Alternative power solutions have not only become a big talking point in daily life, but it is becoming a rapidly growing aspect of the materials handling industry. More and more, businesses are increasingly guided by the environmental impact of their choices as they seek to increase sustainability in their operations.
Nowadays, forklift trucks and materials handling products can be powered by a range of different solutions. Efficient internal combustion engines are now available, or customers can choose from a variety of battery options. The most common are lead-acid or lithium-ion, with the latter becoming more commercially viable for a range of industries in recent years.
For our client, Yale Europe Materials Handling, the idea of battery-powered forklifts is not new. It is a concept that began over 100 years ago, and since then the company has invested in a diverse range of products to meet the specific needs of its customers.
In 1920, Yale & Towne built what is widely recognised as the first electric forklift truck to be introduced to the materials handling market. It was with this release that the Yale brand was born, making it one of the oldest manufacturers of forklift trucks and warehouse equipment in the world.
Since then, Yale has continued to develop its power solutions, with its industry experts guiding customers to the most appropriate options to meet their specific needs. These options have played an important part in the history of Yale:
- In 1920 Yale and Towne launched a new battery-powered low-lift platform truck.
- In the 1930s Yale developed innovations such as power steering, centre-control trucks, caster steering and the use of high heat-resistant Class-H silicon insulation in electric motors.
- In 1964, there was further innovation when Yale introduced the first Silicone Controlled Rectifier (SCR) – controlled electric forklift truck.
- Yale opened its Greenville, North Carolina plant to produce electric trucks in 1974.
- A new generation of electric counterbalance trucks were introduced in 2009.
- Yale extended its lithium-ion product line in 2020 to be available as standard across the Yale electric truck range.
- Yale began offering Sunlight Li.ON FORCE batteries as a power solution for selected warehouse and electric counterbalance trucks in 2022.
Due to the speed of innovation, it is important that companies in the materials handling industry monitor trends in power solutions to determine what may be viable options for customers in the future.
As the lead agency for the company in EMEA, we’re proud to work alongside Yale as it continues to build on its strong heritage as a progressive industry leader.