With the new pallet truck series EXH-S 20/25 STILL is breaking new ground. For the first time, the pallet truck is no longer equipped with tiller steering, but with the EasyDrive steering wheel that STILL previously presented on the order pickers. Partly thanks to the ease of operation and the higher travel speeds, the EXH-S notes top scores in our test.
With a brand new series EXH-S 20/25 STILL brings the successor of the EXU-S series. The newcomer is slightly more powerful, faster and more modern than its predecessor and is available in various variants in terms of step and protection. We tested the most requested variant with fixed sidewalls and rear entry, but also looked at the models with sideways entry. These trucks are favorite for order picking or regular work in very tight environments.
STILL developed the EXH-S 20/25 with respectively 2 and 2.5 tons load capacity for loading and unloading trucks and horizontal transport. The EXH-S 20/25 also covers longer driving distances effortlessly, as the driving speeds are increased to 14 km/h. Acceleration is also extremely fast, which makes the trucks ideal for a smooth working style. The new steering concept and improved ergonomics add new dimensions.
Whereas until recently such pallet trucks were fitted with an (electrically powered) tiller, STILL chooses to fit the EasyDrive steering wheel that we saw earlier on the OPX order pickers. Other brands also have a steering wheel on their order pickers, but we have never seen this steering concept on a pallet truck before. STILL says it chooses steering for the more convenient use and safer working conditions. In addition, it is of course a Unique Selling Point (USP), until other brands also take this step.
The more convenient use is noticeable because you will find all the necessary buttons at your fingertips on and around the steering wheel. Direction, speed, fork lift and lower, everything can be controlled from the steering wheel. You can also choose the driving program, energy saving and crawl speed from the steering wheel. The entire steering console is stepless variable and very easy to adjust in height.
The safe operation is especially noticeable because the hand(s) remain on the steering wheel and the arms do not swivel to the left or right as with a drawbar-controlled truck. This ensures that the operator stays within the truck contours. With this STILL series, this is even more important because the truck width is only 720 mm, which keeps it well within the dimensions of a Euro pallet.
So much for theory, but would practice turn out the same way? With an order picker you usually drive in the direction of the steering wheel and the steering itself is very logical. With pallet trucks, you only drive in the direction of the load, in this case also the steering wheel, when you are picking up or placing the load. During transport, you mainly drive in the direction of the stand platform. In this situation you will have the steering device (regardless wheel or tiller) more or less behind you. Wouldn’t this be confusing if you fitted a pallet truck with a steering wheel?
Honestly, yes, but it only takes a few minutes to get used to it. As soon as you feel how the truck reacts to the steering movements, you take over the logic. When working in the fork direction this happens almost immediately, in the platform direction it happens quite quickly, as long as you do the steering with one hand. While driving backwards two hands on the steering wheel is not very ergonomic, given the slightly twisted standing position. But this can be neglected, because during a standard application usually this is done with one hand operation. For those who really can’t get used to the steering principle, STILL offers the possibility to make the electrically operated steering direction opposite. The expectation is that the vast majority of all operators with the standard choice will be able to cope well.
With the new steering method and the excellent driving performance, the STILL EXH-S 25 with Li-ion battery achieves a very good performance. The five-wheel configuration keeps the truck neatly on course and gives it a predictable ride. This allows us to achieve the highest measured productivity in this class. In terms of energy consumption, the STILL scores above average. With the enabled Blue-Q function, productivity remains high, but you save almost 15% energy with every pallet movement.
Partly thanks to the convenient steering wheel you as an operator experience the available work space as sufficient. The standing position is spacious and the test truck is equipped with a pneumatically suspended platform that we can adjust to the desired damping with the built-in compressor.
Thanks to the fixed side walls we experience a high sense of safety. The foot sensor (option) ensures that we also keep our feet inboard. The space on the platform is so large that we did not accidentally activate the sensor while working. If you do get out of the platform, the truck automatically brakes and doses to a standstill. By putting your foot back on the platform and releasing the directional switch for a moment, you can move on again.
For comparison we also worked with the truck with rear wall and side entry. It’s conceivable that you will opt for this model sooner if you often get on and off the truck, for example during order picking. The rear wall offers extra protection and a good grip when driving. This model of the EXH-S 25 was equipped with a lead-acid battery, which is noticeable. Especially when you get back on the Li-ion truck. Thanks to the slightly higher Voltage, the Li-ion truck feels more powerful. Each command leads directly to action and that delivers more productivity and driving pleasure. Add to this the ease of use of intermediate charging, the carefree operation without battery maintenance, the clean battery technology, the higher energy density and the measurable energy savings during the work and the recharging afterwards. It completes the total picture of the electric pallet truck for now and the future.
Our conclusion is clear: With the new EXH-S 20/25 series STILL is literally and figuratively redefines the course. The steering concept, the pneumatically operated suspension, the choice of different side and back wall configurations, remarkably high driving performances and optimized ergonomics… STILL is currently setting the benchmark in this class of pallet trucks.
(Text and photos: Andersom Testing, Theo Egberts and Mark Dohmen)
Tags:Andersom test, Andersom testing, EXH-S, Intralogistics, Li-ion, Lithium-ion batteries, Pallet truck, Pallet trucks, Pallettrucks, Still, Still EXH-S, Still EXH-S 20-25, Warehouse truck, Warehouse trucks