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IFOY 2018 finalists: Special of the year


Thursday, 5 Apr 2018 ( #867 )
News Story
Forkliftaction News ends its analysis of the finalists in the 2018 International Forklift of the Year with a look at the finalists in the Special (product) of the Year category.

SLH 300
Jungheinrich SLH 300
With the SLH 300 combi chargers, Jungheinrich offers a unique charging platform - with chargers in 24 V, 48 V and 80 V and capacities from 15 to 320 A - for conventional lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries. The same device can be used without any intervention to charge different batteries optimally.
A special module is installed on the battery for perfect communication. It communicates with the charger via DC bus technology. Therefore, an additional cable is not necessary and communication is carried out (via its own frequency) over the standard power cable of the battery.
In addition, sensors are installed on the battery to monitor temperature and electrolyte level.
Once the battery is connected to the charger, it detects the battery, its capacity and voltage. The charger also registers the optimum charging characteristics for the connected battery. Since the different charging characteristics are stored in the charger's memory, only a minimum amount of information needs to be transmitted.
If, for any reason, the connected battery is not detected, the charging process cannot be started and a warning message appears on the display. This prevents faulty and damaging charging.
The chargers have a constant current of 300 amps over the entire charging range, even at peak values during charging (when the voltage is temporarily higher than 24 V). This is essential for the intermediate charging of lithium-ion batteries, as rapid charging of up to 85% is guaranteed.
The new SLH 300 series includes several models, from a compact 24 V/15 A charger to an 80 V/170 A charger. The chargers have a modular design and can therefore be fully adapted to the specific application requirements. They have the same base size and are also visually identical.  
The SLH 300 combi charger is ideal for companies that use a mixed battery fleet (and perhaps want to switch to Li-ion technology in the future). This means that it is not necessary to invest in several chargers or - when switching to lithium-ion batteries at a later date - to invest in new chargers.
In addition, the chargers also offer energy efficiency which, with a value of more than 90 percent, is among the best in the market. Compared to the competition, the devices are also cheaper than the market price, which leads to an optimal price-performance ratio according to the supplier.
IFOY test verdict:
With the new SLH 300 platform, Jungheinrich offers a worry-free, easy-to-use plug & play solution for charging lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. The battery module turns the battery into an intelligent device; all important data is simply transferred to the charger via the standard power cable. The result: more intelligence, more performance and individual configuration while avoiding misuse or misloading. The platform thus forms a stable basis for the future.


MULTIplus
Schulte Lagertechnik MULTIplus
The MULTIplus shelves from Gebr. Schulte may not look special at first glance. However, this does not diminish the fact that the user benefits are great. The racks make it possible to increase the storage density by more than 30% compared to conventional shelving. The secret lies in the construction of the shelves in combination with the lateral frames.
Thanks to the unique construction, the shelves are thinner than conventional solutions. While most shelves on the market are 40 mm thick, the Gebr. Schulte variant with a load capacity of 150 kg has a thickness of only 25 mm.
Since the shelf grids of the racks also have a distance of 25 mm, the shelves can be fixed at any height. The empty space on the shelf is thus reduced to a minimum.
Although the shelves are thinner than those of most competitors, the amount of steel used is similar due to the deeper internal profile. The purchase price per shelf is therefore comparable. The final investment per square metre is somewhat higher, as more shelves can be placed in the same area. However, these additional costs always outweigh the much higher costs that would otherwise be necessary to store the same quantity of articles in a larger area.
The MULTIplus family has four types of shelving with load capacities of 85,150, 250 and 330 kg and thicknesses of 25,25 and 40 mm. The racks can be used to set up a four-story storage system.
Various design variants and system accessories are available so that a suitable solution can be created for every customer requirement.
IFOY test verdict:
Efficient logistics requires optimum utilisation of the available space. Particularly in the case of space-intensive or growing product ranges, for example in e-commerce, there are rarely expansion possibilities for additional shelves. With the MULTIplus family, Gebr. Schulte offers a highly interesting alternative. Due to their unique design, the thinner shelves offer a similar load-bearing capacity yet are extremely space-saving.


EASY Drive
STILL EASY Drive
At the presentation of the new OPX series order picker - also nominated for the IFOY Award - STILL introduced a newly developed ergonomic steering wheel with integrated control and display: the STILL EASY Drive.
The steering wheel operation is intuitive and comparable to that of a car. The modern design allows the user to operate the steering wheel perfectly under all circumstances. In this way, the OPX increases safety by simple means.
The steering wheel is height-adjustable and can thus be adapted to the size of the order picker. Thanks to the diagonal height adjustment, the display on the steering wheel remains clearly visible at all times.
Due to the centrally located display, the driver always has an overview of all vehicle information such as battery status and operating hours. When pressing the Blue Q button, the display also shows the remaining operating time, making it possible to work more efficiently. At the same time, the order picker also knows the approximate remaining work time.
For vehicles with masts and starter or platform lifts, STILL EASY Move ensures a particularly high level of operating convenience. The rocker switches integrated in the satellites of the steering wheel allows one to control the mast lift (proportional) and raise the platform without having to take one's hands off the steering wheel.
The STILL EASY Drive steering wheel is raised together with the platform. In this way, the user can not only take his workplace to a higher level, but also move the forklift truck. Simultaneous lifting and driving saves time and increases efficiency.
IFOY test verdict:
With the STILL EASY Drive steering wheel, STILL integrates an additional dimension into an existing steering concept. The centrally positioned display provides the operator with the necessary operating status information. Thanks to the satellites around the steering wheel, additional functions are available without having to take one's hands off the steering wheel. The shape and additional grip options of the steering wheel offer more possibilities to the driver operating the truck. As a result of the diagonal adjustment, the working angle remains the same at any working height. The steering wheel has a pleasant structure and allows intuitive operation.

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