Pasco company invents forklift shock absorber
Prototype reduces transport impact on bins of fruit, inventor says
Pasco-based HarvestMoore prototype fork impact limiter is now in production, with one run scheduled in time for apple harvest.
The new invention is designed to reduce the shock loads and impact to fruit bins carried by forklifts.
Prototype testing completed last month showed reduced impacts on forklift loads of up to 36 percent. The device has a patent pending.
The fork impact limiter can be installed on existing three-point hitches on orchard tractors used for hauling fruit in bins from the orchard. Its control box and hydraulic cylinders protect the bin from jostling that can cause fruit bruising.
Loads and packages sensitive to shock or impact loads are often handled by forks on equipment that have no suspension system other than large rubber tires. But they do not provide sufficient protection from shocks encountered on rough ground or pavement, or ruts caused by irrigation and trucks moving through the orchard, said Frank Moore, managing partner of HarvestMoore and who invented the device. Other partners are Deb Jaquith and Patty Cordell.
While the forklift limiter was designed specifically for bins of tree fruit, including apples, cherries, peaches and apricots, those using forklifts to move electronics, glass items, precision instruments and other fragile items can benefit from fewer product losses due to breakage, Moore said.
Tests were run using a 900-pound bin at 900 rpm, 1,200 rpm, 1,800 rpm and full throttle.
With the fork impact limiter, shock loads were decreased by 4 percent at slow speeds, 25 percent at middle speeds and 36 percent at full throttle, Moore said. He used a shock instrument to test the device.
Cost for the system is $3,000 and $5,000, depending on whether the device is sold with new forks or put on existing forks, Moore said.
Moore said a limited number of orders can be completed before this harvest.
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