Forklift changes over the years (Part 2)
Centra Forklifts have been celebrating their 30 year anniversary with Mitsubishi Forklifts in 2011. As part of the celebration, the team have researched some of the major changes in forklift technology since the Mitsubishi brand was first introduced to the New Zealand market in the early 1980’s.
There was some initial resistance to selling a Japanese forklift in the 1980’s. This was due to early, and unfounded, concerns about product quality and prejudices against Japanese products following the atrocities of the Second World War. Of course, market perceptions soon changed, and the Japanese forklifts soon overcame these prejudices and developed the reliable reputation which is now very evident.
This is the second article
This is the second article covering the dramatic changes that have occurred in forklifts over the last 30 years. Centra Forklifts website provides a full summary of these market developments over the years.
Today’s seats have full suspension (adjustable to suit the operator’s weight), adjustable back angle, lumbar support adjustment, retractable seat belts, hip restraints, adjustable seat height, and seat safety switches which cut the hydraulic functions until the driver is seated.In the 1980s, the Japanese brands had a tiny foot hole in the side of the chassis which was too small for the average safety boot in NZ.Today’s forklifts have large low steps and the engine covers are angled back or have large rounded corners making egress much easier.
Additionally, the foot room between the pedals has now been increased to allow for the large safety boots.When puncture proof tyres were first introduced they were rag fibre chopped up and added to the rubber compound which used to chunk badly if they came into contact with gutters or pieces of steel. They had absolutely no cushioning and gave a rough ride for the operator on undulating surfaces. Through the eighties and early nineties, the majority of forklifts ran well on LPG or petrol but not with a dual fuel system.-When computers were first introduced, people thought that there was more to go wrong – steam cleaning and rain could be an issue, and it was perceived as simply adding to the purchase price.
|Seats from the early 1980s were basically a squab with a fold down back, made to suit a lightweight operator.||Driver comfort and safety.|
|Practicality, safety and comfort.|
|The development of tyres has been significant since the 1980s – particularly in puncture proof tyres. By comparison, today’s tyres offer a variety of tread patterns and have built-in cushioning.||Driver comfort and durability.|
|–||Fingertip hydraulic control was first introduced by Mitsubishi in 1992. This development was initially met with some scepticism by the forklift industry. However, early adopters of fingertip controls would never change back and the majority of today’s larger forklifts use this technology.||Improved ergonomics, and driver comfort.|
|In modern forklifts, fuel injection has overcome this problem and allows a dual fuel system.||Improved exhaust emissions and fuel economy.|
|Easier and quicker identification of mechanical problems resulting in cost-savings in repairs.|
Since Centra Forklifts evolved from the last New Zealand company to manufacture forklifts. The company has a special interest in these market changes. Centra continues to have strong links to this historic phase in New Zealand industry and proudly emphasises this expertise and knowledge in their market activity.