28.05.2014 | "Quality is good, enduring quality is better"

The comparison show technical innovations, but also enduring quality.

Comparing generations of the electric sideloader

FULDA / HANOVER, 19/5/2014. Whether or not an industrial truck is good is evident in everyday use. But whether or not such a truck is enduringly good can only be judged after many years or even decades. At a timber trading company in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, the latest generation of Hubtex trucks is in operation alongside Hubtex trucks from the 1990s. A direct comparison provides interesting evidence of the variety of progress made in the area of industrial trucks.

From design, dents and scratches of the yellow VQ 35 electric fourway sideloader, there is little doubt that this is an earlier model. Alongside it, the new electric multidirectional sideloader from Hubtex "gleams" in orange with modern accessories. For the timber merchant, both generations still serve their own specific purpose side by side. In fairness, it must be said that the old VQ 35 was one of the top trucks on the market in the '90s. Having said that, it is clear how much progress Hubtex has incorporated into the electric sideloaders since then.

The VQ 35, equipped with a three-stage lift mast, has a basic capacity of 3500 kg up to a lifting height of 3500 mm. The new lift masts increase the basic load bearing capacity up to a height of 5 m.. Operators describe the improved visibility as both helpful and useful.

The drive technology has been switched from DC to AC three-phase motors, which have a considerably longer lifetime and also result in fewer repairs and service costs than motors with direct current technology. The older wheel-hub motors still work with open carbon brushes and are therefore exposed to all weather conditions. The modern three-phase motors are capsuled.

At the same time as the AC drives, powerful three-phase motors were also incorporated into the lifting assemblies. These generate greater lifting speeds. 
Connections for hoses and deflection rollers situated to the side of the mast were still considered state-of-the-art in the '90s. Today, however, all moving parts of Hubtex trucks are installed behind the lift mast. This results in fewer repairs and less risk to goods and drivers: the protruding mast parts can no longer come into contact with the storage racks, thereby tearing off the hose reels for example.

In the later model, modern control technology ensures faster responses and sensitive steering. Thanks to its all-wheel steering systems, the newer truck also enables circle and diagonal driving. The older truck with its electro-mechanical steering is at a clear disadvantage here. Nevertheless, the older truck already had the benefit of driving comfort thanks to the articulated frame, even though the newer model has finer calibration.

The progress in terms of cabin design can be seen clearly: the entrance, visibility, seat position and the instruments, such as the joystick and Hubtex Information Terminal (HIT) have clearly improved significantly. There have also been advances in the vibration damping and the coordination between the driver, the driver's seat and the arrangement of the controls. However, with regard to the cabin as a workplace as well as the safety and well-being of the driver, the old Hubtex was also ahead of its time.

The progress in terms of occupational safety, which has also been driven by changes in legislation, is evidenced by the laser based bystander protection system.

By the installation of aisle recognition system based on ultrasonic sensors and transponders detect the truck autonomously, that it is in the aisle. The bystander protection system provides automatic braking of the vehicle in emergency situations within the narrow aisle. This increases safety and is compared with alternative personnel protection systems a cost-effective solution.

Another significant advance cannot be seen from the outside of the new electric multidirectional sideloaders, but certainly from the profitability assessment: the energy efficiency and performance of the new generation have improved by more than 20 percent.