With the price per square metre rising in warehouse leases all around Australia, any solution to better utilise an existing footprint is priceless.
The Flexilift articulated narrow aisle reach truck (FLEXI) is a breakthrough technology in the forklift sector that allows a denser degree of shelving to be installed in an existing site.
Due to FLEXI’s unique movement and ability, the aisle distance separating shelving can now be reduced from 3.5 metres down to a low 2 metres. It can reach as high as 12 metres.
This fact alone, according to Sales and Marketing manager of FLEXI’s supplier Flexilift Australia, Mr John Fisher, is tantamount to increasing profits straight away.
"What the FLEXI effectively does is talk to the companies looking to downscale rather than downsize," said Mr Fisher.
"There is a big difference between the two because any company that is downscaling is actually accommodating growth whereas a company downsizing is taking remedial action while business is stagnant.
"Our technology effectively trims the fat. It cuts cost of rental space or ongoing leases simply because it operates in such a very thin aisle space that any warehouse operator can increase the quantity of racking space on an existing footprint.
"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.
"Apart from paving the way for more racking space it also allows warehouse managers to comprehensively utilise the footprint and even sub-lease any space that soon becomes empty once the articulated unit is used.
"The equation is simple - any operator can simply scale down an existing footprint and still retain full capacity in shelving stock by operating the FLEXI unit within a 2 metre aisle width whereas a regular counterbalance truck requires a 3.5 metre minimum aisle space to work.
"On average, pallet storage capacity can be increased by anything between 30 and 50 per cent and in some cases, depending on ceiling height, can actually double the storage space."
FLEXI even 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%.
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 12 metres.
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.
The unit eliminates 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.
It also cuts the cost in employing the services of 3rd party warehousing costs by allowing full capitalisation of increasing existing warehouse capacity.
"The most important dimensions when assessing the ideal aisle width for any operation involving articulated forklift trucks is the distance diagonally across the pallet," said Mr Fisher.
"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."