One of the largest family-owned logistics companies in the UK, Howard Tenens, has been able to pass on substantial cost savings to a major client by replacing counterbalance trucks with a bespoke combination of a Combilift 4-way forklift and cantilever racking at its facility in Sharpness, Gloucestershire.
The new system was introduced as part of Howard Tenens’ ongoing commitment to provide added value for customers, and has enabled the company to reduce the amount of space needed to store steel bars for a major concern in the on and offshore drilling sector by more than a half – from 70,000 ft² to just 30,000 ft². This has not only resulted in lower costs but has also speeded up handling and storage procedures and enhanced health and safety on site.
General Manager Mike Jones explains: “The bulk storage system we operated with the old trucks was space consuming, and the limited manoeuvrability of the counterbalance trucks meant that it was quite complicated to get lengths of up to 10m through the warehouse doors in the first place. We asked our materials handling consultants Briggs for advice and they recommended the 4-way Combilift as the one machine solution, which has proved to be ideal.”
Mike admits that when he first started looking into alternative forklifts he originally thought that a conventional sideloader would be the best option. After using a hire Combilift at another of the group’s sites however he realised that it would not only easily cope with the loads in question but would also need much less room to manoeuvre than the sideloader, enabling the impressive percentage of space saving which has been achieved.
The LPG powered 4 tonne capacity Combilift has been fitted with a number of features to make the handling of the long cylindrical product (which is delivered either boxed or loose) safer and easier for operators: the tapered platform design gives extra stability to the loose bars when they are being offloaded and transferred to the racking and a 7m removable spreader bar prevents any flexing of the longest lengths. Rubber buffers fitted to the front face of the forks also protect the product from “metal on metal” damage when the bars roll back onto the tilted forks, with the additional advantage of eliminating noise and jarring when this occurs.
Two types of racking have been installed to accommodate different lengths of stock, and the Combilift’s 6.8m mast height enables full exploitation of vertical space. Guide rails also ensure quick and easy travel in the aisles and keep the product safe. “We decided to go upward with racking rather than bulk store, which has made a key contribution to the space rationalisation,” says Mike Jones. “Payback on the investment in the racking will be quickly achieved as a result of cost savings made from the reduced space. Our Combilift has given us greater flexibility, so this upgraded facility has been a resounding success for all concerned.”
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