Up and Out: A Forklift Buying Guide for 2012
Capacity: 3,000-51,000 lbs.
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Pallet Trucks, Reach Trucks, Order Pickers
With perhaps the largest offering of lift trucks currently on the market, Toyota has established itself as a global leader when it comes to forklifts. The company offers both cushion and pneumatic tires on its internal combustion lift trucks, with capacity all the way up to 51,000 pounds. Toyota’s electric motor lift trucks are equipped with either cushion or pneumatic tires, and are generally regarded as some of the most dependable models in the marketplace.
Linde Material Handling
Capacity: 1,000-46,000 kg
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Electric Motor, Sideloaders, Heavy Trucks, Container Handlers, Reach Stacker, Pallet Stacker, Order Pickers
If you’re looking to stack weighty loads, look no further. Linde Material Handling offers a full line of heavy-duty lift trucks, with load capacity that reaches 46,000 kilograms. That’s over 100,000 pounds to our American readers. Capacity like that requires sound engineering, and this company has built its reputation on such. With competitive lines that feature standard forklift sizes, Linde Material Handling has a lift truck to meet any warehouse manager’s needs.
Capacity: 800-10,000 kg
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Diesel and Gas Motor, Reach Trucks, Horizontal and Vertical Order Pickers, Pallet Stackers
Originally founded in 1899 in Milan, Italy as an Italian car and truck manufacturer, OM (or Officine Meccaniche) saw its auto making business end in 1975, but lift truck production has been thriving. Stressing functionality over brute strength, OM’s lift trucks specialize in working in tighter warehouse spaces. The company is especially strong when it comes to electric lift trucks, where OM offers 18 different models to choose from.
Capacity: 1,000-10,000 kg
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor
Owned by the KION Group in Germany and operated in China, Baoli offers state-of-the-art forklift trucks to over 80 countries worldwide. A newer player in the global warehouse marketplace, Baoli is able to offer substantially lower prices than some of its competitors by offering fewer models and thanks in large part to its cutting-edge manufacturing center. If price is a factor, look to Baoli first.
Capacity: 1,600-9,000 kg
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Counterbalance Trucks, Order Pickers, Reach Trucks, Pallet Stackers, Compact Shuttle Storage Systems
Some people can’t get enough of German engineering. For those warehouse managers who follow that mindset, Jungheinrich may be just the brand. Legendary dependability and performance come standard with this Hamburg-based brand. In addition to offering a full line of lift trucks to serve just about any warehousing function, Jungheinrich’s Compact Shuttle Storage Systems offer pallet carriers that are capable of independently travelling and racking.
Features: Cushion Tires, Pneumatic Tires, Electric Motor, Remanufactured Lift Trucks, Narrow Aisle, Very Narrow Aisle
Our first American lift truck manufacturer on this list, Crown is the fourth largest manufacturer of powered industrial forklift trucks in the world. Based in Ohio, the company offers a full line of lift trucks, ranging from gas-powered models to sleek electrical varieties. Crown is especially proud of its C-5 internal combustion lift truck series, which features a John Deere engine. The company claims the C-5 has a lifespan of 20,000 hours, which would be any warehouse manager’s dream.
Capacity: 3,000-105,821 lbs.
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Narrow Aisle, Very Narrow Aisle, Heavy Trucks, Electric Counterbalanced, Container Handlers, Reach Trucks
Fleet managers who like to stay within one brand but have a multitude of needs should seriously consider the Hyster brand. With models that specialize in the very narrow aisle space, all the way up to varieties that handle over 105,000 pounds, Hyster offers the most diverse product portfolio in the lift truck market. The company’s H1050HD/S diesel engine powered lift truck is a masterpiece of modern engineering.
Capacity: 2,500-15,500 lbs.
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Narrow Aisle
Mitsubishi falls behind its chief Japanese rival Toyota in terms of capacity, but bigger isn’t always better. Mitsubishi has found somewhat of a niche in the market by offering a line of narrow aisle electric lift trucks. The company’s electric high-level order pickers are a perfect match for warehouse managers who like to maximize the vertical and horizontal inventory space, while the electric motor cuts down on fuel costs.
Capacity: 3,000-36,000 lbs.
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Narrow Aisle, Very Narrow Aisle
Warehouse managers looking to maximize aisle space need not look only at Mitsubishi, however. Yale offers not only narrow aisle lift truck models, but very narrow aisle varieties. The very narrow aisle forklifts specialize in aisles as narrow at 16 feet, allowing the Yale lift truck to pick and pack in aisles that its competitors would have difficulty simply driving through. With its pneumatic tire models ranging all the way up to 36,000 pounds, Yale has a lift truck for just about any job.
Capacity: 2,500-36,000 lbs.
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Read Trucks, Order Pickers
Warehouse managers looking to buy American will have a tough time passing up a brand as trusted as Caterpillar (Cat for short). With a range of lift trucks ranging from smaller electric models to the heavy-duty internal combustion Class V models, CAT offers a line of forklifts that can handle almost any job. The company’s fast charge batteries offer warehouse managers flexibility, cutting traditional charge time from 8 hours to as little as 90 minutes.
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.