The first vehicle that could be described as a forklift appeared on the materials handling market around 30-40 years ago. In this area it was the vehicle-industry crisis that brought the real breakthrough. While production lines stood idle in the seventies, the question arose of what could be done with all the existing engines and gearboxes. The evolution of the forklift has been unbroken since then. Developers are continuously presenting their latest ideas, not only ergonomic innovations, but also the perfection of the lifting gear, which assists in the process of loading.
During development Linde paid attention to feedback from employers. Their machines are people-centred, which is also borne out by their latest development. The R14, the R16 Actie and the R20 belong to an entirely new generation. Innovations include the reological steering system, the Linde Load Control System, the comprehensive ergonomics package and the innovative active drive system.
As part of the ergonomics package the controls of the 1,400, 1,600 and 2,000 kilo machines fall easily to hand, making them safe and easy to use from any position. The two-way adjustable steering wheel and controls, as well as the electrically adjustable multi-directional seat provide a safe working environment for the operator. All instruments and the numerous controls are positioned so as to be best visible to the operator, thus providing him with continuous information about the condition and status of the vehicle.
The other component of the ergonomic conception is the innovative operation of the hydraulic systems. Multifunctional levers are now well-established, even in electric forklifts. The controls are situated on a wide arm-rest, and fall easily to hand. The LCC lever, situated under the left hand, controls the vertical and horizontal movement of the tower. The for-tilting and supplementary side-lifting functions are controlled by the right hand. The movements of the joysticks are converted into electronic signals by a microprocessor. Both joysticks, jointly developed with an institute of ergonomics, are easy and smooth to operate, and the resulting smooth movements of the machine itself ensure the most careful movement of goods.
Reological steering and active drive
Linde Reological Steering (LRS) is a patented, completely new steering system, which plays an important role in ensuring ease of operation. One of its special features is that the operator can regulate the amount of strength required to turn the wheel. Adjustment, as the name suggests, is not mechanical, but regulated by a system of liquid flow.
This new generation of forklifts has been fitted with a high performance steering systems, consisting of separately controlled motors, the operation of which is monitored with the assistance of the CAN diagnostic system, with special tunnel cooling for the electronics. The driving characteristics thus achieved are comparable with those of the forklifts the company manufactures with hydrostatic transmission; but are capable of speeds 9-25 per cent faster than their predecessors, and dependant on load, have up to twice the acceleration of earlier models. The engine, which reacts sensitively to pressure on the accelerator pedal, and the automatic braking on release of the pedal, is just as much a benefit of the new technology, as the fact that the forklift will not roll back upon starting up a gradient. The lifting capacity is also unmatched, thanks to the triplex tower, fitted with only two cylinders, which provides excellent visibility from the cab thus increasing effectiveness. The active drive system makes it possible for the vehicle to use only the optimal amount of energy, independent of speed. The new systems also eliminates direction switches, thus reducing noise.
Components are easily accessible, and servicing faster and easier. The service interval has increased to 1,000 hours. The three independent braking systems are connected to an advanced safety system. This systems brakes all four wheels at once.
The generation also includes the R 16 active and R20 Active models, which, with their compact dimensions, can also move around easily where space is at a premium. The latter model is available with a specially widened chassis for the movement of large goods.