Ireland’s largest independent Temperature Control and Logistics company, Castlecool, has seen a marked increase in available storage space at its Castleblayney facility since it took delivery of an Aisle-Master articulated forklift.
Operating from three sites in the North East of the country, Castlecool offers a wide range of services such as chilled, frozen and ambient storage, blast freezing, quality testing and food sampling. The company previously used reach trucks to service the racking in the 200,000 ft² warehouse in Castleblayney, but a changeover to the articulated system has enabled aisle widths to be cut, adding 25% to Castlecool’s storage capacity.
“The costs incurred per ft² in cold stores make space saving absolutely crucial to productive operations,” says Managing Director Paul Shortt, “and as we had experience of an Aisle-Master at another site we were keen to adopt this system at the Castleblayney facility. It was some time ago since we acquired the original machine so we trialed the major brands of articulated trucks on the market, but found that the Aisle-Master still outperforms the competition, particularly in terms of reliability.”
Before the truck was delivered, Paul took advantage of Aisle-Master’s free site survey and warehouse layout service which was particularly beneficial: “the engineers’ drawings demonstrated that we would be able to operate in 30% narrower aisles and therefore achieve the best possible pallet density.” A further benefit is the truck’s flexibility to work both inside and out, which has led to much quicker loading and offloading, speeding up operations all round. The ability to offload HGV’s from both sides is a real bonus when the company is working at full capacity, in the run up to Christmas for example.
The lack of any need for back up has also enabled Castlecool to make substantial savings, as Paul explains: “The Aisle-Masters have such a good track record of dependability that we can operate in full confidence without back up trucks in place. If there is an issue – which is rare, the response from the service department is so quick that this can be resolved with the minimum of delay.”
Aisle-Masters can work in aisles of just 1.75m, have capacities of up to 2.5 tonnes, lift heights of up to 12.5 metres, with a choice of AC electric or LPG power. A 20SE AC electric powered Aisle-Master fitted with an 8m customised mast was specified as the most suitable model for the Castleblayney site. The cold-store environment can be unforgiving on equipment, quickly draining batteries for example, but the batteries fitted in Castlecool’s Aisle-Master are more than powerful enough to counteract this, and other cold-store specific features have been incorporated to ensure streamlined operation throughout long shifts in temperatures of around – 22°C (cold-store spec Aisle-Masters will work in temperatures of up to – 40°C).
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