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News

Safer driving

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 15 June, 2004  (Company News)
When driving and operating industrial trucks it is particularly important that the work areas are ergonomic and comfortable so that employees can reliably operate and drive vehicles for several hours at a time.
This is true for example for pallet trucks. These forklift trucks are used predominantly in the food retail industry in large central warehouses. They are used to collect and load onto HGVs the goods that are distributed daily to the retailers. Employees have to be able to reliably operate and drive vehicles over a period of several hours. It is therefore essential that the controls are arranged ergonomically.

This is why Thieme GmbH & Co. KG, a specialist in polyurethane molded parts based in Teningen, Germany, has now developed and produced side panels for the cab of the pallet trucks, in close co-operation with the industrial truck manufacturer Jungheinrich. These panels are made from the polyurethane Bayflex® from Bayer MaterialScience AG. This material has advantages for this type of application compared with other materials such as padded steel plates or cast parts.

Most notably, polyurethane foam is particularly impact-resistant. The panels can therefore withstand heavy impacts, for example from falling objects. Moreover, the foam has a pleasant, leather-like surface. The use of foams gives the molded parts a special surface structure that further improves their tactile properties. The molded articles can therefore be installed without the need for coating, thereby cutting down on time and cost.

For various controls, including key switches, buttons and levers, openings can be incorporated directly into the panels. This removes the expense in terms of time, labor and cost of machining the molded parts. Nozzles and snap connections for assembly of components and electrics are also insert molded. This avoids high processing costs for panels constructed from other materials, for example steel plates. The integral components can be fitted directly onto the vehicle at the industrial truck manufacturer’s site. This makes polyurethane molded parts particularly economical. In the future the Teningen-based polyurethane specialist is said to produce several thousand ready-to-install panels for the Jungheinrich company in Hamburg every year.
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