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New fleet of 40 LPG powered Hyster Fortens lift trucks for Palletline

Palletline, one of the UK’s leading palletised distribution networks, has invested in a new fleet of 40 LPG powered Hyster Fortens lift trucks for its state of the art distribution hubs in Solihull near Birmingham and Perivale Park, London. The trucks, which are supplied by Barloworld Handling, feature the latest in forklift truck technology for improved productivity, efficiency and low running costs.

The bulk of the new fleet is deployed at Palletline’s new central hub in Solihull which the company opened at the end of last year in response to the growing demand for its palletised freight handling services. As well as trebling pallet throughput capacity, the new hub brings together a highly efficient operating model based around total quality control. Palletline is the first palletised distribution network to operate a drive-through, side-load operation, successfully achieving total de-pedestrianisation and realising Health & Safety standards well beyond the requirements of legislation covering the palletised distribution sector.

The forklift fleet consists of forty 2000kg capacity Hyster H2.0FT Fortens Advance fork trucks which have been specified to exactly match Palletline’s demanding operational needs. The trucks will be deployed throughout the night to perform lorry loading and unloading of palletized goods for overnight distribution. Palletline invited five companies to tender for the fleet contract and selected Barloworld after a rigorous evaluation taking into consideration contract life costs, service support, reliability and feedback from its drivers during trials.

Mark Pulford, Operations Director at Palletline said "We are maintaining a close focus on efficiency across all our processes to match the cost, safety and operational improvements already achieved at our new hub. For our forklift fleet we were looking to achieve optimum levels of reliability and performance together with advanced technology for reduced wear and tear and improved ergonomics for our operators. We believe these new models will give unprecedented levels of reliability and reduced cost of operation, helping us to deliver significant operational savings."

Being a 24 hour high pressure operation the demands placed on the trucks and drivers are intense. The reliability and efficiency of the trucks is crucial because any delay in operations due to a breakdown or lack of performance could affect the service Palletline provides to its customers.

Hyster Fortens trucks feature a unique Duramatch transmission which boosts performance while reducing operating costs. Its adjustable Auto-Deceleration System (ADS) is programmed to slow the truck when the accelerator pedal is released which results in less brake pedal usage, leading to a 60% increase in brake life. The power reversal feature of the DuraMatch transmission allows even the most aggressive direction changes to be smooth, while increasing tyre life by up to 50%.

Being such a demanding application, tyre usage can be high so Barloworld fitted Continental CSEasy tyres to the fleet which uniquely can be mounted without the need of a tyre press. This reduces potential down time whilst the tyres also return improved fuel efficiency and a performance of up to 3 times the life of a standard tyre offering significant savings on running costs.

Of course, keeping the trucks in prime condition is also vital to the operational efficiency of the hub. This is provided for by the fully-equipped on-site servicing bay manned by Barloworld engineers who carry out regular planned maintenance on the trucks to ensure they perform to their maximum.

To help manage fleet performance Barloworld has installed a state of the art telemetry device to each truck which monitors the trucks’ productivity and automatically uploads information such as run time and availability to Barloworld’s Fleet Management portal. Additionally, in the event of a problem with the truck, a fault code is sent to Barloworld so that a technician can be dispatched, with the correct parts, to repair the truck before any costly breakdown may occur. The Fleet Management reports generated by the portal enable Barloworld and Palletline’s operations management team to review fleet performance and make informed decisions to aid continuous improvement.

Having previously experienced Barloworld Handling’s service and account management, Mark Pulford says this was a major factor in them winning the contract. "The performance and reliability of the materials handling fleet is key to Palletline meeting it’s operational targets and this is achieved in part through excellent service support which I have no doubt Barloworld will provide".

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