Wheel nuts, HGV brake drums and plastic mudguards are just some of the 14,000 lines stocked by commercial vehicle spares distributor Universal Components, the largest independent operator of its kind in the country. With next day delivery a priority for most customers, the company relies on a fleet of four Aisle-Master articulated trucks to ensure the smooth running of logistics operations at its Sheffield site.
The Aisle-Masters have replaced a previous fleet of articulated trucks and were recommended by Gary Hawkhead of Forkway, Universal Components’ local materials handling consultants, due to their record of robustness and reliability. Export Sales Manager James Hampshire explains: “Our daily workload is relentless and as they are much sturdier than our previous trucks they cope easily with the demands of non-stop stock location, picking and offloading. The solid steel construction also enables them to withstand knocks and scrapes.”
Universal Components has around 6,800 pallet spaces spread across a number of warehouses, so the Aisle-Masters’ ability to work inside and out, and on uneven surfaces, is particularly beneficial for moving goods across the site. The integrated side shift in the 2t capacity trucks also makes light work of handling the large volume of varying sizes of pallets and stillages that come into the depot on 300+ containers a year. Operator comfort and safety are also priorities, and in this respect the trucks have been enthusiastically received. Driver James Uttley comments: “All the controls are very smooth to operate, positioning is very precise and there is no deflection of the mast even when lifting the heaviest loads into the racking. This makes for a very secure working environment.”
Electric power was recommended as the best option for Universal Components, and the AC technology incorporated in all Aisle-Master electric trucks offers considerable advantages such as: enhanced battery efficiency from one charge, increased performance levels, lower energy consumption and reduced wear and tear on components. “The battery Autofill feature is also very good,” says James. “It means we cannot over or underfill any more and prolongs the life of the trucks.”
The Aisle-Master quality, together with Forkway’s service back up has been a winning combination for James. “The nature of our business means that customers expect next day availability of parts, and so we are dependent on the trucks to keep stock moving. The Aisle-Masters have been exceptionally reliable from day one, and in the rare case of a problem, one of Forkway’s service engineers is always in the area to fix it immediately.”
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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