The Telelift is a system originally developed by the German company Telelift GmbH in the 1960s. Following the spread of the system, Daifuku formed a technical alliance with a company in Switzerland to bring the system to Japan. Based off the technology exchange, Daifuku produced its own Telelift and would deliver its first Telelift system to Omiya Red Cross Hospital (name at the time) in 1975. At the time, the shortage of nurses was a growing social issue, and in addition to low numbers, nurses were having to spend over a tenth of their time just transporting things from one place to another. This led to the idea of streamlining material handling within hospitals. The deployment of Daifuku’s Telelift automated the transportation of small items such as medical records, X-ray films, slips, specimens, and medications, allowing nurses to use the time that they had previously spent transporting such items on improving medical service instead.
The Telelift is a self-driving trolley-type transport system that integrates a container with a drive unit that runs along a powered track. The system can run horizontally, vertically, and around curves, and Daifuku has even produced large-scale Telelift systems extending multiple kilometers over multiple floors.
A Daifuku Telelift installed in a library (left) and an office building (right)
In 1978, a Daifuku Telelift was employed in the central library of Chuo University as Japan’s first book transport system. The introduction of the system greatly improved the operation efficiency of the library. In addition, the Daifuku Telelift system has been widely employed in other places in Japan such as trading companies and banks to aid in streamlining administrative tasks. Daifuku discontinued the production of the system in 2009 due to the digitization of medical records and slips, but Cleanway, which was developed using the technology of the Daifuku Telelift, is now employed in semiconductor plants as one of Daifuku’s core products.
- * This article is based on the content of “Hini Arata Nari: 50 Years of Daifuku History” and other documents.