With over 50 sites in operation across Europe, RPC is a leading supplier of rigid plastic packaging products and plastic containers. At its Blackburn plant the company produces a range of injection-moulded and injection blow-moulded containers that are used to store products as diverse as chocolate, paint, fresh soup and ready meal snacks.
In addition to a state-of-the-art manufacturing unit, the Blackburn site also features two storage facilities: one houses products that are at the 'work in progress' stage, while the other is used to store finished goods.
Due to previous growth, finished goods were held off site but RPC's acquisition of a competitor prompted a rethink of the intralogistics processes at Blackburn and it was decided that the company's needs would be better met by the construction of a new warehouse unit within the boundaries of the main site.
The new 115,000sq ft finished goods store provides capacity for up to circa 14,000 block stacked pallets and a further circa 2,500 pallet locations in a racking structure designed, supplied and installed by Jungheinrich UK Ltd. The racking is served by a man-up Very Narrow Aisle truck – also provided by Jungheinrich, which takes advantage of wire guidance technology and Jungheinrich's state of the art personnel protection system (PPS).
And, because the forklift trucks in operation at the original off site warehouse required replacing, Jungheinrich also supplied RPC with seven new gas-powered counterbalanced trucks from its TFG range.
The TFG trucks feature hydrostatic drive engines. The engines allow the trucks to accelerate quickly and changes in direction are sleek and smooth, making the TFG models ideal for applications which involve a lot of shuttling work – such as RPC's.
In addition, because hydrostatic drive technology has only a few mechanical components, the trucks are low maintenance and easier to service. As a result, truck downtime is kept to a minimum and whole life operating costs are low.
While the trucks' engineering quality and low ongoing maintenance costs were attractive features to RPC, the main driver behind the company's choice of Jungheinrich gas counterbalanced trucks was the savings in fuel costs they bring to the Blackburn operation.
Jungheinrich was able to demonstrate that not only were the trucks' engineering quality and low ongoing maintenance costs attractive features, but also by introducing TFG trucks, RPC would be able to reduce its annual fuel costs. At the original store, the ageing fleet of gas-powered forklifts had relied on bottled gas for their power, but the move to their own purpose-built facility allowed RPC to take advantage of the gas storage tanks that are in place at the site to refuel the trucks.
RPC Blackburn's Logistics Manager, Matt Bulcock, comments: "We assessed a number of different lift truck options before settling on the Jungheinrich TFG range. We were impressed by the engineering quality, performance and reliability of the TFG trucks but the fact that Jungheinrich were also able to provide warehouse design CAD support, supply and install our racking, working with our building contractors to effect a timely solution to deliver the project was really valuable."