Fine wine and forklifts

News Story
- 25 Sep 2008 ( #379 ) - Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia
3 min read
Operators at Casella prefer Toyota forklifts.
Operators at Casella prefer Toyota forklifts.
Both Toyota Material Handling and NTP Forklifts Australia are actively involved in supplying forklifts to Australia's wine industry.

NTP Forklifts has supplied Barossa Valley winery Langmeil with a top quality TCM 7-tonne diesel forklift with a Bolzoni rotator, 2,440mm tynes and a 4.5m dual mast.

The primary function of the TCM forklift is to pick up the three-metre long bins of hand-picked grapes, and then tip the grapes into hoppers. From there, the grapes are worked through a crusher and tipped into open fermenters, which can be moved within the facility by the forklift. The forklift is also used to manoeuvre the basket presses, the largest holding the skins of a 6-tonne fermenter.

According to Tyson Bitter, a winemaker of Langmeil, "the 'fork' is really good, we've had no dramas with it".

"We have had it fitted with extra long tynes and a rotator to flip the grape bins, which means we have higher efficiency and we are able to use the fork around the yard for other applications - the whole process has been made easier. I can't believe we haven't had one before!"

Langmeil winery has also purchased a new TCM iNOMA 2.5 tonne forklift for its new warehouse, and will continue to use NTP Forklifts Australia for its materials handling needs.

Meanwhile, forklifts from Toyota Materials Handling have been first choice for one of the country's most successful wine exporters, Casella Wines in NSW.

The family-owned winery has grown substantially since 2000, with its expansion including the addition of a bottling line which can process 36,000 bottles per hour - the fastest wine-bottling line in the world.

"We have 69 Toyota forklifts at work in the winery at present," says purchasing officer David Bastianon.

"Most are dual fuel LPG/Petrol, but we also have some diesel models and recently we've added a couple of battery-electric forklifts."

The Toyota forklifts range from 2.5 tonne to 8 tonne capacity and help to meet a materials handling challenge which at peak times can see 50 shipping containers a day leaving the Riverina winery.

"Our oldest Toyota forklift, a 5FD70, has clocked up 15,000 hours over almost 12 years," says Bastianon. "It's a 7 tonne capacity machine that we use as an all-rounder throughout the winery.

"When it's not moving empty shipping containers, it has a 360 degree Cascade rotator attached for tipping grapes."

Casella Wines has a flexible policy on how it acquires its forklifts. The majority of the equipment is finance leased to conserve capital for the company's ongoing expansion.

At the end of the lease period and depending on their age and accumulated hours, the forklifts are often purchased for the residual and continue in the fleet.

"Over the last five years at various times we have evaluated forklifts from other companies and even purchased a small number of them.

"They have been used in areas where the utilisation rate is lower and they have completed that job adequately, but ease of operation and feedback we have received from our employees always leads us back to Toyota."

He lists safety and reliability among the most important forklift characteristics he looks for, along with low running costs and a long, effective working life.

"There are other factors which come into consideration such as employee acceptance in terms of being comfortable with operating the equipment," he said.

"We've found the Toyotas have better hydraulic speed and they're a better driving forklift - better to operate, and so the operators like them," he says.
The Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Seminar makes its return next February 7-9, 2023, and timing couldn’t be better!
At Cascade Corporation, we know the forks and attachments used to handle your loads are essential to keeping your material handling operations running smoothly. That’s why selecting products that integrate seamlessly with each other (and your workflow) can be a time-consuming and difficult task.

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