Three Wheel Forklift

When choosing the right type of forklift for your business, one of the things that you will undoubtedly stumble across is the fact that there are both 3-wheel and 4-wheel forklifts to choose from.

Before blindly picking one or the other, it is important to understand the differences between these two types of forklifts. After all, when you are making this decision, there are a variety of things to consider such as the lifting capacity, cost, reliability, and quality of the build.

But the one thing that a lot of potential forklift owners get confused about is whether or not they need a 3-wheel or 4-wheel forklift. While this decision is one that can easily just come down to personal preference, there are indeed a few key differences between both of these types of forklifts that you should know about.

Let’s take a look at a few of these differences…

More does not always mean better

When buying anything, most people just tend to assume by default that somehow “more” equates to better, and this is not always the case.

When it comes to forklifts, just as with any other heavy machinery, you should not make your decision based on the fact that it has one more wheel than that other forklift that caught your eye. On the contrary, the number of wheels should come second only to the needs of your business. In other words, if a 4-wheel forklift would better suit your company, then that is the choice you should stick with.

However, don’t be mistaken… a 3-wheel forklift offers a few advantages over its 4-wheel counterpart such as a tighter turn radius and more versatility.

Lift capacity isn’t determined by the number of wheels

One thing that people often incorrectly believe is that the lift capacity is determined by the number of wheels on the lift truck. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, there are plenty of examples of 3-wheel forklifts that easily surpass the lift capacity of 4-wheel forklifts.

When in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s specs to determine lift capacity.

3-wheel forklifts are actually really stable

While 4-wheel forklifts look more stable than a 3-wheel forklift, looks can be deceiving.

Thanks to modern stability systems present on forklifts, a 3-wheel forklift can actually give just as much stability as any other forklift on the market.

The technology that makes this possible is a set of sensors that are located within the mast and these sensors monitor load data and then shift the center of gravity of the truck to compensate and prevent the lift truck from tipping over.

Warehouse Space

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns sent a shockwave through numerous industries across the U.S. This shockwave came in the form of considerably high drops in business.

However, the CBRE Group has recently released a report showing that the warehousing industry has been experiencing a rapid upswing with a new high-demand for warehouse space. Furthermore, companies are not just simply stabilizing, they are now requiring even more space than in the pre-pandemic landscape.

In the CBRE report on industrial real estate post-pandemic, researchers have found that the industrial real estate raised an entire 43% between roughly April 15 and May 14. This came as a comparison tho the previous 30-day period.

This is a large spike to see in the warehousing industry, especially since the U.S. is still trying to navigate numerous COVID-19 concerns and other widespread issues coursing through the industry as a result of the pandemic. These numbers represent a glimmer of hope for both the forklift and the warehousing industry as the two often go hand in hand.

What Effects has COVID-19 had on Warehouse Space?

Let’s take a look at what effects COVID-19 had on the warehouse space during the peak of the pandemic…

  • Even though there was a surge in e-commerce sales, many retailers were left with inventory that they simply could not move. The economy as a whole had been brought to its knees with the exception of who was deemed essential workers. Because of all of this, inventory began to sit in warehouses for longer periods of time.
  • There was a rise in short-term warehouse leasing options (under 12 months). This shows us that many vendors began to look for temporary warehouse space in order to keep up with the fluctuation of demand in the market.
  • There is currently a demand for warehouses that are 100,000+ square feet and this is a statistic that has remained consistent over the span of the last month. To put this in perspective, larger warehouses took a 5% decrease in demand during the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic but this number rose again in May.

CBRE has predicted that most retailers will decide to continue holding to a stance of watching what the market does and then adjusting accordingly versus making predictions in relation to capacity, supply and demand.

Increased Warehouse Labor Means More Forklifts on the Floor

Finding the right amount of labor to meet consumer demands has been a hurdle in the last several years, with many warehouses upgrading or adding to their fleet of forklifts, heavy machinery and staff.

According to a different CBRE report, analysts have determined that, due to massive spikes in the e-commerce industry as of late, warehouses are already looking at adding roughly 450,000 warehouse workers. What this means for the forklift industry is that by the beginning of 2021, warehouses will undoubtedly need to increase the number of lift trucks available to these additional workers to keep up with the pace of the economy.

In fact, forklift sales are projected to grow at a CAGR of about 3.9% from 2021 through 2026, making it a 20.3 million dollar industry by the end of 2026.

There is an Increasing Demand for U.S. Warehouse Space

As the economy begins to stabilize itself again, consumers are more than eager to get back to shopping. Since consumers are rushing out to make more purchases post-pandemic, this means that more warehouse space is needed for inventory… and more machinery to move that inventory around.

When looking at these reports, one thing becomes apparent, and that is the fact the the forklift market is about to be flooded with new buyers and operators all looking for the best deal to add a new lift truck to their expanding fleet before 2021 gets here.

To stay ahead of the crowd and get a jump on the new year, reach out to the team here at Atlanta Liftruck Salvage to help you find all the used forklift parts you need in order to keep up with the growing consumer demands.

Even as the impacts of coronavirus lessen moving forward, there will still be a strong demand for ecommerce, especially online grocery delivery that had not existed pre-coronavirus. Retailers will also be eager to future-proof their supply chains even more. There is a new era of post-COVID-19 shopping that requires a repositioning of inventory, new management systems, and greater lines of supply chain communication.

Electric Forklift

Having the ability to move heavy materials quickly and safely, managing utilization, shipments, and pallet organization with ease, and having access to the maximum amount of storage space are all benefits of the right forklift for your business. When it comes to selecting the right electric forklift, there are a variety of metrics to consider.

While every brand, manufacturer, and model has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, the comparisons to be addressed in this article are the electric counterbalance forklift models available at both Mitsubishi and TCM

It’s important to take into consideration what the needs and application of the electric counterbalance forklift you select for your business will be. The load capacities you will regularly need to move, the lift height capacity expectations you will need to access the highest points in your storage facility, operator comfort and ease of use considerations, as well as a variety of other needs should be taken into consideration. 

All electric forklifts share the benefit of being the green option for any application when compared to their internal-combustion engine counterparts. While they may be capable of a lower overall capacity, they are compact, work well indoors, produce zero emissions, and have a lower cost per hour of operation thanks to their economical fuel source. For indoor applications, electric forklifts are a clear choice: they’re quieter, have excellent maneuverability, and a longer overall lifecycle due to having fewer moving parts that will need routine maintenance

Mitsubishi Models:

The EDiA EM FB16-20A(C)N Series

Mitsubishi describes their EDiA EM series as “the most intelligent truck on the market.” These durable electric counterbalance forklifts are capable of loads between 1.6-2 tons, come in both three and four wheel options, and have 48-volt batteries. They are equipped with software that allows for real-time analysis that shifts truck behavior for safe and efficient performance, as well as responsiveness to each individual operator.

Among the highlights of the EDiA EM series, you’ll find a lithium-ion battery option, which can offer 40% increased efficiency over traditional lead acid batteries. Mitsubishi’s Sensitive Drive System, or SDS, is also standard with this series, which provides smart driver-assist capability. SDS has graduated performance management based on steer angle and foot and finger actuator velocity, which enhances safety of both the operator and the equipment. 

Another feature of this series that seriously contributes to the comfort and safety of operators is the easy on and off access granted by the extra-large entry step and ergonomic design details. Easy-swaying access means less strain on the backs, knees, and heels of operators.

In addition, thanks to a high visibility design, including an optimized mast, dashboard, wheel, and counterweight system, operators can enjoy an unobstructed view of the load, forks, and wheels- maximizing safety and ease of operation in tighter spaces. 

This model series also includes Intelligent curve control or ICS that adjusts truck speed according to steer angle, hill hold- which prevents rollback even while fully loaded on steep ramps, fully electronic steering that can save up to 20% in energy, a tight turning radius for maximum maneuverability, a choice of performance modes, passive sway control, and what Mitsubishi calls an “ultra-comfortable operating space,” meant to accommodate operators of all sizes and natural, ergonomic position for longer shifts.

The EDiA EX FBN Series

The EDiA EX FBN Series has the ability to lift larger loads, and get them up to heights of 7 meters. This series was designed to give big truck performance, while doing it in tight spaces. With a load capacity of 2.5-3.5 tons, these trucks pack a punch. Featuring 80 volt AC power and four-wheel pneumatic tires, the EDiA EX series also boasts 100 degree rear-axle steering and dual drive motors. 

Safety is a big feature of these trucks. The four-wheel steering means extreme agility and maneuverability, and thanks to the Mitsubishi feature intelligent curve control, these trucks also automatically adjust the speed with the steering angle.

The EX series also features IPS2, or integrated presence system, which isolates hydraulic and drive functions whenever an operator is not present for a period of 2 seconds or longer. Oil-immersed wet disc brakes are always activated, and only deactivate when an operator is seated and the accelerator is pressed for maximum safety. In addition, these wet disc brakes have the benefit of being maintenance-free and create zero brake dust- a huge bonus in sensitive applications like the food industry, or other warehouses where contamination is a concern. 

Thanks to both dust and waterproof components, these trucks are specifically designed for both indoor and outdoor use, making them extremely versatile. They also feature the feather touch on-demand steering, hill hold rollback prevention, sensitive drive system, and selectable eco and pro modes featured in the EDiA EM series. Finally, the EDiA EX boasts high residual capacity, and offers capacities with stability at height, allowing for compact, cost-effective chassis usage. 

FB40-50 Series

Finally, there’s the FB40-50 Series. With a load capacity of 4.0-5.0 tons, 80 volt AC power, and 4 wheel pneumatic tires, these trucks are optimized to allow peak operating efficiency without reducing performance. With both Ecologic and Progressive models available, the FB series is designed to maximize operator potential.

The Ecologic (ECO) model configuration is designed to work naturally and efficiently in a variety of environments, while the Progressive (PRO) model design is focused on both higher travel and lifting speeds. Both versions are spacious, adjustable, and have a variety of comfort and safety features designed to maximize operator performance. 

Much like the other Mitsubishi models, the FB series also includes intelligent curve control, ergonomic access thanks to low and wide steps on both sides, hill hold rollback prevention, an operator presence system, and oil-immersed wet disc brakes. In addition, this series features precise drive and performance programming options that allow for safety and productivity increases while reducing product damage risks, an electronically activated parking brake, very high residual capacity, and an extremely quiet engine. In fact, the FB series boasts an engine that’s less than 70 dBA- keeping noise pollution at a minimum and maximizing operator comfort and experience. 

TCM Models:

The FB/FTB 3-4 Wheel Counterbalance

Among the many features to boast about on this TCM electric forklift model, the FB/FTB was nominated for FLTA Awards for Excellence in 2020 in both the Innovation and Ergonomics categories, so you know its operators will be comfortable during a long shift. These trucks feature 48 volts of power and 2.0 tons of load capacity, so roughly comparable to the EDiA EM series in power and scope. 

The FB/FTB counts among its ergonomic features both generous headroom and fingertip controls, along with unique features that earned them acclaim. Chief among them? A floating armrest and mini-steering wheel that each allow for a neutral body posture and minimal effort expenditure on the part of the operator. The purpose of the miniature steering wheel is to reduce arm strain thanks to its ability to be operated with the palm of the hand- a feature unique to TCM among material handling equipment manufacturers. 

In addition to other standard electric forklift features, the FB/FTB has an integrated diagnostics system that makes servicing, and troubleshooting solutions easy which substantially limits downtime. There is also an available roller battery option that speeds battery change time and increases safety. The FB/FTB also features excellent visibility thanks to a thin rear pillar, flat bar overhead guard, transparent panel that allows for fork-root visibility, and low instruments panel for increased fork-tip visibility. 

The FHB 4 Wheel Counterbalance

TCM describes their FHB model as one that is primarily focused on intelligence and efficiency. With innovations like a one-spoke steering wheel, cleverly angled counterweight, and more, the FHB model is designed to make operation comfortable and intuitive. This 80-volt power and 3.5-ton load capacity truck has high residual capacity- up to 7 meters- and has industry-leading height stability. 

In addition to sealed wet-disc brakes, steering intelligence, low energy consumption, and feather touch steering, the FHB also features a compact and cost-effective chassis that complements its dual-drive motors. TCM lists the ideal applications for this truck as manufacturing, cross-docking, general stillage, food and beverage, and chemical, among others. Much like the Mitsubishi FB40-50 series, the FHB features both ECO and PRO modes, intelligent curve control, and ergonomic access.

It also features fully adjustable driving positions, touch-sensitive fingertip controls, and unique four-wheel steering that uses intelligent software and counter-rotating drive wheels.

It all comes down to what you need

While there are clear similarities between the two brands and available models, the right fit for your operation can be as simple as a minor detail or design preference, price, or more favorable consumer review. If you’re having trouble deciding between similar models, some cursory research regarding similar consumers’ reviews may be all it takes to determine which electric forklift is the right one for your business.

Awards and recognition may be another deciding factor, and as previously mentioned, there is some advantage in being recognized for ergonomic and innovative leaps forward in an otherwise standard business. Seek out additional dealer information in regards to training and support if you’re taking on an unfamiliar brand or model to assure operators can perform at peak function, and you’re bound to make the right selection.

New FD 20-35 TCM Lift Truck

Lift trucks, or forklifts, are a vital component of any warehouse or storage facility, critical to safe and efficient movement of heavy goods. While we tend to think of them as a simple and practical tool, the new FD 20-35 Lift Truck from TCM goes beyond the utilitarian and has a variety of features that make it, along with the FD/FGE 40-55 model, premium assets that improve operator comfort, support increased efficiency, and promote operator safety.

Performance

Moving heavy goods and supplies with less effort, shifting loads from lower to higher locations with ease, and maneuvering throughout compact warehouses and storage facilities is standard for any well-made forklift. Diesel engine-driven technology is key in a variety of industries, and remains the technology of choice in a vast number of economy drivers, including 12% of all private-sector industrial activity. However, as with any heavy machinery that operates with a diesel engine, emissions are a concern.

Fortunately, the current generation of advanced diesel technologies, including the engines utilized in these new counterbalance forklifts, are more energy-efficient and lower in admissions than any previous technology available. Meeting regulations is important, but both the FD 20-35 and FD/FGE 40-55 Engine Counterbalance Forklifts go beyond this, meeting EU Stage V emissions regulations while making no sacrifices on performance. Featuring the most up-to-date engine technology, their low-emissions diesel engines are capable of high-performance standards while creating significantly lower CO2 emissions, allowing for a cleaner, greener operation that meets all European Stage V restrictions.

Comfort

Among the many benefits of the FD 20-35 is in the design details that are specific to operator comfort. Operating a forklift can be an extremely demanding job, particularly in busy warehouses, and including ergonomic details that allow for peak comfort and flexibility throughout the day can make a huge difference in productivity, reduce strain, and maximize efficiency. The proactive focus on ergonomic design in the FD 20-35 can be found in places like the operator compartment, which includes features like three-point access, reduced step-height for less strain getting into the compartment, a more roomy and spacious truck floor. The compartment also features “through-the-floor” pedals, which provide an additional comfort.

Not only the compartment, but the seating is also designed for optimal comfort and ergonomic flexibility. Fully adjustable seating makes it simpler for operators to find the most comfortable position for themselves, a major benefit when working longer shifts. The Grammer seat is a standard feature in both the FD 20-35 and the FD/FGE 40-55 models, which includes adjustable movement, added side supports in the back cushions, and adjustable anti-cinch belts that can accommodate forklift operators that are a variety of heights. There is also an available option for a full-suspension seat that provides even more comfort and support- ideal for operators that need additional accommodations or for operators who frequently work longer shifts.   

Features

The armrest includes a fingertip control option, which can provide operators low-effort levers and length/height adjustments, making the ability to control the lift more precise. The FD 20-35 also includes a memory tilt steering column, for a myriad of available adjustments to suit any operator and the ability to retain setting preferences for each, making switches between workers and shifts go more smoothly, and maximizing uptime between operators.

In addition to all these features, these models also include supreme visibility thanks to two forward work lights and a mast specifically designed for improved visual access in all directions. There is also the benefit of having removed crossbars from the overhead guard, a detail that makes visibility even better.

The engines in both trucks have a number of advances in technology. Not only are they energy-efficient and produce lower CO2 emissions, but the high-pressure common rail fuel injection system makes certain that the diesel burns cleanly while providing maximum power output. Part of what ensures that the diesel burns so cleanly is the exhaust gas recirculation system. This sends the exhaust gas back through the system after cooling it- limiting the harmful emissions, while a diesel oxidation catalyst captures and oxidizes particulate matter. This can all sound rather technical, which it is- but it’s revolutionary as well.

Maintenance

Maintenance is a breeze on these trucks, as they are designed and built to last. With a cool and quiet engine thanks to the horizontal cross-flow cooling system and fan, the engine isn’t likely to overheat and stays functioning at optimal performance levels. The engine also features an aluminum core that prevents corrosion and a direct drive fan that keeps noise down and reduces maintenance frequency. With an advanced engine protection system that monitors fluid levels and automatically reduces RPMs when fluids are low, the risks for damage are significantly reduced. The warning system allows for replenishment at ideal points, preventing critical issues, and saving money on potential repairs. Both trucks also feature an ECO-driving fuel saver mode. In addition to reducing fuel consumption by about 18%, this option also reduces noise, which operators will surely appreciate.

Safety measures are vital in any heavy machinery, and the myriad of safety features built into both trucks are state-of-art and premium level. They prevent injury to not only the operators, but pedestrians and other assets in the vicinity of the operating vehicle as well. Chief among these is the OPS, or Operator Presence System which comes standard on both the FD 20-35 and the FD/FGE 40-55. This system provides both visual and audible reminders to the operator, and causes all powered travel and some hydraulic functions to disengage whenever the operator leaves the normal operating position. Warning alarms and dash indicators are activated if the operator leaves the compartment without applying the parking brake or fails to fasten their seatbelt while within the compartment. Load weights are automatically and prominently displayed on the dash as soon as the forks are lifted, keeping operators clearly informed.

In addition, both models also offer added safety measures, such as rear grab bars, rear work lights, alarm packages, ground speed controls, an overhead guard cover, and swing-down LP tank brackets. In fact, there are numerous customizable safety options available when purchasing, so buyers can be certain to include every safety feature necessary for their specific needs based on operation and application.

With customizable safety features, premium engine technology, reduced noise and emissions, and peak ergonomic design, these trucks are designed with all the bells and whistles that will guarantee an improvement in operator comfort, increased efficiency, and enhanced safety while meeting strict guidelines that reduce pollution and emissions. A win all around.