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Toyotas Highland Spirit

The Macallan Distillery at Craigallachie, Banffshire has been distilling whisky since 1824. In a year it uses almost 11,000 tonnes of malted barley to produce approximately 13 million bottles of whisky. At any one time there are around 125,000 casks in its warehouses, enough to fill over 100 million bottles.

Once produced, the spirit is left to ‘sleep’ for anything from 10 to 30 years, in oak casks placed in double rows in dunnage warehouses. These warehouses are low-ceilinged traditional buildings with earthen floors and a humid environment, maintaining a constant temperature throughout the year. At just over 1.75 metres high, the height restriction can present a particular challenge for machinery access and was one issue that company engineer George McKenzie had to consider when he decided to introduce forklifts for the manoeuvring of casks into the warehouse.

Once TOYOTA national accounts manager Scott Bryson had demonstrated the Generation 7 range of forklifts, the benefits of TOYOTA’s pioneering System of Active Stability (SAS) became clear. George explains: “We ran a trial of four leading brands, including TOYOTA, and even on first impressions alone, what
struck us was the clear difference in ergonomics. TOYOTA trucks are clearly high quality with all the controls within easy reach and spacious seating for drivers. The two factors that made us choose TOYOTA overall were these ergonomics and SAS.”

To meet the specific demands of the application at The Macallan, TOYOTA adapted a new 7FB15 with a lift height of 1.7 metres. As well as fitting a special cask attachment to the truck to lift and carry casks, the overhead guard was removed, in accordance with EN 1726: 1999 – an essential step if the forklift was to access the dunnage warehouse.
The 7FB at The Macallan is also protected with Pyroban, a system
designed to protect against the risk of explosion. Although the chances of ignition on site may be small, its occurrence would potentially be disastrous. Pyroban ensures that all
electric and diesel trucks intended for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere meet the requirements of European law ATEX 94/9/EC.

The Macallan is not the only Edrington site to recognise the benefits of TOYOTA trucks in the whisky environment. The Glenturret Distillery in Crieff, Perthshire, is home to Scotland’s most popular whisky,

The Famous Grouse and location of
The Famous Grouse Experience, a
21st century visitor centre that won a Bafta award in 2002 for its state of the art, world-first audio visual technology. When reviewing the use of forklifts around the site, George McKenzie realised that the benefits of TOYOTA trucks were just as applicable here: “The demands here were different to The Macallan, as we needed a flexible, reliable truck that could carry out a variety of tasks in and around the plant, including moving pallets of whisky around, as well as move casks on and off delivery lorries.”

The 7FBMF that was chosen includes a feature that can optimise battery power depending on the task being carried out. The 3-mode Power Select Function enables the driver to alternate the battery function, so according to the task being performed, power is either boosted or preserved, increasing output and maximising battery use.

This ensures that drivers can make the best use of the 7FBMF at Glenturret and preserve or boost power as needed. George concludes: “Both trucks are
performing superbly and have proved ideal for our needs. We now have another two 7FBMF trucks in use, one at our distillery at Highland Park in Orkney where it performs a similar range of tasks to the forklift at Glenturret and another truck operating in our warehouse facility in Bishopbriggs.

“Despite the significant geographical distance between each of these distilleries and the demands that this can place on suppliers, particularly
when it comes to after sales service and support, TOYOTA has been consistently reliable and proved itself streets ahead of the competition.

Thanks to Scott and the rest of the team, TOYOTA is now a valuable part of our company when it comes to materials handling.”

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