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Just outside of Seoul, South Korea, in the suburb called Incheon, sits a brand-new, 12-story building that features a modern-looking curved exterior and center cube that juts out with gun-metal grey floor-to-ceiling windows.
Like many suburban office structures in the area, workers pass in and out of the building’s front double doors all day long.
But the busy structure isn’t your typical office tower. It could be the birthplace of forklift innovations that will power the industry for the rest of this century and beyond.
Research and Development Headquarters
Doosan Industrial Vehicle is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of forklifts and other heavy machinery. The building is its new 26,000 square foot global research and development center, where more than 1,000 researchers, product testers and inventors spend their days trying to come up with the forklift and forklift accessories of tomorrow.
One of the first new innovations to be developed at the lab was the company’s new award-winning G2 engine range. A collaboration between Doosan Industrial Vehicle and the company’s engine division, the G2 was designed to exceed Europe’s new stringent emission standards.
It also completely eliminates the need for diesel particulate filters (DPFs), which are among the most common causes for engine failure and vehicle downtime.
The cutting edge G2 engine uses Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) exhaust treatment technology as well as an Exhaust Gas Recirculation system to cut emissions by up to 90%. They also don’t use expensive diesel particulate filters, which can drive up the cost of a forklift that can meet the EU’s tough emission standards.
The First of Many Industry-Changing Inventions
But that’s only one example of the type of futuristic, innovative products that are expected to come out of Doosan’s “idea hive”, said Tim Waples, director of the company’s UK division.
“Our unrivaled in-house research capability gives us a significant competitive advantage,” Waples said in a news release. “The G2 engine ranges was the result of our researchers taking a radical new approach to engine design after realizing conventional approaches such as DPFs were flawed.
“Our global research and development center will undoubtedly lead to more of these game-changing product advances reaching the UK market,” he said. “That has to be excellent news for our customers.”
In addition to its 12 floors, the building also has two underground levels, as well as meeting spaces and “idea rooms” where employees can go to spitball ideas and collaborate on new product concepts.
There’s also an “academy devoted to the continuous professional development of Doosan’s researchers,” according to the news release, as well as a museum that features all of the company’s major patents.
Given its lower fuel consumption, longer maintenance intervals, and maintenance free after-treatment systems, it’s not surprising that the G2 engine already has won the 2014 FLTA Award for innovation.
The engine’s environmentally-friendly design also reduces the total cost of ownership over the life a forklift powered by it, so the payback period is faster than it is for any other engine in its class, according to Doosan.
The G2, which went on sale in October, is available in 2.4 liter and 3.4 liter versions. In tests at the UK’s Millbrook Proving Ground, in Bedfordshire, the smaller engine recorded some of the best fuel consumption figures ever seen in the forklift industry, according to the news release. Fuel consumption was reduced by more than 30% to as little as 2.09 liters per hour in standard mode and 1.67 liters per hour when the optional speed limiter is deployed.