Crown Equipment Unveils New Internal Combustion Forklift

Forklift manufacturer Crown Equipment Corp., New Bremen, Ohio, has introduced its first company-manufactured internal combustion (IC) forklift. The Crown C-5 series, designed to push the limits of IC performance, features an industrial engine jointly developed with John Deere Power Systems (John Deere), a proactive approach to engine cooling and radiator clearing via an on-demand cooling system, and design innovations that improve operator visibility, comfort and productivity. The manufacturer also engineered the machine for extended service intervals and incorporated a Crown power brake system, collectively reducing maintenance costs and downtime.

“Our customers came to us with internal combustion forklift issues related to engine performance, overheating, operator comfort and maintenance,” said Jim Dicke III, Crown president. “We saw an opportunity to help our customers move beyond the existing limitations of IC truck performance.” An integral element to research and development efforts was the analysis of maintenance work performed on thousands of IC trucks, enabling Crown to determine the most common and costly problems, and focus its design to solve the most universal uptime and service challenges traditionally accepted within the IC market.

Powered for industrial use

A co-development project with John Deere produced a 2.4-liter industrial engine for the Crown C-5 that integrates the features of diesel engines used to power John Deere’s rugged construction equipment with Crown’s five decades in material handling. The result is an industrial engine  which features a cast-iron head and larger, more robust components designed to prevent overheating and warping while extending the product’s lifespan. The Crown C-5’s horsepower and low-end torque are the most powerful in the IC market, according to product materials, improving performance during acceleration, incline-loaded travel, and carrying or pushing heavy loads.

“People generally don’t drive their cars for eight to 16 hours a day, six days a week,” said Andy Smith, product manager. “In fact, running an automotive engine in a forklift for just 2,500 hours is the equivalent of driving 100,000 miles at 40 miles per hour in a car. An automotive engine just isn’t built to withstand the demands of many material handling environments. A manufacturing, agricultural or construction setting is a better proving ground because you’ve got dirt, debris and longer run times. With this industrial engine, the Crown C-5 can handle hotter, more demanding applications.”

Open-core cooling

Crown addressed the challenge of engine overheating with a dual open-core radiator with separate cooling systems for the engine and transmission as a standard feature on the Crown C-5. Further, Crown engineered an optional and exclusive On-Demand Cooling (ODC) system that automatically clears itself of debris and provides precise cooling to effectively manage heat in intense and dirty environments.

Each time a user starts the Crown C-5, the ODC system’s radiator-clearing feature reverses the fan direction to dislodge any debris. This drastically reduces the frequency of radiator cleanings, which reduces maintenance costs and increases uptime, according to Smith. In addition, the ODC system adjusts its fan speed based on engine temperature, and the strategic placement of the fan improves cooling efficiency by pulling air evenly through the radiator rather than pushing the air.

Driving with confidence

Operators spending most of their day on the Crown C-5 will notice superior drivability advantages in the form of control, comfort, stability and visibility. Control is achieved through Crown Access 1 2 3® System Control, the electronic system that manages all truck functions and proactively facilitates two-way communication with the operator. The technology also plays a critical role in keeping the operator out of unsafe conditions.

The system’s on-board display uses Crown eSmart™ Accurate Fuel Tracking to alert the operator when the system senses 16 minutes of remaining fuel time. This technology increases productivity by reducing the time spent unnecessarily changing fuel tanks. Further, the display screen calls attention to detailed information about engine performance and allows authorized users to adjust performance settings and technicians to troubleshoot components.

The Crown C-5 is also designed to improve drivability through:

Comfort: After identifying drivability challenges and conducting ergonomic tests to identify pressure points in traditional IC forklift seats, Crown designed and built its patented FlexSeat™ to provide comfort for operators. The Crown C-5 also enhances comfort by redirecting heat and exhaust away from the user during reverse travel, facilitating entry/exit with larger steps, utilizing a contoured seat deck, and featuring an unobtrusive push-button parking brake.

Stability: When the forks and masts are tilted more than two degrees forward, the Crown C-5’s interlock feature stops them from rising above free lift. Other intrinsic stability attributes include more mass, dead-engine breaking and steering, hill hold, and ramp speed control.

Visibility: The Crown C-5’s lower counterweight and LP bottle increase operators’ field of view by 5 feet to improve operator confidence and help prevent product damage. Forward-facing visibility is also improved via a higher and closer seat position to the forks. Finally, thinner posts and a shorter cowl facilitate an unobstructed view of the forks, while an overhead guard design improves visibility of loads at height.

Quick and easy maintenance

In its first 2,000 hours of operation, the Crown C-5 is projected to average just 79 routine maintenance tasks, resulting in reduced downtime and lowered out-of-pocket maintenance costs. For example, the self-adjusting power brake system on the Crown C-5 has fewer moving parts and a 90 percent larger brake pad surface than traditional drum brakes, which translates into a lifespan that is three times longer and requires 93 percent fewer maintenance checks. The power brake system is a standard feature on the Crown C-5 6,000 and 6,500-pound models.

When a technician does need to service a Crown C-5, he or she can do so quickly and easily thanks to the truck’s component accessibility. The Crown C-5’s post-to-post clearance is the largest in the industry, and its seat deck opens to an industry-leading 95-degree angle to provide even more space for technicians. Side panels and the floorboard can be removed without tools allowing easy reach to filters, dipsticks and fuses.