Airports are busy places. People moving here and there checking in, pulling luggage from one terminal to the next, buying books, hailing taxis, going through security checks. Yet this is nothing compared with the movement of cargo that happens 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 4000-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.”
He 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 which necessitated some extra services like, for example, a state-of the art battery bay.”
In fact, he claims, this could be one of the most advanced battery bays in the country. Built by Jotin Steel in consultation with GLTC, it ensures minimum time-loss when changing batteries. “There are two batteries for every machine and Jotin manufactured special roller beds to hold the batteries while installing 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 Grant 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 have been achieved through a number of design innovations.”
For example, Doosan’s revolutionary “active control technology” underlines why the Doosan B25S-5 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 results in the truck maintaining consistent performance through 80% of battery charge life.
Grant 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 adds that operator comfort and safety is another big plus. “Operators like working with a machine that is driver-friendly. As the operator removes his foot from the accelerator, the brakes automatically engage, adding to ease and safety of operation.”
In terms of Crown, 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 Grant.
Frans concludes by saying, “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. Excellent equipment means little if there isn’t the service to back it up.”