We are sad to report the death of Freddy Brown, the founder of Translift Bendi and one of the great characters of the UK fork lift truck industry.
Freddy entered the industry as an apprentice with Lansing Bagnall, whilst he attained his Master's degree at Cranfield. His thesis was on space saving in warehouses - a subject to which he would dedicate the rest of his professional life.
In the late 1960s, he designed the world's first man-up order picker and pallet placer which allowed the operator to hand pick at height or take or replace a full pallet, and in the 1970s his man-down narrow aisle design helped shape the marketplace.
Frustrated by the limitations of turret trucks to achieve better aisle performance, in the early 1980s Freddy took inspiration from the hand pallet truck and approached the problem from a different angle. He found that by reversing the triangle of stability and changing the weight distribution (a principle that was almost unused in forklifts) he would solve the issue that had long eluded earlier attempts of articulating a truck.
This made the Bendi a truly versatile replacement for conventional counterbalance and reach trucks. Then, with later developments, it would equal and eventually supersede the capabilities of traditional VNA machines.
Freddy retired from the business in 2008, and his son Simon continues to lead Translift to this day. In a statement, Simon said:
"It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that my father Freddy Brown passed away on Sunday. He died peacefully in his sleep, with my Mother at his side, after fighting a brave battle against Alzheimer’s disease.
"It is my intention to release further information celebrating the life and achievements of my father."
SHD Logistics offers its deepest sympathy to Simon, his family, his colleagues at Translift, and Freddy's many friends and admirers from across the industry.