Design Challenge - Advanced Lift-truck Technology 2015

Alberto Seco

Alberto Seco The 4x4x4Lift is designed for rough-terrain and changing environments, such as construction sites where the surrounding area of a building is undeveloped. This mix of rough terrain and uneven ground calls for a high-performance RT forklift.

The traditional system of a duplex mast has been substituted with a central mast, reducing the obscuration zones, adding improved side visibility and enabling 4WS. Integration of the steering wheel and seat enables rotation of the cockpit up to 25° for a better view of the work. This would be especially useful on narrow areas or during approaching maneuvers.

Visibility would also be ensured by 6.5m2 of glazing and a complete set of working lights for operation in reduced visibility areas. Permanent LEDs are included as a daytime safety feature. The shape of the hood is also designed to improve rear visibility by creating a tunnel through the counterweight without compromising the overall shape of the hood.

Traction would be provided by four equal-sized tires moved by equal steering axles. The use of large rear tires improves rearward movements on rough terrain and allows for use of a smaller counterweight as the rear axle and wheels will contribute with their higher weight.

Outstanding stability would not be provided just by the equal-sized tires, as the crab-steering option would offer the ability to cope with difficult situations. Unbalanced loads due to a higher weight on either side could be balanced by steering the four wheels in the same direction, opposing the unbalance by displacing the engine and counterweight to the other side, and preventing any adverse dynamic effects. Crab steering also reduces the influence of gravity when working on hillsides.

A steering mechanism between the mast and the forks turns the equipment into a flexible tool for leaving or lifting a load on a flat area, regardless of the uneven ground under the tires. This feature would also allow auto-leveling of the load when working on slopes for added safety, turning the forklift into a hillside machine.

The equal axles would provide three-modes of steering: rear steering, coordinated steering and crab steering. Rear steering mode would be indicated for traveling on flat terrain and when approaching the un/loading zones, while crab steering would provide added safety in situations such as unbalanced loads, hillside displacements or uneven terrain. Coordinated steering, with front and rear wheels turning in opposite directions, is ideal for short turns around corners (buildings or stacked materials) or when passing through tight door frames.

The design of the 4x4x4Lift concept is intended to accommodate a drivetrain based on a four-cylinder 105bhp engine with EGR, DOC, DPF and SCR; this would fulfill the forthcoming EU Stage V. Engine parts are easily and safely accessible by means of an electrohydraulic engine hood that tilts around the air filter by the cab, while batteries, fuel tanks and anti-pollution systems are placed in the central side areas.

With lifting capacities of up to 6 tons and lifting heights up to 4.25m, the 4x4x4Lift concept could be fitted with several accessories – from forks to buckets or hooks.

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Alberto Seco

Alberto Seco has been involved in design projects from cell phones to heavy equipment. After a spell at an Italian design consultancy and as an industrial designer, he now works in the auto sector






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