Combilifts stand up to the test At BSS

The National Distribution Centre of BSS Industrial stocks the equivalent of over 250 miles of tube and pipe in its 47,500ft² warehouse in the centre of England to supply its network of 62 branches across the country. Four Combilift electric powered C4000 EST stand on models are central to efficient handling and storage procedures of the 600+ product lines which come in lengths of 3m and 6m.

BSS Industrial was established over 110 years ago and it is now part of the Plumbing and Heating Division of Britain’s largest builders’ merchants group Travis Perkins. The Coventry NDC operates 24 hour shifts five days a week to meet the schedule of three deliveries per branch per week to locations the length and breadth of the country. The Combilifts work round the clock to move around 56t of metal, stainless steel, galvanised steel and plastic tubes, rod and rail on a daily basis.

A Combilift EST was initially trialled towards the end of 2012 when the contract for BSS Industrial’s previous truck fleet came to an end and orders for a further three were placed due to its successful performance. Thirteen slightly smaller C2500 EST models are also in operation at local branches across the country and further orders are in the pipeline.

The Combilift ST range has a very narrow cab, with stand-on or seated options, and  its ability to operate in much narrower aisles than the original C series makes it ideal for steel, tube and pipe stockholding facilities. The 4t capacity EST’s work in aisle widths of 1.8m and are fitted with guide rollers for guided aisle operation. This makes for faster travel down the aisles and reduces the risk of product damage. Together with a lift height of 9.5m to access the 13 storage levels, maximum use of all available space has been achieved to accommodate the 2,353 picking locations.

Incoming deliveries from manufacturers across Europe and the UK are offloaded and taken inside with 2 LPG powered C series Combilift models. The EST’s take over from this point, putting the bundles which weigh from around 500kg to 2t into locations and picking them.

According to NDC Manager David Dempsey the trucks are perfect for the job and very comfortable and convenient for the 16 trained drivers to operate. The design of the cab makes it easy for them to enter and exit and the collapsible seat gives individual drivers the choice of whether to stand or sit. An in-cab camera monitor ensures a good view of the load when accessing the high top beam, and hydraulic fork positioners make it quick and easy to adjust the fork width to accord to the varying sizes of product. The Hoppecke trak® air battery system incorporated in BSS’s models ensures rapid charging and a very long battery life even under the demanding conditions of non-stop operation.

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