How does a busy warehouse thrive during a 24 hour shift? Ron Farr, Manager Warehouse Solutions for Hyster, explains some of the biggest materials handling challenges in the warehouse and how to overcome them with the right equipment.
[Q]: When goods arrive at the warehouse there are often heavy time pressures to get the lorries unloaded quickly – how can Hyster equipment help to relieve the strain?
[Ron Farr]: Speed is vital, particularly in cross-docking operations. Palletised goods must be transported as quickly and as safely as possible, from the lorries or trailers to the right part of the warehouse or onto other trucks for onward transportation.
Hyster recently developed the RP2.0-2.5N Rider Pallet Truck for intense use when unloading and loading trailers and transporting pallets between pick up and drop off points, and for cross docking operations. Not only is it fast and safe, it is highly reliable, with all the hallmarks of Hyster, and I believe this new truck is one of the fastest and best ways to unload a lorry.
It features a new seat design that enables the operator to sit or to lean, at the push of a button. Its design makes it more compact than a ‘flip down’ platform pallet truck and ideal for busy warehouses with limited space.
[Q]: You mention limited space – how else does Hyster help businesses to overcome this challenge?
[RF]: Space is at a premium in most warehouses, often resulting in narrow aisles and racking as high as the building can take, to maximise useable space.
The new Hyster powered pallet trucks are particularly compact with a small turning circle of just 1118 mm while retaining durability and toughness. Hyster powered pallet trucks are suitable for a wide range of warehouse environments with models suitable for use over short and long distances, and for both heavy duty environments and more intermittent use.
Hyster has extended its pallet truck offering further and also offers specific compact options which may be a good choice in warehouses where space is at a real premium. The super-compact PSC 1.2 model, suited to less intensive use, is ideal for use on a tail lift where space is limited, for example.
A range of agile, compact electric forklift trucks is also available from Hyster for operations with limited space and high capacity requirements. The HysterJ4.0-5.5XN Electric Counterbalance series for example features a Zero Turning Radius steer axle, enabling excellent manoeuvrability up to 5.5 tonnes. The driver can turn the truck on the spot and operate in aisles as small as 4,161mm.
In addition, Hyster Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) trucks operate at high speeds for long periods of time in these narrow aisles, collecting and putting pallets away. The VNA is particularly useful in the drinks industry where operations often have to optimise warehouse space at peak times.
[Q]: How is the new Pallet Truck different to other models already on the market?
[RF]: Uptime is of the upmost importance in the materials handling industry. Pallet trucks are used in high intensity situations, particularly for the logistics and transport sector, manufacturing industry, wholesalers and retailers. They need to be tough yet economical to work hard around the clock. The latest tough Hyster P1.6-2.2 Powered Pallet Truck has been designed specifically for intensive use, transporting pallets over long distances for example.
These Hyster trucks are tested under extreme conditions, withstanding over 200,000 cycles under full load, which corresponds to around 450 million kilograms. That is a very large load, even for the warehouse industry.
Productivity when handling goods is also increased by up to 25 percent compared to previous models. The exclusive Intelligent Lift™ option enables operators to transport and lift a pallet in one fluid and seamless movement, which contributes to a time saving of up to 45 minutes over an 8-hour shift – a critical amount of time when meeting tight delivery schedules.
[Q]: What is the best type of equipment to use for putting goods away?
[RF]: The reach truck forms the core of most warehouse equipment fleets and is one of the most important trucks for putting goods away into racking, stacking and moving pallets at great heights.
Maximum reliability and driver productivity are essential for a reach truck to optimise pallet throughput.
With a lift speed of 0.8 metres per second, the latest Hyster® R1.4-2.5 Reach Truck is designed to lift loads up to 12.75 metres. Easy to control, it gives superb manoeuvrability in the aisle, optimising driver performance. It is the smaller detailed features that also help to save time. A low step height, for example, helps make it easy for operators to get on and off during a busy shift, and a visual laser positioning system assists the operator in positioning the forks at height.
[Q]: Picking operations are time critical and can be cumbersome for the operator – how does Hyster help to tackle that?
Pick speed and truck reliability are critical in order to keep products flowing ahead of target pick rates.
With its scooter-like control, the Hyster LO2.0-2.5 low level order picker is designed to enhance performance from individual pickers, ensuring loads are placed at the optimum height for the operation with maximum machine reliability.
The intelligent design combines ergonomics, energy efficiency and reliability to achieve excellent operator pick rates and low cost of operation. A large platform provides more space for the operator with easy on/off access, and a creep speed control enables the operator to move to the next pick location without having to climb on board. Good ‘man to goods’ proximity and minimal movement required also help to save valuable time.
[Q]: How do operations managers choose the right mix of equipment to suit their application specific needs?
[RF]: To support the decision making process when selecting materials handling equipment, warehouse simulation software from Hyster can be used to calculate throughput and configure the most efficient layout for the operation, taking congestion problems into account. It can help to determine the right number and types of truck required, with simulation for coping with seasonal demand.
Additionally, the Hyster® Tracker wireless Access Monitoring System is designed to enhance productivity. It can be used to track key performance data and, through wireless tracking technology, monitors and reports on the performance and use of the warehouse equipment.
Hyster equipment plays a vital role in a daily warehouse schedule and is supported around the world by a carefully selected network of local distribution partners. Visit www.hyster.eu.