If environmental sustainability is important to your company, you will want everything you buy or use to be ‘green’. So how do you choose an environmentally friendly forklift truck? It would help if the most sustainable trucks were painted green, like the Cesab range, but life is never that simple. Nor can you look at just one measurement of environmental friendliness, as the impact of a forklift truck on the environment depends on many factors. Hitec will be happy to help you look into these issues when comparing and contrasting different forklift truck types and models.
Electric, diesel or LPG
Decision number one is whether to go for electric, LPG or diesel power. An electric forklift truck may seem the obvious clean and green solution, but it’s not necessarily so. For a start, you’re not going to help the environment much by choosing a green machine that simply isn’t suited to your materials handling application. A large diesel forklift truck might not look green on paper but if you’re working with very heavy loads in harsh conditions it could well be the greenest solution.
Fossil fuels or renewables
Do you have a green electricity supply, generated by solar, wind or some other renewable means? Using that to charge an electric truck’s batteries immediately makes your operation greener. If your electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, your electric truck is not so green. In fact, burning fuel directly in a diesel forklift truck is a more energy-efficient approach overall than burning fuel in a power station to produce electricity and then using that to charge batteries. Nevertheless, an electric forklift truck does have other sustainability benefits. There’s its programmability, for instance, which can be used to set an energy-saving performance mode. We should also mention that replacement of worn parts is relatively infrequent on electric trucks, so less waste material has to be dumped.
Perhaps the easiest measurements to compare are the energy or fuel consumption figures provided by fork lift truck manufacturers. Advances in LPG and diesel engine design are increasing their efficiency all the time – and the less fuel you burn, the lower are your carbon and other emissions. Meanwhile, filter technology is helping reduce harmful particulates in diesel exhaust. Electric trucks are also becoming more efficient and more programmable. The latest control systems achieve a perfect balance between productivity and energy efficiency in materials handling. What’s more, programming allows adaptation to changing needs. Instead of sending your existing forklift truck to the dump, you can turn it into a different truck by reconfiguring its performance characteristics.
Buying a cheap forklift truck is a false economy and is bad for the environment. Quality design and components ensure a longer life, with less need to dispose of worn-out parts. Look for maintenance-free items, like wet disc brakes, and for aids such as load weight and lift height indicators which will help the driver avoid excessive strain and wear on the truck. We believe the Cesab range of forklift trucks supplied by Hitec ticks every box for sustainability and we look forward to answering your environmental concerns.