A Combilift 4-way forklift with a raft of customised features is making light work of materials handling at Garador Limited in Yeovil, Somerset – manufacturer of domestic garage doors for the UK and Irish markets.
This “very clever forklift” as Production Director Uwe Ruffing calls it, has replaced two diesel powered counterbalance trucks and one electric 4-way forklift, rationalising and speeding up the handling of raw materials, through to the dispatch of the finished product.
Garador’s range includes steel, timber and GRP Up-and-Over garage doors in single and double sizes, which means that a wide variety of materials with varying weights and dimensions needs to be offloaded and moved around the Yeovil site. Finished doors can be up to 5m long and 2.5m high, but a special clamp designed by Combilift secures them from above and below for stable transportation from the production line to cantilever racking in the storage area – and back out for loading onto delivery vehicles with the C4000 electric powered Combilift model.
Telescopic forks fitted to the truck allow incoming raw materials such as 5m long stillages of steel profiles to be offloaded in the delivery bay from just one side of the vehicle, and they can then be taken directly to racking to be stored until needed. This has considerably improved efficiency, as the previous system involved offloading with a counterbalance forklift outside, then transferring the loads to the electric 4-way truck, which was only suitable for indoor operation. It was the disadvantages associated with this double handling that prompted the company to look for a more streamlined system – and the Combilift’s proven versatility lent itself perfectly to Garador’s requirements.
“The Combilift was the only truck we could fit out with all the various attachments we wanted to ensure easy handling of all our materials throughout the manufacturing process,“ says Uwe Ruffing. “This customised approach is ideal.”
The semi-automatic clamp used for handling finished doors is fitted to the centre of the fork carriage, and is manually opened when needed by an operator. It can then be raised or lowered from controls in the cab to fit the size of the doors being carried. Hydraulic fork spreaders, which are again operated from inside the cab, allow quick adjustment of the fork width for varying load dimensions.
The new cantilever racking installed in the 13,500m² warehouse has been configured according to the 4-way capability of the Combilift, which has enabled aisle-widths to be kept to a minimum for considerable space savings in this area. Uwe comments: “If we were still working with the old counterbalance truck we would have needed 6m wide aisles.”
When it comes to distributing the finished product, the loading of 60 doors onto one HGV is also a much quicker procedure – as the Combilift’s 4t capacity, combined with the telescopic forks, enables five doors to be loaded across the bed of the truck in one manoeuvre.
Source : Material Handling Network, Sept-Oct 2009