With the current drive towards tackling air pollution and reducing the number of fossil fuel vehicles on our roads, there’s a big focus on designing more environmentally friendly delivery trucks. But Danload Stacking Systems’ innovative Multistack range of collapsible HGV racking systems tackles a much more fundamental problem – making best use of the space inside the vehicle with racks that can be used for multiple pallets and don’t get in the way when not in use, and cutting down on journeys that way.

Danload Stacking Systems’ founder and Managing Director, Danny Watson spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.

Danny, when did you start Danload?

The idea came in 2016 while loading a vehicle with small pallets of un-stackable goods. The truck’s bed was completely taken up with pallets which were all knee high, something I had seen many times before.

What were you doing before that?

My background is in warehouse and distribution, servicing the catering trade in central London. Back then the operation involved handballing loads directly on to 7.5 tonne trucks, where we maxed out the weight on each truck. As the business grew and the customer base changed, some of our new contracts had goods in departments with fork lift trucks.

Decisions were made to get larger trucks, which created a whole new ballgame for our business that was now running HGVs. But what was not recognised until later was that the cost soared and efficiency levels plummeted.

Can you talk us through the idea behind the Multistack range?

The idea of the MultiStack System is to optimise the capability of a vehicle by getting the best possible load on each vehicle by maximising loads. This will reduce journeys and costs, be better for the environment and profitability and hopefully help reward the drivers, who really don’t get recognition for their contribution. It has always been challenging to find and retain drivers.

How do you use them?

The racks are erected in position on board lorries. Laden pallets, which are suitably filmwrapped and secured, are loaded onto the racks with forklift trucks and unloaded the same way, or if the lorries are fitted with tail lifts the pallets can be unloaded from the back using ramps and pallet trucks.

What different products are there?

There are five MultiStacks in our range, with bespoke options. The basic principle is to load the racks either before they are loaded onto the truck or while on the truck. They are manoeuvrable while loaded and treated as any other load when on a vehicle. Each model in the range has anchorage points for securing the pallets to the MultiStack and the pallets are safely encapsulated within a cage.

How can people see these systems in operation?

The system is simply a pallet within a cage. Demonstration videos are on our website, made with the kind help of our customer Castledene Transport. Where are you based? Where do you make the Multistack products you sell? How are you set up to sell them? We are a Kent-based business with an agent in the Midlands. The MultiStack range is fabricated in the UK.

How many racks could you put on board an HGV trailer?

Good question. How long is a piece of string? To give an example, if you take a 16 UK pallet carrying vehicle and load it with the MultiStack SR1000 systems you would get 14 units on the vehicle and increase the potential carrying capacity to 42 part pallets, or a combination of full and part pallets.

What kind of cost savings can you make using Multistack systems?

It’s a simple scenario, just add two SR1000 systems to a vehicle and increase the pallet carrying capacity by four pallets. It’s likely that the driver can comfortably cope with those additional pallets along their route, therefore the on-cost is extra fuel and time delivering, but the overall gain is much greater.

Just how big a problem is poor space utilisation in the haulage and logistics industry?

It’s massive throughout all sectors. Businesses are seeking solutions like double deck trailers, which provide an efficient service when taking full loads to hubs and so on, but it’s unusual to fully utilise these trailers in other areas. Smaller vehicles using the MultiStack system have the potential to carry as many pallets.

What design and construction standards are these products made to?

The systems are built by an ISO9001-accredited engineering company, load and stress tested to twice the recommended load carrying capacity and certified by an independent body.

What loading weights can they bear?

The stock range has a carrying capacity on elevated levels of 300kg and 600kg on lower levels.

What kind of operator training do you offer to customers’ staff?

We offer full support introducing the MultiStack system, with instruction manuals, video links and user training, all tailored to suit the customer.

What maintenance do these products need?

They need regular visual inspection in accordance to our guidelines, which vary depending on product type.

How quickly can people get these products?

If they order from our stock line, we can deliver next day.

Who are your customers so far – what kinds of companies, and what size, in what industry sectors?

We have systems in use in delivery giants XPO and DHL and also owner drivers operating their own vehicles.

Will you be exhibiting at any trade shows in 2019?

We’re at the Commercial Vehicle show at the NEC Birmingham from April 30.

Where do you see Danload going from here?

The possibilities are vast. How many pallets are moved inefficiently around the world? Our target is to contribute to a more efficient system where everybody can benefit, especially the environment.

What are your biggest challenges?

To be honest, the biggest challenge for us is that the industry seems to be fixed in its ways and innovative ideas like this are looked upon as a disruption and not considered. We have had many senior managers see the benefits but struggle to get drivers on-board when implementing the system.

Trying to build contacts and promote our product has become more difficult due to the data protection laws that have been introduced. Making people aware that there is a solution out there is our current drive. Our solution not only provides efficiency but it actually pays for itself! How can that not be a benefit?