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Welcome to Dillon Toyota Lift's blog. Here you will find everything from product features, industry education, operator insights, racking, warehouse design, material handling solutions, safety, trends, best practices and more!  

 

Jun 03

Evolving business needs often lead to major changes in organizations and operations. For the management of material handling applications, many companies have undergone a transformation to electric forklift fleets. It’s a trend that has occurred over the last decade for a variety of reasons – including rising environmental standards, the impact on total cost of ownership, and, in some cases, efficiency advantages that can be provided by electric forklifts under the right conditions.

Among those conditions to consider include:

  • Do I have the facility space, electric power sources, and layout to facilitate electric forklifts?
  • Am I willing to pay the higher initial upfront cost for electric models in order to realize the long-term benefits for ROI?
  • Do I have a full solutions material handling provider who can facilitate such as transition?

If you determine an electric conversion is right for you, here are some things to consider as you begin on the path to transition.

What is my current ownership/financing model for forklifts?

How and when you make the transition to electric forklifts may be a matter of financing structure. Some organizations have full ownership over their fleet. If this is the case, you’ll need to make sure your usage either justifies a replacement process or that you can receive enough capital from resale to justify the transition to new/used electric models.

If you leased all trucks in your fleet simultaneously, prepare your conversion for the time those leases expire. Work with your forklift provider to facilitate transition to new leases – this can be easily facilitated by a provider who works directly with a captive finance company (like Toyota does with Toyota Industrial Commercial Finance).

Other organizations will have a mixture of leased and owned models, or leases that expire at different times. If this is the case, you’ll need to consider the more complicated question of whether your facility is equipped to perform a gradual transition, replacing internal combustion forklifts with electric forklifts as it make sense to do so. Maintaining operation and maintenance, as well as fueling and battery swapping activities, simultaneously can be time-consuming and have an impact on things like facility routing and organization. Make sure you’re equipped to handle it.

What do I need to do to prepare my facility for electric forklift conversion?

While you may be used to the speed and relatively low storage needs of swapping propane tanks to power your forklifts, providing energy to your electric models can take more storage space and time. Depending on the battery you select, storage for those batteries can be somewhat cumbersome. They are bigger and heavier than propane tanks and may have to swapped as often as every shift depending on your charging method and usage. Speaking of weight, you’ll also need dedicated space for swapping batteries and associates trained to do so. Preparing your facility for this kind of activity is important before you make the transition.

Making a transition to electric also means considering the type of battery you want to select – including traditional lead-acid batteries or lithium-ion batteries. Each can provide unique energy advantages that can be closely evaluated for your specific operation.

Work with a forklift provider who is well-versed in both IC and electric forklifts to help – Toyota authorized dealers can provide an audit of your site to help you prepare.

Is my workforce trained to operate electric forklifts?

After you work with a forklift provider to determine which electric models best fit your operation, you may find yourself with new machines that look and operate differently than your previous models. Remember, OSHA requires that operators be trained on every unique type of forklift that they use. Make sure your associates are properly trained in the use of new electric models.

The transition to electric can have long-term benefits for many operations. But careful evaluations of your preparedness to make the change needs to be completed before a final decision is reached.View original post HERE


May 17

Standing desks are all the rage now in today’s workplace. While many people I know with standing desks hardly use them, they’re at least there in case you want to stretch your legs every once in a while and get a good view around the office. And I suppose there are the health benefits of not sitting down throughout an entire work shift.

But choosing between a stand-up rider and sit-down forklift is about more than the potential health benefits. Using the correct piece of equipment can actually have a major impact on the safety of your workplace. This guide will help show you the pros and cons of both types of forklifts and point you in the right direction for your next purchase, lease, or rental decision.

On/Off Frequency – One of the main reasons you would consider using a stand-up rider is the fact that getting on and off the forklift can be considerably faster. With lower step heights and no seatbelt to take on and off, time spent entering and exiting can be cut down significantly. This is ideal for applications where operators are frequently getting off of the forklift throughout the course of their shift for activities such as picking product. The time and labor cost savings can really add up over time, depending on the frequency of operators’ getting on and off of the forklift.

Performance – Sit-down forklifts can have higher travel speeds and lift/lower speeds than stand-up riders, which can increase productivity and throughput in high volume applications.

Lifting Capacity – Stand-up rider and sit-down forklifts are both counterbalanced type forklifts. When comparing a stand-up rider to a 3-wheel electric with the same base capacity, you typically get more lifting capacity from the stand-up rider at higher lift heights due to the compact design and centralized center of gravity. Four-wheel electric models, however, typically attain the highest lifting capacities overall.

Purchase Price – The initial cost is typically higher for stand-up rider forklifts when compared to 3-wheel electric models.

Right Angle Stack – In general, right angle stacking capabilities are fairly similar between 3-wheel electric and stand-up rider models with similar capacities. Stand-up rider forklifts, however, usually have a small advantage due to their shorter length and can operate in slightly smaller aisles. Both stand-up rider and 3-wheel electric forklifts have a significant advantage over 4-wheel electrics in regard to minimum aisle width requirements.

Operator Preference – Operator preference tends to play a large role in most purchasing decisions for new equipment. Operators who are used to operating sit-down forklifts are generally resistant to swapping their sit-down for a stand-up rider and vice versa. The main reasons for this are the differences in operating position and operability. Stand-up riders are typically controlled by a single multi-function control handle while sit-down forklifts use conventional cowl-mounted levers or mini-levers. Sit-down forklifts also have traditional brake pedals, while stand-up riders use “plugging” (requesting travel in the opposite direction) for braking and have a dead man pedal for emergency braking. Being familiar with a particular operating style promotes safety and can help to increase productivity and operator confidence. But over time, operators tend to adjust and get used to the new controls and nuances.

As always, if you’re unsure of which product is right for you, reach out to your local, authorized Toyota dealer for advice and consultation based on your material handling needs. View original post HERE


May 14

Get a Helping Hand this Harvest Season

Our customers in agriculture know that the right attachment can be a crucial piece of equipment when you need to move high volumes of product quickly. Cascade attachments are built for both speed and reliability, with an extensive selection available that can improve efficiency in agriculture applications. Whatever you may be harvesting, Cascade can help you make the most of your busiest times of the year.

 


See the 20G Ag Rotator in action here:Cascade offers several attachments for handling agriculture bins, the latest solution being our 20G Ag Rotator. The 20G offers a built-in hold down mechanism and fast 180-degree rotation function, making it the perfect tool to quickly invert bins easily and accurately, such as when dumping bins of produce. High visibility through the bin hold-down gives the driver excellent line of sight and enables fast and effective loading and unloading. The 20G Ag Rotator is built for speed and is a great way to achieve increased efficiency in your existing workflow. It is compact enough that it doesn't impact net truck capacity, allowing you to handle more without investing in a larger truck. On top of it all, it's an economical solution for expanding your capabilities during busy times of the year. Designed especially for the agricultural industry, the 20G is a great tool to have on your side when harvest season is here.

 

See the 20G Ag Rotator in action here:

 

 

For larger loads, Cascade offers a range of 360-degree rotators to satisfy higher capacities, which are even capable of inverted loading with our standard rotator forks. These forks are easily adjustable without tools to provide flexibility throughout your product line. Rotators are available with bin retainer options to ensure that your material handling is fast and effective. Rotators, including the 20G, can be outfitted with a variety of fork sizes to satisfy your needs.

 

 

For a different approach to handling agricultural bins, Cascade also offers Forward Bin Dumpers. These durable attachments can easily accommodate various bin heights and, with their forward-oriented dumping mechanism, may better serve your workflow needs - perfect for fruit, vegetables, nuts, and more. Bin Dumpers are available with standard carriage mounting or as a Quick Fork Mount model for fast and easy installation, allowing you to increase your forklift's capabilities while remaining seasonally flexible.

 

Cultivate Productivity with Cascade Solutions

 

Cascade Multiple Load Handlers are another popular solution that can dramatically increase the throughput of even a single forklift. By adjusting the fork spread of a Multiple Load Handler, an operator can easily handle either a single load or many loads at once. The high quality engineering of these attachments makes them an energy-efficient solution that yields longer run times and larger cost savings than others. Various configurations of the Multiple Load Handlers are available - including single-double and single-double-triple configurations, plus options for fork length and load backrest height - to ensure that there's a model to match your needs. With fast and simple operation, the versatile Multiple Load Handler makes it easy to move high volumes of product and maximize your speed on any forklift. In some cases, the equipment needs of Cascade customers come and go depending on seasonal demands of their market. This is especially true in agriculture. Cascade rentals are a great way to enjoy the benefits of a Cascade attachment without committing to a full purchase. Cascade offers a wide range of rental solutions for your convenience with short-term rentals for seasonal fluctuations, long-term rentals or rent-to-own options available. Rental equipment is well maintained and offers the same great performance you would expect from an attachment of your own. Contact your Cascade representative to find out what rental programs are available in your area.

 

From Seed to Crop to Market

Cascade has many solutions to improve the efficiency of your operation, with options that address not only harvest season, but the wide range of applications throughout the agriculture industry like food processing, distribution and more. We offer attachments for both indoor and outdoor applications, as well as those that operate in extreme temperatures, hot or cold. From Layer Pickers to Push Pulls, Telescopic Forks to Mobile Weighing, Cascade has the tools for effectively handling bagged goods, super sacks, pallets, crates, slip-sheets, and more. Cascade products are built with the highest quality materials and use innovative designs that stand the test of time. Our unmatched after-sale support allows our customers to focus on production instead of worrying about equipment. In addition to our vast catalog of standard attachments, we offer customization options that guarantee a solution that fits your needs. Contact us today to talk with a knowledgeable Cascade representative and let us find the right solution for you. Read more on Cascase News


May 11

Automating your material handling processes presents many challenges. How will it impact material flow? Will you need to shutdown part of your operation for the installation and for how long? What type of infrastructure will you need to install and how scalable are the solutions?

Deciding that there are processes that can be improved in your operation through automation should be completed with care and guidance, if needed. But once you’ve made that exciting decision, getting started with automation is essentially as complicated as you need it to be to improve your process goals. There are many ways you can help alleviate the burden of implementation and automate tasks with ease while also allowing for scalable solutions that are easy to manage.

Here are a few helpful tips to get you moving on your path to increased efficiency and productivity with automation:

Optimize Before Automating

Automating a bad process can further amplify inefficiencies and require adjustments down the road that are rather costly to fix. While you don’t need to eliminate 100% of your inefficiencies prior to automating, it’s a good rule of thumb to analyze your operation to help make sure the solution is scalable and sustainable long-term. Toyota dealers can help you with this process by utilizing Toyota Lean Management and expert knowledge to pinpoint and eliminate inefficiencies prior to implementing automation.

Utilize Appropriate Technologies

Some automated products require additional time for implementation as well as additional infrastructure that can be costlier and cause disruption. Products like Toyota’s Center-Controlled Rider and Core Tow Tractor Automated Forklifts utilize LIDAR-based natural features navigation that requires little to no additional infrastructure. The mapping technology used by these models also makes adding units and modifying routes simple and efficient to minimize your downtime.

Choose the Right Automation Partner

When deciding on an automation partner, consider the value and expertise that they can bring to your business. What automation technologies and services do they have to offer? Can they support my business effectively at all locations? What type of support do they provide for implementation and maintenance?

Toyota’s partnership with Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics company, allows us to provide unprecedented support for your business both nationally and globally. As the leading full-line material handling solutions providers, we are your one-stop-shop for your automation needs, including sales, implementation, and service.

Comprehensive training is also provided to operators and managers to ensure a smooth transition into automation. We can even train you to make route and unit adjustments on your own to minimize your downtime as your business evolves. View original post HERE


May 05

Do you work at a busy park, campus, or other outdoor space? If you answered “yes”, then we know that one of your primary concerns is the safety of your visitors, guests, and staff. You need efficient vehicles that can keep up on a public road, but how do you balance that with safety? We wanted to discuss a safety feature that can aid you in accomplishing this!

At Columbia, we equip all of our street legal low-speed vehicles with a pedestrian alert system, a safety feature that audibly alerts pedestrians in the surrounding area about the vehicle approaching. Electric vehicles are often appreciated for their extremely quiet performance, which is an advantage in many situations; however, this same quality can at times be a safety hazard, especially in busy areas with obstructed views, like a parking lot. The Pedestrian Alert ensures that pedestrians will recognize the presence of the vehicle regardless of if they can see the vehicle or operator. The operator can also be assured that there's an extra level of safety when operating in areas they share with pedestrians.

 

 
 
 
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We’re excited to provide you with a balance of Speed, Efficiency, but most importantly, safety in our Street Legal vehicles. Our pedestrian alert also contributes to our LSV’s compliance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines. The NHTSA explains the purpose of the feature, “The Pedestrian Safety Act defines “alert sound” as a vehicle emitted sound that enables pedestrians to discern the presence, direction, location, and operation of the vehicle.” This guideline was established within the NHTSA’s Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010. 

Columbia wants you to know that we make sure to do the background work to ensure your vehicles are compliant with all of your national and local regulations, so you can continue to focus on your job. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about our LSV’s and their safety features. 


Apr 20

Do your forklifts ever get a break? And for how long?

This is one of the most important factors in determining the right energy source for your forklifts.

And it makes sense. Just consider those days when you’re constantly running from morning till night time. You need ALL the coffee to stay awake, energized, and ready to go. Whereas, on those more “normal” days, you can probably get by on just one or two cups in the morning.

In the same way, your forklift fleet will have different energy needs depending on the shift cycles you run them on throughout the day. While you’ll always want to consider a wide variety of options and work with an integrated solutions provider like one of Toyota’s authorized dealers, this guide can help you make a preliminary diagnosis of whether to explore electric or internal combustion options.

Single Shift Operations

While internal combustion forklifts can provide the power and efficiency needed to run a successful single shift operation, electric forklifts should be seriously considered. Operating on a single shift, you’ll be able to take full advantage of energy efficiency savings because you can allow the forklift to sit and the battery to charge while your facility is closed.

At the same time, it may take you longer to achieve a full return on your investment in electric forklifts due to your lower utilization — a key factor in determining operation and labor cost.

Multi-Shift and Continuous-Shift Operations

You will need to consider several variables when weighing lead-acid battery and internal combustion options. The efficiency savings of lead-acid batteries are reduced the most in these operations because they are faced with needing to buy battery exchanging equipment and additional batteries — typically one for each shift. This translates into increased acquisition costs, storage space, maintenance areas, and swap times.

In this case, an internal combustion forklift option deserves serious consideration. While it is a more expensive fuel option, replacing a propane tank is quicker and requires less facility space than swapping and charging a battery.

Lithium-Ion Forklift Batteries and Shift Cycles

Lithium-ion batteries offer considerably faster charge speeds, and they can stay in the truck for multiple shifts while being opportunity charged during breaks. This means that they deliver a significant operational advantage over their lead-acid counterparts and can be considered a suitable electric option to replace propane in multi-shift operations.

However, because lithium-ion can cost up to 3x more than lead-acid, they might not be right for every operation. Single-shift operations are just one example in which efficiency returns may not outweigh the upfront costs.

View original post HERE


Mar 24

In the material handling industry, high productivity and efficiency are king. Whether you have one forklift or fifty, your equipment must have the power to deliver consistent results in order for you to win in your space, and ultimately, gain a competitive advantage. To do this, you’ll need a powerful tool to help you stand out.

One way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to incorporate advanced energy solutions or, more specifically, lithium-ion batteries (LiBs). Capable of rapid charging speeds and requiring minimal maintenance, lithium-ion batteries can take your operation to new heights.

What are the advantages of lithium-ion batteries for forklifts?

Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why you should consider adding lithium-ion batteries to your fleet.

  1. Increased Productivity

In material handling, we understand time is money and with lithium-ion batteries, you won’t have to worry about getting the job done. Lithium-ion batteries require less time to charge than their lead-acid counterparts, which also have to rest before they can be used again. Thus, your fleet will benefit from increased productivity and throughput.

Since lithium-ion batteries maintain a higher, more stable voltage over the course of a shift, you will also experience higher forklift performance which can translate to increased throughput.

Helpful Tips:

  • Avoid charging lithium-ion batteries when they have too low of battery life left. Instead, charge them more often. They do not need to be fully charged to operate correctly as do lead-acid batteries. In fact, you can fast charge a LiB in a matter of 10-20 minutes during an operator’s break.
  • Keep the battery away from elevated temperatures to avoid causing stress and changing capacity capabilities.
  1. Reduced Downtime

Unlike traditional lead acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries can be opportunity-charged, or recharged throughout the shift when necessary, eliminating the headache of battery swapping, thus increasing your fleet’s performance and reducing downtime. On average, a lithium-ion battery will last two to four times longer than a lead acid battery.

  1. Virtually Maintenance Free

Frequently having to maintain your lead acid battery can be time consuming and costly. However, lithium-ion batteries are virtually maintenance free and don’t require constant watering, equalize charging, or cleaning.

  1. Reduced Maintenance Labor

Lithium-ion batteries come equipped with cells that are sealed so you don’t have to wash or add water to keep the batteries operational, which reduces maintenance costs. Depending on your operation, it is possible that you don’t have to remove or swap batteries as you proceed through your workday because the battery can remain inside the forklift longer, eliminating the cost of additional storage and labor which is required for lead-acid batteries.

View original post here


Mar 05

Do your forklifts ever get a break? And for how long?

This is one of the most important factors in determining the right energy source for your forklifts.

And it makes sense. Just consider those days when you’re constantly running from morning till night time. You need ALL the coffee to stay awake, energized, and ready to go. Whereas, on those more “normal” days, you can probably get by on just one or two cups in the morning.

In the same way, your forklift fleet will have different energy needs depending on the shift cycles you run them on throughout the day. While you’ll always want to consider a wide variety of options and work with an integrated solutions provider like one of Toyota’s authorized dealers, this guide can help you make a preliminary diagnosis of whether to explore electric or internal combustion options.

Single Shift Operations

While internal combustion forklifts can provide the power and efficiency needed to run a successful single shift operation, electric forklifts should be seriously considered. Operating on a single shift, you’ll be able to take full advantage of energy efficiency savings because you can allow the forklift to sit and the battery to charge while your facility is closed.

At the same time, it may take you longer to achieve a full return on your investment in electric forklifts due to your lower utilization — a key factor in determining operation and labor cost.

Multi-Shift and Continuous-Shift Operations

You will need to consider several variables when weighing lead-acid battery and internal combustion options. The efficiency savings of lead-acid batteries are reduced the most in these operations because they are faced with needing to buy battery exchanging equipment and additional batteries — typically one for each shift. This translates into increased acquisition costs, storage space, maintenance areas, and swap times.

In this case, an internal combustion forklift option deserves serious consideration. While it is a more expensive fuel option, replacing a propane tank is quicker and requires less facility space than swapping and charging a battery.

Lithium-Ion Forklift Batteries and Shift Cycles

Lithium-ion batteries offer considerably faster charge speeds, and they can stay in the truck for multiple shifts while being opportunity charged during breaks. This means that they deliver a significant operational advantage over their lead-acid counterparts and can be considered a suitable electric option to replace propane in multi-shift operations.

However, because lithium-ion can cost up to 3x more than lead-acid, they might not be right for every operation. Single-shift operations are just one example in which efficiency returns may not outweigh the upfront costs.

To learn more about your forklift energy options, visit toyotaforklift.com/energy-solutions.

View original post here


Mar 01

The beauty of nature is everywhere, it’s no wonder we want to be surrounded by it in our everyday lives. This desire is so strong that we find ways to bring nature indoors, from that cactus on your desk, to the roses you bought your significant other, even to that basil plant you have sitting on your kitchen counter. But where did all of these plants come from? Do you know what kind of dirty and laborious work goes into getting them to you?

The answers to both of those questions can be found in greenhouses and nurseries. Each of these businesses caters to different types of flora and therefore have specialized transportation needs. The product they work with is living, so it is essential that they are able to transport items with care, in a timely fashion.  

Jouneyman-2XL-GreenhouseThis is where Columbia comes in. Columbia vehicles are tough enough to out-perform the competition yet safe enough to handle the delicate needs of the plants. Additionally, all of Columbia’s transportation solutions are 100% electric. This means there are no tailpipe emissions, which could damage the plants, and there is no noise pollution to potentially interrupt the customer experience.

Nurseries need to be able to haul everything from large trees and saplings to shovels and stakes. Columbia vehicles can be engineered with a variety of beds to accommodate those needs. For instance, the Columbia Payloader, with dump bed, is perfect for hauling soil, fertilizer, and large trees.  While our Utilitruck, with drop side rails, is ideal for hauling saplings and equipment. Since nurseries primarily operate outdoors, it is essential that vehicles are able to handle uneven terrain. Traveling from asphalt to dirt or gravel can take its toll on a vehicle’s suspension, however, Columbia uses a more robust suspension system that is built to withstand the rough and tumble ways of everyday nursery work.

Greenhouses have slightly different needs. Typically plants are smaller and stored in tighter quarters, both indoors and out, so a vehicle with more finesse offers a better solution. The Stockchaser is a great example of a vehicle that can do it all! It has a bed to haul or carry, a tight turning radius, and up to 6,000 lbs. towing capacity. It also fits through a standard doorway. For the larger jobs of hauling dirt, hoses, and other equipment, the Journeyman 2X is another great way to get the job done.

Payloader landscaping shrubsSince the labor performed by workers in the greenhouses and nurseries are intense, operator comfort is a must! Columbia ensures that safety and comfort are taken care of. Columbia uses marine grade vinyl seating to withstand even the toughest elements. Practically every seat is adjustable for the shortest to tallest of operators. Adjustability is only the tip of the iceberg for Columbia’s safety features. Our vehicles offer 360 degree visibility, seat belt options, highly visible paint, horns and beepers, and more!

The variety of work that goes into the greenhouses and nurseries to bring nature into your office, home, and local park are vast. From hauling fertilizer and spades to transplanting flowers and loading trees, Columbia has the vehicle for the job! Columbia’s electric utility vehicle line up can get the job done easier and more efficiently with operator safety and comfort in mind. Combine this with the wide range of vehicles Columbia offers and the countless customizable options to cater to your every need, and you can trust that our sustainable transportation solutions will get the job done in your greenhouse or nursery!


Feb 23

Depending on what type of operation you run, as well as how many shifts your forklifts are working, you may utilize different charging methods. Selecting the correct charging method can have a major impact on your ROI, and selecting the wrong charging method is often one of the primary reasons that operations don’t realize the return they want from their electric forklifts.

Use this guide to help you explore common methods of forklift battery charging and work with a material handling solutions provider like your authorized Toyota dealer to make the best decision for your operations.

What is Conventional Forklift Battery Charging?

Conventional forklift battery charging is a battery is put it on its charger at the end of a shift and resumes use in the truck when the batter if fully charged. Conventional charging works best for companies that are running a one-shift operation. The downside to this charging method is that adding shifts requires additional batteries for each forklift. Once the first shift is finished, you will need to have a driver/staff take out the battery and replace it with the new one before the next shift can start. This will decrease the amount of time operators are driving the forklift, and subsequently decrease your productivity.

Conventional Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For One-Shift Operations

What is Fast Forklift Battery Charging?

Fast forklift battery charging is partially charging your forklift’s battery in a matter of 10-20 minutes, usually during breaks or between shifts. One benefit of this method is that you do not need a great deal of space for extra battery storage – you are using the same battery and charging more frequently. The downside to fast charging is that it is extremely hard on the battery, impacting the battery warranty, and giving the battery a shorter life. The fast charging method is best used by continuous-use operations since they need to keep forklifts moving as frequently as possible. The less time it takes to charge, the more time the forklift can be in operation. Note that fast charge operations need one night per week to fully charge the trucks and equalize the battery. This is typically completed over the weekend.

Fast Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For Continuous-Use Operations

What is Forklift Battery Opportunity Charging?

Opportunity charging is similar to fast charging and takes advantage of breaks and shift changes to charge the forklift. The biggest difference between opportunity and fast charging is the start rate of the chargers. The start rate of opportunity charging is between 21-30 amps per 100 AH, while fast charging is 31-60 amps per 100 AH. Opportunity charging will also require different chargers than conventional or fast methods. If you use a conventional or fast charger, attempting to opportunity charge may damage the battery and decrease its life.

Opportunity Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For Multi-Shift Operations

view original post here


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