The material handling industry is composed of limitless application varieties. Sure, you have your general industries such as cold storage or lumber where common elements are shared from location to location, but even within these environments you have differences that need to be accounted for. This includes different floor types, ambient temperatures, racking configurations, lighting conditions, and so much more. With all of these varying conditions, how can you find a forklift that will work for all of them? The answer is: you can’t.
This is why forklift options are so important and so prevalent in the material handling industry, because it gives you an opportunity to customize your forklift to fit your specific needs. If you’re in a cold storage environment, you likely need additional safeguards to protect against moisture and low ambient temperatures while a forging application is more concerned with how high ambient temperatures could damage hydraulic hoses and other components.
These deltas can even be boiled down to some of the simplest accessories such as forklift lights. With so many lighting options available, how do you know what’s best for your application? The following breakdown will help explain some of the different options out there and their benefits so that you can make a more informed opinion next time you speak with your local, authorized Toyota dealer.
Halogen Lights – Halogen lights use a typical bulb with a filament that can be damaged due to vibration or shock. They also have more amp draw than LED lights, meaning your battery will be drained faster which can reduce your runtime on battery powered forklifts. Halogen lights are cheaper than LED in most cases, meaning they will cost you less money upfront.
LED Lights – LED lights are more durable than halogen due to the lack of a filament, they don’t get as hot as halogen and they don’t have as much amp draw from the battery. LED headlight lenses are also typically made out of plastic instead of glass, which is ideal for companies that work with consumable goods. LED lights are typically more expensive, but could save you money over time due to less replacement cost and lower electricity bills for battery powered products.
Standard Overhead Guard Mounted Headlights – Most forklifts with an overhead guard come standard with headlights mounted near the top of the overhead guard on the left and right overhead guard pillars. These lights can sometimes be modified or removed to be compatible with other options such as enclosed operator cabins.
Inset Headlights – Inset headlights are mounted further inward on the overhead guard and typically mounted to the top. Moving the lights inward within the confines of the overhead guard can better protect them from damage, but can also reduce the effectiveness of the lights since the mast can block some of the light being projected forward.
Low Profile Headlights – The headlights are have a narrower profile than the standard headlights, but are typically mounted in the same location. This allows them to be better protected without having to move them completely within the confines of the overhead guard. There are typically overhead guard mounted and mast mounted versions.
Front Combination Lights – Combination lights typically add additional functions to the standard overhead guard mounted headlights. This includes turn signal lights and parking/clearance lights.
Rear Work Lights
Rear Work Light – Rear work lights are mounted to the rear of the overhead guard and aimed behind the forklift. These are helpful for lighting the area behind the forklift, which is typically useful when travelling in reverse.
Low Profile Rear Work Light – A narrower work light is mounted on the rear overhead guard of the forklift and is typically mounted within the confines of the overhead guard to better protect it from damage.
Rear Combination Lights – This option rovides additional indicators on the rear overhead guard of the forklift. This typically includes back-up lights, stop/tail lights, and turn signal lights.
Strobe Lights – Strobe lights intermittently flash and are designed to help alert pedestrians and other operators of the forklift’s presence. They came in many different colors such as blue, red, amber, and clear and can also be mounted in different locations depending on the model.
Blue Spot Lights – Blue spot lights are usually mounted on the overhead guard of the forklift and aimed down at the ground in front of or behind the forklift. The distance the light is aimed away is up to the customer to determine based on the application. These lights are designed to help alert pedestrians and other operators of the forklift’s presence. In general, these can be more useful when entering and exiting aisles where the forklift and other lights may not be visible and where the color of the light stands out in the given environment. Also available in other configurations such as key-activated, travel direction-activated, and in different colors such as red.
Red Zone Light – These lights are mounted on the left and right side of the overhead guard and aimed at the ground by the customer, similar to the spot lights. They shine a red strip of light at the ground that is designed to alert operators and pedestrians to the forklift’s presence. In general, these can be more effective where the light stands out in the given environment.
Key On, Headlights On – The headlights are wired to the key switch and will turn on when the key switch is turned on. This is a helpful time saver for when headlights are frequently used such as when loading and unloading trailers.
Key Off, Headlights Off – Similar to the key on lights, this option only turns off the headlights when the truck is turned off. This is helpful to reduce amp draw on the battery. Leaving the lights on for a prolonged period of time can drain the battery to the point that the forklift will not start.
Key On, Key Off Lights – This option will automatically turn on all associated lights when the key is turned and will turn them all off when the forklift is turned off. The lights associated with this option may vary, contact your local, authorized Toyota dealer for more information based on your configuration.
Auto Lights Off (Oil Pressure) – Lights are turned off on the forklift automatically when the oil pressure reaches a predetermined level after the forklift is turned off. This ensures the lights are turned off even if the key is turned on, but the engine has not been started.
This list contains just a few of the options available today. Toyota is working to constantly develop new, innovative options and our team of expert engineers can even design custom solutions to work for you through our Toyota Special Design Request process. Be sure to contact your local, authorized Toyota dealer for more information regarding what is available and for helpful advice on what may be best for your specific environment.