Formula Forklift is real” says John Valentine, Director at Real Telematics., “On any given Sunday, or other days for that matter, a crowd gathers, popcorn and roasted mielies are hawked….and they’re off! The only thing missing is the starter with a colourful bandana. Or at least that’s how I would imagine it to be if it was an official race,” says Valentine.

“The truth though is that races between forklift drivers do take place, sometimes even drivers from neighbouring companies compete. Seriously, I have seen camera footage of forklifts lining up and then taking off at wheel-spinning speed in a parking lot or warehouse. Sometimes they stop with a skid and a cloud of dust, other times they can’t stop and that’s when you see the results for yourself the next day. Collapsed racking, product damage, holes through your walls, entirely new entrances, or your forklift pegged in an embankment with all wheels off the ground (all by themselves!). But of course the driver is nowhere to be found.”

“Speed is a very serious problem in most Materials Handling applications,” says Valentine, “and it’s not limited to Gas/Diesel machines. It can be any size machine and even on electric machines. Particularly Pallet Trucks that have a race all of their own called ‘Formula Doughnut.’ When we stop joking about the issue and really look into it, we find that there can be very severe ramifications. Some of these include increased Run Hours, increased fuel/battery usage, increased wear and tear on moving parts, increased tyre wear, increased shrinkage through product damage, increased racking damage, increased Insurance cover/claims and even the strong possibility of medical/funeral claims.”

“All of these reasons are why many of our customers rely on Real FMX to curb instances like this. Real FMX Alerts on over speed events, warns the driver prior to the approved limits, creates a behaviour profile and can even limit speed to the specific application maximum,” says Valentine. “With Diesel and Gas machines, traditionally such control was exercised through Governing (fuel starvation). Unfortunately this method also makes the machine very sluggish which affects the performance and then you have to Rev like crazy to get the machine to do anything. This leads to increased wear and tear, greater Run Hours, increased fuel usage etc. whereas the Real FMX method has no impact on the machine performance and merely affects the speed levels. Such an intervention is available on the vast majority of Diesel or Gas machines.”

“Electric machines however are a little different,” says Valentine. “Most of them have a setting that can limit speed. Electric machines do not have the speed capacity in most cases, of Diesel and Gas machines, but they can still speed, and some can even wheel-spin. In these cases we assist with Real FMX Alerts on over speed events, warn the driver prior to the approved limits, create a behaviour profile and even measure harsh braking and acceleration events.”

“A set of forklift tyres can easily be R 20,000, meaning that on 2,000 run hours your tyres alone can cost R 10 per hour. Real FMX assists with this by totally eliminating wheel-spin on Diesel and Gas machines with a saving of up to 49% or R 4.90 per hour. Over a typical contract (180 hrs x 60 months) this can be a saving of R 52 920. The same Transmission Protection that assists with reducing the wheel-spin simultaneously reduces wear and tear in the Gear Box with extended life cycles of 40% and more. The greatest benefit of course is that no human intervention is required, this protection is automatic.”

“A lot of companies say that limiting speed also limits productivity. While this can be true, our studies show that with correct application and management of hours, productivity can actually be better. This is because the guy who is usually the most productive is often the driver that costs you the most because of the speeds that he travels, he brakes and accelerates harder, he is more likely to hit pallets, product, racking or colleagues. All costs that you pick up while he congratulates himself on the best loading capacity. There is a very fine line between balancing Speed and Productivity and still achieving optimum cost controls.”

“In the end,” says Valentine, “there can only be one race winner. It is up to you to decide if that

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