Innovative determining factors for safety and ergonomics

STILL focuses on safety and assistance systems at the CeMAT trade fair

STILL GmbH presents its total competence regarding intralogistics to the international public again at the CeMAT 2018 trade fair. This year, the Hamburg based industrial truck specialist’s trade fair appearance will focus, inter alia, on the themes of safety, security and ergonomics. STILL will show industry visitors how faster, safer load handling can take place by using smart safety and assistance systems and how drivers can work fatigue-free and productively thanks to these systems.

[Translate to United Kingdom (English):] Thanks to STILL EASY Drive, the user can not only grasp the steering wheel perfectly in all driving situations, but is also able to operate all the functions intuitively, even while steering and driving.

Thomas A. Fischer, Managing Director Sales, Marketing and Service (CSO) at STILL, says “For STILL, innovations are not just trucks and solutions, although of course we will also present them in our well-established CeMAT pavilion. On this occasion we also want to show users the many small determining factors that bring the areas of safety, security and ergonomics a big step forward in practice. In addition to economic efficiency and productivity, they are exactly the points that are becoming increasingly important to our customers.”

For example, ergonomics and safety play a decisive role in STILL EASY Drive. This involves a man-machine interface developed specifically for the OPX model series of horizontal order pickers and launched onto the market for the first time in 2017. The ergonomic steering wheel with optional height adjustment and integrated display and operating unit has a unique contour. Thanks to the latter, the user can not only grasp the steering wheel perfectly in all driving situations, but is also able to operate all the functions intuitively, even while steering and driving – and also with just one hand if necessary. As Fischer explains: “That’s how STILL uses quite simple means to increase the safety of an entire range of models.”

Depending on the truck and equipment variants, the steering wheel of the OPX model range presented in the autumn of 2017 is also equipped with switch paddles. In addition to the drive control switch and initial lift, these paddles are used to operate other hydraulic functions safely and above all ergonomically. These STILL EASY Move switch paddles are located directly on the steering wheel and are easy to reach without any change of grip.

Precision and performance have been the trademarks of all STILL trucks for as long as the company has existed. An integrated display and operating unit, again newly developed, that came onto the market with the RX 20 electric truck presented in January this year, not only functions as the communications centre of STILL’s newly issued bestseller but also as a safety centre. The fully graphic colour display with automatic brightness adjustment is protected by a scratch-free surface. At a single glance the driver not only sees all the driving parameters, e.g. driving speed, tilt angle, battery status and energy consumption, but can also – thanks to the menu-guided control and favourites buttons – directly access the driving and lifting programs, battery residual charge display and many other functions. And can do it even when wearing work gloves, which not only underlines this innovation’s precision but also provides additional performance and safety.

Numerous assistance functions already proven in the market, e.g. an on-screen stability status display and speed reduction when the fork carriage is raised, not only increase safety but also ensure precise load handling and thus automatically give higher performance.

Modelled on the automobile industry, safety and assistance systems are now increasingly important and indispensable in the whole industrial truck sector – as they also are for STILL. In an industrial environment, they currently make a decisive contribution to ensuring that accident risks never arise at all, or are at least considerably reduced. And they can do even more. Thomas A. Fischer: “The economic efficiency and productivity of industrial trucks can be significantly increased with the help of innovative safety and assistance systems. In our view it’s one more reason why these systems are in ever greater demand.”

In the sector, STILL is one of the pioneers in using assistance systems. One prime example is the STILL Curve Speed Control, which was already brought onto the market 15 years ago with the RX 50 model range of electric trucks, where it has successfully proved itself. Because safety and assistance systems will acquire ever-increasing importance in the future, STILL’s development engineers constantly work on novel, innovative solutions.

Active Load Stabilisation (ALS) is one of these. It is used on FM-X reach trucks and on the MX-X narrow aisle truck that was also presented in 2017. Hydraulic controls are used to reduce mast sway by up to 90% when moving goods into and out of storage, especially at great heights. The MX-X achieves this based on intelligently controlling the push-out speed, taking mast tilt, lift height and load weight into account. The FM-X, on the other hand, quickly and effectively stops the oscillations that occur at great heights by means of a balancing impulse. According to Thomas A. Fischer: “The result is definitely something to be proud of. Simply by using ALS, the operator achieves up to 5% higher handling performance when moving goods into and out of storage.”

Active Floor Compensation (AFC) is another of the STILL company’s innovative safety and assistance systems that will be presented to the public for the first time at the CeMAT 2018 trade fair. AFC ensures that floor irregularities are no longer a problem when using narrow aisle trucks. According to Thomas A. Fischer: “This assistance system represents safety, higher efficiency and greater ergonomics, and offers customers a real alternative to the costly production of a floor that is suitable for a narrow aisle warehouse.”

The assistance system intervenes only when the truck is driven in a narrow aisle, where the AFC records height differences between the respective load wheel tracks. The load wheels are adjusted to floor irregularities in real time depending on the difference between the two measured heights, so the truck chassis is constantly kept horizontal and the lift mast always vertical. Due to the particularly fast processors used in the AFC system, the latter responds without any delay, even at maximum driving speed. Thomas A. Fischer explains: “Whereas other systems merely dampen the lateral swaying of the lift mast and cabin, our Active Floor Compensation prevents the swaying. This mode of action is unique in the market up to now!”

STILL reach trucks also have an optical lift height sensor. Among other things this module, which is so far unique in the market, limits the final lift or switches the truck to creep speed immediately when the forks are raised. Moreover, the built-in EASY Target function implements automatic lift height preselection when moving goods into and out of storage. All of this contributes decisively to easing the driver’s workload, and thus also to increased safety and productivity in the warehouse.

STILL also gives high priority to efficiency and safety in this combination. This is emphasised for example by the Dynamic Load Control (DLC) as used in the EXV model range. The estimated load weight and associated maximum lift height are shown in the reach truck’s display. At the same time, the current lift height is visible in parallel at any time via the load-carrying capacity indicator on the mast.

Furthermore, the extended variant (DLC 2) includes a load-carrying capacity indicator in the display. With the DLC 3, the driver is even warned both visually and audibly if the nominal or residual weight capacity is exceeded. An automatic lift switch-off, which can be bypassed, is activated if the permissible nominal or residual weight capacity is exceeded.

A STILL lift mast for which a patent has been filed promises good visibility at all times on counterbalance trucks. The STILL EASY View lift mast contributes to significantly greater safety during load handling and in the truck’s working area, since it enables an unobstructed view of the forks when moving goods into and out of goods trucks and containers, and even better visibility vis-à-vis other trucks and pedestrians.

Thomas A. Fischer says: “The use of a very wide variety of new and already proven safety and assistance systems in STILL’s trucks show that our company is also ideally positioned for the future in this area. Our engineers remain on the ball to develop further innovative solutions in the interests of safety and ergonomics for our customers in the future as well.”