In January 2017, Granite Valley Forest Products, located in New London, Wisconsin, purchased five Carer R60H2 electric forklifts from Wolter Materials Handling to replace their primarily diesel fleet. Granite Valley, a lumber concentration yard offering fine hardwoods from the Lake States Region, began researching electric forklift options more than seven years ago in an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint. Finding a viable electric option was not easy; it wasn’t until they demoed a Carer R60H2 that they were able to find an option robust enough to handle the demands of their application.
Mark Christopher, Granite Valley’s Operations Manager, points to the month long trial period as what won him and his operators over:
“Converting from diesel to electric was a big change for our operators. During our demo of the Carer product, there was initial resistance to change, but after each operator spent a week on the unit, it was hard to get them off the new electric truck.”
During the demo, Granite Valley found that the Carer R60H2 actually made the daily picking and packing of wood more efficient than the diesel forklifts their operators were accustomed to. The Carer R60H2’s AC drive design allows drivers to keep their foot on the pedal while moving in a back and forth motion, which, at Granite Valley, completely transformed their operation. Because their forklifts are constantly picking and packing wood for replenishment, the back and forth motion is an integral movement that unfortunately caused rapid deterioration of their diesel forklifts’ traditional torque converter transmission. By replacing their diesel units with the R60H2s, Granite Valley was able to reduce their operation costs, their maintenance costs, and their repair costs, all while creating a more efficient and clean operating space.
After the success of the trial period, Granite Valley completed a cost analysis that compared electric and diesel forklifts. The results of their findings concluded that while the upfront cost of five Carer R60H2’s was slightly higher than their diesel counterparts, the savings they would see when it came to maintenance, repair and diesel fuel was substantial at just a third of the price.
In addition to the costs savings, Mark Christopher was equally impressed by the environmental improvements the introduction of electric forklifts made in the warehouse and easily concluded that “electric forklifts produce an overall healthier environment for Granite Valley employees.”
Granite Valley is a prominent long-term lumber company, and by making the decision to use high capacity electric forklifts instead of conventional diesel powered lift trucks, they have demonstrated a new way of thinking when it comes to material handling equipment and the environment.
Helping Granite Valley convert their diesel fleet to electric was an exciting opportunity for Wolter Material Handling, one that would not have been possible without the innovative Carer brand. Jerry Weidmann, the President of Wolter Group LLC, credits Carer and states:
“The Carer product line has helped position Wolter Material Handling Corp., a member of Wolter Group LLC, as a leader in material handling innovation. With new technology in electric forklifts, it’s exciting to assist heavy industries moving loads upwards of 30,000lbs, such as the lumber industry, in switching from diesel to electric lift trucks. It allows them to reinvent their work environment by becoming safer, cleaner, and quieter, as well as more cost efficient in terms of maintenance and upkeep of their forklift fleet.”
Eric Halfnights, the Director of Dealer Development at Carer Electric Forklift Solutions, echoes Weidmann, and is excited about the diverse number of high capacity industries that are converting from diesel to electric. “Granite Valley is an excellent example of a traditional, high-capacity industry committing to environmentally sustainable forklift options as well as to clean energy. Not only will they run a cleaner, quieter, and more cost-efficient facility, they will run a facility their employees are proud to work at. We look forward to providing Granite Valley with continued support and cost-saving electric forklift solutions.”