Linde Material Handling introduces new steering concept for forklifts

Linde Material Handling (MH) introduced Linde Steer Control at its own event in Mannheim, World of Material Handling (WoMH). Behind the name is a new type of electro-hydraulic steering system that does not require a classic steering wheel. Instead, the driver’s arm rests on an armrest. He controls the truck with his left hand, via an integrated mini steering wheel or a joystick. The work in the truck becomes more relaxed and the driver then stays focused and efficient for longer.

As a human-machine interface, the forklift driver’s workplace is of particular importance. Only if the employees can operate the truck easily, simply and quickly, can the performance potential be fully utilized. “With Linde Steer Control, we have consistently developed the sophisticated operating concept for the Linde truck with 2-pedal control and Linde Load Control. The driver’s arms now both rest on an armrest. The right hand controls the mast and forks, while the left hand controls the truck through the turns. that way we can further reduce body movements and relieve the driver “, emphasizes Frank Bergmann, Product Manager Counterbalance Forklifts. He adds:” What has already been proven in excavators, cranes, railway vehicles or aircraft can also be used more and more in lifting and warehouse trucks in the future and become the industry standard. ”

Main advantage: greater ease of use
Linde Steer Control is based on steer-by-wire technology. The driver’s operating commands are converted into electrical signals and passed to the hydraulic controls. A smart safety concept guarantees safe operation of the control. The electric steering of the wheels opens up new functional possibilities: For example, the forklift driver can steer his truck even more precisely with Linde Steer Control, because the steering reacts more or less sensitively depending on the speed of the truck. If the truck moves faster, the mini steering wheel must be turned more or the joystick must be moved further to the side for a certain steering angle on the wheels. If the driver reduces the speed of the truck, the same hand movement results in a stronger steering angle.

The mini handlebar is perfectly suited for everyday use on a forklift – from driving and maneuvering to storage and retrieval. “Because of the resemblance to a conventional steering wheel, we see a steeper learning curve,” Bergmann explains. On the other hand, the joystick has another function that could have a positive effect in certain applications: When the driver releases the control element, the steering wheels automatically turn straight ahead. “In warehouses with long, narrow passages where beverage crates or rolls of paper pile up to the right and left, this is very useful and safe,” explains Frank Bergmann.

User research
In order to assess the ergonomic advantages of Linde Steer Control, Linde MH conducted a user survey in the spring together with RWTH Aachen University and fka GmbH. The focus was on the extent to which the new steering concepts reduce the driver’s body movements and lead to a reduced load on the arm and shoulder. The subjects, aged between 19 and 67, had had their forklift certificate for at least three years at the time of the study and used the forklift daily for their work. The range of motion of the shoulder, elbow and wrist was recorded with a special camera and then analyzed. The result: both the mini steering wheel and the joystick provide less joint movement in the shoulder and elbow compared to a steering wheel. “Linde Steer Control thus demonstrably contributes to more ergonomics and less strain on the driver”, sums up product manager Bergmann.

For more information:
Motrac internal transport
Rondebeltweg 51
1392 BP Almere
+31 (0) 88 7377 772

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