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.
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.
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.
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.