Armagh based Johnston International Transport has increased storage capacity in its warehouse by around 30%, by replacing a reach truck with an Aisle Master articulated forklift. The truck is mainly used to handle pallets of raw ingredients such as sugar and flour, which are stored and shipped when required to two of Johnston’s major clients in the bakery sector.

According to Transport Manager Mark Johnston, it was high time that the company looked at improving its storage procedures. The increasing volume of incoming products flagged up the fact that space was running out as it was not being used efficiently.

Following information from a site survey, Combilift engineers supplied layout diagrams within 24 hours to show how the existing area could be optimised. “This was a really impressive service”, said Mark, “and showed that by moving racking closer together, going higher and exploiting the narrow aisle capabilities of the Aisle Master, we’d be able to add at least another 400 pallet spaces.”

5m high racking was installed with reduced aisle widths of 2.3m, compared with those of around 3m needed for the reach trucks. Johnston’s two-tonne capacity electric powered AM20SE model was delivered in early January and has been a big hit with the drivers. “The truck is superb and easy to drive”, said Mark.

Aisle Masters are designed to work inside and out, for versatile truck to rack handling, but Johnston’s truck is mainly designated for internal operation, and a counterbalance forklift is used for offloading and dropping pallets at the warehouse door. The Aisle Master then puts loads into the racking, and the procedure is reversed when customer deliveries are scheduled. Mark sums up: “The Aisle Master has enabled us to optimise space, guarantee a timely turnaround and enhanced service for our customers.”

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