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.

03/08/2013


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. 



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
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 Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me