Strong from the ground up
12 December 2012
VNA trucks can be hampered by poor warehouse floors but solutions are available, says Steve Richmond, gm of Jungheinrich UK's systems & projects division If a VNA storage system is failing to reach optimum levels of
If a VNA storage system is failing to reach optimum levels of efficiency the user's first reaction is, generally, to assume that the trucks are underperforming. In most instances, however, this is not the case: more often than not the fault does not lie with the equipment but the surface it is operating on.
When installing VNA systems, the responsibility for specifying the level of the floor finish required lies with the truck manufacturer and there are accepted industry standards that lay down the specification which the flooring should meet. The responsibility for achieving this specification lies with the flooring contractor. The relationship between the flooring contractor and the materials handling supplier is therefore critical and so, to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal, a floor survey is always highly recommended. The survey will highlight any remedial works that might be required - as well as the extent of the works and should be used as a basis for all parties to assess the condition of the surface and its likely impact on the operation of VNA equipment.
From the outset, it is important to realise that floor flatness and floor level are two different things and their respective effects on the operation of a truck are totally different. According to TR34, the Technical report from the Concrete Society, flatness relates to the "bumpiness" of the floor and general stability in operation of the truck. Floor level relates to the building as a whole and has to be right to ensure that both static and mobile equipment can perform satisfactorily together.
While it is clear that there a number of important factors to be taken into account, the good news is that solutions are available.
Options include full aisle grinding, or local grinding where problematic areas are easy to identify. But, it is crucial that you engage a company that is competent in all aspects of the solution - from the initial survey to implementing the works.
Of course, just as the floor impacts on the capabilities of the truck, the truck will impact on the condition of the floor. It is therefore important to establish a planned programme of floor maintenance and to adhere to it.
Also some warehouse operators specify a coating for their floors. This brings advantages but coated floors can also lead to a build up of static which can lead to forklift problems - especially with electrical and electronic components. There are a number of ways to combat this, such as fitting 'anti static' discharge devices to trucks, but it is always advisable to discuss matters with the truck manufacturer before making a decision.