During a presentation, a Linde Material Handling employee put his hand on the door and announced: “This is our Lamborghini door.” Then he pushed the handle and the door swung upwards to open. This apparently unremarkable feature is called a safety door. It involves an ingenious idea that illustrates rather well how Linde proceeds when customers need a tailored solution. Theoretically speaking, you might think, doors are not very interesting. At most, perhaps, they might excite engineers. In practice, however, drivers can get very annoyed by forklift doors. In fact, what they like most is no doors at all, because they constantly have to get in and out of them. So what happened here? A door has become a bestseller.
No door is better
Who needs this door and why? I asked an expert, who was able to explain in detail how this development came about.
Not all customers need doors for their trucks, especially when their vehicles are mainly used indoors. As I already said, this is about drivers who frequently have to get out of their trucks and would therefore prefer no doors at all. That’s especially true of side-opening doors, which regularly make contact with stored goods or colleagues. In addition, space is something that’s always in short supply in any warehouse. Equally, however, some customers consider safety important, but don’t want to fork out lots of money to fit conventional door models. Cost, operability, safety. How can you best reconcile the different factors involved here? Linde wouldn’t be Linde if it simply shrugged its shoulders at a problem like this. I have already learned enough about Linde to know that it isn’t that kind of firm. After customers consulted Linde about their unresolved door problem – remember, we’re talking here about trucks that are used indoors – Linde took up the challenge.
Linde looked around the market and eventually found the Sauermann company, which offers a vertically opening door at a favourable price. After making a number of enhancements, which Linde Material Handling realised jointly with Sauermann, Linde had a model that perfectly balanced the three factors mentioned above. It’s quick and easy to open, light, stable and suitable for narrow warehouse aisles. A slightly modified contoured shape also makes it safe for taller employees and, when required, it can be opened sideways with an additional push of a button. Fitted with a proximity sensor for the closing door, the speed of the vehicle can be limited in the event of a fault. (Until a repair is completed, the vehicle can only be used with limited functionality.) The safety door is currently being sold exclusively for Linde E14 – E20 models, but will gradually be offered for other series. I asked different sales specialists whether the door has been well received. Opinions were all positive: “This door sells likes hotcakes!”
Let’s look at in detail. First, the closed driver door:
The door can be opened with an easy accessible opening mechanism:
The vertically opened door:
Here is a video of the safety door mechanism, which Linde developed in collaboration with Sauermann:
This optional feature will be available for all truck models in series E14 – E20 and H14 – H20 from the summer and for models H20 – H50 and E20 – E50 from the end of 2016.