The future of the forklift industry is 2020

Forklift industry 2020

A new year means new trends. The forklift industry embraces the future with a market growth forecast, artificial intelligence in warehouse facilities and a boost in electric equipment technology.

The industry has entered the new decade with promising figures. Having closed 2019 with a sales increase to over 35,000 units, this year seems to be keeping that favourable trend. The prediction of the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) assures a modest rise in the sector for 2020. In fact, the latest forecast shows that such growth will be repeating successively over the next three years. The growth lies in a strengthening in the food and beverage, transport and storage and retail sectors mainly, regardless of Brexit uncertainty.

In terms of products, the year closed with an outstanding warehouse equipment bookings outcome. The first quarter saw a significant 14,3% year-on-year peak which remained around 0,7 % for the other three quarters. Given that figures, the trend goes up again to 2,2% for the present period along with the counterbalance demand that was the hardest beaten in 2019. All in all, the majority of predictions stay positive, however, we will have to wait for the Brexit’s resolution to see the whole picture of the forklift industry market.

Driving without hands in warehouse facilities

The dream of automated driving is becoming a reality due to the evolution of artificial intelligence. ILIAD (Intra-Logistics with Integrated Automatic Deployment) will allow workers to safely operate alongside autonomous reach trucks in warehouse factories. European robotics scientists are developing this innovative initiative as a part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 project.

The project aims to lead the automation of packaging, palletizing and transporting throughout a new fleet of automated guided vehicles. To facilitate the interaction between humans and robots, Artificial Intelligence plays a huge part. So, vehicles will be able to collect human’s movements in order to establish patterns of activity. That way machines will recognise and therefore predict human’s behaviour to adapt to it accordingly.

The forklift industry invests in electric

Despite diesel equipment being the preferred option for materials handling solutions, electric forklifts are following closely that tendency. Big changes are appearing within the electric handling equipment as the li-ion battery technology improves. For instance, long-lasting batteries allow businesses to go through an entire day’s work without recharging. As a result, electric equipment performance stands nearly at the same level of efficiency than diesel counterparts. Such investment is partly due to the climate emergency that requires to act on greenhouse emissions.

Another important improvement is the large capacity electric offer. Traditionally, the average held around 1.5 to 3 tonnes. Now, manufacturers such as Doosan Industrial Vehicle has stepped forward. Last year, the forklift manufacturer launched 4 and 5-tonne electric counterbalance forklifts getting this demand all covered. Using the latest technology, the brand has maximised the ACT System (Active Control Technology). The outcomes are an enhancement of motor efficiency and a more reliable performance at both indoor and outdoor applications.

Have a smoother winter with a forklift cabin

Forklift cabin for winter

Winter is coming. Unless you live on a sunny Caribbean island – if that’s the case, we don’t want to know – harsh weather conditions are in order. Sub-zero temperatures, ice, snow and strong winds with even some experts predicting winter 2019 as the coldest in the last 30 years in the UK. Under those circumstances, thinking ahead may prevent breakdowns and, consequently, delays in your business activity. But, how to do that? Easy by following three main rules: maintenance winter checks, forklift cabin solutions, and special operating precautions.

Maintenance in cold conditions

Whether you have ever operated with forklifts or not, you surely know the importance of maintenance in motorised vehicles. As cars and motorbikes, forklifts also require engine warm-up time in order to function properly. In winter, that warm-up becomes a key factor to prevent transmission and combustion issues. In other words, allowing your handling equipment several minutes before any activity commences will save you money and visits to your forklift dealer service department.

Equally important is to utilise winterised fluids and lubricants. These liquids are meant to melt any icing or gelling of the hydraulic fluids due to low temperatures. However, don’t trust that the chemicals will do all the work. In contrast, you should stay alert to your cooling system in view to ensure the antifreeze stays at an optimal level. Regarding electric forklifts, batteries are the main concern. In that case, undertaking regular thorough checks of the cables as well as having the battery fully charge will do it.

Forklift cabin for outdoor applications

The broad range of types of forklift cabins seems to have a protection solution for each need. To begin with, there are two main categories: detachable and compact cabins. The first group is a type of forklift protection commonly made of PVC. That is a synthetic plastic polymer fully waterproof and easily wipeable. Its installation is simple and tailored to your forklift cabin frame size. In addition, you may be able to personalise it by picking your brand colour or placing on it your company logo. Once the season is over you can remove the velcro attaches and roll it up with no effort.

On the other hand, compact cabins are rigid enclosure cabs that provide the driver with full isolation from grim weather conditions. As an additional attribute, these forklifts include a heater to keep a warm temperature within it. Nonetheless, note that the design also includes windows to allow the cabin to be refreshed, reducing potential operator fatigue. As a result, these trucks are the perfect fit for winter and summer with cabins designed to ensure maximum visibility.

Prevention to avoid accidents

Apart from maintenance checks operating safely is rather needed in winter. You must get serious at this point as hazards increase significantly in this season. Lower visibility, icy roads and heavy rain are some of the reasons at which you should keep special attention. To prevent potential risks the first thing to do would be to check out the weather forecast. If the weather is going to be harsh, try reducing your outdoor tasks for that day. If you can’t delay them, then you must keep an eye on the road and signs. In order to prevent risks, operating at a lower speed should be taken into account. As you’re going to spend a lot of time outside, make also sure you wear the proper clothing. Gloves, hat and boots will make you feel more comfortable while you work. And remember, patience is a virtue.

How to benefit from a short-term forklift hire

Short-term forklift hire

Every business is different and so is its hire needs. As we’re facing ever-changing industries, the handling solution that suits you today it may not be enough tomorrow. With a view to that, the forklift industry offers different rental options to meet your forklift requirements at any time. Short-term forklift hire is one of them and it is an excellent choice to cover your peak seasons or unexpected growths on your production.

Here we give you five reasons why short-term rental can benefit your business. Nonetheless before getting your lifting equipment supplied make sure you discuss your bespoke material handling solution with your forklift dealer.

100% flexibility

One of the greatest advantages of the so-called short-term rental is indeed is flexibility. One day, one week or even a month are all the duration types covered by this rental option. Thus, it allows you to get extra help to fulfil your peak business periods quickly and for a short period of time. In addition, as it is meant to cover sudden needs, this type of contract is set up and deliver rapidly.

Wide range of forklifts

When renting a forklift for a short period of time the choices you have are consistently wider.  Regarding that, suppliers offer a full variety of brand new and second-hand material handling equipment with a broad spectrum of lift capacity and fuel types or electric powered. Although some forklift dealers have a distinction between forklift for sale or rental, others, such Ful-ton Forklifts don’t. Thus, you can pick any forklift truck of its fleet available in stock at moment’s notice.

Full maintenance included

Another great advantage within short-term rental’s terms and conditions is that maintenance is fully included but also totally optional. That means you ensure that standard and emergency repairs have no additional cost for you, including the labour and transport costs of those reparations. Nonetheless, bear in mind that daily checks should be carried out by you in order to meet operational condition and safety standards.

Testing forklifts

Each forklift is designed to supply a variety of applications, therefore, the first thing you need to know is which forklift truck suits better your requirements. Generally, forklift dealers can provide you with a tailored handling solution or even a demo on their factory. Nonetheless, short-term rentals allow you to see how a forklift operates on your workplace in real-time as you can hire them for a couple of hours or an entire day.

From short-term forklift hire to long-term

Once your agreement is due it is time to return your forklift truck. However, if you are satisfied and wish to keep the equipment you hired that does not have to be the end of it. In fact, short-term rentals can be easily extended to long-term rental or contract hire by your material handling equipment supplier. That way you deal with the same team and type of equipment every time.

Five safety procedures to protect five lives

Forklift safety procedures

Five is the fatal number. According to the latest statistics, around 1,300 employees suffer life-changing injuries due to forklift accidents every year in the UK. In fact, over other forms of workplace transport, forklifts are becoming the most dangerous amongst them. As a result, every working day, five employees are irreversibly injured from forklift-related accidents that could have been prevented. Thus, prevention is key as it is not the equipment itself but human mistakes what it causes most of the accidents. In view of that, safety working procedures must be constantly reviewed and updated in order to prevent changing people’s lives forever. In this article, we give you five safety procedures to keep your workplace safe and stay within the law.

Thorough Examinations for forklift safety

A Thorough examination is a key safety inspection required by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). Thus, its main purpose is to detect any defects that are caused by the regular use of lifting equipment. This examination must be undergone periodically and by a competent person.

Forklift Driver Training

Would you imagine driving a car without a driving licence? No. So that should not happen when driving a forklift either. On the one hand, the law requires such training to be done. On the other hand, you would be putting your colleague lives at risk. There are many companies such as Ful-ton Forklifts that provide forklift driving training courses from beginner to expert. Regarding that, they may vary in length depending on the objectives to be covered, the trainee/instructor ratio and the previous experience of the trainee. However, they are one of the main skills that employees operating with lifting equipment must-have.

Workplace properly marked

Sometimes the responsibility of an accident is not from the driver but from other employees. It must be remembered that safety is not the responsibility of those working at the workshop but of everyone at the company. Then the first step would be to mark the specific areas on which lift trucks operate. Secondly, all members of the company must respect and follow them when approaching those areas in order to ensure everybody’s safety.

Safety procedures during operation

Apart from prior and post actions, you should keep in mind several procedures while operating with forklifts.

In spite of a workplace properly marked, it is important to watch the speed limit, keep your sight to the driving direction and make use of the horn at intersections and pedestrians. In other words, it’s vital you stay focus on what you are doing so you can react quickly if anything happens unexpectedly.

Keep your business up to date

The importance of safety in the workplace keeps this topic on top of the forklift industry matters. As there are human lives at risk, actions need to be carefully planned, taken and updated frequently. Safety procedures should be addressed by different types of business among which are included manufacturers, forklift dealers and business that use lift trucks on a regular basis. With that in mind, there are several forklift truck associations that provide the latest safety trends that businesses need to avoid obsolete practices.

National Forklift Safety Convention 2019

October is the month that has been chosen to celebrate the FLTA’s National Forklift Safety Convention 2019. In fact, to be precise, the event will take place on 30th October at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Coventry, a city in central England. As the main goal, this safety event pursues to highlight the importance of clear communication amongst managing behaviour to transform onsite operations. In view of that, a series of enlightening presentations will focus on tips and advice in order to improve management skills and to ensure that managers are updated with the latest practices and procedures.

Your forklift supplier, why local?

Contact us - forklift supplier

Let me ask you something, why would you choose a forklift supplier?

This question seems very straightforward, but it is harder than it appears to be at first. When buying or hiring materials handling equipment, costumers mainly seek good equipment at a reasonable price. Fair enough. We all are behind “good deals”. However, most of the time buying-decision lies solely in price. As a result, companies may forget other considerations that are highly important in the decision-making process. In regard to that, an efficient back-up service and maintenance support should be one of the key factors.

Breakdown time

Although it is likely nobody tells you that, it is rather true: breakdown happens. Despite the lift truck features, there are many causes behind a breakdown, such as an overused or a simple mistake. Regardless of the causes, when a breakdown occurs, costumers need a prompt and efficient solution in order to keep operating their business as usual. Under those circumstances, it is when a forklift supplier makes a substantial difference. An approachable team as Ful-ton, who is easily reached when needed, can help you avoid prolonged downtime periods. Consequently, local is a feature to bear in mind before picking a forklift dealer as it is at this point when small companies show their strength over global corporations.

Proximity both ways

On the one hand, local dealers are located closer to your workplace. As a result, in case of an emergency, they will be able to assist you faster. From the minute you call until your issue is sorted out, there will have passed a certain amount of time. Thus, the less time it is spent on the road, the shorter will be your waiting time.

On the other hand, as we have mentioned before, there are many types of breakdown. Sometimes, it will require an expert engineer to fix the problem. Conversely, some issues can be easily resolved within a phone interaction. Being a local forklift supplier, we have a huge advantage in that regard as you speak to the same member of the team during the whole process.

In contrast, nowadays, big companies tend to externalize their customer service departments due to business size. Although it is a valid option, dealing with call centres may become a bit tough. Everyone has been through those calls in which a complaint endlessly escalates throughout different people or departments. Hence, the proximity offered locally goes in both directions, geographically and personally.

Local, local, local

Apart from that, local businesses contribute to growing local economies, essentially because the investment returns back to the community. In addition, small companies generate more employment opportunities. Only in the UK, SMEs employed 16.3 million people in 2018. So, neighbours can find a job opportunity near home avoiding tedious traffic jams and saving precious time.

Electric lift trucks, an investment in the future

Electric lift truck, an investment in the future

The demand for electric lift trucks has significantly risen over the last few years. The constant increase in fuel prices, as well as the development of new environmental laws, have directed this product towards the spotlight. Last month, the UK Parliament declared an ‘environmental and climate change emergency’ with the purpose of reaching zero emissions by 2050 in England. In Scotland, the goal may be achieved even sooner, by 2045. Therefore, the necessity for companies to take further action regarding greenhouse emissions is required more than ever before.

Electric efficient machinery

Within the forklift sector, electric equipment offers a great alternative to internal combustion (IC) engines. However, the popularity of this type of forklift is not simply based on environmental matters. The efficiency of this lifting machinery has been widely proven. The high quality of lithium batteries, now available, makes them a very reliable product. Alongside it, they are generally silent and as easy-to-use as a diesel or gas forklifts. Additionally, in the long term, the overall cost drops down due to its low amount of energy required to recharge the battery. Hence, gathering all the attributes and advantages, the electric forklift seems to have all the future requirements of the industry.

Thus top forklift manufacturers, such as Doosan Industrial Vehicles, invested heavily in research and development to cover an increasing demand in the UK. As a result, Doosan provides a 7-series full AC range of trucks, which is one of the largest currently on the market. A significant feature is the side ‘lift-in-lift-out battery change system’. Through that, the battery changing process is quicker and 100% safe, highly improving productivity.

A lift truck for each application

Each business has its own characteristics. Thus, they require a specific forklift that is tailored to their needs. Under those circumstances, electric forklifts are designed with different types of features to suit each application. So, when choosing this type of equipment, we must bear in mind the following:


First things first. No doubt when talking about an economic transaction, money is key. So, to start with, you need to decide whether you want to buy or hire a forklift. Electric lift trucks do involve a slightly higher upfront investment than the equivalent IC lift capacity. Nonetheless, they require fewer repair and maintenance costs. With that in mind, this type of forklift seems ideal for a long-term need when your budget is key.


Battery endurance has highly improved thanks to innovative technology. To charge or replace a battery is faster nowadays. Besides, the alternating current (AC) has taken over and has replaced the direct current (DC). Therefore, AC motors can keep full power until the battery is to be changed which mean less downtime and better efficiency.

Storage space

Another consideration is the storage space available within your workplace. When acquiring an electric lift-truck, space for chargers is required as well as the forklift for recharging purposes. So, bear that in mind when thinking about your planning.

Load capacity

So far, IC forklifts have been the traditional choice. Consequently, they were designed to carry heavier weight. However, technology evolves by leaps and bounds so higher-electric-capacity forklifts have begun to cover such demand.

Type of activity

Due to its zero-emissions feature, an electric lift truck is the most suitable option for indoor and warehouse activities. Without harmful fumes for the operator or the workers nearby, they are safer and clean for everybody.

Finally, regardless of all this evidence, if you are unsure which type of forklift may suit your needs, do not hesitate to contact us to help you out with that process.