Forklift design for growing centre console market
US manufacturer Marine Travelift has designed, built and delivered a new model of marina forklift specifically engineered for the growing centre console market. The M4200H (42,000 lbs/19,000kg capacity) centre cab Hydro M_Drive forklift was recently delivered to Viking Yachts in Riviera Beach, Florida for use in hauling the Valhalla line of boats and more.Viking Yachts currently has a 150 ton Marine Travelift boat hoist at both its north and south yards but was looking for a faster more efficient way of moving smaller craft around, as well as loading and unloading trailers. There are also future plans for a rack system at the yard to help with space constraints and the number of vessels moving through. A marina forklift was the best solution for current needs and future plans.
The growing popularity of larger centre console vessels means that drystacks need to increase their forklift capacity. “There is definitely a growing need and market for this range of forklift,” said Brock Rubens, director of sales/marketing at Marine Travelift. “In order to best meet our customers’ needs it was time to expand our product offering, and with Viking being such a great customer of ours for decades the timing was perfect,” he added.
While designing the M4200H, Marine Travelift put extra emphasis on serviceability, cycle speeds and turning radius. All of the improvements are also being applied to the M3600H (36,000lbs/16,000kg capacity) and M5200H (52,000lbs/24,000kg capacity) models. Shorter wheelbase, combined with a tighter turning radius, allows marinas to upgrade without needing to make major infrastructure adjustments. The M4200H comes in either a 140in (3.5m) or 129in (3.2m) wheelbase and, with Marine Travelift’s own-manufacture steering axles, it is said to provide an unrivalled turning radius.
Serviceability is key. Service points are typically accessed from underneath a forklift but for ease of maintenance the access points on this unit are top side. The tyres are also solid as Marine Travelift realises that most marinas don’t have the proper size compressors to inflate to the necessary 145 psi. This eliminates any issues with flats and the need to call in an outside company to keep the tyres properly inflated.
A larger engine was also chosen for the M4200H model so as to give it adequate drive speed and power necessary for efficient navigation in virtually any marina or service yard. An additional benefit is the power left over for increased mast, carriage and fork speeds. The combination of all this equals faster cycle times, which means more boats launched and retrieved in the same amount of time.
The standard centre cab configuration moves the operator as far forward as possible, achieved by setting the steering column forward of the front guard rails. The forward position and standard rear back-up camera displayed on a 10in colour screen, gives the operator maximum visibility. A Moment Indicator System, which provides a green/yellow/red scale to indicate the limits of the machine, allows the operator to safely and efficiently move boats.