Top 5 Innovations in the Industrial Forklift Industry

Automatic forklift

Did you know industrial forklifts have been an industry icon for almost a century? 

With industrial worksites and warehouses constantly adapting to the latest trends and innovations, an increasing number of companies are striving to find new ways to make their workers’ jobs easier and more efficient.

This is where forklifts come in.

Industrial forklifts are one of the most common equipment in the market for material handling. The increasing use of forklifts in various applications across the industrial, construction, and logistics sector, along with technological advancement, is one of the top reasons behind the phenomenal growth of the forklift market. 

A recent report also suggests that the global forklift market is set to expand at a CAGR of ~3% through 2020-2030 and is estimated to reach a valuation of ~US$ 30 billion by the end of the forecast period. 

Besides rapid growth, recent forklift innovations have also played a key role in making tough and tricky jobs simple for drivers. Coupled with this is the enhanced need for cost efficiencies and sustainability, pushing the industry to evolve as these new technologies and innovations take shape. 

To this end, we will discuss the top 5 innovations in the industrial forklift industry that are completely transforming the sector.

Top 5 Innovations in the industrial forklift industry

Here is a quick roundup of the key innovations  to look out for in the industrial forklift industry

1. Automation

An increasing number of industrial forklifts and their components are becoming automated with various features. Among these include intelligent routing, autonomous operation, and automatic obstacle detection. 

The key benefit of automated forklifts is that they can be easily operated from a distance, so the employees or workers don’t have to worry about being physically present at the site. Further, automation is also allowing industrial forklifts to move much faster and more efficiently than ever before.

There are several other benefits of automation in the industrial forklift industry, such as-

  • Automation reduces the need for manual labor, freeing up workers to focus on other important tasks.
  • Allows for completely automated storage and retrieval systems, which can reduce costs and improve efficiency to a great extent.
  • Helps workers navigate various obstacles independently, without needing help from the driver.  

2. Ergonomic design

Unlike traditional forklifts, which were tall, heavy machines with the driver managing them from high up in the air, the last few years have seen advances in ergonomic designs on industrial forklifts. This makes it easier for drivers to work effortlessly and with less fatigue and strain. 

These new ergonomic designs feature a variety of advantages, such as adjustable steering columns, much more comfortable seating, and adjustable foot pedals to offer a better fit for forklift drivers of all sizes. These innovative features make it easier for drivers to reach and access controls, thus improving overall safety and productivity at the workplace.

There are several other advantages of such innovations in the ergonomics of industrial forklifts. Some of these are-

  • The automated loading and unloading feature removes the strain from lifting and carrying materials.
  • Reduce the physical effort from the operator to stack up items, decreasing the risk of injury and improving overall efficiency.
  • Better lighting systems and ergonomic mirrors are improving visibility by helping operators see what’s happening around them. 
  • Enhances safety, efficiency, and productivity in the industrial forklift industry
AI driven forklift

3. AI-driven forklifts 

Another noteworthy innovation and trend in the industrial forklift industry is the impact of AI, which is growing rapidly and will continue to grow over the years. AI-powered forklifts bring several advantages, such as enhanced productivity by automating day-to-day routine tasks, optimizing routes as well as material handling processes.

Apart from this, there are several other advantages of AI in the forklift industry, including –

  • AI allows forklift operators to track the performance of their machines easily and accordingly react to any issues/changes that arise quickly.
  • AI-enabled forklifts can analyze their environment, detect obstacles and prevent accidents.
  • Yet another benefit of AI technology in the forklift industry is that it allows for predictive maintenance, which can help reduce downtime and costs associated with forklift repair and maintenance. 

4. Remote monitoring 

Wireless remote monitoring technology is among the other top innovations in the industrial forklift industry. The system works similarly to a GPS that puts you in complete control of your equipment anytime, anywhere.

Other advantages of wireless remote monitoring technology include the following –

  • You can track and send your equipment information directly to your smartphone, computer, or tablet. This leads to maximized output through increased efficiencies and timely maintenance.
  • Informs you of troubles or abnormal readings so that you can address them before any major issues happen, such as accidents or serious injury to the worker.
  • Help you utilize, deploy and maintain your forklift equipment by providing you with fuel consumption reports, working record reviews, maintenance alerts,  daily reports, and more.

5. Connectivity 

The use of data analytics, sensors, and IoT (Internet of Things) by an increasing number of companies is another interesting trend of recent times. 

There are several ways this helps the companies, such as-

  • Faster connectivity enables companies to optimize their forklifts, improving overall productivity and efficiency.
  • Reduces downtime.
  • Enhances the use of GPS and similar technologies to track forklifts, which helps companies improve their safety, record-keeping, and compliance.

To conclude

The last decade has seen industrial forklifts come a long way. With several new trends, technologies, and innovations in recent years, we can expect to see a rise in electric forklifts and increased automation and robotics. 

Apart from this, there will also be a higher emphasis on connectivity and the development of various safety measures, such as smarter self-driving technology.

If you are looking to find the right forklift solution, reach out to our professional experts at Southern Lift Trucks. Leverage innovations and new technologies to systematically enhance your business today.

Automatic Forklift

Commonly Asked Questions About Forklift Innovations

How often does an industrial forklift need maintenance?

  For best results, a planned maintenance agreement is recommended to ensure your forklift remains in optimal working condition.

When should I replace my forklift?

  It is best to replace your forklift when it starts costing you money.

How much does a forklift cost?

  The load capacity and the energy source are two key factors determining a forklift’s price. The higher the load capacity, the higher the price.

Do I need special training to operate a forklift safely?

  Yes. You can get the training internally or from external companies for a forklift driving certification.

What type of fuel type should I choose for my forklift?

  An electric forklift runs primarily on a lead acid or Li-Ion battery, whereas a combustion engine version uses diesel or LPG.

Where can I get my forklift repaired?

It is always recommended to get your forklift repaired by an official dealer.