The steering system is a design of new type of steering system for solving the problem of high turning radius of vehicles. The vehicles that are used in the industry, like forklift and tele-handlers, have large turning radius and are difficult to steer. Their large turning radius decreases the warehouse storage capacity and the vehicle’s manoeuvrability, thus making the vehicle difficult to handle leading to serious accidents. The final design of steering system can give 4 types of steering conditions- normal steering (2 wheel steering), 4 wheel steering, crab steering and 0 turning (Turning radius= 0). The steering system allows vehicle to turn in tight spaces as well as gives freedom to the driver to move the vehicle in direction he wants. A patent and PCT is filed in Indian patent office and European patent office for commercial purposes. Application number- 201721041661 and 201921017516
In terms of numbers, forklifts account almost 95,000 fatal, serious and non-serious injuries in USA only. As reported by OSHA, a person dies every 3 days and a person is hurt every 6 minutes by forklift operation. USD 135,000,000 costs are incurred due to forklift accidents.
Upon further research, it was found that most of the accidents happen due to limited capabilities of forklifts. Many of the times forklifts tip over during tight turns due to high loads and imbalanced CG. Raising heavy loads to some heights always is dangerous as there is less resistance to toppling. Forklifts have rear wheel steering system which asks for expert drivers and also creates difficulties during tight turns in narrow lanes causing the accidents. In essence, steering forklifts and other industrial vehicles is difficult which directs towards a need to develop a new steering system.
A steering system which can help these vehicles move freely will not only increase work safety but will also increase warehouse capacities while alleviating inconveniences.
While developing the system, current framework of vehicles formed the boundaries for design. It was important to develop a system which uses usual steering components so that implementing of steering in vehicles becomes easy. Accordingly, the new system makes use of rack, pinion and usual steering elements. As stated earlier, the steering system can achieve 4 modes of steering- normal, 4 wheel, crab and 0 turning. It also adds to the stability of vehicle when lifting loads and carrying them.
The system developed makes use of current steering components that are used in vehicles which makes it suitable for implementing not only in industrial vehicles such as forklifts, telehandlers, but also in other applications such as city cars also. The system is protected by a patent and PCT for regions of India and Europe.
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(With- Sourabh Yadav)
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