The new Roadster is definitely one of the highlights of World of Material Handling 2016. The truck was first presented as a prototype in 2014, but now the Roadster is available and can be tested by customers. What can we say about the Roadster? A great deal!
Let’s start with the concept. The idea was developed a few years ago in collaboration with customers whose drivers had explicitly asked for a larger field of view in their forklifts. Typically for Linde, the developers got down to work with customers and product managers to make this feedback a reality. The idea was compelling: What happens if we remove the A-pillar and fit a pane of safety glass or narrower supports in the roof? Wouldn’t that fulfil the customers’ wishes? When Linde took an early development model to a large customer’s depot, it didn’t take long for other local logistics firms to hear about it and soon they were lining up to go for a spin in the new Roadster. It was a smash hit! The drivers were so enthusiastic that it became obvious the development of this early design had to be completed. The way forward was clear.
The final product
Before the product was ready for the market it had to undergo numerous tests to satisfy Linde’s extremely high standards, especially when it comes to safety. That is no surprise really, since the red trucks are viewed as the Mercedes of industrial trucks, something which I have already heard several times from visitors at WoMH 2016.
Let’s take a look at the main features. Here we can see the normal view that a forklift driver has from inside a truck:
Especially looking upwards, the driver has a rather restricted field of view. The A-pillars also partially block the forward view on the left and the right. In certain situations this is a disadvantage – blind spots can conceal dangerous surprises.
Let’s now look at the contrasting view that presents itself to the driver of a Roadster:
You notice the difference immediately. The upward field of view is completely open due to the removal of the roof supports. The picture shows a pane of safety glass fitted in the roof instead of conventional wide roof supports (an optional extra). That offers a great advantage, as one experienced driver who visited the fair emphatically stressed: “Boy, that tops everything!”
Since the removal of the A-pillars also enlarges the lateral field of view, the driver can manoeuvre better and much more safely in certain situations. Incidentally, the above-mentioned driver revealed to me that he favoured a bulletproof glas not only in the roof, but also in the front. That is because the airflow severely affects drivers’ eyes after a few hours’ work. Accordingly, the front safety guard contributes not only to passive accident safety, but also generally to the situational driving safety of the driver and his environment.
Let’s see the driver’s view from inside by watching a video:
What does the Roadster look like from outside?
The Roadster is sold as E20 R – E35 R. Sales have already begun at World of Material Handling 2016.