A move to LPG lift trucks featuring Nissans exclusive Tri-Cat engine management system has created major savings in exhaust emissions and materials handling costs for the UK¹s market leading manufacturer of raised access flooring.
Kingspan in Hull is one of the worlds largest producers of the systems used to raise floors in office buildings for the installation of cabled services.
A typical system comprises floor pedestals supporting chipboard panels that are encased in galvanised steel. With three lines at the Burma Drive site turning out over 150,000 finished panels every week, the pace of production is impressive – and the materials handling requirement is intense.
Some 50 lorryloads of high density chipboard in 2.4 x 1.8m panels are received each week, together with palletised drums of adhesive and 50 tonnes of steel coils. Operating on a just-in-time basis, and with temporary storage at goods inwards limited to just half a day¹s stock, Kingspans requirement was for lift trucks that could work in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner both inside and out.
The previous fleet comprised 7.0 tonne diesel and 3.0 tonne gas trucks, explained Purchasing Manager Graeme Craggs. The diesel trucks weren¹t ideal for inside working and because the gas trucks were operating from bottles, there was considerable downtime when changing over.
With a rapidly expanding business, Kingspans criteria were for a new lift truck fleet that was solely gas-powered – even up to 7.0 tonne capacity – and for bulk gas storage to contribute to maximum uptime.
First of the new trucks to enter service were two 7.0 tonne Nissan FX models, specified to offload chipboard panels and transfer them two packs at a time in loads weighing six tonnes through storage and on to the automatic cutting lines.
Trucks with solid tyres were essential because of the need to maintain stable loads and to avoid punctures. With those requirements, it¹s not always easy to find a truck thats comfortable at the same time, said Graeme. We involved our operators at every stage of the selection procedure and the feedback about the Nissan trucks was very positive.
Second stage of the replacement programme at Kingspan involved the
acquisition of eight 3.0 tonne gas trucks to remove finished product from the line, transfer it into storage and then on to transport.
Having made the decision to run an all-LP gas fleet, Nissans DX models fitted with Tri-Cat engine management systems as standard were what Graeme Craggs described as the only choice.
The system is a unique combination of three-way catalytic converter and
computerised technology which reduces harmful exhaust emissions by up to 98 per cent and guarantees maximum fuel economy.
Believed to be the only lift truck installation of its type with a catalyst which addresses all three of the toxic substances produced when LP gas is burnt, it reduces carbon monoxide by 91%, hydrocarbons by 96% and oxides of nitrogen by 98%.
A further feature of the Tri-Cat is to provide optimum fuel economy through constant engine management. Electronic sensors continually monitor engine output, controlling and supplying just the right air-to- fuel ratio for the truck¹s operational requirements.
Regardless of the composition of the LPG fuel, environmental conditions and the condition of the engine, the system always provides optimal combustion.
As well as ensuring minimum gas pollution and maximum fuel economy, the closed loop air fuel ratio control helps to minimise maintenance.
Conscious of the need for greatest operator comfort and consequently higher levels of productivity, Nissan¹s floating cab² has provided a further advantage at Kingspan. The design isolates the operators compartment from the truck¹s chassis to minimise vibration.
Installation of a bulk LP gas storage facility has further helped to reduce materials handling costs at the site. Not only have we seen major savings simply by moving to bulk storage, we no longer have downtime through operators constantly having to change gas bottles, said Graeme.
The new lift truck fleet at Kingspan Access Floors is supplied on contract hire with maintenance by Nissans exclusive network location for the area, Malcolm West-Nissan. With shift requirements often extending to 24-hour working, the programme has been specially tailored to allow for earlier replacement of the most heavily used trucks.