Sunday 23rd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Efficiency increased despite fleet cut

A repeat order for a fleet of Combilift 4-way forklifts at Kaye Aluminium has confirmed the crucial contribution made by the initial consignment of trucks four years ago to the implementation of leaner operations at the company’s Doncaster extrusion facilities. The Combilifts’ versatility enabled Kaye to more than halve the number of forklifts used whilst at the same time maintain its considerable output and increase operational efficiency.

Part of EXL, Kaye Aluminium is a leading UK provider of aluminium profiles for the building, electronic and automotive sectors. An impetus towards a more rationalised use of equipment and personnel as well as an increase in the size of incoming raw materials spurred a rethink of handling methods in 2000, which resulted in Kaye using four diesel powered Combilifts to replace five electric 4-way and three counterbalance forklifts.

Operations manager Joe Jones says: “The ability of the Combilifts to work inside and out, their sideways travel with long loads, their robust build and versatility enabled us to overcome in one go the issues we had with the former trucks: poor performance outside, down-time for battery charging and the need for elevated travel with long loads above machinery. The Combilifts had a positive effect on operations which is why we have reordered.”

The trucks handle the product throughout all stages of the extrusion process, from offloading the 5 to 7m long packs of raw aluminium logs which weigh in at more than 2.5 tonnes through to the handling of baskets of scrap left over from production. When logs are needed the Combilifts take them from the outside storage area and transport them sideways through a relatively narrow doorway. Once inside, they can be exactly positioned at the extrusion lines due to their manoeuvrability and ability to turn on their own axis.

The trucks work in narrow aisles allowing compact storage of product in 6m high racking bays, and the four-tonne capacity easily lifts multiple loads of the 6m long 500kg stillages onto trucks for distribution.

The design and component layout of the Combilift range ensures long-life forklifts with a low maintenance record, but this has been taken a step further at Kaye by fitting an automatic engine shut down device to prevent unnecessary time clocking up should drivers be away from the forklift for more than a few minutes. Hydraulic fork spreaders give extra stability to the length of loads carried.