A Century of Innovation drives today’s material handling industry; The Raymond Corporation marks 100th Anniversary

In June, The Raymond Corporation celebrates its 100th anniversary. It was 1922 when George Raymond Sr. bought a controlling interest in Lyon Iron Works, a small foundry in Greene, New York, and a few years later began producing lift trucks. Since then, the company has invented and patented technologies that have become industry standards. Today, innovations from Raymond, such as the double-faced wooden pallet and narrow aisle concept, are in nearly every distribution center in the world.

For a century, Raymond’s integrated intralogistics and material handling solutions have helped customers optimize, connect and automate their operations to achieve a new level of performance. Through 100 years of innovation, Raymond has changed the material handling industry through best-in-class forklifts, integrated automation, telematics, virtual reality education, and advanced energy solutions.

Michael Field, CEO, Raymond Corporation
Michael Field, CEO, Raymond

“As an end-to-end solutions provider, we challenge ourselves each day to continuously deliver and improve solutions that empower our customers to run better and manage smarter,” said Michael Field, president and CEO of The Raymond Corporation. “Since its founding, Raymond has been driven to help customers increase efficiency and improve operations. It is this focus that has helped us continue to contribute to the future of the supply chain and to the success of so many of our customers.”

This milestone anniversary is a testament to a firm focus on innovation, quality, and service — principles that have shaped the company from Raymond’s early days. Raymond piloted many advancements and technologies central to meeting the industry’s most critical needs by creating solutions that help customers address the challenges they face today as well as prepare for the future.

Here are just some of the advancements that changed the industry.

Creating the industry standard

A forklift touches nearly every item consumers use in their daily lives. Every consumer purchase relies on a well-run supply chain and a continuously improving material handling industry to get the product in the consumers’ hands when and where they want it. Moreover, today’s fast-paced material handling industry requires the ability to efficiently stack, store and transport goods to keep the supply chain moving.

In the early 20th century, The Raymond Corporation laid the foundation for many significant industry advancements when founder George Raymond Sr. and William House, a Raymond designer and mechanical engineer, patented the double-sided wooden pallet and the hydraulic hand pallet truck. The innovations provided a low-cost option for higher vertical stacking.

House and Raymond donated the pallet patent to the industry, paving the way for it to become the standard in inventory storage.

Optimizing warehouse space

Today’s warehouse managers recognize an optimized warehouse as a competitive necessity, and narrow aisle capabilities are key. Yet, this approach was not commonplace until Raymond helped introduce the narrow aisle concept in the early 1950s by patenting the first electric narrow aisle lift truck, which reduced the required turning radius from 10 to 12 feet to 7 to 8 feet.

The Raymond forklift design moved from a counterbalancing chassis to a “straddle” approach that preserved its gravitational integrity by straddling the pallet with baselegs, which became the basic principle for narrow aisle forklifts.

Paving the way for automation

Today, flexible automated technologies, such as Raymond Courier™ automated guided vehicles, efficiently and reliably perform a variety of repetitive tasks, freeing operators to accomplish more value-driven tasks and learn additional skill sets.

Technologies such as easy-to-implement vision-guided solutions help answer demands such as rising operational costs and labor challenges. Some technologies built on research and development efforts date back to the early 1980s when Raymond introduced the ELECTOTE automatic guided vehicle. This breakthrough advancement provided horizontal transportation for manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing applications.

Prioritizing the operator experience

Raymond has a reputation based on top-notch quality, reliability, and exceptional customer service. This reputation is built on providing solutions that bring day-to-day warehouse and distribution operations to a new level of performance.

The lift truck of today is no longer “just a lift truck.” It’s now seen as the operator’s cockpit, and ergonomic enhancements help deliver operating efficiencies, productivity, and operator security.

In the early 1990s, Raymond hired a former fighter pilot turned industrial designer, Tom Noonan. His approach brought operator comfort and ergonomically designed equipment to the forefront, as he applied fighter jet design concepts to the lift truck control handle. This allowed operators to execute all functions of a lift truck with just one hand.

Unleashing the power of data

Telematics solutions help reveal data to optimize, connect and automate operations within a warehouse or distribution center. The ability to access this data helps create greater visibility within a facility, increase efficiency and optimize operations to help customers achieve their goals.

Nearly a decade ago, Raymond introduced the iWAREHOUSE® Fleet and Warehouse Optimization System, which supplies actionable data for managers to root out inefficiencies throughout their operations. iWAREHOUSE integrates data from a variety of sources, so users can track and measure work activity to drive continuous improvement and gain a more complete picture of a business.

Solutions for the future

Today, Raymond offers a single source for complete intralogistics solutions, with the technology and know-how to provide customers a competitive edge. It is committed to supporting its customers in driving their businesses forward and achieving their goals. Raymond is steadfast in its focus on delivering innovative material handling products and intelligent intralogistics solutions that will help customers optimize, connect and automate their operations and drive the entire material handling industry forward.

Steve Raymond headshot
Steve Raymond

“It is a humbling experience to see just how much the company has grown while never losing sight on what it stands for,” said Steve Raymond, former president of Raymond Material Handling Concepts and grandson of Raymond’s founder. “From our first innovation 100 years ago, Raymond has always been looking ahead to find solutions that drive the material handling industry forward. I am proud of the legacy my family has built.”

Courier, iWAREHOUSE, and Raymond are U.S. trademarks of The Raymond Corporation.

About the Author:

The article was submitted by The Raymond Corporation to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Material Handling Network  would like to congratulate The Raymond Corporation for 100 years of excellence and as a great friend in the material handling industry.

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