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Hoppecke battery systems help major fruit importer meet demand

Hoppecke battery systems help major fruit importer meet demand


Hoppecke Industrial Batteries, the leading specialist in industrial battery systems, has supplied its renowned Trak-Air batteries, chargers and monitoring equipment to the SH Pratt Group, one of Europe’s leading fruit importers and ripeners specialising in bananas and pineapples.

The post-Christmas period is a time for people to cut back on unhealthy foods and lose that bit of extra weight they acquired over the festive break. Due to this, the demand for fresh fruit increases dramatically.

In preparation for the extremely busy time SH Pratt Group – with over five decades of experience in importing, ripening and supplying the highest quality fruit for the UK market – replaced its fleet of counter balance, low-level order pickers and powered pallet trucks with new Yale equipment from JST Forklifts in Wellingborough who specified Hoppecke Trak-Air batteries and chargers with this equipment.

The Trak-Air batteries were supplied with Trak-Com IP units which not only give each battery an individual identity buy also monitor battery temperature and electrolyte levels. When the batteries are connected to the chargers this information is transferred to the charger. The charger then looks at all charging history and battery capacity usage along with any battery or charger faults and sends this information to the Trak-Monitor system. The Trak-Monitor system can then be set to report any selected items and send them by text or by e-mail to an allocated manager either at SH Pratt Group, JST Forklifts, the Hoppecke central service desk or all three. Also available are full operational and management reports which can be monitored at any time from an internet connection.

Said Simon Bianchi, Head of Operations at SH Pratt Group: “Every year the demand from our customers for bananas increases by up to 50% which puts a huge strain on the power availability from our materials handling batteries. Having experienced this shortage and the pressures it puts on the business over many years I believed that the answer to this was though organisation and management. This is why we invested in the Hoppecke Trak-Monitor and management systems in both our charging areas.”

Simon added: “The biggest benefit we got from the Trak-Monitor systems was the call forward system which selects the first fully charged battery and informs the driver which is the most effective fully charged unit to use first. If the driver selects the wrong battery an audible alarm sounds and the wrong pick is recorded by the system. However, we found this did not happen and the drivers found the selection information easy to use. This call forward system used in parallel with the Hoppecke easy to operate TU and PU battery changing equipment made their lives a lot easier and battery changing much quicker and safer.”

Simon concluded: “This is the first time in many years that our operation got on with focussing on our core business of supplying our customers fresh fruit products and not losing valuable time being involved in fork truck and battery shortages. This investment has proved to be a very sound business decision.”

Jason Howlett, Hoppecke’s Regional Managing Director – Northern Europe, said: “The SH Pratt Group is a highly-valued customer and we are happy to be playing our part in helping people to get access to fresh fruit much faster than would have been possible without our batteries, chargers and call forwarding systems.”

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