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Branching out across Europe

12 December 2012

With the market shifting to a need for improved pallet density, Aisle-Master is forging ahead with sales across Europe Since the Aisle-Master articulated range was launched it has enabled thousands of warehousing ope

With the market shifting to a need for improved pallet density, Aisle-Master is forging ahead with sales across Europe

Since the Aisle-Master articulated range was launched it has enabled thousands of warehousing operations around the world to optimise space utilisation in their facilities.

Compared with other global markets, European companies were relatively slow to take up the articulated concept but recent years have seen a shift towards the need for improved pallet density and reduced per-pallet costs and Aisle-Master is forging ahead with sales in the region.

Poland's largest home improvement chain Castorama, part of Kingfisher plc, took delivery of its first Aisle-Masters six years ago and now has around 45 trucks operating across its network of outlets in the country. As a replacement for a combination of reach and counterbalance trucks, the Aisle-Masters have proved to be so successful that they are now the standard specification for any new depots that are opened.

Depending on the size of a depot, which is typically from 7,000 to 10,000 m2 the Aisle-Masters' narrow aisle capabilities enable two or three extra aisles to be added compared with the old reach/counterbalance system. This allows Castorama to put more stock into each store, giving customers more choice and has resulted in higher sales figures.

The layout of racking at each individual outlet is determined by merchandising managers who take into account the size of products to be stored, with Aisle-Masters mostly operating in aisles as narrow as 1.8m. To make use of all vertical space the top beam height is 5.5m, and Castorama's trucks are fitted with a triplex 6000mm mast to easily lift pallets, packs and boxes to this height. Their ability to work indoors and out and to offload incoming deliveries from HGVs and take them directly to the racking is a much quicker procedure than using two types of forklift as it eliminates double handling.

The standard specification at any new site is now for a 20SE model and a 20WE model, with a wider chassis and a semienclosed cab which offers comfortable conditions for operators in the cold winter weather. Both benefit from over articulation which enables a better degree of accuracy when placing loads into very narrow aisles. According to Castorama's requirements they have been fitted with powerful 930Ahr battery compartments and grey non-marking tyres.

30% more space In Scandinavia, where the cost of warehousing space is at a premium, the Swedish supplier of railway facilities and machinery Industrispår AB, has taken delivery of its first Aisle-Master for a long awaited new warehouse which will stock pallets of its smaller pieces of rail equipment such as spikes and nails.

Aisle-Master's design engineers used 3D software to visualise a solution for Industrispår, which involved using staggered racking to exploit every inch of space beneath the sloping eaves. The 2m aisle widths and a truck with a lift height of 9.2m has resulted in a pallet count of 3,600, 30% more than could be achieved with any other system. As well as delivering the highest level of operational versatility, the extra storage capacity created by using the Aisle-Master will enable Industrispår to buy in stock when the price is advantageous for further cost savings.
 
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