Continuing a partnership that has stretched back over 10years, Pall-Ex has taken delivery of a new fleet of 40 CNG powered forklifts from Barloworld at its state of the art Leicestershire hub. The leading pallet distribution network is now operating its 3rd generation of Hyster fork trucks which work intensely day and night.
Pall-ex operates a 48 bay facility close to the M1, near Leicester, where members of its pallet network deliver and collect full and part pallet loads for UK and international destinations.
"Night-time is when most of the activity takes place to receive and re-distribute the 8,000 pallets processed daily, most of which are guaranteed next day delivery" explains Fraser McNeill, Director of Operations at the 200,000sq ft hub.
Pall-Ex’s process is simple and a highly efficient method of freight transportation. Members (transport companies throughout the UK), unload on one side of the hub and then drive round to the opposite side to be re-loaded in postcode dedicated bays. All pallet movements in between are handled by just 40 Hyster Fortens forklift trucks in the pedestrian free zone.
"We operate the only cross-docking hub in this sector and rely completely on the performance of the forklift fleet in a tough, intense and time sensitive operation", continues Fraser.
Despite a long partnership of more than ten years with Barloworld, Pall-Ex wanted to make sure they were receiving the best overall solution when the contract was due for renewal. Other forklift suppliers were invited, but Barloworld demonstrated that it could continue to provide leading performance, reliability and low cost of ownership.
The new 40 strong fleet of Hyster H2.0FT Fortens Advance 2,000kg capacity trucks is powered using CNG in support of Pall-ex’s environmental commitments. This has distinct advantages including reduced emissions, reduced running costs and unlike LPG, the CNG tanks remain on the truck and can be filled in less than 2 minutes minimising health and safety risks. In addition, there is no particulate residue left on customer pallets.
The continued stop, start operation places tremendous pressure on the trucks which would normally lead to excessive wear and tear costs. However, the Hyster Fortens’ adjustable Auto-Deceleration System (ADS) slows the truck when the accelerator pedal is released which results in less brake pedal usage and the power reversal feature of the DuraMatch transmission allows even the most aggressive direction changes to be smooth, helping to increase tyre life by up to 50%.
In addition, Barloworld has fitted Continental’s CSEasy tyres which are proven to last 3 times longer than standard tyres with lower rolling resistance, giving greater fuel efficiency.
"Barloworld has helped keep service and life-time costs under control. In particular, the Hyster Fortens has wet disk brakes reducing brake maintenance to an absolute minimum" adds Fraser.
To help support the management of the fleet, Barloworld installed its new Fleet Management system. This has simplified the process of data capture and improved the accuracy of fleet management reports by accessing live data directly from the trucks.
Information is available to Pall-Ex at the touch of a button through Barloworld’s secure web portal. Daily run time, hourmeter readings, impacts, maintenance completion, cost of ownership and much more is all available for analysis, with review meetings every month.
During the 24/7 shift operation, yard marshals supervise the activity ensuring the trained drivers work to strict health and safety guidelines. The forklifts are limited to a speed of 8mph, but operations remain fast, with drivers expected to handle approximately 50 pallets an hour at peak times with triple decked lorries stripped in as little as 15 minutes. Each truck is designed to keep the driver comfortable with easy operation and is fitted with a scanning system that links back to a sophisticated tracking system.
Barloworld has a dedicated engineer resident in the onsite garage to provide scheduled routine maintenance for the trucks and to assist in the event of a breakdown. The company provides a complete solution for Pall-Ex, including 24 hour support and the supply of Terberg terminal tractors and cleaning equipment.
"Barloworld continues to provide Pall-Ex with an exceptional service helping us to flex at peak times and maintain a 99.8% efficiency rate for our customers" Fraser concludes.