Back in 1987, IHS posed the question: “The Truck Bends – Will The Market?”. Fast forward 35 years and the Articulated Forklift is one of the industry-leading solutions on the market.
Freddy Brown was frustrated with the limitations of the traditional VNA concept – he sought a faster, more flexible option that could be mass produced instead of tailored for each warehouse… The Articulated Forklift was born.
Here’s the original article from 1987…
One new concept – first unveiled in prototype form at this year’s IHSE – that is certainly different is the new Bendi truck, designed by Freddy Brown of Translift. Inevitably, this development will find its critics but with its potential to reduce aisle widths by 1m so too could the traditional reach truck market see changes.
A truck is a truck, is a truck, is a truck. But for those who believe that one truck is much the same as another then Freddy Brown – ‘the bumbling inventor’ as he modestly describes himself – has once again come up with a new concept that is certainly different.
While the prototype version had its drawbacks – ‘for example it was difficult to drive and stability not perfect’, says Freddy Brown – such problems have now been overcome in the latest design which is expected to be in full production at Translift’s Redditch factory early in 1987.
Conceived as a compromise between a reach truck and an inflexible narrow aisle stacker, the machine bends in the middle such that the mast turns into the racking with only a slight turning motion of the truck body, thereby requiring only an aisle width of 1.7m for operation, compared with 2.8m for a conventional reach truck.
Another benefit is that the Bendi can be used as a general purpose truck, even for vehicle loading. Long load handling is another feature of the truck which can operate in a similar manner to four-way reach trucks. In the latest design the truck has the appearance of a reach truck body with a stacker truck on its front end.
The straddle arms project some 250mm in front of the mast and the fork is on a pantograph mechanism to provide adequate reach beyond the straddles to handle any load size. On the body of the truck there are two driven steerable wheels and at the front, under the mast, there are two steerable load wheels.
The main steering wheel controls the drive wheels during long travel journeys, but when manoeuvring in an aisle the front steer wheel is used allowing easy movement into the racking. The mast is connected to the truck body by a solid steel plate section and handling capacity is 1.5 tonne to 7m.
Certainly, this new concept truck for multi-purpose operation, will require higher operating skills than its conventional counterparts but with proper training – as with any other machine – skilled operation shouldn’t prove difficult says Freddy Brown.
Considering its space-saving advantages and the fact that the price will be comparable with a reach truck, the Bendi concept has already attracted a great deal of interest from end users. Whether it sells in large numbers only time will tell.
So, what have we learnt over the past 35 years?
No matter the industry, the pressure to find and implement greater financial and operational efficient solutions is something all businesses face year in, year out.
In the early days, a lot of people were sceptical of the Articulated concept, however, as the years have gone by, the operational and cost-saving benefits of Articulated Forklifts is something more and more businesses could not ignore!
- Operating in aisles as narrow as 1.6m, Articulated Trucks will help you increase storage or floor space by up to 50%.
- Working both inside and outside, operators can unload trailers and store pallets in narrow aisles without the need for multiple machines.
- By condensing the aisles in your existing warehouse, businesses can save money by eliminating the need to extend or move premises.
- Save even more money with no need for expensive wire guidance or superflat floors.
The Articulated Forklift is no longer a new concept, it is a solution that can save you Space, Time and Money!