Welcome back to our "Focus On" series, where we look to give you some "in the trenches" information on a forklift. Today we're introducing the Crown WAV-60 series. Pictured above is the WAV-60 with powered lift tray; the latest version of this Work Assist Vehicle (WAV) is like no other machine on the market. You can read what Crown has to say about it here.
Unlike some of Crown's other forklifts, the WAV-60 isn't a family of units; the line begins and ends in the same place. This is because unlike a regular forklift, the WAV-60 isn't focused on how much it lifts, but instead on what you can do with it. That said though: the load tray can support up to 200 lbs (90 kg), the load deck up to 250 lbs (115 kg), and the operator compartment up to 300 lbs (135 kg). It does this all with a working height of 16.5 ft (5 m)
Keeping it steady and under control
Because it is a personal lift one of the big things that Crown focused on with the WAV-60 is safety. No bones about it, the machine is an absolute lightweight compared to a lot of other forklifts, weighing little more than many powered jacks at 1420 lbs (645 kg). Without the stable mass of a large machine, the WAV-60 incorporates many features intended to keep its user safe and secure within the operator compartment while in use.
One of these features is making sure the operator maintains four points of contact while any part of the lift is in use. Sensors in the hand grips and operator presence sensors beneath the heavy duty rubber floor mat all check to make sure the operator is where they're the safest when driving or changing elevation. Feet aren't placed for stability? WAV-60 won't do a thing. Both hands aren't on the controls? No drive, no turn, no lift. The only exception to this as the emergency ground level controls built into the base unit; there so someone on the ground can bring the lift down in case the operator becomes unable to.
Looking at the picture of these controls you might be thinking "That's a lot of buttons." Some of them are definitely going to get more use than the others.
WAV-60 hand controls.
On the far left (also shown in the orange circle on the far right as an inset) there's a few rocker switches.
One controls Rabbit/Turtle mode for speed, both of which are programmable.
Another switch is only there on units with the optional powered load tray (for raising and lowering the tray).
If you check out the inset image on the far right, you will also spot a switch for lights (another option).
Also on the left side is the key-switch (which can be replaced with a keyless toggle if you prefer).
Lastly there's one of the more important controls built into the handgrip: the turning controls! A molded control handle provides intuitive steering right in the operator's hand, and like mentioned earlier, stops the unit if the operator ever takes their hands off the controls. There is no cruise control here!
Speaking of the inset image on the right: the red line shown there is actually the path the optical sensor checks to see if the operator has their hand in the right place while driving. Simple and basically bomb proof (we've only had to replace a handful in more than a decade), this sensor helps make sure that the unit is only operated safely.
On the right side is where that pile of buttons feeling might set in. The good news is that you don't need most of them for day to day use.
The little cluster of black buttons next to the screen is mostly used for programming and diagnostics. This buttons+screen combo is actually Crown's patented Access 1 2 3 system, and packs a lot of brains into a tiny package. Speeds can be (re)programmed here as need be, and any error codes will be displayed here as well so that when you call for a trained technician they can arrive with some idea what to look for when servicing your unit. Service prompts can be programmed too, so nobody forgets to call for periodic maintenance. And that takes care of 5 of 9 buttons!
The big red button? Emergency disconnect: press it and everything turns off via the emergency contactor. Up and down buttons raise the operator compartment on the WAV-60's mono-mast; the operator "compartment" is actually mounted to the top-most section of mast. Below that is the horn, which hopefully you won't need to use much, but BEEPBEEP in case you do.
Like on the left, the major controls are reserved for the handgrip; in this case the directional controls. Twist it forward and the WAV-60 speeds up and moves forward. Twist it back and the WAV-60 slows down and starts to reverse. Just like the turning controls this way of controlling movement is super intuitive, and just like the steering also requires the operator's hands and feet to be in place before allowing anything to happen, checking for the operator's hand with the same kind of optical sensor the turning handle does.
Getting up there safely
We've been talking about safety a lot so far, but we're not done yet. One of the leading causes of injuries in the workplace is falls, with ladder related injuries accounting for an average of 300,000 lost days of work per year in the US. These kinds of stats are why Crown wasn't joking around when they designed the WAV-60 as an efficient, effective replacement for high ladders.
With an integral load tray, the operator doesn't have to worry about trying to hold onto product and climb at the same time. No balancing on steps to worry about, no climbing up and down, and never having to lean out to try and position a box to avoid having to climb down and move the cussed ladder. Anyone who has ever watched one of those big ladders in use knows what we're talking about here...
To the left we've put up a picture of the back side of the WAV-60. On top of being all curved and fun colors, there's a bunch of safety features hiding in this section too. So we're going to start from the ground up for going through them.
The first feature is actually hidden beneath the operator platform. There's a guard plate sitting over the drive motors to keep them protected when the lift is in use, so if something falls or gets backed into, the platform actually can't be brought down until the obstruction is cleared. This helps save on damage to both the lift and the product.
Next up is optional: there's flashing lights that can be installed from factory. A word of warning on these lights though: they're really, really bright. The flashing is insistent enough that Crown even calls out the risk of having too many warning items on a unit. If your space is dark, these flashers will be absolutely eye searing. That said: if you're in something like a retail space where there's lots of lighting and the general public is wandering around, having the beepers and lights is an excellent investment to counter many potential liabilities. Nobody can claim they didn't see these things coming.
The floorboard actually comes in several parts. A metal lower platform provides a solid standing surface for the operator and contains the foot pedal sensors that help make sure the operator is standing safely when using the lift. These pedals are separate for ease of service and replacement (the previous generation had a multi-part sensor that was rather fiddly. The WAV-60 did away with all the fiddly bits for a single-piece sensor). Topping that is a high density rubber floor mat to help feet stay in place and cushion your operators against fatigue.
Above that come the gates and rails. The rails are fixed in position and make sure that if someone wants to slip out the front of things they have to do some contortion first to squeeze out. The gates are a manual swing style, and are tied into the lift system via gate position switches built into each arm. If you want to raise the platform more than 20" (50 cm) you need to shut the gates and keep them that way. Since they're internal to the gate arms the switches are protected from a lot of abuse.
Lastly here there's the side braces. Padded for comfort and safety, these braces help both with keeping the operator within the compartment but also with them avoiding impacts with hard surfaces that may occur with leaning or rapid turns while driving.
The other half
So far we've talked about the upper portion of the WAV-60 a lot. It's the "business end" of the machine after all, so it makes sense. So now we're going to talk about the lower half of the machine because this is actually where most of the work happens. All the batteries, motors, pumps, and driving components are located here tucked away under the load deck or base of the platform.
Power wise the WAV-60 runs on a 24 volt system and ships with 180 amp hour wet cell batteries. We always recommend the 200 amp hour maintenance free option because it means you don't have to worry about watering the batteries over time. These power a pair of AC drive motors located at the rear of the unit, which are actually responsible for the steering as well, working kind of like tank tracks to turn (want to turn right? The left motor gives more power to "push" the unit that way).
The WAV-60 is still a forklift even if only technically, so there's hydraulics in here too. The pump and reservoir are in this base unit and work to supply a cylinder you'll never see. Housed inside the mast along with the lift chains and the chain/cable yoke, this cylinder is protected from a lot of the abuse that lift parts usually get; as a testament to that we've only ever had to reseal one.
All of these parts are hidden under the load deck. Made from heavy duty plastic backed with reinforcing, the deck does double duty as a cover for the guts of the unit. With a textured base and raised sides it is ideal for transporting a variety of goods along with the operator. Just a few examples might include manufacturing, facilities maintenance, and small parts picking operations.
Let me count the ways
Crown wanted to give us a ladder/forklift hybrid, and we think they did a pretty fine job of it in the WAV-60. Building on their experience with the previous version of the WAV they refined the designs, improved what had turned out to be problems previously, and built a machine that can go places many can't. With an on-board charger, the WAV-60 plugs into an everyday power outlet, meaning you can even park it almost anywhere to top up the batteries.
There's a variety of elevating man lifts out there, but the WAV-60 is really in a class of its own. Many of the supposed competitors aren't even self propelled! Imagine asking your team members to shove around a 7-800 lb (3-350 kg) hunk of equipment and trying to call it "light weight!" Or to lug it around and then have to spend time installing and adjusting outriggers before being able to use it? Just not that handy right?
No whistles, but it can beep and flash
We've actually talked about a lot of the options the WAV-60 can be equipped with. Flashing lights, powered load tray, and work lights have already been covered, as has the battery upgrade option. Some of the other options are really "quality of life" upgrades: things like mast mounted storage pockets/bins, a retractable cord reel, clip pads, or accessory mounts.
Some of the optional upgrades are definitely on the "hardware" end of things though. Adding rubber over-molding to the front and side steel bumpers or automatic gate locks change how the machine interacts with the world and the operator, and travel alarms can let the world know the machine is coming through. Especially for picking and fulfillment work though, one of the most important changes is that rail guide rollers can be installed, letting you use aisles as narrow as 36" (91.5 cm) while keeping the lift on the straight and narrow, even without resorting to automation.
That's all folks
That's a few of the major points for the Crown WAV-60 work assist vehicle, a safe, efficient, and fun little machine. Like always if you want to know more you can always Click Here to see what Crown says about their product.
Better yet you can Get In Contact with one of our CSS Team Members to learn more about this machine and about just how many places this little workhorse could fit into your business.