The Port of Bristol is Britain's most centrally located deep sea port. With an estimated 42 million people living within a 250 km radius of the facility and the Midlands and London both within easy reach, it is recognised as one of the most economical port distribution locations in the UK.
Plenty of major retailers and suppliers to the retail sector have chosen to establish national distribution centres near to the Port and one of the latest is leading wines and spirits importer Matthew Clark who recently moved into an 8,500 square metre storage unit within the Royal Portbury Dock part of the dock estate.
The facility is operated on Matthew Clark's behalf by the Bristol Port Company and offers over 10,000 pallet locations. While there is some block stacking at the site, the majority of the pallets are stored within pallet racking served by a fleet of three Jungheinrich reach trucks.
The reach trucks - Jungheinrich ETV 320 models with a 2-tonne capacity - were purchased outright by the Bristol Port Company. A significant influence on the Bristol Port Company's decision to specify models from the Jungheinrich range was the fact that the trucks feature Jungheinrich's patented mast dampening system.
When working at height, truck masts sway and, for obvious safety reasons, truck operators have to wait for the swaying to stop before attempting to deliver the pallet into the racking. Jungheinrich's mast damping system minimises elevated fork (laden or unladen) swaying time.
The pallet racking within Matthew Clark's facility has been designed to maximize space available within the apex of the roof and, at its highest point, offers six beam levels. This means that the trucks lift to heights of over 11.5 metres and it was calculated that the Jungheinrich damping system saved 14 seconds per lift when compared to alternative makes of reach truck.
The Bristol Port Company's Paul Osborne, who manages the Matthew Clark site, was also impressed by the trucks' state of the art AC technology which, importantly, ensures that running costs are kept to a minimum.
The trucks' regenerative braking and regenerative mast lowering features reduce energy usage and therefore truck running costs significantly by reclaiming excess energy and using it to charge the battery every time operators brake or lower the forks.
Around 25 per cent of the energy needed during a typical shift is reclaimed in this way meaning every fourth lift is energy free. Some 4000 line items are stored at Matthew Clark's Bristol facility. Incoming lorries are unloaded using a combination of pallet trucks and counterbalance machines and pallets are checked and allocated a position within the racking by Matthew Clarke's warehouse management system before being put away by the reach trucks.
Because of the expensive and fragile nature of the loads and the heights to which they are lifted within the storage unit, each of the reach trucks is fitted with a fork-mounted camera system, height selectors and centralised side sift to ensure that pallet put-away and retrieval is as fast, efficient and safe as possible.
"We undertook numerous visits to reference sites before concluding that our client's needs were best met by the Jungheinrich trucks," reflects Paul Osborne. "We also involved our drivers in the decision and they were impressed by the trucks handling and the comfortable working environment that they offer."
The trucks were supplied with a red paint finish to meet The Bristol Port Company's corporate requirements.