Crown Equipment Corporation has taken the next step in its entry into the internal combustion engine lift truck market with the introduction of its Class V pneumatic tire C-5. The company said this new model is designed to eliminate the frequent maintenance, excessive downtime and shortened lifespan that limit operator productivity in heavy-duty outdoor applications.
Will this message resonate with heavy construction and other markets that were hit hard by the recession and are just starting to think about reinvesting in capital equipment again? Andy Smith, marketing product manager for Crown, believes it will, despite the fact there is still a glut of equipment available to lease and rent.
“As you drive along the freeway past these rental agencies I've seen an abundance of Class V type lift trucks in their yards,” he told MH&L. “That's our challenge. It will take time [for these markets] to get out of this. But we have our brand name which helps, as well as our aftermarket support and vertical integration.”
Smith believes acceptance of the C-5 will not only grow, but it will open a door to new markets for Crown's other lines.
“We've entered a lot of new industries with this product, [approaching] companies that haven't heard of Crown,” Smith said. “So there are new opportunities for us to take our Class 1 products into these new industries and gain a stronger foothold.”
He believes brick yards provide a good showcase for the pneumatic C-5's capabilities. One of the company's test trucks was used in such an environment, and the test was whether the equipment could withstand an environment filled with sand and gravel. The owner at this site said they had trouble keeping their old lift trucks moving. They'd get stuck in the gravel and radiators would get clogged. Brake problems are also common in such environments.
“It was amazing to hear their brakes were getting clogged up every three weeks and they couldn't get the braking power they needed,” Smith explained. “Thirty days after our truck was introduced they were still clean.”
Smith added that Crown had the opportunity to develop its IC trucks with a fresh set of eyes, adding features such as on-demand cooling, which is featured on equipment used in agricultural markets.
“The unique challenges of indoor and outdoor heavy-duty applications require a different type of forklift than what the market has grown accustomed to using,” said Jim Dicke III, Crown's president. “The breakthrough features of the C-5 will change a pneumatic forklift operator's expectation for performance and productivity.”