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Crown Equipment Unveils New Internal Combustion Forklift

Friday, November 6, 2009

NEW BREMEN, OH — Crown Equipment Corporation, one of the world’s leading forklift manufacturers, today marked the availability of its first company-manufactured internal combustion (IC) forklift with the release of the Crown C-5 Series. The new forklift, which is designed to push the limits of IC performance, leverages the company’s core expertise and heritage in material handling to deliver commanding advantages to owners and operators seeking improved power and strength, service and uptime, and comfort and safety.

Specifically, the Crown C-5 features an industrial engine that was jointly developed with John Deere Power Systems (John Deere), a proactive approach to engine cooling and radiator clearing via an on-demand cooling system, and design innovations that improve operator visibility, comfort and productivity. Product owners will see immediate return on their investment from extended service intervals and an exclusive Crown power brake system that collectively reduce maintenance costs and downtime.

“Our customers came to us with internal combustion forklift issues related to engine performance, overheating, operator comfort and maintenance,” said Crown President Jim Dicke III. “Our fresh perspective on these problems, combined with extensive research and development, and our 50-year legacy of innovation and material handling expertise, allowed us to create a truly industrial forklift. We saw an opportunity to help our customers move beyond the existing limitations of IC truck performance.”

An integral element to Crown’s research and development efforts was the analysis of maintenance work performed on thousands of IC trucks. This process enabled Crown to determine the most common and costly problems, and focus its design to solve the most universal uptime and service challenges traditionally accepted within the IC market.

Powering the Crown C-5
According to Crown research, sub-par performance was one of the predominant downfalls of existing IC forklifts that rely on automotive-style engines. A co-development project with John Deere produced a 2.4-liter industrial engine for the Crown C-5 that integrates the best practices from the diesel engines used to power John Deere’s rugged construction equipment with the best practices from Crown’s five decades in material handling.

The result is the Crown C-5 industrial engine, which features a cast iron head and larger, more robust components that are designed to prevent overheating and warping while extending the product’s lifespan to twice that of existing IC trucks. The Crown C-5’s horsepower and low-end torque are the most powerful in the IC market, improving performance during acceleration, incline-loaded travel, and carrying or pushing heavy loads.

“People generally don’t drive their cars for eight to 16 hours a day, six days a week,” said Crown Product Manager Andy Smith. “In fact, running an automotive engine in a forklift for just 2,500 hours is the equivalent of driving 100,000 miles at 40 miles per hour in a car. An automotive engine just isn’t built to withstand the demands of many material handling environments. A manufacturing, agricultural or construction setting is a better proving ground because you’ve got dirt, debris and longer run times. With this industrial engine, the Crown C-5 can handle hotter, more demanding applications.”

Cooling the Crown C-5
Research showed that another challenge associated with IC lift truck engines was overheating. Crown addressed this challenge with a dual open-core radiator with separate cooling systems for the engine and transmission. This is a standard feature on the Crown C-5.

Further, Crown engineered an optional and exclusive On-Demand Cooling (ODC) system that automatically clears itself of debris and provides precise cooling to effectively manage heat in intense and dirty environments. Each time a user starts the Crown C-5, the ODC system’s radiator-clearing feature reverses the fan direction to dislodge any debris. This drastically reduces the frequency of radiator cleanings, which reduces maintenance costs and increases uptime, according to Smith. In addition, the ODC system adjusts its fan speed based on engine temperature, and the strategic placement of the fan improves cooling efficiency by pulling air evenly through the radiator rather than pushing the air as most other systems do.

Operating the Crown C-5
Operators spending most of their day on the Crown C-5 will notice superior drivability advantages in the form of control, comfort, stability and visibility. Control is achieved through Crown Access 1 2 3Ò System Control, which is the electronic system that manages all truck functions and proactively facilitates two-way communication with the operator. The technology also plays a critical role in keeping the operator out of unsafe conditions.

The system’s on-board display uses Crown eSmart™ Accurate Fuel Tracking to alert the operator when the system senses 16 minutes of remaining fuel time. This technology increases productivity by reducing the time spent unnecessarily changing fuel tanks. Further, the display screen calls attention to detailed information about engine performance and allows authorized users to adjust performance settings and technicians to troubleshoot components.

The Crown C-5 is also designed to improve drivability, which is the confidence and control operators require when maneuvering or handling a load. Drivability of the Crown C-5 is gained through:
– Comfort: After identifying drivability challenges and conducting ergonomic tests to identify pressure points in traditional IC forklift seats, Crown designed and built its patented FlexSeat™ to provide comfort for operators. The Crown C-5 also enhances comfort by redirecting heat and exhaust away from the user during reverse travel, facilitating entry/exit with larger steps, utilizing a contoured seat deck, and featuring an unobtrusive push-button parking brake.
– Stability: When the forks and masts are tilted more than two degrees forward, the Crown C-5’s interlock feature stops them from rising above free lift. Other intrinsic stability attributes include more mass, dead-engine breaking and steering, hill hold, and ramp speed control.
– Visibility: The Crown C-5’s lower counterweight and LP bottle increase operators’ field of view by five feet compared to other IC lift trucks. These features improve operator confidence and help prevent product damage. Forward-facing visibility is also improved via a higher and closer seat position to the forks than seats on competitor products. Finally, thinner posts and a shorter cowl facilitate an unobstructed view of the forks, while an overhead guard design improves visibility of loads at height.

Servicing the Crown C-5
Another challenge facing the IC lift truck market has been the high cost of frequent service and maintenance issues. In its first 2,000 hours of operation, the Crown C-5 is projected to average just 79 routine maintenance tasks. This performance improvement delivers reduced downtime and lowered out-of-pocket maintenance costs compared to traditional IC trucks. For example, the self-adjusting power brake system on the Crown C-5 has fewer moving parts and a 90 percent larger brake pad surface than traditional drum brakes, which translates into a lifespan that is three times longer and requires 93 percent fewer maintenance checks. The power brake system is a standard feature on the Crown C-5 6,000 and 6,500-pound models.

When a technician does need to service a Crown C-5, he or she can do so quickly and easily thanks to the truck’s component accessibility. The Crown C-5’s post-to-post clearance is the largest in the industry, and its seat deck opens to an industry-leading 95-degree angle to provide even more space for technicians. Side panels and the floorboard can be removed without tools allowing easy reach to filters, dipsticks and fuses.

For more information, you can also view the John Deere Power Systems News Release that can be found here:

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