Reliability key for drinks firm

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Gold Crown Foods has bought a fleet of 11 new Still counterbalance forklift and warehouse trucks to support the tea and coffee manufacturing, packaging and distribution operations at its plant based in Liverpool.

Supplied by Still’s Oldham-based distributor, Lancashire (Fork Truck) Services (LFTS), the fleet comprises two R60-25 counterbalance trucks, three EGU-16 and one EGU-20 powered pallet trucks, three FM-20 reach trucks and two GX-10 VNA stacker trucks. The contract was put out to tender and LFTS/Still secured the deal against three other suppliers. Logistics manager Gordon Morris says that selecting Still was a simple decision: “LFTS put forward the best deal in terms of trucks, specification, service and price.”

Production begins with incoming shipments of bulk, unblended teas from plantations across the world. The R60-25 electric forklift trucks unload pallets of tea from the container lorry and store them in the raw materials warehouse. Once safely in the warehouse, FM-20 reach trucks transport the unblended tea into the blending and packaging room.

After blending, the blends are transferred into large hoppers kept on a mezzanine floor above the production line. The EGU powered pallet trucks position the hoppers at flow-mounted delivery chutes in the floor, directly above the production machinery, ready to deliver the tea to the production line when required.

A FM-20 reach truck is used to deliver the finished products to the distribution warehouse where a Still GX-10 VNA truck enters it onto the racking system, ready for distribution to supermarkets nationwide.

The plant works on back-to-back shifts, but during busier periods the factory can work round the clock. “At busy times we need to know that each link in the production chain is going to be reliable and the warehouse and counterbalance trucks have a large role to play,” says Morris.

As all Still equipment supplied to Gold Crown Foods is electric, LFTS has fitted a “roll-on, roll-off” battery changing facility, enabling the producer to work the machines continuously by merely visiting the charging bay to change the battery.

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