Daikin is the world’s No. 1 air conditioning company offering residential, commercial and applied industrial solutions to over 140 countries around the world. Their manufacturing and distribution plant near Houston, TX is the largest HVAC facility in the United States, spanning an impressive 4.2 million square feet. Nearly every Daikin or Goodman HVAC product shipped in the U.S. passes through this facility.
MAKING THE SWITCH
When building their state-of-the-art campus, Daikin management specifically wanted all new lift truck purchases to be electric forklifts. At Daikin’s groundbreaking ceremony, Mr. Takeshi Ebisu, president and CEO of Daikin North America stated, “The operational efficiencies we achieve will be reflected in the superb quality of our high-efficiency, energy-saving heating and cooling systems.”
All of Daikin’s manufacturing facilities previously used internal combustion forklifts. With its new facility, Daikin was first considering three-wheel electric counterbalanced forklift options from several different forklift manufacturers, including Jungheinrich lift trucks.
As part of the decision-making process, Daikin evaluated and demonstrated several different competitors’ products in addition to the Jungheinrich EFG 220 series – a 2,500 – 4,000 lb., 3-wheel electric counterbalanced forklift. Overwhelmingly, Daikin’s management team and forklift operators preferred the Jungheinrich lift trucks due to the truck’s ability to run 16 hours on one battery charge, its leading comfort, ergonomics and ability to move smoothly across their large facility.
Today, Daikin now operates more than 300 Jungheinrich lift trucks in its Houston facility, including a mix of man-up turret trucks, three-wheel electric counterbalance lift trucks, tow tractors, four-wheel electric pneumatic forklifts, walkie pallet trucks, powered pallet trucks, high-level order pickers, stand-up end controls, and pantograph reach trucks.
DESIGNED FOR COMFORT
When Daikin operators start their shift each day, they have the choice between a Jungheinrich EFG electric forklift and a propane-powered IC pneumatic forklift. Both management and operators said the Jungheinrich lift trucks are always the first to be chosen. “When I walk in at the beginning of the day – if I have a choice between a propane (forklift) and a Jungheinrich – I’ll choose the Jungheinrich. There’s no comparison,” says Ruiz.
RUNNING 2 SHIFTS ON 1 CHARGE
Management was also impressed with the long run times and travel throughout the facility.
“Getting two shifts off of one battery charge in a facility this size is pretty impressive.” Wright says. “The way the (Jungheinrich 3-wheel electric forklift) travels through the warehouse – it’s very smooth. The shifting of the mast – the transition when they’re lifting or down-stacking product – (the operators) preferred it much more than some of the others we tested.”