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What does an hour meter actually measure?

A forklift truck’s hour meter is one of its most important instruments. Service intervals and rental costs may be determined by it, so it is critical that you know exactly what it is measuring.

There is no standard

It is a remarkable fact that there is no industry-wide standard determining what an hour meter should count.There are several possibilities:

The BT way

At BT, we have a clear approach for electric trucks. Our hour meters normally measure working hours. This is the total amount of time that any one of the truck’s motors has been running. It is not the sum of the running times of all individual motors—if two motors are running simultaneously their running time is only counted once, not added together.

What are you paying for?

Do you know what the hour meters on your fleet are measuring, and the consequences for your costs?
Suppliers using run-on hours as a basis for charging can significantly increase costs. During a recent study run-on hours recorded on a low-level order picking truck were virtually double those registered as working hours on a similar truck undertaking the same duties.

If your servicing is based on key time then you could also be paying too much. Some suppliers will calculate working hours as drive-motor hours + lift-motor hours, which will give you a larger total. We normally only count the time that any one motor is running. If the truck is driving and lifting at the same time, the time counted is as if it was only driving.

In a recent study over a two-week period, one electric truck’s key time was found to be over 12 times greater than its working hours—it was turned on for 251 hours, but only actually used for 20. With BT, only those 20 hours count.

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