Matt Hardy, Industry Manager for Hyster Europe, talks about how beverage operations are maximising handling efficiency through selective power choice.
Which power options do you see demand for in the beverage industry?
Every operation is different, so of course it depends. However, we continue to see strong demand for both LPG and electric lift trucks. Interest in lithium-ion batteries is also growing due to its many potential advantages, such as no acid spillage or gases, and the possibility of opportunity charging.
In today’s beverage industry, lift trucks tend to be multi-purpose, handling products from the bottling plant or storage, and on to transport. The lift trucks need to be flexible and available during long, busy shifts, with especially high demand in summer. Such intensive businesses can’t afford to lose productivity from any lift truck, where typically you find fleets of 10-12 forklifts.
This is where LPG is particularly well suited. There is high energy content in each gas bottle giving the lift trucks full power through a shift until the bottle is empty. In just a few minutes the bottle can easily be replaced, unlike batteries that need switching or charging (full or opportunity) requiring stricter processes and the space for charging rooms.
For the beverage industry, LPG is also a “cleaner fuel” than diesel, with no soot or particulate matter so it’s suitable for indoor use and use inside a trailer. With intense summer work demands and high temperatures in the yard, batteries may become hot and less efficient, whereas LPG has the advantage of not being adversely affected by hot weather.
Most beverage loads are palletised at about 1 tonne and often multi pallet handlers are used, demanding full power, responsive control and speed. Generally, we find that a 3-4.5 tonne lift truck from the Hyster Fortens™ range meets these requirements extremely well.
The Fortens™ is a fantastic product and proven time and time again in this type of application. For example, ramps are widely used throughout the beverage industry and our FT lift trucks feature an anti-roll back feature to help the operator. DuraMatch™ transmission also contributes to extended tyre and brake life to help keep costs down, while also providing optimal truck performance for the operator. This sounds like a simple feature, but not all lift truck suppliers can offer these benefits.
This range of lift trucks also provides a low total cost of ownership thanks to features such as oil immersed brakes and the Hyster Stability Mechanism, which both help to reduce maintenance.