Eddie Stobart is taking delivery of 35 Aisle-Masters for its Contract Logistics and Warehousing Division.
This arm of Stobart’s operations offers over six million square feet of storage. 25 Aisle-Masters have so far been delivered to various sites, with another ten due to be operational over the next 12 months.
As Stobart’s ageing articulated trucks were coming to the end of their operational life the company decided to investigate alternative brands as it was keen to stick to the articulated system which ensures optimum pallet density in narrow aisle configurations.
Stobart operations director Graeme Undy says: “We like to forge amicable relationships with suppliers who are open to suggestions from our side. This helps to drive innovation, is ultimately beneficial for all concerned and accords with Aisle-Master’s ethos of providing customer led solutions.”
Feedback from initial trials led to certain modifications for some or all of the fleet: to the design of the overhead guard and steering column for example. The electric powered 20WHE models with 2,000kg capacity that are now working in around 70 per cent of Stobart’s warehousing network are bespoke units and some suggestions made by the Stobart team will be incorporated in the Aisle-Master design going forward. The trucks are mainly used for inside operation to place and pick pallets that have been deposited in the goods-in bay by other forklifts or power pallet trucks, but their indoor/outdoor capability means that at sites with external pallet banks they can also be used for offloading and yard work. Existing narrow aisle widths vary from 1660mm to 2400mm depending on the location and racking heights are typically from 9m to 11m.
One issue was the provision of continual battery power. The solution was to supply three batteries for each unit.