A Combilift C4500E model has solved the problems associated with moving and storing large sheet materials for Antalis, Europe’s number one distributor of paper, packaging and visual communication display products. The ability of the truck to work within new high bay racking has enabled Antalis to consolidate storage into a tighter area and make substantial cost savings by moving out of previously rented warehousing facilities.
“We are seeing an increasing demand for our larger format display materials which are made of plastic, aluminium shelling, board, expanded foam and so on, so it made sense to rationalise storage of the varied sized packs that they come in,” says Central Conversion Manager Garry Shannon. “Reach and counterbalance trucks that are used for handling other types of products on site were not up to the demands of this in terms of lift height and versatility and our 4-way Combilift has turned out to be ‘all things in one’ for this application.”
The Combilift’s lift height of 11m enables much better space utilisation compared to the 6m limit of the previous trucks. Loads that had to be bulk stacked can now be stored to the top beam height of 10.2m - the highest to date at Antalis - which has also reduced the risk of damage to products as Gary explains: “Materials used for screen printing for example need to be kept extremely flat and the ability to store pallets on racking throughout rather than bulk stacking eliminates any possibility of indentation for much better product integrity.”
The first of two Combilifts to be delivered to Antalis, the C4500E incorporates a host of new features for efficient, smooth and quiet operation. Full AC electric drive on the front right and rear wheel provides increased traction, with one of the drive wheels positioned directly under the load platform for very exact directional travel. The larger cab offers increased comfort and visibility for drivers, which in turn enhances health and safety procedures.
Due to the diverse pallet sizes – from 2.6m to over 3m wide and 1.6m to over 2m deep - hydraulic fork positioners, operated from within the cab, are easily adjusted to suit the pallet being handled. Stable support for picking and placing even the deepest pallets is provided by the telescopic reach forks which measure 2050mm when extended. An in-cab camera monitor also allows speedy and secure operation when working at the highest bay of racking.
Aisle widths have been kept to a minimum considering the size of loads due to the Combilift’s ability to travel sideways and an impressive pallet count of 4,500 has been achieved in the dedicated large format storage area. The truck’s manoeuvrability also enables it to take loads directly from this area to feed the machines in the production facility.
“The attraction of the Combilift is that it gives us the capability of a reach, counterbalance and narrow aisle machine in one truck,” says Gary. “Being able to configure our racking around its capabilities has improved storage density and seamless movement of loads around the this busy site means we can keep on top of the 7,000 plus orders that have to be picked every day.”