11 July 2018
Optimum use of energy has been the designers’ focus in developing the new NO-N2 range of low-level order pickers from Cat® Lift Trucks. As well as delivering the best energy efficiency in the market, this warehouse equipment is designed to energise drivers by reducing fatigue and boosting every aspect of order picking performance.
The order picker’s energy consumption is 14% lower than that of their nearest rival in the first- and second-level picking class, and they are significantly more efficient across all operating speeds. This has been achieved through integration of the motor and gearing into a single unit whose design allows higher gear ratios for increased rotational speed and less energy loss.
The forklift’s operators are empowered by advanced steering functionality, building on the Responsive Drive System (RDS) technology pioneered in recent Cat electric counterbalance trucks. A key outcome is the order pickers’ unique intelligent curve control, which reacts rapidly to the operator’s steering behaviour and travel speed. The system constantly adjusts sensitivity, cornering speed and angle limitation to meet changing needs.
Additionally, the steering control characteristics of the order pickers are modified when reversing, to allow for the driver’s sideways position and one-handed operation. ‘Walk-by-side’ operation, giving a clear view of the fork ends, can be controlled via the steering wheel, with angles automatically limited for safety and optional side-mounted controls are available.
The warehouse equipment allows for faster transport between picks which is enabled by a ‘flying start’ function. This allows the operator to begin acceleration from the walk-beside position, before stepping onto the presence-detecting floor mat and once onboard, full acceleration is permitted.
Other electronic-controller-based performance aids include advanced traction control, which ensures smooth, rapid acceleration and prevents wheelspin – and related wear – when driving on slippery surfaces or carrying heavy loads.
The forklift trucks’ regenerative braking is optimised to eliminate swaying effects at full stop. It combines with a hill hold function and anti-lock brakes to help the driver operate smoothly, confidently and safely in all materials handling conditions.
Perfect positioning of the order pickers is possible thanks to easily controllable and predictable deceleration rates and stopping distances. These can be set using the TruckTool programme. Drivers have a choice between ECO and PRO driving modes, while customised settings can be applied to meet more specific requirements.
To save time when stepping on and off the order picker, or walking through it, the spacious operator compartment offers wide, unobstructed access, a low step height, a non-slip mat and an absence of tripping hazards.
Its high-comfort, triple-suspension floor features a floating structure to dampen shocks and vibrations, sideways dampening to relax knees and ankles, and thick state-of-the-art matting to reduce micro-vibration. An angled footrest is also provided to minimise leg strain for tall drivers, or for those using the optional seat. The backrest gives a secure leaning position during turns and is specially shaped to minimise obstruction of operators and goods when passing through the lift truck.
This warehouse equipment also features ergonomically shaped accelerator triggers and other controls which are integrated into the innovative steering wheel and are easily reached by the driver without releasing his or her grip. The steering unit benefits from vibration damping; is effortless to operate with either hand, and can be adjusted for height and angle to maximise comfort. Hand positioning choices include a top-of-the-wheel hold which enables comfortable and controlled reversing with reduced twisting of shoulders and wrists.
A robust investment
Bevelled fork tips and tandem wheels enable rapid pallet and picking cage entry with less chance of damage. Meanwhile, a class-leading fork lift height – up to 220 mm even in the lowest-lifting models – enhances ground clearance of pallets and picking cages, for fast, safe materials handling on loading docks and ramps. To prevent cutting or trapping of goods by sharp edges, the fork carriage of the order picker has been finished with a smooth, flat front face.
A simplified one-piece main frame, single-unit motor and gear construction, and wear-reducing redesign of the fork carriage, linkages and levers, together with wide, reinforced forks, contribute to a durable and dependable specification.
The NO-N2 six-model low-level order picker range offers 1.2, 2.0 and 2.5 tonne capacities, along with a variety of rising fork and rising operator platform versions for different applications. Two scissor-lift models will be added later in the year. The forklift trucks also come with a long list of optional features and accessories. For reference, the full designation of the range is NO12N2F(P)/NO20-25N2(P)/NO20N2X(P).