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Order picking up to 12m with new UniCarriers models

30 January 2017

UniCarriers refreshes its highly regarded order pickers offering powerful and adaptable product to help warehouse operations win the picking war.

The EPM 100 and EPH 125, available now, join the EPL 100 introduced in January 2016. The three vehicles allow UniCarriers to offer customised solutions for low, medium and extra high pick heights. With increasing warehouse costs creating pressure for more dense warehouse utilisation, the new order pickers will clearly facilitate picking to greater heights.

Equipped with 48-volt, high-performance motors and pick heights up to 12,100mm, the EPH is built for intensive operations. This truck can operate with loads up to 1,250kg and achieves a top speed of 12km/h.

Designed for picking heights up to 9,850mm, the 24V EPM can reach a maximum speed of 11 km/h while carrying a load of 1,000kg. The compact EPL is for picking heights up to 3,400mm.

UniCarriers sales director Chris Bates says: “Order picking has a huge impact on warehouse operations. All sorts of supply organisations are under pressure to have more SKUs quickly available, so more picking levels are needed.

Often customers feel they should have the same kit throughput the warehouse. Not so. You must look at each area, each task and specify equipment to best carry out the job.”

Bates says 90% of orders are still picked manually, and so UniCarriers canvassed pickers when designing the new range.

Short term rental

Short term rental of trucks is an important sector of the market. Picking demands can flex from troughs to peaks frequently and quickly and end users need to be able to quickly respond.

The problem with many order pickers is their height, often the mast of the truck had to be dismantled for delivery to get the truck through the warehouse doors. This adds cost and time.

UniCarriers has addressed this concern with the new models.

Chris Bates explains: “The high and medium levels are designed to fold down and can be driven by themselves to the high bay warehouse.”

Pickers wanted superior visibility, so the Pro- Vision TV/DTFV mast utilised and front panels of the cabin have see-through panels and when the mast is elevated, this provides the operator with near 360° visibility.

Pickers also wanted more storage options on the truck. This led UniCarriers to allow customers to effectively integrate workstations on to the truck. UniCarriers describes this as an ‘office for the operator’, and with plenty of storage space for materials, pick notes and the like, to enable them to carry out the job, while keeping everything clear and safe.

Bates explains: “Order picking is very specialised, it can be very different depending on the company, so we help end users to customise trucks.

“One example is Ted Baker - unusually the retailer packs while it picks, on the truck. The rationale is that the picker is on truck and doing a multi-pick, so when decanting at the end of the run, items are more ready for despatch.

“Our consultancy approach can help customers understand their picking processes, and help us tailor the trucks to them.”

Safety & ergonomics

For safety reasons, high level order pickers may only move if there is a driver in the cab. To ensure that this is the case, all models in the EP series are fitted with a full floor covering sensor on the driver’s cab platform, which means that the operator is not tethered to a single spot, greatly improving comfort. They are also free to stand comfortably and not restricted to a position dictated by having to depress a deadman button.

The order pickers feature a re-designed chassis and their modern cab design includes controls that can be adjusted to the height and position of each driver's individual requirements. The EPM and EPH are optionally available with operating controls on both the mast and fork sides.

Sales plans

UniCarriers has already sold 42 EPM order pickers already, mostly on one large order, and expects the EPH to ship approximately 100 units in Europe in its first year. UniCarriers expects to ‘double its share of the order picker market in two years’.

The side safety gates are also connected to a cut-out which ensures the lift height will not exceed 1,200mm without the gates being closed. If they are not, the machine will not function. This also makes picking from floor located pallets much easier because the truck can be operated up to 1,200 mm lift with the gates open, instead of opening and closing every time a pick is from the ground level. Featured as standard, the built-in on-board computer provides rapid access to all vehicle settings and manages the authorised drivers' login details and user profiles.

Safer operation can also be ensured in very narrow aisles with preparation for the option of a Personal Protection System. When using this system, the truck detects people or other handling equipment in the aisle with the help of a laser and stops moving if necessary to avoid a collision.

Eco mode

In addition to the standard operating condition, the EPM and EPH also feature an eco mode. This reduces battery consumption and provides a more energy-efficient operation. At 66 decibels for the EPM and 65 for the EPH, these order pickers are also whisper-quiet in their operation. The models can be freely driven around the warehouse or work in very narrow aisles controlled by guide rails or inductive guidance.