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Forklift trucks - a question of space

Supplier: Flexilift Australia
09 September, 2009

According to Mr. John Fisher, National Business Development Manager for Flexilift Australia / Hyundai Forklifts Australia, space may well be the final frontier in more ways than most people realize. After all, it doesn’t need to be rocket science when it comes to increasing your warehousing potential.

“Instead of using a traditional counterbalanced machine or reach truck”, says Mr. Fisher, “articulated trucks offer tremendous space saving advantages and can ensure that warehouse operators get the most from their storage cube”.

In fact says Mr. Fisher, “it has been well documented that by operating the FLEXI Articulated fork truck, it is possible to increase pallet storage capacity by anything between 30 and 50 per cent”. FLEXI works outside as effectively as a counterbalance truck. With one truck doing the job of two, double handling is totally eliminated, enabling FLEXI to cut handling costs by up to 50%.

“Also the FLEXI is effectively two trucks in one. Its design enables it to pick up and load like a counterbalanced forklift – both inside and outside – but it can also work in very narrow aisles, lifts up to 2000kg to heights of 12m. This dual-purpose functionality guarantees the user a wide range of benefits – not the least of which is the ability to load and unload trucks and deliver pallets directly into the racking in a single operation”, he notes. FLEXI eliminates the space needed by a reach truck or counterbalance truck to turn into the racking, allowing narrower aisles and consequently more bays within a given space.

“By doing so, it increases efficiency and productivity by abolishing double handling and the costs associated with operating a bigger truck fleet than is necessary”, he says. It also cuts the cost in employing the services of 3rd party warehousing costs by allowing full capitalization of increasing your current warehouse capacity.

Because articulated forklift trucks enter an aisle with the palletised load to the front (like a traditional counterbalanced machine) then articulate before turning the pallet through 90 degrees to put it away, they are able to operate in aisles of 2000mm width - far narrower than conventional reach and counterbalanced trucks”.

Mr. Fisher says that the most important dimensions when assessing the ideal aisle width for any operation involving articulated forklift trucks “is the distance diagonally across the pallet, that is from one corner to another when a pallet is being rotated in the aisle. Safety clearance of 100mm either side (200mm in total) of a typical pallet will need to be added to ensure safe pallet put-away and retrieval”.

“Successful warehousing has to be a balance of productivity and safety”. FLEXI Articulated forklift trucks are now capable of lifting pallets to heights of 12m, and while there is always a temptation to condense aisles to the narrowest possible width, safety has to be the foremost consideration with any new warehouse scheme”, he says.

However despite the large number of articulated trucks in operation worldwide and their proven ability to maximise storage efficiency, some still perceive them as being difficult to operate when compared to a traditional reach or counterbalanced machine.

Mr. Fisher says that this is simply not the case.” Forklift drivers easily adapt to Articulated Truck operations and soon become comfortable and proficient in the handling of the forklifts”. On top of that, he notes, the FLEXI has an impeccable safety record and gives the business the power to store more for less. Paperlinx Merchandising in Brisbane currently lease 5 of the FLEXI Articulated forklifts in their expansive operations and fully endorse the “power to store more for less motto” states Mr. Fisher.

“Ensuring a truck is efficient to operate, offers space and time saving efficiency, is well maintained and that the driver is trained effectively doesn’t just improve safety – it also improves the businesses bottom line ”, concludes Mr. Fisher.