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In Nascar, restrictor plates attached to engine intakes limit stock car’s power to limit top speed to increase safety and make races more competitive.
In material handling, a new type of speed limiter for forklifts built by the UK’s Transmon Engineering reduces the top speed of forklifts.
When Speed Isn’t Desirable
In Nascar racing, drivers try to push their vehicles to the fastest speeds possible in order to beat their competition.
But forklifts aren’t race cars. They are bulky, potentially dangerous industrial vehicles weighing thousands of pounds. So pushing them to top speed is dangerous to both operators and pedestrians.
Putting speed limiters on forklifts increases safety and reduces cost, according to Bob Warner, sales manager for Transmon.
The company’s new iTech Control System can be fitted to any type of forklift. It not only puts an upper limit on how fast a forklift can go but also helps reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs by adding an idle shutdown feature to vehicles it has been installed on.
The system also prevents wheel spin when forklifts are changing directions, and protects the transmission from hot-shifting during movement.
The iTech Control System works by using a computer to monitor the forklift’s operation. When the vehicle’s speed is detected to be approaching the maximum programmed into the computer, the system eases up on the throttle to prevent the forklift from going faster.
Maximum speeds can be programmed remotely using any wireless device, including a smartphone. They also can be changed at any time, even when the vehicle is in operation.
Two different maximum speeds also can be programmed into a single vehicle, so the truck can switch between two programmable speeds when it passes into different speeds zones within the same facility. Sensors detect where the vehicle is and the iTech system automatically adjusts the vehicle’s maximum speed higher or lower, depending on the circumstances.
Adjustments for Inclines
The system can sense when a forklift is moving up or down an incline and make adjustments to the throttle so that a constant speed is maintained.
The iTech Control System was first designed only for forklifts with electronic throttle control, but it now features a motor controller that allows it to be adapted to traditional cable operated throttles as well.
That means that the same unit can not be fitted to all types of forklifts within a fleet, or be removed and re-fitted onto units whenever the user wants, such as when trucks are removed from operation for maintenance or repair.
An optional feature on the iTech can detect when other vehicles or pedestrians are near the vehicle via RFID fobs and automatically triggers an alarm to increase awareness of its presence. A signal can also be automatically transmitted to a vibrating responder that can be attached to workers’ uniforms or Personal Protective Equipment.