Blue Print is the leading European brand of quality replacement parts for Japanese, Korean and American cars and light commercial vehicles, and its range of aftermarket automotive components consists of 24,000 part numbers, covering over 160 different product groups. Impressive year on year growth has recently made the best possible use of warehouse space a priority. This has been addressed by bringing in four Aisle-Master articulated forklifts for narrow aisle operation at the company’s UK distribution centre based near Maidstone in Kent.
The first two trucks were assigned for a warehouse dedicated to the storage of brake discs, radiators and coil springs – 17,500 pieces in all when at full capacity – and they stack the varying sized pallets to a height of 7.5m. Blue Print inherited the narrow aisle system in this section from the former owners but chose Aisle-Masters over the previous articulated trucks, as Group Distribution and Logistics Director Derek Edwards explains: “The overall build of the Aisle-Masters, particularly the double bearing at the point of articulation, is much tougher than other brands, making them robust enough to withstand the continuous lifting of heavy loads into the racking.”
Part of an additional warehouse for storing filters was racked out for two further Aisle-Masters which were ordered in the winter of 2010, and the resulting increase in pallet density got rid of the need for outside storage and saved the considerable costs of acquiring further warehousing facilities. Derek Edwards: “We changed from a very wide aisle system with reach trucks to about as narrow as you can get, with 2.1m aisle-widths. By stacking up to 9m we have used all our vertical space to achieve an impressive capacity in an area of just 10,500 ft2.”
The Aisle-Master fleet is AC electric powered, and mast mounted cameras have been fitted to the trucks working in the high lift operation. Darren Baldwin from handling consultants Mexmast advised on the specifications, and Mexmast also looks after service issues, which Derek ranks as vital when it comes to choosing equipment. “Mexmast is an excellent service provider, and Aisle-Master was also very accommodating as they put in an interim machine to help us out while we were waiting for our order to arrive.”
Blue Print’s operations continue to grow, and with three or four inbound containers and two outbound HGVs to offload and load on a daily basis for the company’s European wide customers, the Aisle-Master’s dependability has been of major benefit. “We cannot afford to have a machine down with this workload, and the trucks have lived up to their reputation of unrivalled reliability, with no problems to report,” comments Derek.
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. The range is designed and built at the dedicated production facility of its parent company Combilift in Monaghan, Ireland, and can be customised for individual requirements.
Aisle-Master design engineers also offer a site visit and warehouse layout service and supply free layout proposals illustrating how to maximise the use of available storage space.
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