Forklifts’ lifespans are determined by many factors — environment, application and maintenance practices, just to name a few. Sooner or later, they’re all due for retirement or replacement. But, for one company, two forklifts have exceeded 35,000 total operating hours, an amount above the average lifespan or “economic life.” Enter Priefert, a family owned-and-operated farm, ranch and rodeo equipment manufacturer in Mount Pleasant, Texas.
Priefert bought brand-new Nissan forklifts about 10 years ago and have two lift trucks that are still operating to this day. The equipment was sold by UniCarriers Americas (UCA) authorized dealer Equipment Incorporated in Texarkana, Texas.
For a while, the company had purchased used Nissan forklifts but decided to buy them new based on how durable they had been in the past. “We chose to buy Nissan (UniCarriers) forklifts because of their parts availability, but we also noticed how reliable they are, especially with how often they’re used,” said Timothy Holt, automotive supervisor for Priefert.
The forklifts at Priefert operate around the clock, five days a week to move finished products or parts that need assembling. Since Priefert is situated on hundreds of acres, there’s a reason why the forklifts have accumulated so many hours.
Performing maintenance on the forklifts has been a key component to their longevity. “We typically perform routine maintenance on all our forklifts at 250 hours,” said Scott Ragsdale, automotive manager for Priefert. “They are used in a considerably harsh environment with a lot of dirt and dust, so they require us to maintain them properly. Some of them are maintained at a higher rate than others.”
“Normal wear and tear is to be expected, but for the most part, they’ve held up very well over the last decade. There have been no major issues, which speaks for itself about the quality of the trucks,” Ragsdale adds.
Which characteristics and selling points have affected Priefert’s overall purchasing decisions as the company continues to purchase UniCarriers forklifts? Holt says UniCarriers’ ease of use and operator friendliness stand out above the rest. “We also enjoy the view thru mast that allows for clear visibility, increasing our productivity and efficiency, and take advantage of the added blue lights for increased safety,” Ragsdale said.
In addition, UniCarriers’ standard limited warranty has been effective on lift truck buying choice. “Equipment Incorporated always does a great job in getting us everything we need in a timely manner, as outlined in the warranty agreement,” Holt stated. “We also buy a lot of parts, so it’s helpful to have a dealer who provides excellent customer service and helps us in any way we can to increase our uptime and productivity.”
“Fortunately, enough, we haven’t had many warranty issues since the forklifts have held up so well,” Holt adds.
It will be interesting to see how much longer the UniCarriers forklifts will operate. It could be one year, five years or another decade, but nonetheless it has been a good run.
With more than 20 acres under roof and over 200 acres dedicated to manufacturing alone, Priefert employs over 1000 employees, making it one of the largest farm, ranch and rodeo equipment manufacturers in the world.
* Nissan Forklift Co., Ltd. and TCM America joined UniCarriers Group in 2012, both becoming a 100 percent subsidiary of UniCarriers Corporation, and in 2013 both companies merged to become UniCarriers Corporation.
In 2016, all Nissan forklifts began using the UniCarriers brand name.