Friday, January 7, 2011

Very Narrow Aisle Fork Trucks Create Space For The Supply Chain

Niftylift Cherry Pick for Skinny Racks
Shipping News Feature

UK - Niftylift Ltd is one of the largest manufacturers of cherry pickers, boom lifts, access and work platforms in Europe but when they faced a problem with available space they turned to the Flexi Narrow Aisle range of articulated forklift trucks to improve logistics throughput by enabling them to adjust the potential storage area of the warehouse facility at their Milton Keynes manufacturing plant.

The company recently invested in the development of its 50,000 sq ft warehouse which not only provides inbound sequencing for the company’s manufacturing facility, but also acts as a buffer store for spare parts which Niftylift supplies to customers and distributors worldwide.

Prior to the revamp, Niftylift’s warehouse had been served by reach trucks stacking Euro pallets 1.2 metres deep in 2.8 metre wide aisles. However, replacing the reach trucks with new Flexi VNA articulated forklifts has allowed the aisles to be reduced to 1.8 metres. This has created enough space within the store to permit extra runs of 6 metre high racking to be installed which provides enough extra pallet spaces to meet Niftylift’s current needs comfortably.

The most recent addition to the Flexi Narrow Aisle range of articulated forklift trucks, the Flexi VNA is a four-wheel articulated truck designed to require minimal manoeuvring in the aisles without investment in high cost guided truck systems. The truck’s excellent manoeuvrability results in faster pallet put-away and picking. In a 1600mm wide aisle, for example, the Flexi VNA needs only one articulation to put-away a standard ISO (or Chep-style) pallet. Flexi Narrow Aisle say that comparative tests have highlighted the fact that some three wheel articulated trucks with ‘pivot’ steering technology, require up to four movements to achieve the same result.

Many warehouse staff express concern about switching to an articulated fork truck but Niftylift’s truck drivers all received a short on site conversion training to ensure that they were familiar and comfortable with the articulated truck’s unique operating technique and, Steve Beckwith, the company’s production manager, reports all of the drivers “get on fine” with the new Flexi and are already able to move more pallets per hour than the old reach trucks.