After 50 years of manufacturing electric lift trucks, Crown Equipment Corp. has entered the IC market for the first time. The New Bremen, Ohio-based company has unveiled its first internal-combustion vehicle, the Crown C-5. The new vehicle will be built at Crown's manufacturing facility in Green Castle, Ind.
Although Crown hasn't made its own IC vehicles until now, its dealers have been servicing internal-combustion trucks for decades. That experience provided valuable insight into what IC systems can go wrong and why, says Jim Moran, Crown's senior vice president. Examples include overheating transmissions, brakes that have a short life, poor air cooling and circulation, and short maintenance cycles. Crown says it has addressed these issues in the C-5, which is designed for heavy-duty users in demanding environments. The vehicle is rated for 4,000- to 6,500-pound capacities.
The C-5 relies on an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) engine developed in collaboration with John Deere. Crown says the engine is built with tougher components than commonly found in IC lift trucks, like a larger oil filter that can stand up to the rigors of continuous use as well as a design that offers better internal cooling. This allows the truck to run 1,000 hours between oil changes—an interval that's as much as four times longer than the recommended oil change interval for many other IC vehicles, according to the manufacturer. Crown says the model also offers more torque and horsepower than comparable vehicles.
The new C-5 features a Carraro transmission that's designed to improve shifting and acceleration as well as Crown Power Brakes, which use discs instead of drums to provide fast braking and long wear. The brakes are designed for a service interval of 3,000 hours, compared to the 250- and 500-hour intervals recommended by rival lift truck manufacturers, the company says.
An optional On Demand Cooling system automatically blows debris away from the radiator at start-up—a feature designed to reduce the overheating common to many IC-powered trucks. Crown says it has also addressed operator comfort by incorporating into the C-5 many of the cabin comforts found in its electric models, including a seat designed to reduce jolts to the body, easy-to-reach and -push pedals, and a design that allows quick entrance and egress.
"We saw an opportunity to help our customers move beyond the existing limitations of IC truck performance," says Jim Dickie III, president of Crown. "We have the freedom to innovate that a lot of our competitors don't. We can think with a blank-sheet-of-paper mentality."
Crown says it has been testing the C-5 for three years with over 300 trucks in the field.