Technology is constantly changing, and it is affecting the warehouse industry. Forklifts that were once inefficient and cumbersome to control are being made more user-friendly and ecologically responsible. Here are a few technological developments that are affecting the ease of using warehouse lifts:
Alternative Fuel Sources
Instead of only being powered by gas or traditional rechargeable batteries, some modern lifts are powered by electricity or even other fuel sources, such as hydrogen fuel cells.
In 2006, Walmart performed a trial of hydrogen fuel cell forklifts at two of their warehouse distribution centers. The results of the trial indicated that the use of hydrogen fuel cells instead of lead acid batteries was more eco-friendly and cost-effective.
The trial period lasted over four months. The forklifts were well used during the period. In fact, over 18,000 hours of use were logged.
With a hydrogen fuel cell, the forklift could be fueled indoors at a specialized fueling station within only minutes. In addition, the lifts did not decline in power as the fuel was used.
Also, since the fuel cell and the tank of hydrogen directly replaces a general forklift battery, no special changes to the forklift design were necessary.
Mounting Devices for Computers
Nowadays, practically everything relies on computers. Forklift drivers no longer have to maintain inventory records by using clipboards and the pads. Instead, records can be electronically formatted, and drivers only have to input a few keystrokes. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to keep a computer safe in a warehouse environment without proper mounting.
Laptops can now be mounted to a forklift using specialized lift mounting equipment that is shock absorbent and resists the vibrations of the machine. Some of these mounting devices even allow the computer to be held at in an optimized position so that it does not obstruct the vision of the forklift driver while he or she is operating the machine but is still easily read and accessible.
Automatically Navigated Forklifts
Some forklifts are even being developed to include automatic guidance. They can detect and follow guidance lines that are made of magnetic tape or wires.
Changes in Computer Design
Computers on forklifts where once only confined to laptops. However, tablet computers are now available that take up much less space and can be easily house on the lift. Some of these new tablets are impact-resistant and can resist elemental dangers, such as moisture and even direct sunlight.
To learn more about innovations that are affecting forklift improvements, consult with a forklift distributor in your area.