In fairness all three manufacturers provide equipment that will work in aisle widths of 1,700mm, have lift heights in excess of 12m and be able to work both inside and out virtue of large rubber wheels.
So with the operational factors covered we need to consider to other factors such as: –
After sales support – all three are established manufacturers with Bendi and Flexi specialising in the narrow field (excuse the pun) VNA equipment whilst Aisle-Master are part of the Combilift portfolio who are one of the largest forklift manufacturers in Europe.
In recent years Aisle Master have establish themselves as the market leader commanding a market share in excess of 50%. From experience we would suggest the Aisle-Master currently have an edge here due to excellent technical and parts support along with a 5 year parts warranty.
Purchase cost – unsurprisingly, in a competitive market there is little to choose from between the providers when comparing similar machines. With the Bendi being made in the US and the Flexi being brought in from Taiwan and the Aisle-Master manufactured in Ireland currency fluctuations can have a bearing on pricing from time to time but generally there is little to choose from in terms of pricing.
Running (Life) costs – again all three have thousands of trucks operating in the field and use industry standard batteries, motors and controllers.
We have all three brands in our fleet (dozens of them) and over the 26 years that we have been involved with the concert we have found that whilst they all have staying power the Aisle-Master consistently demonstrates lower running cost and has a better residual value.
Operator acceptance – all three cater well for the operator as would be expected from equipment that is often operating long hours in distribution warehouses. In past years it felt like the operator was almost an after thought with most of the effort being to make the truck narrow and reduce the aisle width. In recent the operators cab on all three have improved so this is an area that is very much down to personal preference.
In summary, a new or (modern) used machine from any of the three providers will provide you with an efficient warehouse pallet stacker. The choice is better now than it has every been so you can’t really go wrong.
There are some specification differences which might make one machine better suited than another for a certain operation but they will all do a job for you. However, If asked to express a preference we would suggest that the Aisle-Master has the edge in terms of lower life costs which is why, unless a customer expresses a preference, often head for the newest kid on the block, when adding to our hire fleet.