The role of Fork Trucks in logistics and manufacturing is probably one of the more underrated roles in the supply chain. You won’t get far with shipping or receiving product or raw materials if you do not have an easy or cost-effective way to load or unload your supplies. The cost of the man power required to replace a fork truck would likely affect many companies bottom line.
Therefore, it is important to keep these machines in proper working order.
And all the better if you can introduce innovative ways to cut costs, enhance their aesthetics and even improve upon their resistance to everyday wear and tear.
There are two innovative ways to achieve improvements in these areas. Utilize DCPD (Dicyclopentadiene) or LFI (Long Fiber Injection). Learn more about DCPD and LFI materials and processes.
Many fork trucks are manufactured with metal stamped paneling as housing for the body.
As we know with the looming tariff on Chinese steel and aluminum, the cost to produce these body panels are about to become more expensive. If ever there was a time to consider composites as a replacement to steel or aluminum, now is that time.
Both DCPD and LFI are cost cutting replacements for steel. Each process will retain similar stiffness and durability to steel, but at a lower price per part.
Freedom to design aesthetic features into your parts are severely limited using either steel or aluminum. As a result, many fork trucks end up looking “boxy”, lacking a streamlined, aesthetically pleasing look. Many manufacturers are interested in differentiating their product from everything else. Both DCPD and LFI allow manufacturers to do this. With the freedom to incorporate A and B side features into each DCPD or LFI part, manufacturers can set their brand apart with glossy finishes, the use of textures and much more complex geometry.
Resistance to Wear
Steel is a fairly durable material. But it does have some drawbacks.
It’s subject to corrosion – Eventually, if not regularly cleaned and maintained, fork trucks can begin looking old and worn relatively quickly.
It’s subject to denting – Steel and aluminum tend to dent easily. These dents are difficult to fix without causing even more damage.
LFI and DCPD neither corrodes nor dents. In fact, DCPD is known as being “virtually unbreakable”. And the polyurethane mixed with 35% glass fiber allow LFI to withstand some of the toughest impacts without denting or scarring. Also, because both DCPD and LFI are composite materials, it will not react to oxidation and cause rust. With minimal upkeep, DCPD and LFI parts will continue to look new for much longer than steel or aluminum under similar conditions.
These are just a few of the benefits of replacing steel/aluminum with DCPD or LFI parts on your Fork Trucks. DCPD has already replaced much of the steel and aluminum used on Class 8 Trucks for very similar reasons (less expensive than steel, design freedom and resistance to wear). And while LFI is not a new technology, it is one that has been perfected exclusively in North American by Romeo RIM. As we continue to explore applications, we welcome you to learn more about it.
Choosing a composite material to replace steel has many benefits and has been done with success in other markets. The increasing cost of steel will force manufacturers to look at other material options to stay competitive.
When you are ready to make the change, Romeo RIM offers complete composite solutions.
Romeo RIM has been producing LFI parts since 1999 and we are the only manufacturer of Long Fiber Injection in North America. Because of the nature of working with polymers, we are able to partner with OEM’s to produce the necessary characteristics you are looking for in a composite material. We are able to do this by adjusting the amount of filler or with the use of a blowing agent to achieve a range of characteristics you require.