Logging on for forklifts!

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Alcoa, one of the world’s leading aluminium producers for the construction, aerospace, transport and automotive industries, has been supplied with a fleet of new Still forklift trucks from DAC Handling Solutions for its aluminium processing plant in Banbury, Oxfordshire. However, the fleet was not bought through the usual channels – Alcoa opted used a competitive bidding process conducted on the Internet instead.

Instead of putting the contract out to tender in the traditional manner Alcoa invited potential suppliers, including Still distributor DAC Handling Solutions, to an Internet Auction. Each supplier received details of Alcoa’s requirements which included equipment type and specification, maximum noise levels, exhaust emission standards, construction standards and health and safety requirements. Bids were invited for a five-year rental contract including full maintenance, plus the date and time of the auction.

After the auction, the three companies whose bids were judged to best meet the strict safety, specification and aftersales support criteria, were invited to make presentations to Alcoa’s site management team, which voted unanimously to award the £1.5M contract to DAC with Still forklift trucks.

Alcoa has its own Intranet and the group companies internationally share best practice information between the various sites and locations. results from Banbury (which is the first site in the Alcoa group to acquire a handling fleet in this way) have been shared throughout the group.

Still equipment supplied includes R70 diesel counterbalance machines in capacities of three, four, five and eight tonne capacities; electric counterbalance trucks including the R20 1.6-tonne machine; and the EGG pedestrian-operated forklift.

With 185 forklift truck operators on site, Alcoa needed a user-friendly system to monitor and control forklift truck usage. DAC recommended the Advanced Truck Management System (ATMS) from Transmon Engineering. ATMS records truck usage data including driver identity, hours in operation and impact data which is transmitted to the system computer by an on-board Radio Data Terminal (RDT). Each driver is issued with a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) which must be entered before the truck can be used. The PIN carries driver identity and access permissions.

Alcoa takes its health and safety responsibilities seriously and looks to suppliers to match or exceed its minimum standards. Still has addressed primary safety using the advanced technology of its counterbalance trucks which are effectively controlled by the accelerator pedal acting as a deadman pedal. If the driver’s foot comes off the pedal for any reason, the truck will stop: quickly, safely. Secondary safety is addressed by the fitment of seat belts plus seat-mounted sensors to prevent the truck from operating unless the belts are being used.

Still is one of several materials handling specialists exhibiting at Logistics Link North on September 22 and 23 at Doncaster Racecourse, Leger Way, Doncaster. For further information contact Richard Milbourn on 020 8661 1160 or visit www.logisticslink.co.uk

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