Forklifts

The Future Of Forklift Technology: Top Industry Trends This Year

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May 21, 2024

Lift truck technology is advancing at a rapid rate, providing you with innovative ways to boost productivity, safety, sustainability, efficiency and comfort. Understanding this year’s forklift trends is the first step to improving your operations and staying ahead of the competition.

The latest forklift technology involves automation, ergonomic designs, telematics, sustainable operation and adjustable performance. The forklift market also offers more ways to diversify your fleet with customization options and the ability to rent the industry’s top brands.

Current and Future Trends in Forklift Technology

Technology continues to advance forklift design and operation. New equipment updates, innovative software, helpful features and enhanced capabilities make new forklift models an essential part of growing businesses. Check out these forklift technology trends to know what to expect:

Sustainability and Operational Efficiency

Electric forklifts present a more sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to gas-powered models. An electric forklift is a cleaner, more cost-effective option because it operates on one of the following materials:

  • Lithium-ion batteries: Lithium-ion batteries generate zero emissions and boost productivity with fast charging capabilities. It’s easy to avoid equipment downtime with lithium-ion batteries because you can choose a one-, two- or three-battery pack depending on your operation schedule and needs.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells: Forklifts powered by hydrogen fuel cells deliver enhanced efficiency and sustainability by eliminating the need for fuel or batteries. With a hydrogen fuel cell, you can refuel a forklift in as little as three minutes, and you can get more run time out of each refill than you do with fuel or batteries. Hydrogen fuel cells also increase workplace safety because their only byproducts are water and heat. While lithium-ion batteries are excellent fuel alternatives, hydrogen fuel cells are ideal if you want to eliminate battery handling, storage and charging and opt for the most sustainable option.

Manufacturers are also increasing sustainability by producing forklifts with bio-based and recyclable materials. Thanks to the latest equipment advancements, your company can benefit from the newest equipment while minimizing its environmental impact. 

Customization

More equipment accessories and design options are entering the market as manufacturers strive to meet specific needs. The ability to choose specialized forklift models for your niche applications makes it easier to complete specific jobs with accuracy, precision and speed, and you can request customization when you purchase a forklift. With specialized options, you no longer need to depend on a mass-produced forklift design to meet all of your needs.

Adjustable Performance

In addition to specialized forklift models, you can meet specific application needs and boost productivity with adjustable performance modes. A PSI engine with Yale® Flex Performance Technology™ features adjustable modes so you can achieve maximum performance or boost fuel economy based on your applications.

Innovative Software and Data Analytics

Software and data analysis solutions can significantly optimize equipment performance and reduce downtime. Data analytics provide essential insights into equipment usage patterns and maintenance needs, helping you determine when to use each forklift and ensure each machine undergoes maintenance when necessary.

Telematics Technology

Telematics or digital equipment management technology is a type of data analysis that’s becoming more common in forklifts. With this technology, your team can monitor and manage each forklift remotely using real-time tracking features. Telematics makes it easy to track equipment locations, protect your equipment from theft and optimize operations with insightful data.

You can track the following types of information using telematics:

  • Performance parameters
  • Precise equipment location
  • Forklift usage

Automation

Automation helps fill labour gaps and boost production. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) perform tasks via predetermined paths, optimizing production and distribution processes without manual intervention. You can expect these types of forklift automation to become more prevalent this year:

  • Fully automatic forklifts: Fully automatic forklifts meet the need for unmanned equipment.
  • Semi-automated forklifts: Semi-automatic forklifts automate specific functions to improve operator performance.

When you add robotic forklifts to your fleet, you can repurpose workers to more important tasks that help increase revenue. Upgrading to automated forklifts also accelerates repetitive tasks such as production lines and product movement, so you can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.

Enhanced Safety and Comfort

Operator safety and comfort are additional considerations as equipment evolves and improves. Safety features such as proximity sensors and collision detection technology significantly reduce accidents and injuries. These features help workers drive and operate forklifts with greater awareness, visibility and reaction time to avoid obstacles and potential risks.

Manufacturers improve forklift designs with more comfortable seating and controls for improved ergonomics. Investing in comfortable forklifts can boost employee productivity and retention, helping you keep your best workers on track and happy.

Flexible and Cost-Effective Usage

While adding a new machine to your fleet is a fantastic investment, more flexible options are available if you have a limited budget. Renting forklifts is becoming popular because it offers the following benefits:

  • Cost savings: If you need a specialized forklift for one or two jobs, renting is the best way to complete your tasks without making a large investment.
  • Ability to meet increased demand: Tackling busy periods is easier when you have the right equipment. You can rent quality forklifts to boost productivity when demand increases.
  • Opportunity to try different types of forklifts: Trying forklifts out before purchasing one enables you to choose the best machine for your application. When you rent a forklift, you can get a feel for how it runs and suits your company’s needs.

Streamlined Operations

Companies are also optimizing forklift use by revamping their warehouse layouts. You can use forklift telematics and data collection software to effectively evaluate your production and fulfillment processes. This data can help you optimize your warehouse design and layout for the greatest productivity.

Training

While investing in the latest forklift technology is highly beneficial, understanding how to use it safely is essential. Providing your team with in-depth forklift operator training increases your team’s safety, preventing accidents and injuries so you can run your business with peace of mind. It may also help you comply with safety regulations in your jurisdiction.

Enhance Your Fleet With Quality Forklifts From YIT

Upgrading your fleet with the latest forklift advancements can significantly increase productivity, efficiency, comfort and safety. With the right forklifts and features, your team can perform tasks easier and faster, prevent accidents, collect insightful data and reduce your company’s environmental impact.

YIT offers high-quality forklifts with the latest advancements in ergonomics, operation, sustainability and data analytics. We can customize a new or used forklift to meet your exact needs and specifications, helping you invest in a piece of equipment that enhances your operations. You can also rent equipment from YIT, supporting your operations during busy times or testing equipment before purchasing.

Contact us to learn more about our available forklifts and how we can help you improve your operations.

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