O’Brien Fine Foods, based in Co. Kildare is a family run business and a supplier of high quality meat products to the Irish market such as its Brady Family Ham and Rudds brands.
Following the construction of a new extension the company replaced its previous fleet of forklifts with a Combi-CB and three pedestrian Combi-WR models to maximise space and to ensure the highest standards of health and safety.
The move to using walkbehind models wherever possible was a priority for Head of Procurement Maud Gormley, who chose Combi-WR models to work in the packing station and the raw meat area. “Forklifts can pose a high level of risk in this industry and we wanted to minimise this. The Combi-WRs enable us to move pallets in very narrow aisles in the safest possible way: the multi position tiller arm allows the operator to stand to the side of the unit to eliminate crush risk and the good visibility gives a clear view of the load and other personnel in the vicinity. A further advantage of pedestrian trucks is the short time – around 4 hours – and lower overheads involved to train our operators.”
Operating conditions for equipment in the raw meat area are harsh due to the wet environment and the presence of brine, and the Combi-WR designated for this section was fitted with stainless steel forks to prevent any corrosion. It also has a special 5150mm triplex mast to enable it to operate to a height of 4900mm whilst being able to pass under low pedestrian doorways.
The diesel powered 4t capacity Combi-CB works outside as a versatile machine, handling pallets of packaging and machine parts for the production facility. This compact, counterbalance design 4- way forklift was also the ingenious solution for picking pallets from two high level external first floor storage areas and loading them onto HGVs. It was fitted with a range of customised features including an 8m mast to provide an adequate lift height to reach the loading bays.
Telescopic forks enable the pallets to be accessed through an up and over gate and the additional feature of a fork positioner allows the driver to easily adjust the fork width depending on the load and pallet position. Its multidirectional ability and tight turning circle is also invaluable for working alongside one of the bays which is in a very confined space. It also copes easily with the gradients and slopes across the premises.
“The configuration of our factory across various levels is not the most straightforward for materials handling equipment, and the requirement to lift loads weighing up to 1800kgs to 7.7m was a challenge,” said Maude Gormley.
“But the Combilifts have more than lived up to our expectations. Combilift provided layouts for the new premises and made sure everything worked smoothly in the new set up. The Combi-CB4 is great for accessing tight spots and the low operating speeds of the Combi-WRs have ensured maximum safety.”