safety at the forefront of the design process. And then we continue to support our customers in developing the safest operation possible.”
Linde Material Handling
Tel: 0845 608 5000