A Flexi articulated truck working at Norish's Brierley Hill facility.
The typical life expectancy of forklifts working multiple shifts in a -25 degree cold store can be as low as three to four years but a fleet of Flexi forklifts is approaching its seventh year of service at Norish's facility at Brierley Hill.
Flexi Narrow Aisle sales and marketing director John Maguire tells Forkliftaction.com News
that the fleet of articulated trucks in the West Midlands site is working three shifts at around 2,500 hours a year.
"The normal life on a two- to three-shift basis (at -25 degree or less) would be three to four years or 10,000 to 15,000 hours worked. The batteries would normally last only three or four years," he explains.
Maguire says interestingly, the fleet's batteries are the original ones, "which is a great testimonial for Hoppecke, the quality German premium manufacturer".
All the trucks in the Norish fleet still feature their original major components. Maguire says the fleet's AC brushless motor technology and integrated truck diagnostics sped up fault finding to flag up possible component failure, helping reduce maintenance costs and annual downtime.
"Because the quality of the components has a major impact on the performance of the forklift, we source drive motors, control systems, hydraulics, etc from top quality European suppliers," he explains.
The electric Flexi Cold Store articulated forklifts were specifically designed and built to suit the cold store environment in which they work. Because they spend a significant proportion of their working day in low temperatures, all the trucks' main components are stainless steel or zinc-coated and all other electrical hydraulic parts are cold store specified.
Norish's Flexis are fitted with Hoppecke's Trak Air batteries and recharged using the Trak Air high-frequency charger system. Maguire says the Trak Air system has enabled Norish to save in truck running costs because it requires less battery cooling time between charges. Therefore, fewer batteries and chargers are needed.