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For the past two years leading brewer, Carlsberg, has been engaged in a programme of updating its materials handling equipment across all of its UK distribution sites.

The Carlsberg supply chain model involves a central National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Northampton which feeds four Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs) – at Warrington, Leeds, Croydon and Birmingham. The RDCs in turn deliver to 13 satellite depots strategically located throughout the UK which pick and dispatch orders for onward delivery.

The company’s facility at Newport in Gwent is typical of the satellite depots. The site receives between ten and 12 incoming wagons a day from Carlsberg’s RDC on the Gravelly Park Estate in Birmingham, with loads arriving at the goods-in area, comprising both kegs and palletised boxes of bottled and canned beers, along with other beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Trailers arrive at the Newport site between 8am and 2pm every day where they are unloaded by diesel-powered counterbalanced trucks from the Jungheinrich 4-Series range and goods are put away either within a racked storage area (the palletised bottles and cans) or in a separate keg store.

The kegs come in a range of sizes – the smallest holds nine gallons, while the biggest contains 36 gallons of beer or lager, although 22 gallon kegs tend to be the biggest and 11 gallon versions are the most common size. They arrive on locator boards which allow up to 18 nine gallon barrels to be unloaded by the forklifts at one time. Four of the six counterbalance trucks operating at the site are fitted with Kaup keg clamps with a stabiliser to enable barrels to be handled easily, efficiently and safely.

Since 2008 Carlsberg has been engaged in a programme of updating the materials handling equipment across all of its UK distribution sites with products from the Jungheinrich range, and order pickers, reach trucks, counterbalanced machines, as well as pallet trucks, have now been rolled out at all of Carlsberg’s UK distribution sites – including the company’s Northampton NDC, the four RDCs and the 13 local depots.

The DFG counterbalance trucks in operation at Newport and at other Carlsberg sites around the UK are particularly suited to applications where a lot of “shuttling” work is involved – such as lorry loading and unloading within and around a busy warehouse environment.

With an engine supplied by Volkswagen, the truck has been designed to offer the lowest noise levels and emissions, while fuel consumption is also particularly low. Indeed, test cycles have shown that over the course of 2,000 hours of typical operation the DFG can save some £2,000 in fuel costs in comparison with competitive models in a similar class.

Carlsberg has purchased all of the trucks in its new fleet outright and an ongoing maintenance contract has been agreed between the companies.

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