Lift truck holds up its end – after 68 years

Yale designated a Pennsylvania company’s vehicle as its oldest operational lift truck in the U.S.


Yale designated a Pennsylvania company’s vehicle as its oldest operational lift truck in the U.S. Courtesy: Yale Forklift Handling AssociationHow long is 68 years? It is the time span of 13 presidents—but just one lift truck.

When J.A. Cunningham Equipment Inc. purchased a used Yale lift truck in 1966, the truck already had been in operation for more than two decades. Another 47 years later, the truck shows no signs of being ready for retirement.

Yale Materials Handling Corporation has designated the trucks as the oldest-known operational Yale lift truck in the U.S. Manufactured in 1945, the Yale model K41-4M forklift has been at York, Pa.-based J.A. Cunningham Equipment Inc. since current company president Paul Cunningham’s father bought the truck.

“When I took over the family business, there was never a need to replace the truck. It has always been as durable as the other Yale models we have,” Cunningham said in a press release issued by Yale this week.

A family-owned business, J.A. Cunningham Equipment Inc. was established in 1945 as a welding supply distributorship. Now, the company specializes in welding equipment and welding supply, selling their products nationwide. Later, J.A. Cunningham Equipment also started WeldSale, a sister enterprise that sells welding platens, welding tables, acorn style tables and assorted tooling.

The Yale forklift has the capacity to lift approximately 3,000 lbs. and has carried skids of welding wires and other equipment for more than 60 years. The lift truck has never required extremely expensive repairs. J.A. Cunningham uses Eastern Lift Truck Company, a Yale dealer headquartered in Maple Shade, N.J., with a York location,  to service their lift trucks.

“I first learned of this forklift when I joined our dealership back in 1986 and remember this truck quite well,” said Mike Edmonds, marketing manager of Eastern Lift Truck. “We used to joke about our road technicians not being ‘real’ mechanics until they serviced this forklift: locating and lubing all 75 high-pressure grease fittings.”

While the lift truck is still operational when called upon, J.A. Cunningham has mainly retired the truck in lieu of another Yale lift truck.

“The fact that this lift truck has been around so long attests not only to the history and quality of Yale lift trucks, but also to the quality of our dealer service,” said Bill Pfleger, president of Yale Distribution. “We’re proud of our trucks and especially our technicians and dealers that keep our trucks in good condition for many years of dependable service. A great truck doesn’t end at the forks, but extends to the Yale team that supports it.”

The previously oldest-known lift truck in operation was discovered at Kliegal Machine Company in Big Flats, N.Y. that was manufactured in 1953. 

Terry , , 03/14/13 04:37 PM:

WOW, what a testiment to proactive service over the years.
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.