VNA trucks help distillery take exports to the next level
03 July 2018
Crown’s customer service and multi-faceted product range enhances productivity at Bruichladdich Distillery, the first full-scale, purpose-built distillery on the Scottish island of Islay.
Bruichladdich Distillery operates a wide range of Crown equipment including the ESR 5200 Series reach truck, WAVE Work Assist Vehicle, FC Series four-wheel electric counterbalance fork lift truck, WP Series pallet truck and, a recent addition to the fleet, a TSP 7000 Series Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) turret truck. Crown’s reputation for customer service coupled with product reliability was a key factor in the decision to award Crown the contract for the material handling fleet at Bruichladdich Distillery.
Production Director, Allan Logan, explains: “Islay is a remote island, and often suppliers are reluctant to take the time to come and visit. We found Crown to be the opposite. Its professional approach to the site survey coupled with our experience of its excellent service and support meant that when we built our new high-density storage buildings, Crown was the obvious choice.”
The new warehouses have been designed and built to ensure stable, optimum maturation conditions and feature racking to 11m with a central narrow aisle – a modern interpretation of traditional whisky industry racking, designed to create higher storage density. Whisky kegs are positioned astride the forks of a Crown TSP 7000 Series VNA turret truck before being aligned to the appropriate bay of racking and then tilted forward to roll into their storage position within the rack.
Crown Scotland’s Sales Manager and whisky industry specialist, Colin Neilson, explains: “The TSP 7000 Series ensures maximum stability at height, for both operator and product, through the use of Crown’s exclusive MonoLift mast. Strengthened boxed-in sections and the use of heavy-gauge steel in the mast construction result in less twisting and swaying than with traditional, dual upright masts while the operator compartment features the Crown MoveControl seat with its integrated controls and full adjustability. These features afford the operator maximum control, comfort and adjustability when manoeuvring the whisky kegs into position, particularly at maximum height in the warehouse.”
Commenting on how Crown supported the installation of the VNA turret truck, Bruichladdich Bottling Hall Manager, Jonathan Carmichael, said: “VNA was a new concept for us, which meant our drivers needed additional training and time for familiarisation. Crown supported us right through the project and driver acceptance of the TSP Series has been brilliant.
“From their first site survey visit here to the island, to taking us to see the TSP Series in action at other sites and then their product support since the trucks have been installed, Crown have been excellent.”
Bruichladdich’s remarkable growth in recent years has seen significant investment in modern warehouses on Islay to meet demand for its three primary whisky brands – Bruichladdich, a floral, unpeated single malt; Port Charlotte, a heavily peated single malt; and Octomore, the world’s most heavily peated single malt whisky.
Pivotal role for workhorses
The material handling fleet supplied by Crown plays a pivotal role in the Bruichladdich operation with the Crown FC Series 4-wheel electric counterbalance truck taking centre stage. Colin Neilson explains: “A multi-purpose workhorse, the FC Series’ space-saving design, dual drive motors and excellent visibility provide manoeuvrability in tight spaces, while the hydraulic system has been optimised to give greater lift, tilt and lower speeds, resulting in increased productivity and longer battery life. At Bruichladdich, this means the truck is perfectly at home working amongst the racking in the case goods warehouse or loading and unloading lorries within the delivery yard.”
Working within the main dry goods warehouse, Crown’s ESR 5200 Series reach truck ensures incoming pallets, including packaging and empty bottles, are moved quickly and efficiently into storage until needed to feed the bottling hall and production lines. Operators gain confidence and performance using the truck with Crown’s intelligent Optimised Cornering Speed (OCS) system that automatically adjusts acceleration and deceleration curves for maximum safety and performance.
Reliability is key for Bruichladdich, and the ESR 5200 Series delivers through the use of Crown’s in-house designed and manufactured AC traction and hydraulic pump motors, optimising reach truck performance and energy savings while reducing maintenance.
Reduced risk and fatigue
The Crown WAVE Work Assist Vehicle is utilised in the dry goods warehouse and is especially useful when order picking individual bottles from clients’ private reserve stock. With a reach working height to 5m and a travel speed up to 8km/h, the WAVE is the versatile alternative to traditional rolling ladders, helping to reduce the risk of products dropping off a ladder while providing efficient handling of small loads at height.
The Crown WP Series powered pallet truck is used within the Bruichladdich bottling hall to move pallets of finished product from the bottling line ready to be placed into the case goods warehouse. Featuring lifting forks which can raise loads up to 750mm, the WP Series provides postural relief, increasing productivity when stacking cases onto pallets by hand.
Colin Neilson continues: “The WP Series powered pallet truck enables operators to manoeuvre heavy loads in the confined space of the bottling hall with precision and confidence. Featuring heavy-gauge steel construction for the chassis, side panels and power unit cover plus a cast-aluminium handle, the WP Series is robustly designed and built, and delivers excellent reliability for Bruichladdich Distillery.”
Revolutionary when built in 1881, Bruichladdich Distillery remains at the forefront of modern whisky distilling today. Founded by the Harvey brothers, three enthusiastic and entrepreneurial brothers born into a Glasgow whisky dynasty, Bruichladdich lays claim to being the first full-scale, purpose-built distillery on Islay. Today, under the ownership of Rémy Cointreau, Bruichladdich retains its whisky heritage by using 100% Scottish-grown barley, trickle distilled through tall stills before being matured for all its life in warehouses on the shores of Loch Indaal.
Since 2011, The Botanist Dry Gin has been hand-crafted at Bruichladdich Distillery using 22 locally foraged botanicals, and is the only gin produced on Islay. The Botanist Dry Gin has rapidly gained acceptance throughout the UK and farther afield. Since its introduction, Bruichladich has seen production increase dramatically. It now distils more than 1.5 million litres of product per year, bottling and shipping over 270,000 cases for delivery to customers globally.