Safety and energy efficiency are among the top five trends in the forklift tire industry, according to Camso. Products that do not mark floors, support compact vehicles and help owners manage forklift fleets are also included in the company’s observations.
Speaking at ProMat 2017 in Chicago, Illinois, last month, Camso’s product line executive director Erick Bellefleur outlined five areas most important to forklift customers. Top of the list was the growing trend for electrically-powered vehicles that can, under appropriate conditions, last eight hours ensuring they can run through a complete shift, without the need for recharging batteries.
Bellefleur also observed a significant increase in demand throughout North America and Europe for cleanliness, with tires that do not mark floors and that minimize the amount of rubber dust that ends up on goods. This trend is also gaining popularity among rental fleet owners as well.
A third area is the growing need for managers to balance increased lifting capacity with less bulky equipment design, which requires tires that can handle the increased pressures while not increasing in size.
Issues of safety were the next trend, with pressure to improve things that affect the operator over time, such as the vibration and noise generated by the tire. Because forklifts have no suspension, there is little to isolate the operator from such unwanted effects, which requires designers to concentrate on tread patterns.
Bellefleur’s final observation concerned fleet management, with respect to how much tires are costing the fleet: “What we see with larger fleets is that managers are becoming more and more concerned about the following question, ‘How much is it costing me to maintain our entire fleet of forklift trucks?’ Fleet managers have maintenance budgets and tires are a significant portion of that budget. It can be up to 25%, even 30%, of the cost of operating a fleet of forklifts.
“The core issue is not that the tires themselves are particularly pricey but rather that tires are collectively the leading wear part on this type of equipment.”
May 26, 2017