Covid, Brexit, Supply Chain Issues; these all had an impact on the temperature controlled storage sector, meaning that space is at a premium. Building new premises is not a short term solution as a large warehouse that can take 100,000 pallets costs tens of millions in investment and takes three years to build. Making the most of every inch of capacity is therefore a priority to ensure maximum storage density in current facilities.
A good place to start is examine the type of forklifts that are in operation. Can they work in narrow aisles rather than requiring large amounts of space to manoeuvre? Do they offer adequate lift heights to service high bay racking? And are they easy, comfortable and reliable to operate in very low temperatures for long periods of time?
Forklifts that tick all these boxes and more are the Aisle Master articulated forklifts from Irish Manufacturer Combilift. The cold store Aisle Master range has been purpose built to meet the requirements of this sector while guaranteeing narrow aisle capability for maximum density and therefore optimum per-pallet cost. Aisle Masters can replace a combination of counterbalance trucks for offloading and reach trucks within racking, making them even more cost effective and versatile pieces of equipment.
The winner of an Award for Innovation from the FTLA, the cold store spec Aisle Master can work in aisles of just 1.6m: compared with reach trucks which need much wider aisles to manoeuvre this can result in at least 30%+ more capacity. With lift heights of up to an impressive 15m they also enable the use of every inch of vertical space. Exploiting the capabilities of these trucks by narrowing down aisles and raising racking height is a much more financially viable and hassle free propositon than searching for possibly non existent premises of building from scratch.
Aisle Masters are engineered to cope easily with the tough conditions of cold store operation: where other trucks would struggle with the change from freezer temperatures to ambient zones for example, there are no issues with condensation build up. The fully enclosed heated cab keeps drivers warm to ensure the highest level of comfort throughout shifts, avoiding the need for regular breaks which have a negative impact on productivity. Bar code scanners used from within the cab enable operators to carry out all necessary tasks without leaving the comfort of the workstation.
Combilift also supplies other products in cold store specification, an example being the Combi-WR pedestrian reach stacker. This also works in very narrow aisles for space saving operation and features Combilift’s unique patented multi- position tiller arm which guarantees a very safe working environment for the operator and other personnel nearby.
As the operator can stand to the side of the unit rather than behind it, it eliminates the risk of being trapped between the truck and racking when picking or placing pallets. The Combi-WR’s robust build and specific cold store features such as grade 32 wax free oil and a Vulkollan Tractothan rear drive wheel for excellent grip make it the ideal chocie if pedestrian trucks are preferred to ride on models.
The extreme cold can be unforgiving on equipment, quickly draining batteries for example, but the powerful 930 Ah batteries used in the Aisle Master cold store models counteract this, enabling prolonged operation in temperatures as low as -30°C