During the 1940's US company Baker produced a machine that articulated to 45 degrees with the aim of reducing the stacking aisle width. Pallets were stacked in a chevron style to assist in speed and to achieve these smaller aisles.
In the early 1950's Tow motor (later Caterpillar) developed a machine to rotate the load a full 90 degrees much in the same way as modern articulated trucks. However, the truck retained all other counterbalance design characteristics so it required two rotating hydraulic support legs that were activated when stacking on either corresponding side of the truck to retain stability once the stability triangle was compromised by the turn. The "Narrow Aisle Stack" was a relatively successful machine as it facilitated acclaimed 6" aisles. Linde and Still were amongst others that had filed patents on articulated machines.
Freddy Brown served as an apprentice at Lansing Bagnall whilst he attained his Master's degree at Cranfield. His thesis was on space saving in warehouses, which transformed into a life's work.
Freddy had seen the development of the trilateral stacking head for narrow aisle equipment and it provoked the idea for the operator to be able to travel up with the pallet to see what he was doing and also pick orders at height. In the late 1960's Freddy designed the worlds first man up order picker and pallet placer which allowed the operator to hand pick at height or take or replace a full pallet.
In the 1970's a new design of man down narrow aisle machine was debuted on nation TV and went on to change that market place too. Frustrated by the limitations of turret trucks to achieve better aisle performance in the early 1980's our Chairman took inspiration from the hand pallet truck and approached the problem from a different angle. He found that by reversing the triangle of stability and changing the weight distribution (a principle that was almost unused in forklifts) he would solve the issue that had long eluded earlier attempts of articulating a truck.
This made the Bendi a truly versatile replacement for conventional counterbalance and reach trucks. Then, with later developments, it would equal and eventually supersede the capabilities of traditional VNA machines.
For the last 30 years Bendi has lead the warehouse revolution. For the first 10 years the Bendi was the lone articulated truck and in 1992 when the first competitor appeared the Bendi had already moved on and has continued to advance which is why Bendi has continued to remain the best selling articulated fork lift truck in every region of the world.
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