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Yearsley Group switches to Hawker

Yearsley Group, one of the UK's major players in cold storage and distribution and the country's largest independent frozen food wholesaler, is switching the batteries on its entire lift truck fleet to the Hawker brand from EnerSys.

Yearsley Group says it is changing its battery supplier because the combination of Hawker's PerfectPlus battery and Powertech high frequency (HF) charger provides better performance, longer battery life and, with the Hawker Aquafil single-point topping-up system, easier maintenance. The company says that the Hawker Powertech HF chargers also consume significantly less mains electricity. Cold Store Manager Les Green says: “The Hawker package is the best in the business by far,.”

Established 50 years ago Yearsley Group, still a private family-owned company and with a turnover exceeding £50 million, stores and distributes frozen food from the UK's top suppliers to all the leading supermarkets and other retailers nationwide, and is currently expanding into Europe. The company also has its own food wholesaling business. Based in Heywood, Lancashire, Yearsley Group has six distribution centres throughout the UK, providing more than 100,000 frozen and chilled pallet locations, with a further three planned for the future.

Yearsley Group recently opened a £5 million extension to its Heywood site, incorporating state of the art flat-bed pallet conveyors; the company was the first in the UK to use such a system. All sites operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enabling Yearsley Group to offer a fast and highly responsive delivery service.

To sustain its continuing expansion Yearsley Group is now in the process of progressively renewing its 80-strong nationwide lift truck fleet – a variety of reach trucks, counterbalance trucks and powered pallet transporters.

“This gave us the opportunity to review the battery supplier situation,” explains Les Green. “With our truck fleets all operating intense, round-the-clock work cycles, battery performance and the efficiency of the charge and change procedures are becoming more critical. The Hawker package was the ideal solution – particularly with regard to battery charging.”

The Powertech HF chargers that Yearsley Group has specified offer outstanding energy efficiency – as much as 20 per cent higher than its existing 50 Hz chargers. The Powertech charger automatically detects the battery's level of discharge and will supply only the amount of power needed – and no more – to restore full charge. This means less mains power is required to charge a battery. Thus the energy costs per charge are considerably reduced, leading to significant savings in electricity costs. The Poweterch HF is very versatile too. It will automatically accommodate batteries of different capacities – ideal for mixed fleets such as Yearsley Group's – and is easily programmable for all battery technologies.

The 'intelligent' manner in which the Powertech delivers its charge, combined with the high performance offered by the Hawker PerfectPlus battery specified by Yearsley Group, also makes a considerable contribution towards extending the working life of the battery. The Powertech has integrated diagnostic capabilities, enabling engineers to interrogate its charging history and performance. Battery topping up is now a much quicker, more accurate and less labour-intensive operation thanks to the Hawker Aquafil single-point top-up system supplied with all new batteries.

The first site to switch fully to Hawker was Yearsley Group's new Heywood facility, which operates 25 trucks. Fifteen new Powertech HF charges have been installed in five charging rooms located round the site, two dedicated to pallet transporters and counterbalance trucks and three to reach trucks. Around 50 per cent of Yearsley Group's nationwide fleet is now using Hawker batteries and chargers; the change-over will be completed over the next three years as new trucks are acquired.

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