Industry 4.0 and Fork Truck Free, Article 1

November 29, 2018 Fork Truck Free Info 5093 Views


The features, advantages, and benefits of Fork Truck Free are significant as noted above. The same is true with Industry 4.0 (also noted above). When combined something exponentially more significant is generated.

Francisco Almada-Lobo, CEO of Critical Manufacturing, suggested that Industry 4.0 changes the basis of competition in manufacturing. Industry 4.0 is a fundamental change for manufacturing allowing for much greater agility and flexibility in a factory without sacrificing quality, cost, or speed. The result is greater innovation and revenue.

More than 80 percent of manufacturers will implement elements of Industry 4.0 to their operational processes by 2021. This rapid adoption of Industry 4.0 is being driven with stronger customer demand for lower costs, zero defect quality, and immediate availability. The paradigm shift with these demands is the addition of ETO (engineered-to-order) solutions which are configured, customized, and unique products delivered. Before Industry 4.0, cost, quality, and speed were manufacturing tradeoffs. Previously, custom products at lower costs or rapid delivery were not possible.

With fewer people and more automation, manufacturing executives make rapid decisions and improve both quality and efficiency.

Industry 4.0 facilitates a new level of manufacturing agility even when there is a mix of one of a kind manufactured products or small lot delivery. Industry 4.0 allows for unique product specifications which accelerates processes throughout the manufacturing, material flow, and production processes.


Because IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is closely integrated with Industry 4.0, the dramatic real-time visibility on the manufacturing plant floor is ideal for product development, introduction, and design variables. Because these solutions operate at both a product and process design level, the net result is that innovation is both dynamic and encouraged.


Never underestimating or taking for granted the VOC (voice of the customer), Industry 4.0 permits manufacturers a level of hyper-responsiveness with access to multiple layers of 24/7 available data. The result is better customer service because increasing the customer as a self-service access to the operational status. Contextualized data from the manufacturing execution system provides the customer and manufacturer the capacity to quickly and easily resolve production and delivery issues.


No introduction of process improvement, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Six Sigma, or Theory of Constraints (ToC) are undertaken lightly. The same is true with Industry 4.0 which requires both the leadership initiatives and initial investment. The costs of Industry 4.0 are rapidly offset once the intelligence is built into products and processes. A dramatic reduction in quality failures leads to less material waste, lower personnel and operating costs. The time to market for manufacturing new high profit products is reduced allowing manufacturers to offer greater product variability at lower costs.


Industry 4.0 ensures that manufacturers are referred and categorized as preferred supplier both to current and prospective customers. New and larger markets are accessible to Industry 4.0 practicing manufacturers due to better quality, lower costs, great product mix, and superb customer services. The quantifiable revenue growth is due to the ability to offer customized higher margin intelligent products.

Industry 4.0 encourages manufacturers to undertake decentralize intelligent production approaches which enables the capacity to compete profitably in demanding global markets as reported in Control Engineering magazine.

Manufacturers creating a digital twin of their operations allow them to benefit from additional monitoring, control, and optimization. The progressive industrial organizations leveraging big data and machine learning allow for predictive analytics revealing patterns to avoid problems.

These Industry 4.0 elements would suffice to move forward, but when the elements of Fork Truck Free efforts are explored a logical synergy appears.

Fork Truck Free environments improve safety by reducing motion, handling, and forklift movement. (More information at It also improves quality by first identifying defects instead of creating a bad batch. (More information at (

By shortening lead-times through processes (connected processes, smaller lot sizes) Fork Truck Free manufacturing plants improve flexibility. (More information at

By making equipment that is efficient with smaller lot sizes manufacturers are able to improve scalability. (More information at

Manufacturers reduce inventory by connecting processes and reducing lot sizes through quick changeover. (More information at

Better throughput and improved productivity are achieved by working on one thing at a time and removing wasted motion. (More information at

Fork Truck Free makes the speed of material consumption steady and paced to a takt time which simplifies material replenishment. It also frees up floor space by opening space used for inventory as well as allowing kaizen to take root by exposing hidden problems and making them more visible.

Fork Truck Free improves morale by promoting cross-training and skill enhancement, as well as identifying and solving problems more quickly and reducing frustration.

Topper Industrial is well-respected as the North American founders of the Fork Truck Free movement with the ability to engineer and design Industrial Carts (Mother / Daughter Cart Systems, Quad Steer Carts or Tracking Carts, Specialized Delivery Carts, Transfer Carts with Roller Deck, Static Carts, Rotation Carts, Tilt Carts or Kitting Carts), Industrial Cart Components (Parts Department), Industrial Containers (Corrugated and Wire Mesh Containers), Pallets, Lift/Tilt Systems, and Racking. Topper Industrial designs all products with ergonomics in mind, focusing on ease of use and best positioning of material while interfacing with Industry 4.0 initiatives.


The combination of Industry 4.0 and Fork Truck Free

When the best of both Industry 4.0 and Fork Truck Free programs are integrated the results are exponentially more effective and quantifiably lucrative.

As stand-alone best practices the merits of each are worthwhile. When combined the improved ROI (return on investment) with top-line growth, risk mitigation, and bottom-line impacts are a no-brainer. Stay tuned for more about this important 2019 and beyond trend.


Topper Industrial will be a ProMat in Chicago Booth # S4812 from April 8 – 11.


About Topper Industrial

For more than twenty years, Topper Industrial, ( has been a leading manufacturer of material handling carts and equipment solutions. Topper Industrial designs and builds industrial delivery carts, cart lifts, lifts & tilts, material handling racks, steel containers, casters, tube & joint and industrial cart parts & components. Topper Industrial specializes in services to Manufacturing, Fulfillment, Warehousing and the Distribution Sectors. Topper Industrial’s services include, but are not limited to: Design & customization, manufacturing & production, site analysis & planning and  implementation justification. Topper’s material handling solutions make delivering material line side more effective through more efficient practices.

Topper Industrial is a proud member of MHI. Follow on Twitter @TopperInd or on LinkedIn.


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