How we designed the Cat low-level order picker

Order picking is hard work; it’s the equivalent of exercising for 6 hours a day. So, we undertook a series of tests to optimise our order pickers and help make lighter work of order picking. We followed and observed operators in their daily work routines to gain insights that would allow us to improve our order picker forklifts.
Designing a positive user experience isn’t a one-man job. We worked together with our professionals and our customers to seek and test ways to make operators’ work easier and more efficient. We did this to support productivity and help make workloads more manageable.

Testing our low-level order pickers

During the development of our 80V counterbalance order picker trucks, we decided to take a big leap with our design; improving the link between the operator and the machine. The new low-level order picker keeps much of its heritage but with many enhanced features to improve its efficiency and usability. We studied and tested the order picker with real customers and adapted the machine to match their requirements.
We also used this testing to develop our Responsive Drive System (RDS). In the past, RDS was used for traction and hydraulic controls. Now, we’ve gone deeper; utilising new algorithms that enhance steering and curve control. As a result, the operator doesn’t have to think too much when driving the truck; the low-level order picker does most of the hard work for you.

During a two-year testing period, we performed over 100 different tests, including:

  • Performance tests
  • Functional tests
  • Environmental tests
  • CAD tests
  • Safety tests
  • 24/7 lifting tests
  • 24/7 automatic driving tests

All this has been done to ensure high-level reliability of the low level order picker truck. We have also performed many functional tests in extremely cold environments to be sure that the low-level order picker truck works well in cold storages.

Working with operators to improve our low-level order picker efficiency

Bringing our customers into the R&D process proved extremely important. They were able to highlight clever details that would improve usability including spacious operator compartments that are easy to get in and out of. As an operator makes over 100 picking operations a day, it’s very important that the threshold is low and there is space to get in and out easily and swiftly.

User experience is reflected in all that we do. From design to production and beyond, we work with you to solve real-world challenges in materials handling.