The company previously used a combination of reach and counterbalance forklifts to handle its range of electrical supplies, cabling, and PPE equipment, which it imports and distributes to the construction industry. When growth of the business triggered a move to new premises, the Directors were keen to find a more versatile handling system, preferably using just one forklift for all offloading, storing and picking procedures. Research led them to Aisle-Master’s website which they found to be “a mine of information, with a particularly informative video”. A live demo proved that an Aisle-Master would fulfill all requirements, and an electric powered model was delivered as the move to the new warehouse was completed.
“We have been able to fit 1,900 pallet spaces in the new storage area”, says Director Eric Davies, “and there is no way we could have achieved this total with the reach/counterbalance combination – the Aisle-Master’s articulated design and manoeuvrability has enabled us to double the amount we can store, making a huge difference to operations.”
The Aisle-Master works both inside and out and is fitted with super elastic tyres, so copes easily with any uneven surfaces around the premises. It is also a much speedier alternative to the old system where each truck was confined to one particular area; the electric reach truck was limited to indoor use, whereas the diesel counterbalance was only really suitable for offloading in the yard. The Aisle-Master now allows direct truck to rack transportation, with no time-consuming double handling of pallets involved.
A variety of options were incorporated into Plant and Electrical’s Aisle-Master to suit operational requirements, all of which have contributed to ease of operation and comfort for the drivers. As a wide variety of pallet sizes are used, the truck features an integrated sideshifting fork positioner. This enables quick and convenient adjustment of the fork width from within the cab to accord with the dimensions of the pallet being handled. A half enclosed cab helps to protect against inclement weather conditions when working outside, and the in-cab camera eases precise positioning and picking of pallets from the top racking height of 9.4m.
The new system has been beneficial all round according to Eric Davies: “The drivers are very happy with the Aisle-Master, which has proved to be more stable to operate than the reach truck. Reliability has been excellent, and we enjoy very good local service and support. The articulated route was definitely the one to choose.”
The Aisle-Master range is designed and built at the company’s dedicated manufacturing facility in Co. Monaghan, Ireland, and exported around the world. LPG powered Aisle-Masters are also available, and electric models now all incorporate AC technology as standard. Capacities of up to 2.5 tonnes and lift heights of up to 12.5 metres are available. Aisle-Master design engineers offer a site visit and warehouse layout service and supply free layout proposals illustrating how to maximise the use of available storage space.