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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Advantages of AC Electric Motors in Material Handling Equipment


Beginning in the early 90’s, the growth and development of the AC – or alternating current – electric motor sparked a revolution in the material handling equipment industry. Once viewed as an option of last resort, AC motors have now emerged as a superior alternative to internal combustion or direct current (DC) motors for equipment in numerous applications. In particular, AC models are preferred in conditions that place a premium on air quality, including indoor manufacturing or warehousing facilities and factories within the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

As of 2013, electric forklifts represent more than 60% of the North American market, with even greater adoption rates in Europe. With the distinct advantages provided by AC motors – including limited noise, zero emissions and low maintenance – it is easy to see why there is so much consumer demand for AC units in today’s market.

The transition towards AC motors originally began with the introduction of the 3-phase AC brushless motor in the early 1990’s. Before then, most electric units featured DC motors, which generate power via direct contact between the brushes, commutator and rotator. The output of these DC motors was heavily dependent upon the size and durability of the brush, which limited efficiency and output of the unit. What’s more, the fragile brushes were easy to damage even under typical operating conditions, resulting in frequent brush replacements and regular maintenance.



The introduction of the 3-phase AC drive motor, however, resolved many of the issues previously associated with electric motors. Unlike DC motors, brushless AC motor use fixed rotator windings, which indirectly transfer electromagnetic current to the rotator to produce power with a series of magnets that pulse to produce rotation. By replacing the direct contact of the DC motor with the brushless operation of the AC motor, AC units now feature two very important improvements over previous iterations.



First, AC motors are now capable of handling significantly higher peak current, resulting in a dramatic increase in torque and speed while reducing the overall size of the unit. This, in turn, allows AC units quickly accelerate to full speed, thereby improving operator efficiency and productivity. Secondly, this change eliminates the need for a direct contact brush system, improving durability and reducing susceptibility to wearable damage. The result is a reliable unit that requires minimal maintenance or unnecessary downtime, as well a reduction in operational costs and improved productivity. In addition, the use of regenerative braking systems to recover the kinetic energy normally lost in deceleration to recharge the battery means that AC units remain productive for longer periods between changes. These qualities also make electric AC motors more environmentally friendly than many of the alternatives. AC electric motors produce less heat due to friction and no emissions and exhaust fumes. This helps to improve the overall air quality, reduces ambient noise and vibration, and limits damage to products.

For these reasons, Stärke Material Handling Group utilizes high efficiency AC motors throughout our line of forklifts and material handling equipment. Beyond the performance-based advantages listed above, our AC units are also more user-friendly than other, similar models. For example, most AC electric units from Stärke include a canBUS controller system capable of making precise, sensitive adjustments to forward/backward acceleration, drive and lifting speeds as AC drives control motor speed by changing the frequency of the electrical supply to the motor. An AC motor reduces power line disturbances, lowers power demand on start, offers controlled acceleration, controlled starting current, adjustable operation speed, and adjustable torque. This customization is not possible with a DC motor, as the individual magnets used in DC motors are incapable of moving in more than one direction at any given point in time (i.e., pushing or pulling), while AC motors are outfitted with multiple magnets capable of moving independently.

Programmable canBUS controllers are also responsible for several innovative safety features found throughout Stärke’s lineup of AC units. Consider the anti-rollback feature currently found in Stärke’s electric counter balanced forklifts that prevents the unit from rolling backwards on an incline once the operator releases the brake pedal. In a similar fashion, Stärke’s OPS30 order picker includes a feature that automatically reduces the unit’s speed in potentially dangerous situations such as operating the unit with an extended mast or taking sharp turns.

As one of the most comprehensive material handling solutions providers in the industry, Stärke offers a massive selection of AC units throughout our line of material handling equipment. The depth and variety of our line ensures that Stärke products can capably meet the challenges o f your material handling application. 


Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Avoid Product Damage and Improve the Efficiency of Your Warehouse

The urge to improve productivity and efficiency is an ever-present companion for anyone working in the fields of warehousing and supply chain management. This remains such a constant concern because, by increasing throughput and volume, a company opens up the possibility for increased growth and earning potential. With the direction and value of this concept a forgone conclusion, the issue becomes how to achieve the desired results.

Given the exorbitant capital investments required to increase or modify the available space of a given warehouse, many firms elect to improve productivity through more cost-effective options including the acquisition of new equipment and technologies. By replacing old and antiquated equipment with newer, better-equipped models, managers are able to reduce the time spent on certain tasks (time spent travelling between lifts, for example) while also reducing downtime and maintenance costs. A win-win situation, right?


Well, not so fast. While purchasing new equipment may eliminate certain inefficiencies present within an organization’s workflow, choosing the wrong equipment may also result in increased product damage. Losses due to product damage, in turn, offset the advantages of quicker, higher capacity equipment as large stacks and heavier loads are inherently less stable. To address this issue, many manufacturers utilize fixed stop supports on either side of pallet trucks and straddle stackers. Here, the fixed stops are supposed to prevent a significant deviation to either side in an attempt to stop loads from tipping as the vehicle turns. The problem with fixed stop supports, however, is their tendency to catch on uneven surfaces (older floors, dock plates, etc.) and bring the equipment to a sudden stop while the momentum of the load carries it forward onto the floor.

So, where does that leave our warehouse and supply chain managers? Or anyone else with material handling needs? Enter Stärke's LiftMaxx line of electric pallet trucks / jacks and straddle stackers and Stärke’s Continuous Stability System.

To avoid incidences of tipping and product damage, Stärke LiftMaxx equipment is equipped with a fixed drive wheel supported by two cantilevered, spring-loaded casters in constant contact with the ground, thereby supporting the stability of the lift truck and its load. With spring-loaded casters, the Continuous Stability System smoothly rolls over uneven surfaces without compromising the stability of the truck or its load. This system offers improved control over competitor fixed stop supports, which are positioned up off the ground and are susceptible to friction wear. 

PT30MXA PT40MXA pallet jack lifter
Stärke has created the most stable electric pallet truck on the market, offering added protection against product damage while in transit. With less than half the wearable parts of the competition, a Stärke electric pallet truck also offers fewer maintenance calls. An adjustable riser rod alters the height of your wheels with a simple nut adjustment, while offering ease of maintenance because of its simple, yet sturdy design. Stärke also uses metal components, rather than plastic, in many instances where our competitors do not; allowing for less wearable parts, and less down-time.

To illustrate the benefits of Stärke's Continuous Stability System, consider the case of a bottling plant. In a high volume operation with hundreds of employees and a fragile product, the chances of product damage are high. One of our dealer sales representatives, Brian Harmon out of Lift Inc. in Buford, GA, found out exactly what this means while presenting a demonstration of the Stärke PT45WAX AC electric walkie pallet truck.

The scene was one of hurried operators in a fast-paced distribution facility. Brian was speaking with the warehouse manager about the new Stärke PT45WAX. He had - seconds ago - finished explaining the Stärke Continuous Stability System (which comes standard on all electric pallet trucks) when an operator rounded a corner in front of them a little too sharply, and the competitor unit, fully stocked with several cases of beer, lost a few cases from the top layer, which fell from the load. The outcome was a loud crash on the concrete floor, and a resulting pool of beer.

“That wouldn’t happen with a Stärke, would it?” The manager stated sincerely, pointing at the mess, frowning over the loss.

Brian just shook his head. “No, sir.” He said, looking down in a moment of silence for the lost beer.

This story could have saved the company money rather than lost money with a Stärke AC pallet truck which does not depend on raised fixed stop supports to keep the truck from tipping, but rather cantilevered spring loaded casters, which have constant contact with the floor.



Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Equipment Purchases - Essential Tips

Think about the last time you felt buyer’s remorse after a large purchase or investment. What could you have done differently? Were you bound to eventually regret the purchase no matter what? What if you made a different selection or purchased from another location? More likely than not, this situation could have been avoided, as in most cases, the difference between self-pity and admiration is a matter of knowledge, research and experience. With that in mind, let’s review some of the key factors businesses must consider before purchasing a new piece of material handling equipment.

Equipment Selection and Fit 

When it comes to equipment selection, buyers must remember to begin with a careful consideration of their needs, application, and work environment. Given the variety of lift types – sit-down counterbalanced, walk behind, rider – and the potential variations between models – from reach trucks, order pickers and electric pallet jacks to the variations between forklifts LPG and dual fuel internal combustion to AC electric engines, cushion, pneumatic and solid pneumatic tires, free lift masts and more. Additional features and accessories are also available for most models, with additional customization made possible through accessories or attachments. Without a doubt, there is no shortage of available options for businesses to choose from as the difficulty arises from selecting the right type for your business. Among the factors to consider when deciding between models and types are potential height and width restrictions, whether it is an indoor, outdoor, or mixed application, the frequency of lifts and required capacity.

Overall Cost of Ownership 

With prices ranging from several thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, purchasing a new piece of equipment is a serious investment. But beyond the actual retail price of the equipment, owners must also consider the overall cost of ownership over the lifetime of the equipment. Fortunately, most dealers will be able to provide you with an accurate estimate of your expected costs down the road.

To make sure you have all the financial information you`ll need to make your decision, ask your dealer for information on the following questions. How much will it cost to maintain and operate the desired model per year? Here, factors such as wearable parts, durability and fuel costs are important to consider and vary widely from model to model and brand to brand. Are parts widely available and reasonably priced? Special order parts or delays in shipping may prove prohibitive to your business leading to expense overtures and unnecessary downtime. Will you be able to service the unit on-site? How extensive is the warranty? What kind of financing or lease options are available?

After Sale Support and Technical Assistance 

If properly maintained, an individual forklift may remain operational for up to 20 years after its original purchase, it is essential to consider the after sale support network for a given brand and dealership. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the warranty and service agreement from the manufacturer and ask if additional training is necessary to operate the equipment (and if the dealership will provide it for you). It is also a good idea to find a local dealership that offers a wide selection of accessories, parts, and maintenance in case you should need to make any additional repairs or modifications in the future the future.


Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stärke Material Handling Group Expands Dealer Network in Western Canada


Stärke Material Handling Group has officially added LTR Mechanical to its network of independent dealerships in Western Canada. Located in Calgary, Alberta, LTR Mechanical provides excellent sales, service and parts support to Calgary and the surrounding areas and specializes in new and used equipment sales.

“LTR Mechanical is proud to become the only authorized Stärke dealership in the Calgary area and are eager to develop a long and successful relationship with Stärke moving forward. At LTR Mechanical, we strive to provide the best equipment available to our customers, which is why we are we are excited to introduce our customers to Stärke’s quality line of equipment.”

The addition of LTR Mechanical furthers Stärke’s expansion into Alberta and Western Canada, becoming the second dealership added in Alberta since the start of 2016. “We are proud to announce the addition of LTR Mechanical to our dealership network in Alberta,” comments Jim Chesla, VP at Stärke Material Handling Group. “Alberta is an area of priority for our brand moving forward, as is the rest of Western Canada.”

For more information about Stärke, their products and services visit us online at www.starkeusa.com or www.starkecanada.com. Those interested in becoming a Stärke dealer contact Rod Barron, Dealer Development Specialist at 1-877-435-4352 ex. 236 or via email at rbarron@starkeforklift.com.

About Stärke Material Handling Group
Beyond expanding its dealership and support networks, Stärke Material Handling Group has also expanded on its range of Class II and Class III industrial lift equipment with the release of its new XVI line of electric and internal combustion counterbalanced forklifts, a reach rider truck and order picker. With these additions to its product portfolio, Stärke continues to establish itself as one of the most comprehensive material handling equipment manufacturers in the industry.


Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Environmentally Friendly Material Handling Solutions – The Electric Forklift


As manufacturers and end-users alike increasingly look to implement sustainability initiatives, the electric forklift has emerged as an effective yet environmentally friendly material handling equipment solution. In recognition of this trend towards sustainability, we’ve listed the top reasons behind the emergence of the electric forklift as the preferred alternative to traditional internal combustion options.

Efficient AC Power 
Unlike previous DC models, modern electric forklifts utilize highly efficient AC motors that require less power on start-up and during acceleration. The reduced power demands of electric forklifts improve energy efficiency and extend runtimes between charges. As a result, the total cost of ownership for an average electric forklift is $0.80-3.00 per hour of operation. The variable speed and torque of AC motors also enables users to adjust the operation of the forklift to their unique needs and environment, which helps to prevent excessive speeds and/or aggressive driving. 

Environmentally Friendly 
By replacing the internal combustion engine with an efficient AC electric motor, electric forklifts produce no direct emissions or exhaust fume, removing up to 20,000 lbs. of carbon from the environment for every 2,000 hours of operation. The net effect can dramatically improve the overall air quality of a facility, reduce ambient noise and vibration, and limit product damage (especially to sensitive consumer electronics). Beyond emissions, electric forklifts also eliminate many other waste products found in internal combustion forklifts including countless fluids, oils and lubricants.  

Rechargeable Batteries
With a rechargeable power source, electric forklifts consume less energy per shift than their internal combustion counterparts as the advances in battery design and technology provide longer periods between charges and require less space for storage and charging. 

Regenerative Braking Systems
Rather than waste the kinetic energy produced during deceleration, some electric forklift models recover this energy through regenerative braking technology to further reduce energy consumption and extend run-time between charges. As an operator backs off the accelerator to slow down or change directions, the electric motor acts as a generator by reversing direction to recapture the kinetic energy of the vehicle. Since this process reduces the friction and heat produced by the braking system, regenerative braking systems also reduce the wear and tear on the braking system as well.


Energy Demand Management 
Utilizing a power management plan built around an ideal usage distribution, operating hours, peak electricity rates and workloads further reduces the overall energy costs associated with electric forklifts. Here, usage distribution and charging hours are coordinated to take advantage of the lowest possible energy prices (usually lowest in the middle of the night) and maximize the savings provided by an electric forklift. 


The Stärke Energy Series features innovative and environmentally friendly forklifts including our 3 and 4-wheel models and our revolutionary mini electric forklift. For more information on our electric forklift models, visit us online at www.starkecanada.com or www.starkeusa.com, email us at info@starkeforklift.com, or call us toll-free at 1-877-435-4352. Because, it makes sense to expect peace of mind at a fair price.


Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Stärke Recognized as a Top Green Provider by Food Logistics



Thorold, Ontario – June 27th, 2016 •  Stärke Material Handling Group has been recognized for its efforts in sustainability as a Top Green Provider for 2016. Food Logistics’  Top Green Providers List recognizes companies whose products, services, or exemplary leadership is enhancing sustainability within the food and beverage industry. The list offers logistics professionals a guide to the providers, manufacturers, and software and technology companies that have found new ways to promote sustainability throughout their operations and those of their customers.

“Stärke is honoured to be included on Food Logistics’ Top Green Providers list for 2016,” says Jim Chesla, VP of Sales and Business Development. “This achievement reflects the hard work and dedication of our team and dealer networks. It also shows the strength of our products in markets that value sustainability and efficiency.” Stärke earned recognition this year for its use of highly efficientAC electric motors throughout its offering of forklifts and material handling equipment.

“The 2016 Top Green Providers reached a new record high for applicants and recipients, confirming the importance of sustainability in the global food and beverage supply chain,” says Lara L. Sowinski, editorial director, supply chain network, at AC Business Media. “Our industry’s continued focus on environmental stewardship and the role that growers, manufacturers, logistics companies, retailers and others play is driving heightened awareness and actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously boosting cost and energy efficiencies.”


About Food Logistics
Food Logistics is published by AC Business Media, a business-to-business media company that provides targeted content and comprehensive, integrated advertising and promotion opportunities for some of the world’s most recognized B2B brands. Its diverse portfolio serves the construction, logistics, supply chain and other industries with print, digital and custom products, events and social media.

For more information about Stärke, and their products and services visit us online at www.starkeusa.com or www.starkecanada.com. Those interested in becoming a Stärke dealer contact Rod Barron, Dealer Development Specialist at 1-877-435-4352 ex. 236 or via email at rbarron@starkeforklift.com

Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Unloading and Loading - Forklift Safety Tips

Forklifts have become an indispensable component within supply chain management and logistics. Whether it is within a retail, manufacturing or warehouse environment, forklifts perform an essential service by lifting and transport loads throughout the worksite. Since these actions are performed dozens of times every day, it is common for workers to grow accustomed to the dangers associated with the operation of a forklift. To ensure the safety of the forklift operator and those around them, try to follow these safety tips for loading and unloading a forklift:

Know Your Equipment
Before you begin operating your forklift, be sure to familiarize yourself with the vehicle. It is important to know the rated capacity of the forklift (found on the data plate), the capacity of the forks, and the recommended load center. Operating a forklift outside of these recommended restrictions seriously compromises the stability and safety of the equipment and is not advisable.

Positioning the Load
Using the information on the forklift’s data or spec plate, position the load according to the forklift’s recommended load center. Before inserting the forks, level and adjust the height of the forks relative to the pallet or load and move the mast into an upright position. If loading from a trailer or railway car, ensure that the proper supports (wheel chocks, fixed jacks, etc.) are in position to prevent the any additional movement and make sure the floors will be able to support the combined weight of the forklift and load.

Raising and Transporting the Load
Before raising the load, check your surroundings for overhead obstructions or power lines. With the brake applied, lift the load directly upwards to the required height for transport before tilting the mast. Once raised, constantly scan your surroundings for potential hazards or obstructions (keeping the blind spots in mind) as a raised load compromises the stability of a forklift. As you reach your eventual destination, come to a controlled and complete stop before returning the mast to an upright position and lowering the forks.

When working on or near a forklift, stay alert and prepare for the unexpected. For additional help, tips, advice or training, contact your local Stärke dealer today! For Canadian residents, please visit the Stärke Canada dealer page. For U.S. residents, please visit the Stärke USA dealer page.


Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352