What effect will robotics developments have on warehouse workers?

For decades there has been talk of autonomous robotics taking over elements of our lives. As technology develops the capacity for machines to take over what were previously considered difficult manual labour jobs is increasing. Is that such a good thing, however? Are there any benefits of warehouse workers that could make them even more valuable than machines?

Increasing technology developments

Technology systems are developing all the time. Everything from overarching warehouse management systems to machines that can sort, pick, and pack orders are seeing increasing use. On the face of it you may think that they offer the perfect solution. Computers don’t make mistakes after all. They don’t object to working exceptionally long hours, they don’t require pay, they don’t need breaks of any kind, and they offer a consistent level of efficiency even during periods of intense consumer demand. These are all very true, and for certain business owners these benefits are enough to make them seriously consider phasing out human workers wherever possible.

The downsides of robot infrastructure

Machinery doesn’t have all the answers, however. While the aforementioned benefits are definitely compelling, there are some potential drawbacks to be mindful of too. The first is that systems are under a constant state of development, and even the most sophisticated and heavily-trialled software can still experience crashes and malfunctions. Something else that prevents many business owners adapting more is sheer cost. The technology is still relatively new, and as such it carries a heavy capital investment requirement over and above what many businesses can afford. You not only have the purchase price to factor in remember, but you will also have ongoing maintenance and repair costs too.

The benefits of keeping human workers

Warehouse operators require some level of critical thinking, and while artificial intelligence and learning computers are getting better than ever the truth is that they’re still nowhere near humans. Your skilled workers can process developing situations and determine a suitable response in mere moments, where a machine could be completely stuck when presented with the same set of circumstances. Remember that machines can only respond in line with the way they are programmed, and if they’re presented with circumstances they are not expecting it can lead to problems. As humans we have thousands of years of situational awareness and development in our favour when it comes to thinking on our feet.

Something else to think about is that humans can be easier to train in certain respects. Granted a machine can process calculations we could never dream of doing in our heads. But by the same token it would take a fraction of the time to teach a person to use and operate a forklift as it would to establish an autonomous system that was reliable. This means that for many business owners humans are still the foundation of their logistical force because we’re much better suited to adapting to our environment and our circumstances.

Which is the right approach for you?

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to this sort of question, there’s only what’s best for your business. For most business owners they will find that the best solution lies in a happy medium. Where possible it’s a great idea to implement technology for labour-saving and efficiency reasons. Where slightly more complex skills such as forklift driving are required however, it’s difficult to improve on what a human workforce offers.

There is also a wider economic question that still remains unanswered. There’s a large pool of workers potential facing upheaval from their jobs as they are replaced by machines – where do they go, and what do they do? If automation becomes the default choice for business owners, that’s going to mean an ever-swelling group of unemployed people who no longer have viable employment opportunities. This is another reason why a pragmatic approach is required that instead seeks to benefit from both human and machine workplace contributions wherever possible.

Working with quality equipment and expertise

As mentioned, humans still have the edge when it comes to operating certain warehousing equipment such as forklifts and load trucks. At Radnes Services Ltd we’re specialists in the provision of all manner of essential logistics equipment to industry professionals. Everything from forklifts to pallet trucks and all points in between can be procured from our friendly, helpful, and experienced staff.

Whether you’re looking to invest in a forklift for your business, you want to hire a forklift to temporarily meet an ongoing need, or you want to ensure that your operatives benefit from industry-leading training Radnes Services Ltd can help. We’re specialists in everything relating to manual handling equipment hire, sales, and training, with a dedicated team of professionals always available to assist you.

We offer a range of services designed to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking to begin your career as a forklift operator and you want to make sure you invest in quality training, or you’re a business owner looking for a flexible forklift hire contract, we can help.

For more information on our services, don’t hesitate to contact Radnes Services Ltd today.

CAT electric forklifts - Radnes Services Ltd

What are the many uses of forklifts?

Forklifts can be some of the most vital parts of any warehouse business or even any business that needs to move goods around at all. Useful for a huge variety of tasks, a forklift can be the most versatile part of any modern workplace. Read on to find out more about what you can use a forklift for in your workplace, and even find out more information about forklifts and what makes them such a versatile part of your workplace.


The most standard use for a forklift is in a warehouse. In these cases, a forklift can stack goods from as small as packs of sweets in their stocking boxes to massive items that people simply wouldn’t be able to lift up to get to the right place. This versatility in item size means that a forklift has to be at the heart of any warehouse, or you would lose the ability to store stock that is over a certain size.

A forklift is also incredibly useful when trying to make the most of the amount of space you have in your warehouse. People simply can’t reach the top shelves in the vast majority of warehouses, and if you want people to reach those shelves, they wouldn’t be safe carrying large weights all the way up the ladders to the top of the shelving units. In these cases, using a forklift becomes a necessity. From large and heavy equipment to simple products that need to go to a high storage shelf, a forklift can keep your business running just as you need it.


Construction is another key industry in which you can see forklifts doing vital jobs that regular people wouldn’t be able to. The vast majority of building sites are based on making sure that heavy materials including concrete, bricks, and lumber are in the right place at the right time, so a highly qualified builder can get everything put together in the best way possible. This job can’t be done without everything a builder needs being in the right place at the right time.

This applies to much more than making sure that it’s in the right place on one floor, but can often be incredibly helpful in the construction of balconies and railings. By lifting up heavy building materials such as bricks and concrete slabs, a forklift truck can make the construction of high levels a lot simpler. With builders needing to take materials upstairs, you’d end up with a very quickly demoralised and exhausted workforce. By getting a forklift to do the heavy lifting, your skilled labourers can focus on what they’re good at, and you can get the job done to the highest of standards in a good amount of time.


If you’re struggling to get your employees where they need to be, whether because of a lack of ladders or you’ve not been able to get the stairs put together on a construction site yet, a forklift has an ability that not many people consider, which is helping your employees get to where they need to be.

You can often use a forklift truck as an aerial lift, replacing a crane or other lifting device in making sure that people can get where they need to be. Of course, there is a selection of safety regulations that you need to stay in alignment with as you’re transporting people using an atypical method. However, if you are able to get your forklift working in an effective way, you can get your stock counters, maintenance team, and cleaners where they need to be to get their jobs done.

Transporting goods

In a dock or port, forklifts play a significant role. When goods come off ships you need to make sure they get to the right place as soon as possible. After all, some of it may be time-sensitive, such as refrigerated or frozen goods that need to reach their destination as soon as possible. A forklift can move goods to the right trucks and lorries much faster than people moving a ship worth of products by hand would.

You can also combine the use of a forklift to move goods with a forklift moving people. It can be difficult to reach stacked up containers, so if you need to move an inspector or other port worker easily, you can forklift them up into place and then use the very same forklift to start moving goods. This versatility makes forklifts a must-have, whether you’re material handling or using your forklift operations to get people moved to the best place possible.

Contact Radnes today

If you’re interested in getting top quality machinery for your company, check out Radnes today. We offer forklifts from the best forklift manufacturers around, providing lifting machinery that you can trust to make your site as effective as can be. Take a look at our wide range of forklifts today, and see what we can do to help you to get the lifting solutions that you need in the workplace.

How and why should you prepare your forklift for scheduled maintenance?

Forklift maintenance is an essential consideration for every business owner that uses forklifts. At Radnes Services Ltd, we offer a range of forklift maintenance services designed to fit in with the schedule of busy warehouses, factories, and fulfilment centres. There’s more to looking after a forktruck than just sending it off for maintenance, however. What do you need to know?

Your pre-maintenance checks

As a part of your fork lift maintenance routine, you should be in the habit of doing daily checks. These checks are done to ensure the vehicle is in proper working condition and can be invaluable for helping identify and isolate potential problems before they arise.

These checks aren’t just useful for daily forktruck maintenance, however, they’re also useful when you have your forklift booked in with us for repairs or servicing. When you contact us, we’ll arrange a time to suit you as best as possible. Before your forklift is sent off to us, however, you should invest a few minutes in having an experienced operator give it a thorough checking over before it’s loaded for transportation.

This is useful because it can give you an indication of the vehicle’s condition before it arrives. If you spot any problems with it, you can let us know, and we’ll be able to make sure those problems are addressed. We pride ourselves on turning around forklifts very quickly, as we know businesses depend on them, but that time can be reduced even further when we know in advance what issues a forklift has before arriving.

Another consideration is that knowing issues in advance can allow us to make sure we have a necessary part in stock before your forklift arrives. This means we’re able to know the problem area ahead of time and prepare the necessary parts, again reducing downtime.

Be sure to have a replacement lined up

When it comes to forklift maintenance, the important thing is planning for every eventuality. You may want to make sure, then, that you have a replacement forklift available to use while one is in for repairs or servicing. This can help keep your fleet mobile and ensure you’re able to still operate to capacity, even while taking ongoing forklift maintenance requirements into consideration.

This is where renting a forklift can come in useful, and as it happens, Radnes Services Ltd can also help you with that. We can provide you with a forklift that matches the spec of the one you’re having us collect as best as possible. Then you’ll be able to keep working to capacity. We can drop off the rented forklift, pick up your forklift, then when the forklift is repaired, bring it back and collect the hired forklift.

This takes the stress, the hassle, and the risk of downtime out of the equation. The last thing you want to do in a consistently busy period is have an operator without a forklift to use. This is going to mean a reduction in efficiency and deliveries not being processed in good time. You can avoid that risk entirely by arranging to hire a forklift and have the convenience of it being delivered for you.

One more consideration you should make is that you may have to have the forklift hired for longer than you first anticipated, so ensure both you and the hire contract are flexible to allow for this. The reason is that there may be issues with your forklift that are only discovered while it’s in for repair, which can cause an extension to the amount of time it’s in for. You, and the people hiring to you, should be prepared for this.

The good thing is that most hire contracts are flexible and can be extended sometimes on a daily basis.

Preparation is always key

For everything in life, it’s important to prepare, and sending your forklift off for maintenance is no different. You should always have a good idea of your forklift’s general condition before you send it off for maintenance, especially if you’re sending it for routine servicing.

Invest just a few minutes ensuring the forklift is thoroughly checked ahead of time, and you could be saving yourself a lot of stress in the long-run. You and the maintenance team will know what to expect when the forklift is further examined, and you’ll be able to have a much better idea of how long you’ll need to arrange a suitable replacement. You don’t want to think your forklift will be gone for two days, only for it to actually take five.

Looking after a forklift truck is easy when you invest in the services of a team of dedicated and professional experts. That’s why you should always contact the team at Radnes Services Ltd when it comes to keeping your forklift working reliably. Whether you just have one trusty workhorse or a whole fleet spread across several different sites, you can trust Radnes Services Ltd to keep it working as dependably as possible.

For hiring, buying, or maintaining a fork lift, Croyden Surrey businesses choose Radnes Services Ltd – and you should too.


Material handling and the Covid-19 pandemic

It is no surprise that the global pandemic has changed a lot of things across the world, in both our personal and professional lives. We have all been spending more time indoors, and those of us who go out to work have found new pressures and demands.

The impact has been felt especially strongly in certain sectors of the business world, with one of these being the material handling industry.

One may wonder why exactly the pandemic has caused such a sea change in the material handling industry. With skyrocketing needs that must be met, the sudden pressure has seen the industry struggling to meet demand.

Pandemic shopping habits

A leading reason for this spike in pressure is the increased demand for online shopping. Online shopping has been growing increasingly over the past twenty years, but this is the first time it has been widely essential for the general public.

Usually, most people will have split their shopping between the high street and buying online. However, since March 2020, this has become, at times, impossible. With the high street closing up during lockdowns and many unable to leave their houses due to shielding, pandemic online shopping has peaked, especially with sites like Amazon.

Increased online presence

As well as people ordering from established giants such as Amazon, many other shops that were perhaps not as prevalent in the online sphere have had to make the leap. This means hiring and training new workers in material handling so that demand can be met and smaller businesses can keep their doors open – if only virtually for the time being.

Shops that perhaps did not require warehouses before are now branching out and increasing the need for material handling. This industry has become a vital component of the “new normal” as we turn more and more to online solutions.

Warehousing requirements

People have been spending a lot more time ordering online, with Amazon warehouses busier than ever before. Warehousing demand has grown and grown over the past 12 months – which means more workers are needed in order to meet the needs placed on the eCommerce sector.

The material handling industry ensures that warehouses can get stock moved safely and keep the areas orderly for a quicker, cleaner turnaround. Ensuring that warehouses can meet the demands placed on them, fully trained and experienced material handling professionals are essential workers as they help warehouses to meet the demands which seem to only be growing as time goes by.

Hygiene and compliance

Covid-19 has not only caused a spike in online shopping trends, it has also led to the need for a larger focus on hygiene and a reduction of staff in certain areas. This has also impacted the staff in warehouses and those in the material handling industry.

Because of social distancing regulations, there is often a need for fewer staff to be working at any time, so those who are working are required to be fully trained and able to put in as much work as possible.

Having the correct equipment is also of vital importance – if a warehouse does not have enough heavy lifting equipment, this makes it harder to reach the higher targets set by changing consumer trends. For example, warehouses may need to increase the amount of forklift trucks that they have onsite, either temporarily as the pandemic goes on, or permanently if these customer trends continue in the future.

Meeting rising demand

As demand continues to rise, the material handling industry is integral to warehouses in a plethora of ways. With the eCommerce industry seeking more flexibility in supply chains and requiring more highly customised (and customisable) equipment and services.

Material handling offers essential support when it comes to the transportation of supplies and finished goods, the storage of stock, and even the distribution of both materials and goods across the country and beyond. With online shopping looking set to grow, material handling is becoming more and more innovative in order to meet the unique needs of each company.

How Radnes can help

With over forty years of experience, Radnes is a family run business which offers innovative and reliable solutions for those who need to hire, buy or repair forklift trucks.

With the increased usage of forklifting equipment, you may find that your trucks require more maintenance than usual, or that you simply need to hire more for busy periods. We will even advise you on the best forklift trucks to buy so that your purchase suits your business needs. If you are hiring new staff, we can supply you with training for the forklift trucks, and carry out safety inspections for your peace of mind.

Based near Croydon, Radnes is ready to meet the forklifting needs in the South East of England, all at a very competitive price for our reliable, friendly services.

If you have found your business struggling with Covid and handling, get in touch with Radnes to find out how we can help you to rise up and meet the new pressures that have come along with this far from average year.

RTITB Releases New Free eLearning Course in the Combat of COVID

Health and safety is a crucial part of our industry, particularly when it comes to forklift safety, as heavy machinery is not something to be taken lightly. And so, needless to say, when the COVID pandemic came around, it brought with it many challenges. Forklift truck training has always required a large element of personal interaction, with a proportion of training courses occurring inside a classroom so an RTITB certified instructor could teach the essentials.

With the classroom environment deemed too risky by the government, and with the model of external instructors travelling to provide the training presenting its own risks, it looked as though either a potential halt in training and therefore work or a further spread of the virus were inevitable. However, in a positive turn of events, the RTITB has released a brand new and free eLearning course to help reduce the risk during lift truck training. Though, in such uncertain times as these, this may leave you with some questions. Let’s take a closer look at these below.

Who are the RTITB?

The Road Industry Transport Board (RTITB) are the leading standards-setting body in workplace transport training, having provided training to well over one million people in the country, while over 100,000 delegates are trained to their standards every year. The  RTITB provides a plethora of instructor training courses in addition to its health-checking services, and the board’s rigorous standards ensure that all training provided by themselves and those they have accredited is the safest and most effective training possible. More information can be found on their website at https://www.rtitb.com/.

What is the new eLearning course?

The new eLearning course is designed for use by those who will be providing forklift truck training and covers all of the necessary bases that training providers will need to keep in mind, such as how to effectively communicate safety to their trainees and how best to deliver the theoretical and practical training. Most importantly, it looks at how to establish whether training is essential, and takes a look at the HSE hierarchy of controls. These are a set of measures which organisations should apply to promote the highest level of safety, meaning that, in the current climate, face to face contact should be limited.

What does this mean for us?

Thanks to this eLearning course, forklift truck training can still go ahead in warehouses across the country, without the need for incurring an unnecessary risk of infection by having external instructors travel to different worksites. Furthermore, it provides free, relevant and faceless training that will allow trainers to provide updated and effective instruction that is relevant to the times. It will also decentralise the training by allowing independent instructors to provide support without compromising the quality of the course, and by being only 30-minutes long, it will ensure training can be provided quickly as well as safely.

Why was this needed?

Forklift truck driving provides an essential service to warehouse operations, ensuring that operations run smoothly and efficiently, which in the current climate is absolutely vital. Due to the pandemic, work has been at times completely delayed, and at others, it has been made more difficult by thinned workforces due to self-isolation. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we ensure rigorous safety standards are upheld, not only to prevent any risks of infection but also to prevent any hazards or workplace accidents that may put further strain on our workforces. Thanks to this course’s impact on forklift truck training, this essential part of warehouse operations can continue without posing an unnecessary risk to any workers involved in the process.

What does this mean for Radnes?

This course will prove useful not only for in-house training but also for training providers. Through employing the use of the RTITB’s new eLearning course, our certified staff can continue to provide the highest quality of training during novice, instructor, and refresher courses, ensuring that all training falls within these rigorous guidelines while also remaining safe during the pandemic period. Thanks to the digitisation of training outlines, we are able to provide high-quality training that is strictly in keeping with the latest in forklift safety policies.

So if your business requires forklift truck training in line with the RTITIB’s strict standards, while also adhering to strict COVID safety guidelines, get in touch with Radnes to find out more about our services.

How the rise in online shopping can affect your warehouse equipment needs

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, for a number of reasons. We’d like to start by wishing you a very Merry Christmas and hope that this difficult year ends with a happy festive period for you. We also hope you will have a healthy and prosperous 2021. One of the many things that have happened in 2020 is that online shopping has skyrocketed. While this means warehouses, order fulfillment centers, and all manner of other logistics businesses are making good money, it has placed enormous strain on their infrastructure. With this demand not seeming to end any time soon as we go into an uncertain 2021, it’s imperative that you invest in quality warehouse equipment to meet it.

What do you actually need?

Radness Pallet truck

Electric pallet trucks

When efficiency improvements are required, you can look no further than electric pallet trucks. They provide the same function as a normal pallet truck, but with the added benefit of an electric battery and motor. These two things make raising and lowering the pallet, as well as moving the pallet truck itself, easy thanks to the electrical assistance. Electric pallet trucks generally offer higher weight limits than their manual counterparts too, which means your operators will be able to move even heavier loads without sacrificing efficiency. If you invest in an extra battery you won’t have to think about downtime either – most electric pallet trucks are designed with quick-swap battery systems, allowing your operators to swap in a charged battery in a matter of moments.

Manual pallet trucks

Manual pallet trucks have been in constant use throughout warehousing and logistic organisations for many years, and they will continue to be so. If you’re thinking primarily about your budget, you will find it goes the furthest when looking at manual pallet trucks. The downside is that you won’t have quite so much assistance in operation for your employees as you would get from an electric pallet truck. The real sensible thing to do is invest in a mix of manual pallet trucks and electric ones too, to ensure you always have the right pallet truck available to suit your needs as they arise.

Order pickers

Order pickers look similar to pallet trucks, but they are generally designed to be ride-on pieces of equipment. They fulfill a simple, yet essential role by transporting the operator to where the relevant order is stored, and using the picking platform to carry that order through to be processed and shipped. They can also be used in the reverse process to help store inbound stock. Order pickers make the transportation of heavier items much easier and more efficient, which can be a considerable benefit when you’re trying to process as many orders as possible throughout a regular working day.

Reach trucks

Reach trucks, as the name implies, are designed to reach orders stored in high places. If you’re maximising the usable space in your warehouse by having floor to ceiling shelving and order storage, a reach truck becomes a truly invaluable piece of equipment. They can be purchased in various reach height and weight limits, depending on your requirements. With a skilled operator, they can greatly increase your overall operational efficiency.

Quality matters now more than ever

Whatever kind of warehouse equipment you’re going to be investing in, it’s essential that you choose the best possible quality you can afford. It may even take a little more upfront investment than you were anticipating, but the benefits will be considerable. As we go into 2021 the demand placed on fulfillment and logistics centers is not likely to let up – rolling Covid restrictions are not going anywhere for the foreseeable future, which means more and more people are going to continue relying on online shopping. As such, you need to be able to meet that demand on a consistent basis, which requires reliable equipment. We’re proud to be an official CAT dealer, and the range of warehouse equipment CAT offers can provide the very things you’re looking for – usability, versatility, and of course reliability. In a busy warehousing environment, you need equipment that you can keep running on a rolling 24-hour basis if necessary, without having to worry about factoring in unscheduled downtime due to mechanical problems and breakdowns. CAT equipment offers that peace of mind.

Contact us to help choose your range

If you’re interested in investing in quality warehouse equipment to see your business through the complex and ever-changing demands 2021 is sure to bring, all you have to do is contact us. A consultation with our friendly and experienced team can give you some valuable insight into the warehouse equipment you need, and we can offer you a flexible range of purchasing options to suit your budget. Customer service and quality warehouse equipment are what we provide.

Combilifts Combi-CS wins International Award - Radnes Services

Combilift’s Combi-CS wins International Forklift of the Year Award

Many congratulations to Combilift who have won the International Forklift of the Year Award (IFOY) for the Combi-CS pedestrian counterbalance stacker forklift.

The IFOY Awards are one of the most prestigious and keenly contested international awards in the materials handling industry. The Combi-CS has won the Warehouse Truck Lowlifter Category. This is the second win for Combilift in recent weeks with the Combi-CBE4 having won the 2020 Red Dot Design Award for the Combi-CBE4.

The Award-Winning Combi-CS

The Combi-CS is the only pedestrian counterbalance stacker that will operate in a conventional reach truck aisle for space saving and productive storage and handling. It features Combilift’s unique, internationally patented and award winning multi- position tiller arm which can be turned to the left or right of the unit to position the rear drive wheel, allowing the operator to remain in the safest position – at the side of the machine rather than at the rear as is the case with other pedestrian stackers. This ensures optimum visibility of the load and surroundings as well as guaranteeing maximum safety in areas where other personnel or members of the public may be present.

Taking it all in – A ceremony online!

Of course, whilst previous years have meant a gala ceremony for the awards night, currently such an event is not possible. But that didn’t mean that anyone needed to miss out.

The organisers rolled out the virtual red carpet for the winners on the Internet on July 13th 2020 at www.ifoy.org.

IFOY founder and Executive Chairperson of the IFOY Jury Anita Würmser said: “Special times require special solutions and this year’s IFOY Awards were dedicated to the best innovations in intralogistics and moreover to the people who make intralogistics happen.”

Watch the online acceptance and join in celebrating Combilifts moment here:

If you’d like to find out more about this or any of the other forklifts in Combilifts range then get in touch today with a member of our friendly team.

Combilift Counterbalance Forklifts - Radnes Services

Safer Long Load Handling With Combilift Forklifts – Working Indoor & Outdoor

Handling long loads can be a headache – and a potentially dangerous one.

Manoeuvring long packs of steel, timber or aluminium for example in busy manufacturing facilities, through access doors and around obstacles can pose all sorts of risks. Trying to solve this by using a couple of counterbalance forklifts at either end of a load is definite no-no from a health and safety point of view and travelling with elevated loads to avoid obstacles in the yard or warehouse is deemed to be hazardous practice too.

So instead of relying on trucks with limited manoeuvrability, specialist solutions in the form of Combilift’s multidirectional models are the solution. As a Combilift dealer, we are pleased to offer these great forklifts.

Designed specifically for the challenges of long and bulky loads, they combine the advantages of a counterbalance forklift, sideloader and narrow aisle truck in one machine to ensure safe as well as space saving and efficient handling.

The very low centre of gravity and integrated platform provides a stable, low level base for resting loads on during transportation and with the cab mounted to the side of the mast, the operator has a clear view of the load. 4-way ability enables quick change of the wheel direction to enable sideways travel in confined spaces or though doorways.

Thousands of companies have ditched their conventional counterbalance fleets and replaced these with multidirectional C-Series trucks, and Combi-CB compact 4-way counterbalance design models. Whatever you need to lift and move, you can reduce the risks with a Combilift truck – designed first and foremost with safety in mind.

See the Combi-C-Series and Combi-CB in operation

Find your perfect Combilift Counterbalance Forklift truck with Radnes

Whatever you are looking for, we’ve got the perfect forklift for you. We can supply these great Combilift fork trucks to help you and your business get moving. Get in touch today to find out more.

Radnes Services - Working through Covid-19

How we are working at Radnes Services through the Covid-19 pandemic

We hope that you and your families are safe and well.

Here at Radnes Services we have been working hard to ensure that we can still offer a service to our customers when they need it the most.

Whilst times are tough for many businesses, we know that many in our industry are seeing a peak of demand right now. If you are in logistics for the NHS, food supply or delivery then you and your business is needed now more than ever.

If this is your business then we are here to help. Our short term hire is perfect for any kind of peak and we can supply you with additions to your fleet that will see you through this time. Whatever you need to do more of in your business, we have the fork truck to help. Get in touch now to speak to our friendly team about how we can help you out.

As well as increasing capacity, where businesses are running it is vital to ensure that your fleet is in top condition. The BITA and the FLTA have issued a joint statement which makes it clear that any servicing needed on your fork truck fleet must be carried out at this time.

Health and Safety is paramount, and whilst restricted access to sites and social distancing is part of the efforts when it comes to Covid-19, it is clear that necessary maintenance and servicing must still take place.

We have adapted our servicing so that we can ensure that we are able to attend onsite with our customers, whilst also keeping them and our staff safe. If you need help with servicing or maintenance at this time then please do get in touch. We can talk to you about how we are taking steps to ensure that we can still carry out servicing on customer’s sites, as well as agree how this will work when we come to your business.

We continue to be here to help you and all of our customers at this tough time. Please get in touch if there is anything we can support you with.

CAT electric forklifts - Radnes Services Ltd

Electric Forklifts – Your Ultimate Guide

What are electric forklifts?

CAT electric forklifts - Radnes Services LtdIn the last few decades, electric propulsion has been the focus of huge amounts of investment and development, and for many good reasons. Electric cars are becoming more sophisticated, advanced, and affordable but it isn’t just personal and public transport that stands to benefit from the voltage revolution, as industrial vehicles and machinery like forklifts and counterbalance trucks are also prime candidates for electrification – but precisely what are the benefits for the manufacturer and, most importantly, for you the customer? How do these new models compare to more conventional diesel and LPG-powered forklifts, and what can they be used for?

To clarify, the ‘electric’ aspect of the name is referring to how the vehicles are powered, instead of their lift mechanisms which are typically still hydraulically controlled. Electric forklifts might be operated by pedals or hydrostatically, just like traditionally powered examples, and it really depends on which specific model you choose. What unites them all is the fact that instead of being powered by pistons igniting liquid, they all make use of silent but powerful electric motors.

What are the benefits of electric forklifts over other types?

For a start, there’s a much greater degree of simplicity when it comes to the inner-workings of an EV powerplant. Compared to a traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) that has a plethora of moving parts that all have to work together at once to turn fuel into motion, electric motors are extremely simple in how they operate. If a fan-belt snaps, or a water pump breaks and stops pumping coolant around a diesel engine, then the whole machine grinds to a halt, and then you’re left with a forklift out of action and a potentially costly repair bill.

There are a host of complex mechanisms and systems that an electric vehicle has no need for, which makes them much more streamlined in their design and operation. For instance, whilst a diesel engine needs a whole fuel system – a large tank to store the liquid fuel, pumps, injectors, and a heavy exhaust set-up – something like a CAT EP16-20A( C )N or similar forklift model simply needs a motor and batteries, a much more elegant solution.

Equally, transmissions are no longer needed. Electric vehicles, including road cars like the Tesla Model S or Porsche Taycan, don’t require a gearbox with multiple speeds in order to accelerate, and instead just need a differential. Transmissions are heavy, expensive, and extremely intricate pieces of engineering which they both cost a lot to produce and cost just as much to repair should things go wrong.

Electric motor drivetrains aren’t just easier for the mechanics who have to carry out maintenance on them, but they also make life a lot simple for the operator. The aforementioned lack of a transmission means that there’s no need for a clutch pedal, and no need to worry about increasing revs for an incline start.

It’s no surprise that electric vehicles, such as forklifts from CAT’s EP family, are much less harmful to the environment by a huge margin compared to a traditional fuel-burning equivalent. An electric forklift doesn’t produce CO2 emissions – in fact, they don’t emit anything at all. A diesel-burning variant not only belches out carbon dioxide but also a number of other chemical by-products, so not only do they negatively impact the atmosphere but also your local environment. This lack of emissions, noise, and fumes that can often be pretty unpleasant, makes electric forklifts ideal for industries handling food and drink such as fisheries, factories, or in supermarket warehouses to name just a few apt applications.

From a day-to-day practicality standpoint, it’s also much more cost-effective to charge up a battery pack than it is to continually refill up diesel or LPG tanks, especially as these resources become increasingly rare and increasingly expensive. Naturally, electric vehicles do still require power to charge, and that electricity does often come from powerplants that burn coal and emit CO2 themselves, but the levels of pollution overall are dramatically and indisputably lower overall for EVs.

Another thing that is notably lacking from electric motors is noise. All fuel-burning engines make a lot of noise, which is hardly surprising given how they essentially function from hundreds of small explosions per second. In a classic exotic car, that sound might be part of the sensational experience, but on a work site it can be a distracting nuisance and even potentially damaging to the hearing of employees. With no sound coming from the motor itself, electric forklifts and counterbalance trucks can help significantly reduce overall noise levels, making for a less chaotic and more focused environment.

What are they useful for?

Something that has previously been off-putting about electric propulsion, whether for public or commercial use, has been concerns about battery life. With very powerful motors, small battery packs would run out of juice extremely quick and battery packs that were big enough for a decent range would have weighed thousands of kilos. But manufacturers have moved way beyond that early stage, and now lithium ion battery technology is much more sophisticated. Charges now last for a much longer duration, and have also become far lighter, meaning that electric forklifts for sale today certainly have the endurance needed to keep powering on.

Not only are the batteries more advanced and more powerful than ever before, but it also eliminates the need to have on-site fuel tanks and other potentially risky flammable materials. Instead, only standard industrial electrical outlets can be used to charge your vehicles.

For the designers and manufacturers, electric motors and batteries are also more practical because it means they can make their products more efficient to make, which is good for both them and you. Where a traditional piston engine and drivetrain takes up a lot of room both vertically and horizontally, often in weird irregular ways, electric motors and battery packs can be packaged much lower and in a more regular shape. Not only does this make the centre of gravity lower (which aids manoeuvrability and safety) but it means they can use the same electric powertrain in other forklifts without costly redesign.

Electric propulsion is by no means the only forward-thinking piece of equipment or software that has been developed by the makers of these forklifts and counterbalance trucks. Most also come equipped with a whole shopping lift of extra tech all designed to optimise safety, operator control, and productivity. In the CAT EP range, many models come fitted with computerised systems such as RDS, which continually monitors pedal position to ensure the vehicles movements are as smooth and without jerkiness as possible, which would be especially useful when moving fragile goods and materials around warehouses.

Features such as magnetic brakes, advanced 4-wheel steering for maximum manoeuvrability in confined spaces, load-sensing self-adjusting hydraulics, are just three of many that CAT utilises to optimise the performance of its electric forklift range.

What types of industries/businesses are electric forklifts useful for?

For cars, planes, and other forms of transportation, there are some obstacles that engineers and designers are having to overcome with electric powertrains and those are long-distance range and top speed. But in the context of forklifts and other industrial machinery, these two issues really aren’t a hindrance whilst the major advantages of this type of propulsion are perfectly suited to moving and manoeuvring heavy objects.

One key strength of forklifts fitted with electric motors like the CAT Electric Forklifts EP range is their acceleration and manoeuvrability. Electric road-cars, such as the Tesla Model S, have been known to have extremely urgent acceleration and launch off the line that can embarrass supercars worth five times as much money, and there’s a reason for this. Unlike a traditional engine, electric motors can produce all of their torque immediately from zero RPM. Of course, a forklift is a piece of industrial machinery that you’re unlikely to take drag-racing on the weekend, but that instant torque is still extremely beneficial for zipping around warehouses and worksites with much greater ease.

Acceleration is useful, but how well can electric forklifts shift pallets or concrete blocks or other heavy industrial loads? Well, compared to diesel or LPG engines, electric motors produce a truly colossal amount of torque for their size, and that torque is what allows a forklift (or any load-bearing vehicle) to move heavy weights with ease. It’s this combination of acceleration and strength that makes electric propulsion a great solution to the problems a forklift or counterbalance truck needs to overcome.

When it comes to range, the development of battery technology means that the current generation of these vehicles on sale today have more than enough charge to travel a large distance around a warehouse floor, port, or manufacturing plant.

Just as their counterparts that use diesel or LPG, electric-powered forklifts have a wide and varied range of industrial uses. With a variety of models available with varying technical specifications, you could use an EV forklift in; food and drink production/distribution; warehouse operations; manufacturing; chemical plants; fisheries; moving machinery or other heavy equipment, and many other types of industry.

Electric forklifts are especially suited for indoor applications, thanks to their lack of emissions and the lack of engine noise. Not only that, but many of the CAT EP range are also compact enough to be highly manoeuvrable and smoothly operated in these confined busy environments. However, there are also models designed for larger, heavier loads, such as the EP40-50( C)(S)2, which has a more powerful motor, stronger chassis, and more durable tyres in order to achieve this extra capability.

The technology is becoming much more widespread and sophisticated, and the range of different models optimised for different tasks (as well as the optional customisation that is available) means that there is very likely an electric forklift or counterbalance truck on sale that is ready to take on whatever task you have in store for it.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you with CAT Electric Forklifts.