A Gloucester-based bakery products supplier, has increased the storage capacity in its cold chamber by over 40 per cent thanks to Flexi AC – the new truck developed for lower lift and lighter loads by Narrow Aisle.
The installation is the latest example of the benefits the Flexi AC can offer customers wanting to maximise the cost saving potential offered by the introduction of compact articulated truck technology.
Over the last 10 years the Flexi AC articulated truck concept has made a significant impact on the material handling industry and the Flexi has been adopted by some of the UK’s most successful cold store operators including Norish and Yearsley’s.
The Flexi AC Cold Store’s ability to increase pallet storage space by up to 40 per cent compared with reach trucks, combined with its capability to cross dock from road vehicles, have dramatically reduced cold store warehouse logistics costs for many operators. The Flexi AC CS is delivering all of these benefits to the cold storage industry. The truck has been specially developed for continuous low temperature operation and its battery change facility is designed for spare batteries to be transported by a pallet truck in and out of the store.
This company has been one of the first customers to reap the rewards of the FLEXI AC Coldstore cabin. This national company supplies high quality bakery products from the largest craft bakery in the Baltic, to all food sectors. Products range from speciality breads, pastries and morning goods to sweet and savoury snacks for either bake-off or thaw and serve needs.
When the cold store redeveloping its chamber it reconfigured the pallet racking and installed Flexi AC CS. This move has increased the storage space by over 40 per cent compared to the previous arrangement. The Flexi AC CS truck is narrower and shorter than models offered by competing companies, yet it’s still suitable for operating in buildings up to nine metres high and with loads up to 1500 kg.
Unlike traditional Very Narrow Aisle (guided) trucks, the Flexi AC CS does not require mechanical or inductive wire guidance, as there is at least 400mm clearance either side of the load when travelling down the aisle. In addition, Flexi AC CS does not need special pallet racking – standard adjustable racking is ideal, so existing racks can be up cycled – the operating aisles can be set a as little as 1.6M for maximum space saving without loss of efficiency.
Within the cold store, the new heated trucks cab can deliver all the cost saving benefits with continuous use. Compared to a conventional reach truck, it enables operators to store at least 30 per cent more pallets – simply by saving the extra space a reach truck requires to turn into the racking and the extra clearance required to lift over reach legs. This space saving increases to a dramatic 50 per cent when compared to counterbalanced truck aisles.
The Flexi AC CS can load/unload lorries and delivers pallets directly into racking in a single operation, which increases productivity and cuts out wasteful double handling.
Crucially, the warehouse floor does not need to be VNA specification as the Flexi AC CS can work on any standard concrete floor or yard thanks to the stability and ride offered by its four-wheel chassis and large cushion rubber tyres. It also takes outdoor work it in its stride as its articulated front axle and tyres allow it to unload vehicles in the yard. In wet and icy conditions the Flexi AC CS can be fitted with wet grip tyres while the twin front load wheels provide excellent traction, even when fully laden.
The Flexi AC CS with heated cold store cabin allows continuous use at – 28°Cand only needs to be taken out of the cold store for charging or battery change. In fact, the specially designed electrical and hydraulic systems will also allow intermittent use between cold and ambient environments.
The Flexi AC CS has proved itself in the third party cold store logistics industry as an efficient truck for use in multi-shift 24/7 operations – not least because its ‘roll off’ battery changing facility is very easy to use. This feature has been enhanced on the cold store model with the development of a dedicated changing ‘pump’ truck or powered pallet truck to transport the battery to and from the vehicle in store when required. “The Flexi AC CS has tremendous potential to improve cold store utilisation and efficiency. This is particularly important given the outlook for growth in the industry as the UK grocery retail sector has moved to promote frozen food to save supply chain waste and increase margins,” comments Narrow Aisle’s sales and marketing director John Maguire. The Flexi is designed and manufactured by UK based Narrow Aisle Ltd. Narrow Aisle’s manufacturing facilities at Great Bridge is in the heart of the West Midlands, from where the company supplies its innovative products to customers globally in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
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