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Kalmar has developed a unique, patent-pending double pedal for its hydrostatically powered forklift truck (FLT) range, to considerably reduce strain on drivers’ feet and legs. The pedal has been tested at the Stora Enso newsprint mill in Hylte, where more than 30 drivers trialled the prototype.

Kalmar Sweden supplied Stora Enso with an 8-tonne DCE 80-9 HE incorporating the double pedal design in November 2004. An intensive evaluation was carried out and the machine fully satisfied the mill requirements and led to the order of a further five hydrostatically powered machines in April 2005.

Conny Christensen, Design Manager Industrial Handling, Kalmar Industries, explains the importance of the double pedal:

"A good driver environment and an ergonomically correct working position lead to more efficient work and reduce strain on the driver during intensive driving."

When the right pedal is depressed the left pedal is raised a few millimetres above its neutral position and is locked, making a convenient support for the resting foot. To brake, you release the active pedal upwards. The resting pedal is activated when the driver depresses it making the opposite pedal the foot support.

Safety is increased as the driver always has both feet on a pedal, making braking and changing direction more efficient.

"Stora Enso Hylte was seeking a new pedal system to resolve its drivers' problems with unnatural angles on their ankles. We were quickly able to develop a prototype in accordance with their wishes," says Jan Lönn, Kalmar Industries’ Design Engineer responsible for the double pedal. "The drivers' reactions have been very positive after six months of intensive use."

Vertically adjustable support

The Hylte trucks have been equipped with several extras to reduce strain on drivers' legs and feet. The pedal plate and the strength required to depress the pedal can be adapted to suit the needs of any driver. The heel rests on a vertically adjustable support plate. Regardless of whether the driver is a strong-footed man or a slender-footed woman, the individual can set the support plate in accordance with their needs.

Reduced pedal pressure

The pedal's response to the driver's movements is crucial to driving precision. It should not be necessary to have to exert a high pressure on the pedal to make the truck react. At the same time, the mechanics must be sufficient to make the pedal spring back when the driver reduces the pressure on the pedal.

"Overall, this also contributes to decreased strain on the driver's feet and legs," explains Mr Lönn. "Quite simply, you need less human muscle power to drive the truck efficiently."
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