About Fitzgerald Equipment
Fitzgerald Equipment has been a part of the material handling industry since 1962 as a service provider and distributor of best-in-class material handling products. The company distributes lift trucks and provides leasing and rental services. Their team of professionals offers around-the-clock repair and service, high-quality products, parts and rentals for all material handling needs.
A need for change
Before introducing Stellana’s Tmax tires, Fitzgerald Equipment was facing constant frustration with the drive tires on their enclosed end rider trucks. Operators were experiencing a lack of traction, poor steering ability, and rider discomfort. Not only were these problems creating a nuisance, but a safety hazard, as well.
Through continual observation and repair, the service techs noticed that with use the drive tires were developing a prominent sheen on the tire surface. The compromised surface was the result of one issue but became the root of additional problems.
The machines were frequently becoming stuck in the pallets, causing interruption to everyday tasks. Operators found themselves having to wet and wipe down the floor to remove even the slightest residual dust that could keep the tires from moving. Beyond the cleaning required, once the glaze began to form, the service technicians had to shave off a layer of the tire to expose a new surface layer that provided better traction. With today’s skilled labor being scarce, these are not the tasks that you want your fleet to require. By changing one part, this team was able to free up valuable time for the essential functions of the job.
One part, but a world of difference
With the obstacles at hand, Fitzgerald Equipment sought out an alternative supplier. After implementing Stellana drive tires, frustration dissipated, and performance was significantly improved.
By introducing Stellana’s Tmax, they sustained the traction that was necessary for the forks to slide in and out of the pallets with ease. Previously, when the forks entered a pallet, they would remain stuck, and the drive tire would stay in place, spinning out. There is an inverse relationship between the durometer of a tire and its traction qualities. The Tmax tire has a lower durometer than what was previously used and therefore grants better traction.
Due to the nature of polyurethane tires, there is always a tradeoff to consider when selecting a tire. When choosing a lower durometer, you compromise on the load bearing capabilities. However, Stellana tires have been proven to support higher loads at lower durometers when compared to the competitive products in the market. In a facility without extreme load requirements, a softer durometer tire improved traction and safety.
When navigating the warehouse floor, the absence of traction led to extreme sliding and a loss of control when steering. In a distribution center stacked with high shelves and pallets of goods, you always want to be in control of your machine to most importantly keep yourself and others safe, but also to minimize damage to the products in inventory.
With the old tires, sharper turns, U-turns and quick stops were not possible. With the Stellana drive tire in place, turning is more efficient. Rather than requiring a 5-point (or more) turn it is now possible to take a sharper turn in one fluid motion. The stopping ability also improved with the Stelllana tires in use.
By introducing Stellana tires, Fitzgerald Equipment can keep their machines running to their highest protentional and restore the full speed capabilities of the vehicles which were previously restricted to improve driver safety. At Stellana, we frequently say that our tires maximize the performance of your machinery and this is a perfect example of how.
Rider Fatigue Eliminated
Operators stressed the difference they felt in comfort between the rides of the tires. Driver fatigue significantly lowered in the machines that used Stellana tires. This facility had great floors, but repeatedly driving over the expansion joints caused discomfort for some operators. Todd Trosper, at Fitzgerald Equipment, said, “We have had our operators red tag the equipment that does not have Stellana tires so that they can wait to use the machines with your tires.” With a lower durometer tire in place, the team experienced more comfort in their ride.
Should you make the switch?
The operators were not getting the traction, steering, comfort or safety they needed out of their machinery. While it could seem like a relatively insignificant part, the drive tire has a powerful effect on how your equipment performs (watch now).
After switching to the Stellana tires, operators experienced a change first hand. At Stellana, we work to find every customer a solution that is ideal for their application. Our experience and knowledge of polyurethane enable us to keep equipment running at its peak performance. Picking the right poly is what we do best!
Stellana US is a world-class manufacturer of solution-oriented polyurethane wheels, tires, and custom parts. Stellana provides solutions for forklifts and other material handling equipment including AGVs, automated machinery, and more.