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Home>Lifting & moving>Lifting & moving>Yeo Valley switches to powered pallet trucks

Yeo Valley switches to powered pallet trucks

09 December 2020

Operators at the organic farming and dairy company are feeling less strain due to the arrival of a fleet of Mitsubishi PBPL hand pallet trucks.

Yeo Valley was previously using manual hand pallet trucks in its three yogurt cold stores, but switched to electric after trialling a model from local Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks dealer Bristol Forklifts.

Yeo Valley’s duty operational manager in Highbridge Ian Chapman says: “We use hand pallet trucks 24 hours a day to move up to 1.4 million pots of yogurt a day. Pallets can weigh 600–700kg, so the work is quite labour intensive, and we were interested in finding ways to make that easier. We had worked with Bristol Forklifts on some other kit a while ago and they loaned us an electric pallet truck to try out. We had really good feedback from the team about it, so we decided to swap out our whole fleet.”

Bristol Forklifts business development manager Sam Lillycrop worked with Yeo Valley to ensure they had all the right kit and support.

He says: “Using manual hand pallet trucks to move heavy loads can be physically taxing and operators expend a lot of energy pulling them. The PBPL truck offers electric driving and lifting so tasks are not as much of a strain for operators. It is durable, lightweight and compact, which is ideal for Yeo Valley because the team operates in tight picking aisles of racking.”

Yeo Valley ordered 24 Mitsubishi PBPL12 1.2-tonne electric hand pallet trucks, which are powered by 48-volt li-ion batteries. An additional 12 batteries were ordered to support the fleet in the long term.

Sam continues: “Li-ion batteries can be charged quickly and safely, and are very low maintenance. You just plug them in as and when you need to, and the charge lasts for hours. They can be charged again and again even if the battery isn’t flat, without the risk of damaging it, unlike with lead-acid batteries.”

The fast charging capability has proven to be extremely beneficial to Yeo Valley, as the trucks are in high demand.

“Pallet trucks are key pieces of kit on our site,” says Ian. “The opportunity charging is great because we can plug the trucks in during breaks or lunch, and again at the end of each shift. The entire fleet of trucks is in use all the time so it’s good to know that they can be charged quickly, and we can rely on them to be ready when we need them.”

The PBPL hand pallet truck is designed with operators in mind and features an ergonomic spring-loaded steering handle for comfortable grip during long shifts. The truck has already made a significant impact for operators at Yeo Valley.

Ian Chapman says: “The team is really happy with the electric trucks and have reported that they experience far less fatigue by the end of a shift.”

Sam Lillycrop adds: “It was important for Yeo Valley to have the right kit that could help them during their extremely busy schedules. Downtime isn’t an option and the PBPL has the flexibility, performance and high availability to ensure that operations keep going 24 hours a day. This is the largest order of electric hand pallet trucks that we have ever delivered, which just goes to show how important this truck is.”

Bristol Forklifts has been on hand from order to delivery and beyond, with engineers making site visits when required.

“The team and engineers at Bristol Forklifts were great to work with,” says Ian. “They were really responsive and looked after us well. The PBPL trucks have made a big difference for our operators and their physical wellbeing. Anything that makes the job easier is always a bonus.”

For more information, visit www.mitsubishi-forklift.co.uk