Apr 20, 2016

Not Running Out of Propane Actually Reduces Maintenance Cost

When you first think about it, I imagine you can’t see how a propane forklift running out of gas can increase your maintenance cost. But it can — and we’ve demonstrated this by carefully analyzing maintenance records in our own warehouse.
Not Running Out of Propane Actually Reduces Maintenance Cost

At Rotarex SRG, we’ve run a fleet of propane forklifts for years, and one year ago we installed our new MLD low propane fuel gauge on all our forklift trucks. MLD alerts our drivers when the propane cylinder is low, giving them enough time to complete a task and return to the exchange cabinet. And now, our forklifts never run out of gas.

After a few months, several of our drivers mentioned to us that they weren’t having any issues starting their forklifts, whereas before MLD they sometimes struggled to get their trucks to turn over quickly. That’s when we realized that MLD actually helped reduce wear on the starter motor and ignition system.

Here’s why. Up to now, there has been no reliable way for a forklift driver to know for sure when the propane cylinder is nearly empty. So it’s relatively common for a propane forklift to run out of gas. Obviously, when a forklift runs out of LPG, the engine stops. The first reaction of the operator – especially if they are in the middle of a heavy lift or awkward manoeuver – is to try to restart the motor. They hope there might be just enough gas remaining to get the forklift going again momentarily to complete the task.

Often, an operator tries over and over to crank the dead truck to bring it back to life. This puts severe strain on the starter motor and ignition system. Over time, this wear and tear weakens the system, making it harder and harder to start the forklift. This over cranking can even cause the starter motor or other components to fail. We’ve even heard some stories about forklift operators who sometimes use the starter motor to propel the stalled forklift back to the exchange cabinet!

To validate the anecdotal information our drivers gave us, we decided to take a closer look at our maintenance records. We took an average of the maintenance costs for each forklift over the last 5 years and compared it to the year when MLD was in operation. We found that MLD had reduced our maintenance costs per forklift by 5%. Digging deeper, we found that this was correlated to less maintenance on ignition systems.

Clearly, MLD can reduce your maintenance costs. It’s hard to predict exactly how much you’ll save, but when you consider that MLD also significantly reduces your propane gas expense and improves propane forklift safety, your overall savings will make a noticeable difference to your bottom line. To learn more about MLD can make a difference in your business, please contact us now.

Paul Delecourt
Paul Delecourt
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