From its manufacturing facility in rural Somerset, Optima’s range of office partitioning is sent around the world to be used in prestigious projects. As Optima continues to expand, the handling and storage of packs and bundles of aluminium is a priority for Warehouse Manager Howard Paterson at the site in Radstock, where upgraded warehouse, storage and despatch facilities were installed a few years ago to cope with increasing stock levels.
A key piece of equipment is a Combilift multidirectional forklift, which is used continuously to offload incoming deliveries from suppliers, put them into racking, take unfinished products to the powder coating facility and return them to the warehouse. When goods are ready to be despatched the Combilift is again on hand to do this.
Optima originally used a counterbalance forklift when operations were on a smaller scale, but leased its first Combilift in 2000 followed by a replacement five years later and has recently purchased its present model outright. When the warehouse refurbishment was under way the new racking was configured according to the capabilities of the Combilift then in place, ensuring best use of the space available.
The latest 3t capacity C3000 diesel powered Combilift copes easily with loads weighing from just a few kilos up to 1.5t, and has a 7.5m mast to access the top beams of racking. Its 4-way capability enables it to easily manoeuvre the longest 7m packs of aluminium, to work in narrow aisles and to pass through the doorway to the yard. The lift height required is not usually available on the compact C3000 model so Combilift engineers redesigned and repositioned the mast mounting to allow the 7.5m mast to be fitted.
Multidirectional travel also comes into its own when taking product to the powder coating facility using a public road. Warehouse Operative Steve Biggs comments: “If I had to carry 7m loads with a counterbalance truck I’d take up most of the road which would not be popular with other local businesses!”
Reliable operation is vital as Howard explains: “having just the one truck means that any downtime would cause massive problems and backlogs. The Combilift is a dependable workhorse that we can rely on day to day to do its assigned tasks.”
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