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Nissan Forklifts impress the QLD timber industry

Powerlift Nissan forklifts replace Toyota forklifts after 20 years

It’s not everyday that a leading Australian manufacturer opts for a different brand of forklift, but when the incumbent brand of forklift has had the business for well over twenty years it’s even rarer.

With a manufacturing capacity of over 2 million square metres of plywood and decorative timber products annually and distribution centres throughout Australia and New Zealand, the company rellies heavily on a fleet of forty four forklift trucks to handle their lifting needs.

According to Powerlift Nissan’s Queensland Sales Manager, Gary Wilkinson, the timber industry puts handling equipment to the test more so than most other industries as it’s used at or near its limit day-in and day-out.

“The timber industry is renowned for working their forklifts hard and generally look to get between 7,000 and 10,000 hours out of them at their distribution centres, while at the timber mills they’d be lucky to get half of that due to the extremely harsh working environment.

“With forklifts being such an integral part of their business, when the time comes to replace them the decision is not taken lightly, as was the case recently at their Brisbane Distribution Centre.

“For over 20 years the customer had relied on Toyota forklifts, but after continued issues with exhaust emissions spoiling stock in the warehouse they decided to take a look at what other manufacturers had to offer.

“According to the Distribution Manager, the Toyota forklifts had done what was expected of them but their engine technology had remained pretty much unchanged since they bought them just over four years ago, so they couldn’t really offer them an acceptable solution.

“After discussions with several forklift companies it became clear to them that Powerlift Nissan was in a unique position to be able to supply and support a product that met all their needs in terms of technology, performance, design and features.

“Nissan’s 1F Series 3 tonne forklifts delivered pretty well exactly what they were looking for. The 1F’s electronic fuel injection engine management technology gave them the option of LPG or diesel, while our unique range of options enabled them to improve productivity and safety, plus they were competitively priced.

“Naturally head office was a little nervous at the prospect of moving from a tried and tested brand of forklift to a brand that was unknown to them, but at the end of the day I was able to demonstrate that the Nissans were the better option – offering better value for money and better support.

“Based on my recommendations the customer ordered five 1F Series 3 tonne Nissan forklifts, four LPG powered for use in Brisbane and one diesel powered for use at their facility in Melbourne. And since delivery it’s safe to say that everyone has been more than impressed with their performance.

“I’m in regular contact with the customer and the drivers and the feedback has only been positive. They are extremely impressed with the Nissan’s electronic fuel injection system as it’s producing excellent fuel economy, while their 3 way catalytic muffler system has dramatically reduced noise and exhaust emissions in the warehouse resulting in a vastly improved working environment and no soot damage to stock.

“In addition to this the drivers have found the Nissans to be far more user friendly to operate than the old forklifts, often commenting that they love the comfort and that they find them a lot less tiring to operate and far less jarring on their bodies.

“Another interesting aspect has been improved safety and operational availability. With the Nissans their auto shut-off function ensures that both the forklift and mast movement stops in the event of the driver leaving the seat, while the digital weight gauge has taken all the guesswork out of load weights.

“The clear roofing on the Nissans make them pretty well all-weather forklifts and after three straight months of rain in Brisbane earlier in the year this feature really minimised downtime, enabling them to maintain productivity.

“From an engineering point of view everything to do with maintenance on the Nissan forklifts has impressed them; engine access for oil changes for example is excellent, while the gas bottles are easily removed and replaced.

“Another great strength of the Nissans is that they offer a range of options to maximise performance, in this case the customer opted for dual wheels to cope with their heavy loads and had side-shifting fork positioners fitted that the drivers can adjust with a touch of a button – whereas before they’d have to get off the forklift and manhandle them into place, which saves them time and makes for a safer work place.

“I’ll be the first to admit that they work their forklifts hard, harder probably than most other industries, as their’s work flat out all day lifting loads that are pretty close to the 3 tonne limit - but the Nissans are built and supported to handle the job without a problem,” Gary said.