ProMat 2013 Is Pro-Green

This year’s ProMat expo at Chicago’s McCormick Place is a robust, boisterous, and well-attended event, propelled by an increasingly prosperous economy and a continent compelled to be in motion.

You don’t have to look hard to see that it is also steeped in green.

I focused most of my attention to lift trucks while performing research for my upcoming article to be published in the March/April issue of Green Manufacturer on trends in low- and no-emissions forklifts. Most of the major lift trucks manufacturers have eco-friendly product offerings, such as electric forklifts, low-emissions diesel-powered forklifts that meet the EPA’s Tier IV emission standards, and improved energy efficiency overall.

Raymond Corp.’s lift truck fleet is all-electric (zero emissions). The company has worked on improving the energy efficiency of the fleet, (under the Eco-Performance umbrella) including control (ACR) and motor improvements, and has had its fleet tested by independent, ird-party United States Auto Club (USAC) to prove it. Its Swing-Reach® truck was found to use up to 40 percent less energy.

The higher energy efficiency results in less battery charging, and reduced CO2 emissions.

Hyster Co. introduced its Certified Remanufactured Program, which enhances reuse of the lift trucks. In addition, the company showcased its new powerful indoor/outdoor electric forklift, engineered to withstand outdoor applications.

Enhancing the feasibility of electric lift trucks are several rapid-rechargers, including one from Minit Charger. The rapid rechargers negate the need for time-consuming and production-disruptive battery changeouts.

Although Toyota Material Handling is not exhibiting at the show, I had the opportunity to meet with company executives who relayed that the company has not only powered up its electric fleet to near-par capacities of internal combustion engine machines, it is close to releasing its Tier IV-compliant diesel truck, and offers several low-emissions ICE-trucks as well.

Toyota also manufactures liquid natural gas (LNG)-powered lift trucks and is the only manufacturer to offer factory-installed compressed natural gas (CNG) forklifts.

You still have time to attend the show, which ends on Thursday, Jan. 24.

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