Magnet Limited, one of the country's leading providers of quality kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, has taken delivery of 3 electric-powered Aisle-Master articulated forklifts, 2 for its Keighley Magnet Joinery facility and 1 for the Kitchens Division in Darlington. These are the first electric models to go into operation in the UK since Aisle-Master recently added this power option to its established range of LPG forklifts.
As the footprint of the Keighley site has been substantially reduced, Warehouse Manager John Albone was faced with the challenge of maintaining output volume to supply the company's national network of over 200 retail showrooms whilst operating in less than half the previous space available. A logical step was to asses the performance of various types of materials handling vehicles to determine their efficiency of operation in restricted spaces. John sought advice from Bob Harrison of SMH, Magnet's long standing materials handling and warehousing consultants, who recommended the Aisle-Master as a far superior solution to the previous combination of sideloaders and counterbalance trucks.
Although articulated forklifts had never been used at the Keighley site, a demonstration proved that the Aisle-Master would tick all the boxes when it came to flexible operations within confined spaces and narrow aisles. Fitted with cushion tyres, it can also easily offload and load deliveries outside so Magnet benefit from streamlined truck to rack operation with no double handling of product involved, which also reduces the risk of product damage.
One Aisle-Master was designated for the hardware section, where new racking was configured around the abilities of the truck which lifts pallets of varying sizes to 4.7m in aisle-widths of 1.8m. The other is based in the production area, handling palletised doors and joinery in already existing racking and free stacking areas. The truck in Darlington handles different types of loads so was fitted with a higher 6.6m mast. John Albone is impressed: “We have improved efficiency all round and achieved much better use of space. It really does what the manufacturers claim – the Aisle-Masters have certainly paid off.”
John is not the only one impressed. After a very short period of initial scepticism as to whether the Aisle-Master would actually be able to operate in such tight spaces, the drivers are unanimous in their praise for its easy operation. The truck's robust construction, excellent visibility from the cab, high quality suspension seat, adjustable steering column and lack of rear end swing when manoeuvering all contribute to a safer and more comfortable working environment for operators. In driver Michael Midgely's words: “It's flexible, really manoeuvrable, a truly brilliant machine.”
It is straightforward to train novices on the Aisle-Master, clearly illustrated by the fact that the three drivers in the production facility, who were non-drivers prior to the truck's arrival, achieved the highest pass scores ever registered at a Magnet site on completion of the RTITB training course run by SMH.
Service and maintenance also come under the remit of SMH, whose on-site engineers at Magnet know the forklifts inside out, having undergone training at Aisle-Master's manufacturing facility in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. Aisle-Master are affiliated to Combilift Ltd., manufacturers of another well-known Co.Monaghan product, the Combilift 4-wayforklift. SMH's Bob Harrison was instrumental in Magnet's acquisition of one of the first UK Combilifts 7 years ago, and has no doubt as to the pedigree of both products. He believes that Magnet now have a foolproof system in place: “The build quality, the technological expertise of Aisle-Master engineers and the guaranteed next-day parts delivery directly from the manufacturers all make for a high calibre package for a quality company such as Magnet, which is always looking for innovative solutions to enhance customer service.”
Aisle-Master Ltd., Clontibret, Co. Monaghan, Ireland
UK Tel: 07725 642 472