“Sleek. Ergonomic. Innovative. User friendly.”
Design accolades are not just the prerogative of hi-tech consumer products, as a recent article in a leading business innovation magazine Fast Company pointed out. The cover feature, entitled “The United States of Design: 30 Companies That Get It” recognised Crown, one of the world’s largest forklift manufacturers, by stating that the company is “proving forklifts can be as well designed as iPods.”
“When people think of excellent product design, they typically think of consumer products,” said Crown’s vice president of design, Mike Gallagher. “But that’s not the case – design excellence can also be found in commercial and industrial equipment as Fast Company magazine has identified.
“Crown’s multi-disciplined design team incorporates innovation-focused practices and creative design competencies into its forklifts and technology to ensure the outcome is as compelling – but also as practical – as possible. We’re honoured and delighted that Fast Company has recognised our skills.”
Crown first started building materials handling equipment in the 1950s and quickly gained a reputation for excellence in quality and design. Since the 1960s, Crown products have collected more than 50 design awards and numerous industry accolades, including six consecutive and nineteen overall awards in the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) coveted annual International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) that recognise companies around the globe for design excellence.
Multiple awards for design excellence
In the last 11 years no other company has won more IDEAs in the Commercial and Industrial Equipment category than Crown. And 2011 continued this winning trend with a Gold IDEA award going to the German built Crown WT 3000 Pallet Truck Series for its innovative engineering and ergonomics.
In Europe, Crown has also won numerous prestigious iF (International Forum Design) awards. In 2011 alone, the WT 3000 series received the iF Product Design Award and the IDEA Gold award, while the Crown ESR 5000 Reach Truck Series, also built in Germany, won the coveted iF Gold Award, the IDEA Gold Award and the Good Design Award in the “Transportation 2010” category.
Bestowed by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, the Good Design Award recognises innovative products characterised by outstanding design and has been made to international designers and businesses every year since 1950.
Design that reduces the cost of ownership
Excellent design has to deliver! It is clear that industrial design is about more than simply shaping metal. It is also about the intelligent integration of every aspect of the truck with the operator and the working environment. Crown has been looking beyond the lift truck for many years, mapping and analysing the processes and workflow logic within which trucks have to operate.
This research led to the development of Crown’s unique fleet management system, InfoLink® 3.0, which monitors and analyses the dynamic performance characteristics of a lift truck fleet across multiple sites in real time. The on-screen dashboards are a perfect example of how interaction designers were able to streamline data into useful information, helping managers to make decisions which lower the cost of ownership. Complex information on the truck fleet, from damage reports through driver productivity to the state of battery charge on each truck, are presented in a simple, intuitive display based on clear colour coding. Using a simple “traffic light” colour system, a manager can immediately identify whether immediate action is required (red), attention is required (yellow) or everything is in order (green).
With thousands of trucks worldwide now equipped with Crown InfoLink, the design of both Crown trucks and their on – board systems has become music to the ears of logistics managers!
Crown Equipment Corporation is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electric lift trucks. Since the company first started building materials handling equipment in the 1950s, Crown products have won numerous industry accolades. From the smallest pallet trucks through to the largest VNA trucks, Crown uses leading-edge design, innovative engineering and high-quality manufacturing techniques to respond to the full range of customer needs, achieving exceptional standards of reliability and productivity.
Crown has a unique corporate structure, characterised by the highest levels of vertical integration in the industry. This enables the company to keep tight control of development, production and customer support. Up to 85 percent of the components used in Crown products are developed and manufactured by Crown in custom-built facilities. Crown is committed to offering customers superior value that reduces TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).
Crown Equipment Corporation is a family-owned business with head offices in the USA, Australia and Germany. Crown now operates a global distribution and service network with more than 70 fully-owned subsidiaries and over 300 independent dealerships.