Crown Equipment Corp., New Bremen, Ohio, has introduced a new version of its Crown PC 4500 Series center control pallet truck, which is designed to accommodate Plug Power GenDrive fuel cells. The Crown PC 4500 is the industry’s first pallet truck to be designed specifically for fuel cells in an effort to ensure there is no negative impact on safety, efficiency, and performance.
The newly designed PC 4500 is the first forklift to incorporate controls and gauges for the fuel cell into the dashboard of the truck for operator convenience. Normally, these controls and gauges, such as a fuel-level indicator and a start/stop button, are located on the fuel cell, which requires the operator to stop operation to access the control box and check the status of the fuel cells. The other significant design modification to the fuel cell version of the Crown PC 4500 is the placement of the fuel cell power unit behind the operator.
“With the standard PC 4500, the battery box is located directly below the steering control. Because many fuel cell packs have a taller profile, there isn’t enough room to fit them below the steering control without creating safety and performance issues,” said Rod Squires, product manager, Crown Equipment. “The idea to place the fuel cell behind the operator came about while we were working to meet the fuel cell needs of our customer, Walmart Canada.”
A fleet of the Crown PC 4500 trucks with fuel cells were recently delivered to Walmart Canada’s new perishable distribution center located outside of Calgary, Alberta. The facility is the first complete distribution center in Canada to be powered exclusively by hydrogen fuel cells. The trucks are expected to be operational by September.
“Crown worked closely with Walmart to ensure they had the right trucks for their unique applications,” added Squires. “It was vital that the trucks helped them work toward their aggressive sustainability goal of making the new distribution center one of the most energy-efficient facilities of its kind in North America.”
The Crown PC 4500 can operate in conditions as low as minus 20F (minus 29C). The truck maintains the same features and benefits presented by the standard model, such as power steering, Access 1 2 3 technology and the ergonomically designed and award-winning X10 handle.