Built on R&D: Very narrow aisle revolutionised by flourishing industry pioneer Bendi

Translift Bend’s business, perhaps more than any other player in the industry, has been built on R&D and the principles of innovative product development. Each of the company’s remarkable portfolio of 18 products has been created by listening to the marketplace, disseminating industry trends and pouring the resulting intelligence into the company’s R&D department – the ‘beating heart’ of Bendi, according to MD Simon Brown.

Responsible for building the first Man-rising combination pallet placing order picker in the 1960’s which operated in VNA, then the ground breaking Bendi later in the 1980’s to work in 2400mm aisle but now easily stacks UK pallets in 1600mm aisles, Bendi continues to demonstrate its understanding of the industry’s requirements for space saving solutions and efficiency.

2010 saw the Redditch-based forklift truck manufacturer launch an unprecedented five new models at global trade show IMHX. Now, with three further trucks being launched, the company’s bosses are predicting this to be a breakthrough year for Bendi, with a staggering year-on-year sales increase of around 400% in export recorded for the 1st quarter of 2011.

It is a growth, says Brown, that is driven by the remarkable productivity of its R&D department, with 48% of the increase directly attributed to the unique new products that Bendi has recently launched.

The ‘Mini Bendi’ BP312 pedestrian articulated truck

An impressive feat of design ingenuity, the Mini Bendi BP312 pedestrian articulated forklift truck offers superior levels of safety and functionality combined with VNA aisle performance previously considered unattainable in the warehousing, logistics and manufacturing sectors.

With pedestrian control the operator is completely in charge of the equipment – providing additional safety at all times and, importantly, achieving the space-saving that Bendi trucks have become synonymous with in recent years.

The operator’s position, twice as far away from the pallet compared to a traditional pedestrian truck and intuitive feedback from the truck’s unique steering system enables pallets, including Euro style and UK perimeter based (Chep) variations, to be nimbly and safely placed within confined areas or narrow aisles as small as 16000mm. The large, soft wheels of the Mini Bendi allow safe travel over yards or roads, enabling deliveries to be easily unloaded and placed straight into storage. Traditional machines in this sector either have smaller wheels that struggle with these surfaces and either get stuck or spill their loads or take up too much room.

The ability to effortlessly stack pallets in 1.6m aisles puts pay to large trucks being crammed into small spaces and, according to Bendi MD Simon Brown, truly responds to the demands of the market for a smaller, more versatile articulated machine.

“There is a very real need for a smaller, lighter machine that is required to have the same speed of a normal Bendi but can still accommodate all styles of pallets in small aisles or confined spaces,” explains Brown. “The traditional equipment offerings range from Pedestrian Counterbalance, Pedestrian Reach and a variety of other support arm stacker  options, all of which require 2.5-3+m aisles limits the functionality of applications that want or need the operator to be pedestrian.”

Bendi European Truck

Two years in the making, the Bendi European Truck is a hybrid of the original Bendi forklift truck and the traditional stacker truck which is already widely used in the European markets.

The European model of the Bendi has a patented articulated steering system unique to this truck. This dramatically improves the lateral, forward and backward stability of the common stacker format, allowing mast heights of the support arm Bendi to lift to 7m plus and remain stable.

This new design also dramatically improves the support arm format’s ability to travel across uneven floors lending it to be capable of some external as well as internal duties. The Euro stacker Bendi  is far lighter, allowing Bendi to deliver the new range at extremely competitive prices and as a pedestrian, stand-on and eventually as a ride-on model – offering complete flexibility to the European market.

Arctic Bendi

Often considered to be as the most expensive form of storage, the management of cold stores has historically been limited to using only reach trucks or very narrow aisle (VNA) solutions.

“The impracticalities of these trucks in a cold storage environment are relatively obvious,” says Brown. “Reach trucks require much larger aisles so true storage efficiencies aren’t achievable, whilst traditional VNA solutions can cause other issues such requiring large wasteful transfer aisles”

The Arctic Bendi, has an improved battery capacity over other manufactures due to a fresh look at how the battery is incorporated in the design. This improvement gives 20% longer run times, couple this with the warm cab which takes most of its heat from the working components waste energy both reduces battery drain whilst simultaneously reducing the freeze running cost by not emitting waste heat product from the truck into the cold store. Notwithstanding the ability to work in 1600mm aisles without guidance or the need for wasted transfer aisles.

Bendi B420 AC HL

With more than 20 customer-driven enhancements on the previous model, Translift Bendi’s B420 AC HL (High-Lift) truck has become the company’s new flagship model.

Designed to give optimal aisle performance and greater space-saving over conventional counterbalance and reach trucks, the Bendi was completely re-shaped to offer improved performance and driver comfort.

“Our engineering know-how in tandem with input through client feedback has transformed the 420 AC model and, as a result, we’ve also been able to incorporate those enhancements into our market leading B420 AC HL High Lift,” explains Brown.

“The push for ever greater height in articulated forklifts is ongoing, and through innovative reengineering we were able to add 10% residual capacity to the 420 AC HL whilst providing improved Battery swapovers for double shift applications,” he said.

Translift Bendi Limited

Tel: 01527 527411

www.bendi.co.uk