Monday 24th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Battery charge and change vital (2)

Peugeot‘s manufacturing plant at Ryton, Coventry has been supplied with EnerSys’ Hawker Motive Power batteries and chargers for the lift truck fleet operating there. The 130 Hawker batteries have been specially modified so that they can be changed by a counterbalance forklift.

According to Peugeot, the Hawker battery system is vital in maintaining uptime throughout the plant’s 104-hour working week.

The Ryton plant produces all models of the Peugeot 206, except the 206cc cabriolet, for markets worldwide. It produces more than 4,000 cars a week on a flexible, single assembly line.

The Hawker WF200 batteries are used in all the electric lift trucks, which provide materials to the assembly line.

Components, mainly in stillages, are unloaded from delivery vehicles and warehoused – full stillages are called off as required and transferred to line-side storage areas. Smaller parcelled components are handled by low-level order pickers, and directed to the assembly line via a Kanban system.

With the line supply operating virtually on a just-in-time (JIT) basis, Peugeot has to maintain a constant flow of materials from goods-in, through the holding warehouse to the trackside storage zones. Therefore, maximum lift truck uptime is critical.

Roger Pettit, fork truck pilot, internal logistics at Peugeot, explains: “The vital link in the materials handling chain is the battery charge and change operation. Battery charging areas are installed in three strategic locations around the plant. It was prohibitively expensive in the past to use overhead cranes (OHCs), the conventional method of changing counterbalance lift truck batteries, in all of them.”

He adds: “In any case, changing battery using an OHC is a labour intensive operation and would probably have been too slow, incurring unacceptable downtime.”

All the lift truck drivers are fully trained to use the forklift, making rapid battery changes a rapid, one-man job. The average battery-changing time is about four minutes.