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Richard Forster had a problem. As production planning manager at Camerons Brewery in Hartlepool, northeast England, his five forklifts were operating at full capacity for two eight-hour shifts per day, five days a week.
As production planning manager at Camerons Brewery in Hartlepool, northeast England, his five forklifts were operating at full capacity for two eight-hour shifts per day, five days a week.
But it wasn’t enough to keep up with the demands of the busy manufacturing facility, which produces enough beer to fill 400,000 pint glasses per day or more than half a million barrels per year. Forster needed forklifts that were capable of lifting 18 kegs at a time quickly and safely.
Not Enough Operator Control
Another problem was that Forster’s forklifts — which used torque converter transmissions — were jerky and difficult to operate with a high degree of accuracy, which in turn caused the operators to be more cautious for fear that they might drop a load of beer barrels.
In July, 2014, when the brewery was undergoing an expansion, Forster discovered his solution: Jungheinrich TFG 425 forklifts that featured hydrostatic transmissions and were equipped with B&B handling attachments capable of carrying 18 kegs at a time.
The hydrostatic forklifts allow for smoother handling, ensuring that the right pressure can be applied when picking up loads. This gives operators more confidence, which then increases their productivity.
Significant Fuel Reduction
The vehicles’ hydrostatic controls also offer environmental and cost savings, according to Forster. Because of the way they are controlled, hydrostatic forklifts can’t spin their tires, so tires last longer and there are fewer black skid marks on the brewery’s floors.
Hydrostatic transmissions use hydraulic fluid to turn the drive motors, rather than drive shaft that’s attached to the engine. Instead, the forklift’s engine turns the hydraulic pump motor, which sends fluid into the hydrostatic transmission, which then turns the drive motors.
It’s the same type of transmission used on bulldozers and military tanks.
With a hydrostatic transmission, the engine doesn’t need to run at high RPMs in order to move the truck or lift its load. When the operator presses down on the drive pedal, more fluid is delivered to the drive motors. This results in a significant reduction in fuel consumption because the engine has to work a lot less.
Hydrostatic transmissions provide smooth driving without stalling, as well as millimeter accuracy in positioning, minimal wear, a longer life, and low fuel consumption. There are also a lot fewer components required to turn the drive motors: There’s no clutch, gearbox, manual gearshift, differential or foot brake.
Different Kind of Braking System
Braking is done by reducing and/or stopping the flow of fluid into the drive motors. As the driver releases the drive pedal, less fluid is sent to the hydrostatic transmission and the forklift slows until the multiple oil-disc brake system locks down the drive motors, acting as a parking.
There are no conventional, automobile-style disc brakes on hydrostatic forklifts. Yet given the efficiency of the transmission system, they can slow down and stop even more accurately than traditional forklifts.
Forster said the hydrostatic forklifts provided his operation with the increased capacity and accuracy that he needed, as well as fuel savings, less wear, longer lasting tires and more confident operators.