Lift trucks get smarter

New technologies and usage practices can help you maximize your fleet’s productivity and longevity while reducing your carbon footprint

Toyota Industries Corp. (TICO) launched an internal combustion hybrid lift truck in the Japanese market in 2009.

By Sara Pearson Specter, Editor at Large
August 20, 2010 - MMH Editorial

Regardless of the style, lift truck suppliers are developing technologies that drive productivity improvements for users. With emissions control regulations and an increasing desire among users to be more environmental and cost-conscious about energy use, a number of trends have surfaced in the industry.

“Suppliers are looking at technology to improve productivity,” says Jeff Bowles, product marketing manager for Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America (MCFA, 713-365-1000), manufacturer, marketer and distributor of CAT, Mitsubishi and Jungheinrich lift truck brands. “Typical truck and warehouse designs, as well as regulations, can limit things like maximum truck speed, for example. So the trucks have to become smarter to become more productive.”

Developments include increased use of AC and alternative power sources, green technologies, better monitoring of fleets and outsourced maintenance. Here are five of the hottest trends in lift trucks.

About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Editor at Large

Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC ( Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery (

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