International Forklift of the Year awards revealed

by MM&D Online Staff

Hannover/ Unterföhring, Germany—BYD, Crown, Jungheinrich and SSI Schäfer won the prestigious IFOY Awards in five categories. The awards for 2016 were presented at the beginning of the CeMAT trade show in Germany.

Winners were selected from among 13 trucks and solutions that reached the finals of the international “Intralogistics Oscars”.

“In the final round of the world’s leading industrial trucks and intralogistics solutions, the candidates impressed the jury above all with their innovative features and customer benefits. At the end of the process, victory was decided by the proverbial hair’s breadth”, said Anita Würmser, executive chairperson of the IFOY Jury during the award ceremony.

The BYD team wins the “Counter Balanced Truck up to 3.5 t” category with the BYD ECB18C.

In a tight finish, victory in the category “Counter Balanced Truck up to 3.5 tons” went to the 1.8-ton ECB 18C electric forklift from BYD. In the 80-volt lithium-ion stacker, the international jury selected a Chinese made-vehicle as the world’s best forklift truck of the year for the first time.

The determining factor in the decision was the overall package offered by the European-type Chinese truck in combination with the value added by the battery technology. Its iron phosphate battery is a genuine USP.

It can be recharged extremely fast, as often as needed and without memory effect, which means it can handle three-shift duty without any problem. All that needs to be done is to charge the forklift during the breaks.

 Jungheinrich wins in the category “Warehouse Truck highlifter" for the 80-Volt high rack stacker EKX 516 and in the in 2016 newly introduced category "Special Vehicle" for the EJQ 325.
Jungheinrich wins in the category “Warehouse Truck highlifter” for the 80-Volt high rack stacker EKX 516 and in the in 2016 newly introduced category “Special Vehicle” for the EJQ 325.

Jungheinrich had twofold reason to celebrate this year. The winner in the category “Special Vehicle”, part of the IFOY Award for the first time in 2016, was the EJQ 325.

The purpose-built vehicle from Jungheinrich special build design department was developed for the Deutsche Bahn rail company to permit the loading and separation of the wheel sets for the ICE trains and the wheel set changer. The solution is made up of standard components and impressed the jury above all with its precision. This kind of combination is extremely sophisticated in technical terms and has never before been realized in this form in the segment of industrial trucks.

The Hamburg-based company won its second IFOY in the category “Warehouse Truck highlifter” with the Jungheinrich EKX 516, an 80-volt highlifter brought on to the market in the spring of 2015. The man-up truck lifts loads of up to 1,600 kg to heights of 17.5 metres.

The jury named the high degree of innovation as the main reason for its choice. In the verdict, the features that make the truck a one-of-a-kind are the modular platform concept, the lightweight design, the passive load sway damping system – fitted to an NVA truck for the first time – and the synchronous reluctance motor technology, another first. The jury added that the Jungheinrich EKX impressively raises the bar in the segment of highlifters.

The Crown team wins in the "Warehouse Truck lowlifter" category with the RT 4020 stand-up rider pallet.
The Crown team wins in the “Warehouse Truck lowlifter” category with the RT 4020 stand-up rider pallet.

The IFOY Award in the category “Warehouse Truck lowlifter” went to the newly developed Crown RT 4020 forklift truck with driver platform from Crown. This vehicle is designed for demanding applications in modern logistics and can lift up to two tons.

The top speed of 12.5 km/h and a chassis width of just 780 mm makes manoeuvring in tight spaces easy, as when loading and unloading delivery trucks, for example, or storing pallets in narrow channels. The key factor in the decision of the jury was the outstanding productivity of the vehicle in the tightest of spaces.

“The high-powered three-phase drive system, the compact design and the intuitive and highly responsive control elements make the RT the perfect stacker for narrow and busy areas,” said the jury.

SSI Schäfer's team wins the "Intralogistics Solution" category with their AGV solution Weasel at Next Level Logistik GmbH.
SSI Schäfer’s team wins the “Intralogistics Solution” category with their AGV solution Weasel at Next Level Logistik GmbH.

In a neck-and-neck finish, the IFOY in the category “Intralogistics Solution” was won by SSI Schäfer. For the in-plant logistics

operations of the NextLevel Logistik GmbH company near Schweinfurt, the Swiss provider created a fleet solution complete with Weasel driverless transport systems. Whether it be for containers, cartons, trays or other products of widely varying sizes up to a weight of 35 kg – Weasel handles all the transport jobs between goods receipt, the workplaces and goods dispatch through to waste disposal.

In contrast to conventional AGVs, it does without sophisticated sensor technology or complex control systems. One of the big advantages for NextLevel Logistik is the flexibility and easy scalability of the solution: Weasel is not rail-based and can therefore be flexibly integrated in existing infrastructures.

And the solution can grow with growing business volumes. Alongside the high level of customer benefit, the factor that finally swayed the jury was the extremely low investment cost of the driverless system. With this product, SSI Schäfer opens up completely new potential in the market for the use of automated transport solutions.

Since 2013, the IFOY Award has become established as a benchmark for cost efficiency and innovation. Due to the specialized expertise it represents, it is seen as the most important innovation award in intralogistics.

The winners are selected once a year by an independent jury of leading international trade journalists. A neutral test and a scientific “Innovation Check” form the basis for assessment by the jury.