Development and Validation of a Forklift Truck Powertrain Simulation

Martin Murtagh, Robert Kee, Geoffrey McCullough, Charles Stuart, Conor Bradley, Stephen Trimble, Matthew Allen, Chenyo Chen, Alan Kolkemo, Drew Reichenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Fuel economy has become an important consideration in forklift truck design, particularly in Europe. A simulation of the fuel consumption and performance of a forklift truck has been developed, validated and subsequently used to determine the energy consumed by individual powertrain components during drive cycles.
The truck used in this study has a rated lifting capacity of 2500kg, and is powered by a 2.6 litre naturally aspirated diesel engine with a fuel pump containing a mechanical variable-speed governor. The drivetrain consisted of a torque convertor, hydraulic clutch and single speed transmission.
AVL Cruise was used to simulate the vehicle powertrain, with coupled Mathworks Simulink models used to simulate the hydraulic and control systems and governor. The vehicle has been simulated on several performance and fuel consumption drive cycles with the main focus being the VDI 2198 fuel consumption drive cycle.
To validate the model, a truck was instrumented and measurements taken to compare the performance and instantaneous fuel consumption to simulated values. The fuel injector pump was modified and calibrated to enable instantaneous fuel flow to be measured.
The model has been validated to within acceptable limits and has been used to investigate the effect four different torque converters have on the fuel consumption and performance of the forklift truck. The study demonstrates how the model can be used to compare the fuel consumption and performance trade-offs when selecting drivetrain components.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2013-01-0817
Number of pages11
JournalSAE International Journal of Commercial Vehicles
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 08 Apr 2013


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