Lappset Group Oy has started using six new electric forklift trucks at its Rovaniemi plant. The goal is to gradually shift away from using diesel-powered forklift trucks. The change is part of Lappset’s principles of responsibility and supports sustainable development.
The transition to using electrical trucks reduces carbon dioxide emissions, improves air quality inside production units, and enhances the occupational wellbeing of forklift truck operators, thanks to the ergonomically designed cab. In addition, replacing internal combustion-powered forklifts for electrical forklifts achieves cost savings, as in practice, using electrical forklift trucks costs half that of more conventional trucks.
“The idea to make the transition to electrical forklifts was already put forward in summer 2017. The first forklift truck that was taken into trail use was delivered in November of the same year and was tested by Reijo Sääskilahti in the billet production unit”, tells Production Manager Jouko Alasuutari.
To date, six diesel-powered forklift trucks have been replaced by electrical forklifts, on the basis of the trial conducted by Reijo.
Describing the changes in the quality of the working environment, Reijo Sääskilahti says “It was very surprising just how much it improved coping at work, as the exhaust emissions, dust and noise caused by diesel-powered machines became a thing of the past”.
This feeling was shared by Mika Reijonen, who operated the truck in the production unit.
“Once we get winter surfacing used by heavy goods vehicles for the tyres of the forklift truck, the operating features of the forklifts indoors and often slippery winter conditions will be vastly improved. Vibration caused by conventional forklifts is also dampened”, says Mika Reijonen about the change.
The battery for the electrical forklift truck endures an entire work shift, even in temperatures 30 degrees below freezing.
Lappset’s Rovaniemi plant is located in the Arctic region, with Arctic temperatures that regularly fall 30 degrees below freezing during the winter months. With the constant flow of goods indoors and outdoors, this requires the fork lift trucks to have durability and reliability.
“The new forklifts are designed and manufactured in Finland and tested in Arctic conditions. These electrical counterbalanced forklift trucks purchased by Lappset are very eco-friendly and dexterous work machines, with working ergonomics in the cab that support long-term usage”, tells Timo Laine from the Machines Unit of Berner Oy, importer of the forklift trucks.
Changing the battery for the forklift takes just as much time as fuelling a conventional forklift truck with diesel. Even during below-freezing temperatures, the battery will last an entire work shift. Battery charging points have been placed around the plant.
Cab working ergonomics and safety
A lot of work has been put into designing the working ergonomics of the cab. The air suspension seat reduces back strain and provides suspension when driving from indoor areas to outdoor areas and vice versa. The hydraulic accumulators alleviate load and energy consumption.
The computer for the operative control system is located in the cab next to the hydraulically operating seat, the height of which can be adjusted by the forklift operator. This enables the forklift truck operator to monitor work flow using the display.
Another benefit of these electrical forklift trucks is the outstanding inside heating, making working in the forklift cab pleasant, even during harsh winter temperatures.
“With the tests conducted by Lappset, we received valuable information for further development of the forklift trucks in relation to endurance and usability in very harsh winter conditions. One example is changing the tyre tread for those used in heavy goods vehicles, thereby improving driving features. As the electrically powered forklift truck operates almost silently, operating safety was improved by installing bluespot lights and reversing alarms”, tells Managing Director of JKT-Vuokratrukit Oy, Kimmo Törmänen.
Access rights for the electrical forklift trucks can be specified using operator-specific PIN codes, which prevents unauthorised use of the machinery.
The Mitsubishi forklift trucks used by Lappset Group Oy are hired from JKT-Vuokratrukit Oy with comprehensive services. The Machines Unit of Berner Oy is the importer for the Mitsubishi forklift trucks.
The Rovaniemi plant currently uses around twenty forklift trucks, six of which have been replaced by these electrically powered machines. Jouko Alasuutari says that over the next few years Lappset will be gradually making the shift to replacing all its forklifts with electrically powered forklift trucks.
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