Airports are busy places. People moving here and there checking in, pulling luggage from one side to the next, buying books, hailing taxis, going through security checks … and the rest. Yet this is nothing compared to the movement of cargo that happens mainly behind the scenes.
One of these ‘behind the scenes’ giants at Cape Town International is the Imperial Retail Logistics (IRL) 14 400m² warehouse facility - including a 4 000-pallet chill room - which handles the product of several well-known firms like Diageo, Heineken, Lindt, beacon, GSK and others. The work-horses that pick, pack, lift and carry the merchandise are a range of Doosan and Crown material handling equipment (MHE) from InServe’s Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC).
“We have 20 Goscor machines in total,” says Frans Kapp, IRL’s compliance manager, “and they have certainly lived up to their performance expectations.”
Kapp adds that in complying with food regulations, all the Goscor MHE is electrically-powered. “We are not allowed any gas or diesel-powered equipment in this warehouse. All the equipment is battery-powered and this necessitated some extra services like, for example, a state-of the art battery bay,” he says.
The fact is this could be one of the most advanced battery bays in the country. Built by Jotin Steel in consultation with GLTC, it ensures the minimum time-loss when changing batteries. “There are two batteries for every machine and Jotin manufactured special roller beds to hold the batteries and installed their home-grown bull-dog, adjustable change-over units, which are push-pull hydraulically operated systems that ensure the batteries are at the right height for any particular machine,” says Grant Laight GLTC Western Cape regional sales manager. “The net result is an efficient battery-change system which is crucial to the efficient operation of the warehouse.”
One of the key machines in use at the IRL facility is the Doosan B25S-5, which Laight says is a real boon to the overall efficiency of the facility.
“Productivity in an electric truck is a function of three things: speed, control and low energy consumption. All these things have been achieved in the Doosan B25S-5 through a number of exclusive Doosan design innovations,” says Laight.
For example, Doosan’s revolutionary “Active Control Technology” underlines why the Doosan B25S-5 – and the entire Pro-5 series – is “one of the most intelligent forklifts ever made”: Active Heat Control means the system self-protects if overheating is ever detected and the Active Energy Control function means the truck maintains consistent performance through 80% of battery charge life.
Laight says one of the most impressive features of the Doosan B25S-5 is that it has a much bigger battery compartment than other four-wheel electrics. “This allows for a larger battery with higher amperage, which significantly increases operating time enabling a full shift from one battery charge,” he says.
Laight adds that operator comfort and safety is another big plus with the Doosan B25S-5. “Operators like working with the machine, which is critical. It is exceptionally driver-friendly and the braking system is a good example of this. As the operator removes his foot from the accelerator the brakes automatically engage, adding to the ease and safety of operation,” he says.
In terms of Crown, the world-renowned name in quality MHE, IRL has taken a range of order pickers, reach trucks and counter-balanced forklifts. “For Imperial, we were able to almost double the reach height of the reach trucks from the standard of about 7m to 11,435m and with the order pickers we also produced a bespoke height from the standard of 6m to 9,26m,” says Laight. “With the help of our Crown partners in Europe we are almost always able to provide our customers with the specific solution they require,” he says.
Kapp says that Goscor’s service has been excellent. “They do what it takes to provide the appropriate solution and, importantly, being a thoroughly professional organisation, they understand the importance of minimum downtime. The name of our game is productivity and Goscor supports us all the way. Excellent equipment means little if there isn’t the service to back it up,” he says.
Laight says that IRL is one of the mostefficiently run warehouses in the country and it’s great to be able to be a part of the team. “We look forward to working with them for years to come,” he concluded.