Articulated Efficiency – How Bendi articulated forklifts could more than halve your energy costs

Under increasing pressure to trim warehousing costs and to achieve maximum efficiency, warehouse operators are recognising that the space-saving abilities of Bendi articulated trucks – distributed in South Africa by Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC) – are also creating opportunities for very significant energy savings compared with premises in which counterbalance, standard Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) trucks or Reach Trucks operate.

As a rule, warehouses designed for counterbalance or Reach trucks in conjunction with adjustable pallet racking and typical aisle widths from 2.8m to 4m+ are the least efficient. However, the aisle width is only part of the equation. Turning and loading/unloading space at the ends of the aisles also accounts for ‘lost’ space. Many VNA machines achieve the same aisle widths as Bendis but require on average 30% of the warehouse to be dedicated to transfer aisles, P&D stations and marshalling areas. This wasted space costs money to build, heat, light, maintain, pay rent on etc.

A more versatile vehicle means a less compromised warehouse

Lost storage space at the end of aisles can be greatly reduced when operating articulated trucks. This is not only because the trucks are more manoeuvrable, but also because there’s no requirement for other types of vehicle within the warehouse to load and unload alongside the warehouse trucks. Bendi articulated trucks can stack and de-stack pallets and load or unload them to or from trucks in your yard, saving space and time.

In the 1960s – and many standard VNA solutions even today – the state-of-the art warehouse solutions necessitated super-flat floors, guidance systems, slow throughputs and additional equipment, which add cost and complexity. These were basically the factors which inspired Freddy Brown, the pioneer of man-up VNA, to develop a better and more cost-effective solution: the Bendi.

No specialist floor requirements

The outstanding stability and improved point loading characteristics of Bendi articulated trucks allow their immediate use in all warehouses, including those with standard floor finishes and built-in flatness grades commonly used with counterbalance trucks – even where racking up to 12m high exists. This eliminates the requirement for costly specialist flooring or grinding of existing floors. There is also no requirement for guidance rails or wires as is usually the case with VNA systems.

Additionally, Bendi articulated trucks are designed to operate in external yards – even where the ground is uneven or broken.

Bendi saves more space, time and energy

A Bendi truck working in 1800mm aisles will, like a regular VNA truck, also store 7-high but only requires a transfer aisle of 2.7m, which, unlike narrow aisle layouts, can be bridged.

This configuration achieves 50% more pallets than a warehouse design for High Reach Trucks can achieve and 25% more than the Narrow Aisle Truck – therefore offering significantly lower costs and a much smaller carbon footprint per pallet stored. In fact the Bendi offers the same storage capacity as a warehouse operating counterbalance trucks in just 33% of the space! That makes the warehouse with Bendi 66% more energy efficient.

Meanwhile, leading producer and marketer of globally recognised alcoholic beverages, Distell, like many large distribution companies do at some time or another, was recently experiencing a serious warehousing space squeeze. To solve the problem there initially seemed to be two choices: to expand the footprint of the warehouse or raise the roof – both undesirable because of the high costs and significant disruption.

Then along came Goscor Lift Truck’s Western Cape regional sales manager, Grant Laight, who proposed a solution: get some Bendi dual purpose, articulated, narrow aisle, forklifts and double the warehouse capacity by halving the aisle widths from 4m to 2m.

“It seemed too good to be true at first,” says Distell’s procurement planning and logistics manager Janke Nussey. “We needed reassurance that the Bendis could work in very narrow aisles and less than ideal surface areas and we also wanted to ensure that they were reliable and productive machines. Although Goscor’s reputation as a reliable supplier preceded them, we had to experience this for ourselves. It didn’t take long for us to be reassured on all counts.”

For more information contact Goscor Lift Truck Company on 011 230 2600