Flexi Narrow Aisle – manufacturer of the Flexi range of articulated forklift trucks – has delivered two of its Flexi G4 AC articulated trucks to Nigeria where they are being used by Addax Petroleum – the largest independent oil producer in West Africa – at its warehouse facility in Port Harcourt.
The trucks are being used by Addax to handle all the key spare parts and consumables used in the oil and gas exploration work undertaken by the company throughout Nigeria.
As space was at a premium within the warehouse facility and all of the palletized loads that pass through the site were being block stacked. Initially the difficulty Addax had was in finding a local company capable of supplying suitable heavy duty racking for the whole range of parts they handled.
“We found a local fabricator who produced bespoke pallet racking for us. The overall cost was more than an imported racking system, but we knew it would fit,” says Addax’s Colin Mead. “Other local businesses have previously bought racks constructed from old production tubing but the extensive welding involved makes them costly. The new racks in our facility have been successful.”
The Flexi articulated trucks were originally chosen because they allow pallets to be both block stacked more closely together within Addax’s warehouse than the traditional counterbalanced machines that the company had been using. The switch to Flexis has saved Addax valuable floor space and the company is able to store even more product within its warehouse.
Because of the tough environment in which the Flexi trucks work, Addax needed a forklift that offers maximum uptime and is quick and easy to maintain.
The Flexi truck, which is powered by a heavy duty 48 volt battery, is designed to be a low maintenance machine and therefore meets Addax’s needs perfectly. For example, no chains or slings are required during battery change over operations – the battery is removed simply and efficiently at low level from the rear using a hand pallet truck or another forklift. This eliminates the risk of the battery being dropped from height.
Furthermore, because the battery is mounted low in the chassis, there are no serviceable parts below the battery compartment itself and therefore the battery does not need to be removed during routine maintenance and servicing operations.
At Addax the truck operates both inside and out. In comparison to many western sites, the exterior yard conditions at Addax’s Nigerian facility are particularly difficult and even the floor within the warehouse itself is less than perfect. However, thanks to its rugged construction and traded rubber tyres the Flexi has operated long shifts with no mechanical problems.
John Maguire, sales and marketing director of Narrow Aisle Flexi, commented: “We have actively promoting the Flexi within the oil services sector as a viable alternative to traditional counterbalance and reach trucks, many oil services companies have adopted the concept. The high cost and therefore restricted space available in land or platform-based storage areas make the Flexi a very attractive option. We have a number of significant installations globally where the Flexi articulated truck has demonstrated cost savings and handling improvements.”
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