Testing was recently concluded in Hannover, Germany for the 2018 International Forklift of the Year. Forkliftaction News
was among the judges and we are pleased to be able to share the detailed results of the testing over the next few weeks. We begin with the judges' findings for two nominees in the Counterbalance Truck category.
According to BYD, the ECB50 is an important contribution to climate improvement. The 5 T electric forklift offers a clean alternative to applications where, until recently, the internal combustion engine, especially diesel forklifts, were the only option.
In addition to a high lifting force, if continuous operation is required, diesel forklifts are often used. If the customer wishes to have a zero-emission forklift, he can opt for an electric forklift truck, but a replacement battery is required for continuous operation.
Equipped with a lithium-ion battery, the ECB50 makes it easier to recharge the truck and eliminates the need for an expensive exchange battery. The largest battery on the market available for this truck has a capacity of 810 Ah. This is suitable for average operation (with a single charge) of 6.5 hours in the most productive H mode. In the more economical L mode, an operating time of up to nine hours is possible. The performance of the BYD ECB50 is on par in almost every respect to IC trucks in the class.
A big advantage is the fast charging time of the lithium-ion-phosphate battery. The battery can be fully charged in just 2.5 hours with the appropriate 300 amp charger. This means that multi-shift operation is also possible without intermediate loading. In addition to the 810 Ah charger, BYD also supplies the new power pack with a 540 Ah battery. For both batteries, the manufacturer specifies a service life of eight years or 10,000 hours, whereby a minimum capacity of 65% is guaranteed at the end of this period. In addition to the 300 A charger, a 200 A charger is also available.
The Chinese manufacturer claims to offer an effective solution at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) on the market. According to the manufacturer, the savings compared to a 16-hour leasing contract for five years amounts to EUR38,000 (USD47,200). With outright purchase (and a term of 10 years), the saving amounts to more than EUR75,000 (USD93,200).
Providing a green and affordable alternative to the traditional combustion market was clearly more important than developing a modern design. The shape of the ECB50 is classic and angular, but it has the required safety features and offers the driver sufficient comfort. Apart from the bright colour display and the electro-hydraulic parking brake, the test truck was very simple. However, numerous options are available, such as hill assist, dual pedals, joystick control of mast functions and steering synchronisation. What's more, the impressive-looking truck is surprisingly smooth and easy to operate. The stability is convincing and the materials used are resistant under harsh conditions. The welds are still clearly visible, but this is often the case with a handmade pre-series model.IFOY test verdict:
The BYD ECB50 has been developed in line with the market and is based on almost all average values of this class. The truck feels and works remarkably stable and its performance is a realistic alternative to combustion engine trucks. Only the finish deserves more attention. As with the smaller models from the Chinese manufacturer, the lithium-ion phosphate battery and the corresponding quick charger are the main strengths. The calculated savings can be realised, as well as the maintenance of the battery and the truck can be reduced to a minimum.
STILL RX 20
STILL recently introduced the completely renewed electric forklift. The newcomer is more compact, precise and ergonomic. It offers better performance and is equipped with intelligent assistance systems. The new RX 20 series has a total of 13 variants and is designed for loads from 1.4 to 2 T with a load centre of gravity of 500 mm.
The truck has a completely new drive module that integrates two enclosed, maintenance-free three-phase AC traction motors with active cooling and a new generation of inverters. The result is high and reliable performance, even on ramps.
The user can choose between energy efficiency and maximum handling capacity at the touch of a button. In this way, the truck always delivers the performance required for a particular application. The speed, acceleration and electrical braking characteristics can also be set as required for each travel program when changing direction.
In the case of four-wheelers, a combo-swivel axle makes it easy to drive in narrow aisles. The aisle width of the three-wheelers can be up to 29 mm narrower than that of their predecessors. The gain in space for the four-wheel electric forklifts is 171 mm.
The standard 48 V electric forklift can now be equipped with 625 Ah batteries in A or B circuit so that existing battery pools can be used further. New technologies such as lithium-ion batteries can also be integrated. As with the predecessor models, the quick and easy sideways battery change with a pallet truck is a great benefit for the user.
The mast was also optimised, combining smart lifting with optimum visibility. The lifting cylinders are located behind the profiles, so that the operator has a good view through and along the mast. In addition, the protective roof has been adapted for optimum all-round visibility, enabling quick and safe loading and unloading at greater heights.
Despite the compact dimensions of the RX 20, the work space offers the operator plenty of freedom of movement. The entry height has been reduced by about 60 mm, but the test team believes that it is still quite high as the step has been left out. The footwell is very spacious. The noise level of the forklift has been further reduced. Above all, the noise of the lift and steering pump is significantly quieter than before.
The newly developed display and control unit, STILL EASY Control, offers a colour graphical display with automatic brightness control. The display provides the driver with all necessary information at a glance, such as driving speed, mast tilting, battery status and power consumption. A direction indicator on the display increases handling performance and safety.
Numerous additional functions, such as the display's stability status and speed reduction when the forks are raised, increase safety and contribute to precise load handling. The tilting angle of the fork is also visible. The operator can automatically select a horizontal fork position at the push of a button.IFOY test verdict:
According to the test team, the STILL RX 20 is the new benchmark in this popular segment. The truck is incredibly quiet, smooth and easy to operate. The all-round visibility is good and the working area is generous for such a compact truck. The STILL EASY Control display also sets standards. Energy efficiency and productivity are perfectly combined. The Li-Ion battery offers easy maintenance and the possibility of intermediate charging. With the large 931 Ah Li-Ion battery, almost 14 hours of maximum operation and 18 hours in eco mode are possible.