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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!
Toyota’s continued commitment to safety sets the standard in the material handling industry. At Toyota, we take safety as an enduring promise to our customers, one that we’ve delivered on time and time again, from our introduction the System of Active Stability in 1999 to our continued support of National Forklift Safety Day. As Toyota Material Handling President and CEO and former Industrial Truck Association chairman, Brett Wood, says “If you have a safe, comfortable operator, you’ll have a productive operator.”
But maintaining the health and safety of your employees isn’t just imperative to the success of your business. It is also your legal responsibility under OSHA’s General Duty Clause. An unsafe workplace environment can have a much deeper impact than just lost time and productivity or increased cost. Working in unsuitable conditions or operating unsafe machinery can cause considerable damage or even fatal outcomes. What measures can you take to ensure the safety of your employees and maintain a culture of safety awareness for forklift equipment?
Be sure that only trained operators are using any forklifts or other equipment.
All equipment should be properly maintained and inspected regularly to confirm that it is in safe working condition.
All equipment should be used as intended.
An unsafe environment can lead to expensive costs of repairs, including incremental damage that can cost about ten times that of the cost of forklift repairs. Adding a Toyota Planned or Full Maintenance plan can help you ensure the excellent and safe working condition of your forklift and reduce these costly, incremental repairs. By making sure these precautions are in place, you will help protect your employees and your equipment.
As a piece of essential warehouse equipment, forklifts are everywhere. There are currently around 1,000,000 forklifts helping businesses stay organized, and productive throughout the United States. They are one of the most powerful tools in improving efficiency. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Forklifts can be hazardous, and the cause of expensive citations, workplace accidents, injuries, and even death.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), forklift violations are consistently one of the top 10 violations costing businesses about $135,000,000 every year. OSHA also estimates that forklifts cause of approximately 110,000 accidents annually. Of these, about 35,000 resulted in serious injuries, and about 85 accidents resulted in death.
Any workplace that uses forklifts should emphasize forklift safety. Promoting forklift safety will prevent costly violations and accidents. Here are 5 ways to optimize forklift safety:
Studies show that proper training and education is a great deterrent of accidents. Employers should develop and implement a training program based on the general principles of safe operation, the types of forklifts used in the workplace, the potential hazards in the workplace, and the general safety requirements of the OSHA standard. According to OSHA, with these training policies, about 70% of forklift accidents could be prevented.
Additionally, operators must be properly certified per OSHA regulations. OSHA requires forklift operator to be certified in a two-phase training course: a classroom-style training and test, and a hands-on evaluation. Only trained and competent operators can be permitted to operate a forklift. You can find all the necessary information about training and certification here.
Many forklift accidents happen because the operators are not knowledgeable about how much their forklifts can carry. In fact, tip-overs due overloading is a leading cause of forklift accidents. So, understanding your forklift’s load capacity is extremely important.
A forklift’s load capacity is found in two places: on the data plate of the forklift, and in the operator’s manual. This capacity refers to a balanced load carried on the stated load center. It can change depending on the attachments used, the height of the lift, and the length of the load.
With a load, the center of gravity of the forklift is at the center of the triangle. But as you add more weight to the forks or raise the mast with a load, the center of gravity shifts to the front of the triangle. Moving the center of gravity out of the Stability Triangle by adding too much weight or adding weight in the wrong places can cause tip-overs.
Maintaining your forklift is not just a great way to extend the life of your forklift, it is also one of the best ways to ensure forklift safety. Regular maintenance safeguards your forklifts against problems that go beyond the normal wear and tear. OSHA requires daily inspections to be performed at the beginning of each shift. If a forklift is equipped with a safety device, the device must be in good working order otherwise the forklift should be tagged out of service until it can be repaired. These daily inspections also help operators identify operational issues so they can be addressed before they become bigger problems or lead to accidents. By keeping your forklift in optimal working condition, you will have a safe operating experience.
A lack of awareness in the workplace can be detrimental not only to the products you are moving but also to your employees. Many accidents occur because the operator or someone in the forklift’s vicinity is not paying attention. Practice mindfulness by paying attention, keeping an eye on where you’re going, using your alarms to alert others of your presence, ensuring your loads are balanced and within load capacity, and driving safely. These five simple actions can prevent accidents and save lives.
Another way to promote forklift safety and prevent accidents is to store your forklifts properly after use. They should be parked on a flat surface. Engage your parking brakes. Make sure your forks are flush to the ground. The forklift should be turned off, and the keys should be removed from the ignition.
Downtime. It’s every material handling equipment user’s worst nightmare. You could have the most sophisticated piece of equipment with all of the gadgets and gizmos, but if it’s not operational, you won’t get much work done. When work isn’t getting done, you have to make up for lost time, increased cost, and dissatisfied customers.
While downtime isn’t always caused by equipment failure, it can certainly hamper your ability to move products and raw materials that allow your business to function. Thankfully, eliminating downtime with your equipment can be simplified into the following categories: using the right tool for the job, proper usage, proper maintenance, and quality parts and workmanship.
When customers have problems with certain components repeatedly failing or causing problems and can’t figure out the cause, the problem is usually that the tools they’re using are not equipped to handle the job. In diagnosing these problems, pay attention to the usage of the forklifts to understand what might be causing the issue.
For example, a customer was lifting heavy loads of bricks and transporting them across surfaces that weren’t flat. As a result, the product bounced up and down during transport, putting significant stress on several of the forklift’s components such as the carriage and lift chains.
This particular problem was solved by adding a hydraulic accumulator to the forklift. The accumulator absorbs the shock by using nitrogen to actively adjust the hydraulic pressure, reducing the carriage and chain wear, and providing a smoother ride for the operator.
This shows the importance of using the right tool for the job. Whether you need an aftermarket installation or a completely different forklift model, a simple change or two can save you a lot of money and downtime.
Once you have the right piece of equipment, the next step is to make sure you’re using it properly. Monitoring how the forklifts are used is the key to determining if the way they are being operated is an issue.
Improper operation is unsafe, and it can also lead to accelerated wear and tear on equipment. Some bad habits may include:
Tip loading – When a load is lifted using the first third of the forks or the load is not fully secured against the front face of the carriage.
Hot shifting or “plugging” – When shifting the transmission between forward and reverse while an internal combustion forklift is in motion. This can cause accelerated wear, potentially significant damage to the transmission, and increased tire wear.
Pushing or Pulling loads – Forklifts are designed to lift and carry loads, not to push or pull them. Pushing or pulling loads puts significant stress on various components, including the carriage, load backrest, and mast.
Overloading – Lifting a load that exceeds the forklift’s maximum capacity, as indicated on the data plate, is extremely dangerous. Not only is this type of operation unsafe, but it can also damage hydraulic components, forks, and other attachments.
Improper entry/exit – Putting excess strain on the seat assembly by not using the grips and putting all the operator’s weight on the seat to aid entry and/or wearing sharp tools when entering and exiting the forklift can lead to bodily injury, as well as accelerated wear and tear on the seat and hood of the forklift.
These are just a few examples of how improper forklift usage can increase maintenance and repair costs over time. Proper operator training, safe operation, and best practices can help combat some of these issues.
Just like any other vehicle, if you don’t take care of your forklifts, breakdowns and failures are inevitable. Forklifts have pre-determined intervals for when certain maintenance needs to occur. Depending on the particular model, type of work environment, and the number of hours that are put on it daily, this can be a frequent occurrence. For example, if you have dirt, dust, and fibrous materials floating around, you may need to change filters and clean the radiator more often. And if you run three, eight-hour shifts a day, you’re going to reach the 250-hour service interval faster than someone only running one shift.
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Many customers struggle with performing timely routine maintenance, usually due to lack of knowledge, capabilities, monitoring, or handling. If you perform your own maintenance, it’s important to understand what types of maintenance are required and at what intervals. You can find this information in your forklift’s service manual or your local Toyota dealer can provide this to you.
Another solution is to take advantage of planned maintenance packages that Toyota dealers offer. Based on your application and the forklift models, they can schedule appointments to perform all necessary maintenance and repairs. This keeps your forklifts running optimally, reduces downtime, and allows you to focus on getting work done.
So, you use the right piece of equipment, and you take perfect care of it. What else could you do to reduce downtime? Not all forklifts are created equal. Lower quality and poorly designed parts can wear faster than genuine, high quality parts. Smaller air filters need cleaned out and replaced more often. Smaller diameter pulleys create more friction on hydraulic hoses which causes premature wear. And thin, metal side panels are more easily damaged and in need of replacement.
The same applies to major components such as the powertrain. The 4Y engines on Toyota’s Core IC forklifts are renowned for their durability and reliability, often reaching over 30,000 hours of operation without any major repairs needed. This provides for reduced downtime and return on investment.
When parts fail or need to be replaced, the quality of the parts and installation is equally important. While certain replacement parts may have a less expensive cost upfront, they likely will end up costing more in the future. Using genuine parts from the manufacturer keeps your forklift operating with the same quality that was built at the factory. And using a certified technician for the installation of those parts ensures that the replacement is performed to the manufacturer’s specifications. In some instances, it also provides you with assurance in the form of a warranty.
If you’re using Toyota forklifts, you can take advantage of Toyota 360 Support, which comes standard with all new Toyota forklifts. It includes an industry-leading two-year parts warranty, Toyota genuine parts, an industry-leading network of dealers and Toyota certified technicians, and guaranteed four-hour emergency response times through the mobile service request app. It’s Toyota’s promise to fully support you through the sale and throughout the entire lifetime of your ownership.
Original post HERE
Electric forklifts can be beneficial in many different work indoor applications (and now even outdoors with Toyota’s 80-Volt Electric Pneumatic Forklift). Using electric forklifts in your warehouse is one of the most common uses of these machines and for good reason. Electric warehouse forklifts can reduce fuel costs and be charged at intervals that can maximize efficiency across shifts. Take a look at some of the following benefits electric forklifts could have in your warehouse space.
You may not think about it, but having a quieter forklift may impact you or your operator’s ability to operate safely and effectively in certain applications. In smaller, confined spaces, with multiple forklifts running, it could get pretty loud. With electric forklifts, it lowers the noise level, allowing for easier communication, and less fatigue from your operators. Really, the only noise that electric forklifts have is the horn. In certain warehouses, this can make it easier for operators and pedestrians to hear forklift horns, co-workers, or other important workplace sounds.
When you are using a gas or LPG burning forklift, you are producing emissions that could be harmful to your associates and products if not properly addressed. Electric forklifts do not generate any CO emissions. This helps keep your employees healthy and lower the impact of emissions in your warehouse.
Certain products can also be harmed by emissions including food items, other perishables, and various consumer products. Toyota electric forklifts come in a wide variety of lifting capacities to fit many different applications. Also, fewer emissions are great for the environment!
If you are using a gas or LPG forklift in your warehouse instead of electrics, we understand there are many reasons that might have influenced that decision, and Toyota is the U.S. leader in internal combustion forklifts. However, make sure you are using proper ventilation techniques if you’re using one in your warehouse.
Because your warehouse needs to maximize space, it could be hard to fit a full-sized forklift down your narrow aisles. An electric warehouse forklift can help solve that issue. At Toyota, we have many different electric forklifts to fit your needs. Maybe you need to squeeze in those narrow aisles? The 3-wheel electric would be perfect. It has a tighter turn radius than most forklifts but still has the capacity to lift up to 4,000 lbs. Maybe your warehouse stacks pallets behind each other. This is where reach trucks work great. Being able to place pallets in front of each other makes sure you are maximizing your warehouse space and racking. No matter what type of warehouse blueprint you have, Toyota Material Handling has an electric forklift to fit your needs!
When it comes to the operating cost of forklifts, electric forklifts can usually be lower than that of internal combustion models. While IC models run on gas, electric forklifts run on, well, electricity! You may need to set up a charging station in your warehouse, but the cost of electricity can be significantly lower than that of fuel.
While IC models are still the most popular in the market, electric forklifts are increasing in popularity. So remember, if you are looking to increase productivity and ROI in your warehouse, take a look at all of the different electric forklift options from Toyota.
Warehouse spills should be anticipated and prevented whenever possible. But even the most careful warehouse manager or operator can have a spill happen on their watch. Specific advice about what to do in the middle of a spill will ultimately depend on what you spilled. But there are some general things to keep in mind after a spill has occurred that can help you clean up and prevent the next one.
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:
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.
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.
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
The proper maintenance and handling of forklift batteries is imperative to their longevity. There’s a right way and a wrong way to maintain and handle forklift batteries and doing it properly will ensure your investment is maximized.
Forklift batteries can be heavy and dangerous if not handled properly, so it’s important to be educated on the correct way to handle them. Use these tips for some ideas about handling batteries properly:
Properly charging a battery is all about doing it at the right time, for the right amount of time. Use these tips when charging your forklift battery:
Unlike traditional, sit-down forklifts, order pickers travel parallel to racking so that operators can pick products to build out orders. Travelling this close to racking, however, can be a tedious affair. Operators must strike a balance between being close enough to the racking to make the perfect pick, yet still have enough space to travel safely down the aisle without hitting the racking.
Guidance systems such as rail and wire guidance can be useful tools for reducing product, racking, and forklift damage. While both rail and wire guidance systems offer similar benefits, the differences in installation and how they function make each option ideal for some applications over others.
Rail guidance systems use physical boundaries to keep order pickers on the desired path. Physical rails need to be installed into the ground in front of the racking to set the path on which the forklift runs. Guide rollers installed on both sides of the order picker allow the forklift to contact the rails on each side and continue to travel down the aisle, potentially minimizing damage to the racking, product, and the order picker. Many advanced systems, such as Toyota’s double rail guidance option with auto-center steering have one unique guide roller with a sensor switch that, when contacted, automatically centers the drive tire, enabling the order picker to continue straight through the rest of the aisle.
Since every application varies, it is important to configure the rails and guide rollers appropriately so that operators can work productively and safely within each aisle. The configuration should also cause minimal hindrances to their ability to travel and pick product. In some cases, the rails actually need to be built into the rack depending on the aisle width and available space between the front face of the rack and the rail.
Wire guidance systems require installation of a wire into the ground that is detected by sensors on the truck. These sensors detect the wire and the forklift follows the wire’s path. Travel of the order picker becomes limited to the set confines of the wire’s physical location in the ground. Some wire guidance settings are configurable, such as end of aisle slowdown and travel speed that can be set based on your application’s needs.
One advantage of wire guidance systems is that the operator can turn off the guidance system when needed to allow for travel outside of the confines of the wire. This is helpful in certain situations where travel within the confines of the wire limits the forklift’s ability to travel based on the product they are picking and the aisle in which they are operating. Similar to rail guidance, wire guidance can be used in any aisle type, but is most commonly found in narrow and very narrow aisle applications. Wire guidance systems allow the operator to relinquish steering control when the system is active within the aisle, allowing operators to focus more on travel and lift, which can further increase productivity.
A number of factors can affect your decision about the guidance system you want to purchase. Pricing between the two different systems can vary greatly, especially depending upon the size of your fleet and your warehouse. Wire guidance systems tend to be more expensive to install for both the sensors and equipment added to the forklift and for the wires and electrical installation at your facility.
Next, you have to consider how the two different types of guidance can affect your operation. Applications with larger aisles where the operator must travel between racking on both sides may benefit more from a physical guidance system that would allow that type of travel. In addition, depending on the type, size, and weight of the product you are picking, the distance from the racking required to make a safe pick may vary. Finding the right balance between limiting the distance between the order picker and the racking and optimizing the distance for safe, efficient picking plays a significant role in the choice that you will make.
Remember, guidance systems can provide increased productivity and reduce product damage, but they are not ideal for every application. When selecting the right guidance system, make sure to work with a professional who knows your operation and can guide you through the entire process. Dillon Toyota Lift is available to help with designing the optimal layout for your operation to maximize productivity and improve your warehousing efficiency.
Original Post HERE
As the push for sustainable business practices continues to grow stronger, more and more warehouses are adopting “green” initiatives. Toyota has been practicing sustainable business practices, led by the guiding rules of the Toyota Production System, and continues to improve our impact on the environment. Practices such as Just-In-Time and Jidoka have helped Toyota Forklifts’ manufacturing site achieve a zero-landfill facility status.
With benefits ranging from positive environmental impacts to substantial cost savings, making changes in your facility is worth your while. Here are a few of the ways you can bring green warehousing practices to your own facility:
Recycling, by definition, means reusing material. This might mean converting waste into material that is usable or finding a new purpose so they can be used again. However, when it comes to manufacturing, recycling is about more than just throwing plastic cups and used paper into their respectively labeled bins. It is about making recycling initiatives part of the core of your manufacturing process.
Start off small. Send your used packaging material to a recycling center. Take metal shavings from the welding department and recycle them as scrap metal. Dispose of batteries and chemicals in ways that are environmentally sound, including working with a battery recycler to dispose of worn forklift batteries.
The efficiency and reliability of your equipment has a tremendous impact on your warehouse processes. Choosing electric products can increase your uptime due to their lower maintenance requirements. They also cut fuel exhausts – and fuel costs! Toyota offers a full line of electric products – everything from pallet jacks to THDs – to keep your facility running smoothly.
Aside from forklifts, you can also opt for eco-friendly conveyor systems that cut energy use and maintenance while maintaining a productive workflow.
Do the lights always need to be on in every part of your facility? Probably not. Install an energy management system that knows which lights need to be on, and when. Additionally, swap out those old bulbs for energy-efficient LED fixtures to boost energy efficiency and save on electricity costs.
There are many ways to bring sustainable practices to your facility. Monitor your efforts and find ways to continuously improve. The gradual implementation of a variety of these techniques over time can transform your facility into green warehouse.
Original Post: Anastasia Sistevaris, Communications Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling, USA
Lead acid batteries are one of the most neglected pieces of equipment in material handling. Low water levels, corrosion, and electrolyte spillage are common issues that need to be monitored on a daily basis, but one practice that tends to be forgotten is the equalization charge. So, what is an equalization charge? I’m glad you asked!
An equalization charge occurs when the battery is purposely overcharged after a full charging cycle. Essentially, you are charging the battery at a higher voltage than it is typically charged to help remove built-up sulfate and balance the voltage of each cell.
If you don’t equalize your lead acid batteries, this sulfate is going to build up over time until it decreases the battery’s capacity. This buildup will effectively reduce your maximum run time, leading to more battery swaps or more time spent opportunity charging throughout the work shift. The voltage imbalance has a similar effect. Batteries work by using multiple cells that are connected in series to provide a certain voltage output. When you have varying power outputs in each cell, your overall battery voltage is reduced and your battery becomes discharged more quickly.
Equalization charges should be performed as suggested by the battery manufacturer, but many companies equalize their batteries over the weekend due to the long charging cycle. A full charge cycle is around eight hours for a standard lead acid battery and the equalization charge can be around an additional three hours. Equalization intervals will vary depending on your specific application, type and size of battery, and average operating hours.
First, you need a charger capable of equalization, as not all battery chargers have the same capabilities. Ensure you have the proper charging equipment for all of your forklifts. Some battery chargers will automatically equalize the batteries. This capability is more common in more sophisticated systems on smaller products such as electric walkie pallet jacks. Toyota’s 8HBW23 model, for example, automatically equalizes each battery cell during normal charging.
For batteries that do require manual equalization, be sure to follow all instructions provided by both the battery and the charger manufacturer to ensure you are following the appropriate steps for proper equalization. Equalization charges typically require longer cooldowns than normal charges due to the higher amount of voltage. Allow enough time for cooldown prior to using a battery that has been recently charged.
Dillon Toyota Lift is the authorized Toyota Forklift dealer in Idaho and Utah, providing solutions to all material handling needs since 1981. We are your full service provider for new and used forklifts, rentals, parts, service, warehousing, racking, and lift truck operator training.
Nampa : (208) 466-8994
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