Hull based C. Jackson and Sons, the region's leading manufacturer of wooden cases, crates and related packaging has reorganised and greatly improved the efficiency of its timber handling by exploiting the capabilities of a Combilift 4-way forklift in the exterior storage area of its manufacturing plant.
The company previously used a sideloader to handle packs of timber which were block stacked in the yard, but this system had its drawbacks as Production Manager Geoff Derbyshire explains: “The sideloader was bulky and not very manoeuvrable, and block stacking made individual packs hard to locate, resulting in time consuming shifting around of stock.”
After consultation with local materials handling specialists Ability Handling and a demonstration of the Combilift, it was evident that this versatile truck would be the catalyst for a radical overhaul of procedures. The forklift's design enables it to carry long and awkward loads with ease, and it has simplified the offloading and handling of the diverse sizes of raw materials for the company's range (which also includes products for the horticultural sector), which are typically up to 6m in length. C. Jackson & Sons chose a 4 tonne diesel powered model with a 6m mast from the wide range of Combilifts available, which has proved to be “reliable, easy to operate and very hard working” according to Mr. Derbyshire.
The space saving and flexible operation of the Combilift has enabled further efficiency enhancing measures to be adopted which would have been impossible using the sideloader. The truck works with a newly installed racking system in the undercover storage area to make full use of all vertical space under the eaves to a height of 6m. This is considered a much safer procedure than block stacking for both the product and the workforce, and the “one pack to a rack” system offers the additional advantage of simplified access to each of the 160 or so packs stored at any one time, with colour coding on the racking enabling easy identification of quarantine timber.
The truck's 4-way capability has enabled aisle widths between racking to be narrowed down, and its excellent manoeuvrability avoids the need for “redundant” space at the end of aisles. The recommendation of a guided rail system was taken up, which allows rapid travel along the aisles and exact positioning of the product whilst reducing the risk of driver error and product damage.
Added to the benefits of the combination of Combilift, racking and guide rails is the ability of the forklift to work outside in whatever weather the climate of North East England cares to deliver. The watertight handling system now in place will enable this well established family run business nearing its centenary celebrations to ensure excellent customer service in the future.
The range of Combilifts available encompasses lift capacities from 2.5 – 12 tonnes, with a variety of power options. Attachments, mast heights and platform dimensions can be tailored to individual customer applications. Combilift design engineers also offer a free warehouse layout service to help customers realise the full potential of their warehouse space.