The costs incurred per square foot in temperature controlled facilities are far higher than those in ambient warehouses, and space saving handling and storage methods can therefore make a significant contribution to reduced overheads. Achieving maximum pallet density in any given area reduces per pallet costs and avoids the need to rent or buy extra facilities should volumes increase.

The Aisle Master cold store model, manufactured by the Irish handling specialist Combilift, is a purpose built forklift, engineered to cope easily with the exacting requirements of cold store operation whilst guaranteeing narrow aisle capability for optimum storage density.

The winner of an Award for Innovation from the FLTA, the Aisle Master’s articulated design enables it to work in aisles of just 1.6m: compared with the use of reach trucks which need much wider aisles to manoeuvre this can result in 50% more capacity. Lift heights of up to an impressive 15m enables every inch of vertical space to be exploited.

The fully enclosed heated cab keeps drivers warm to ensure the highest level of operator comfort throughout shifts, avoiding the need for regular breaks which have a negative impact on productivity. Bar code scanners can be used from within the cab against a specifically allocated area of the glass screen, enabling operators to carry out all necessary tasks without leaving the comfort of the workstation.

Combilift also supplies some of its other products in cold store specification, an example being the Combi-WR walk behind reach stacker. This also works in very narrow aisles for space saving operation and features the company’s unique patented multiposition tiller arm which guarantees a very safe working environment for the operator and any other personnel who may be in the vicinity. As the operators can stand to the side of the unit rather than behind it, it eliminates the risk of being trapped between the truck and racking when picking or placing pallets. The Combi-WR’s robust build and specific features cold store such as 32 grade wax free oil and a Vulkollan Tractothan rear drive wheel for excellent grip make it the ideal choice if pedestrian trucks are preferred to ride on models.

The extreme cold can be unforgiving on equipment, quickly draining batteries for example, but the powerful batteries used in the Aisle Master and Combilift cold store models counteract this, enabling prolonged operation in temperatures as low as -30°C.