Jungheinrich counterbalanced forklift trucks result in significant cost savings for Viridor

Short option brings significant savings

A switch to a fleet of specially modified Jungheinrich counterbalanced forklift trucks will result in significant cost savings for a leading recycling company

Viridor is one of the UK's leading waste management companies. With 240 operational sites across the UK, including 24 landfill locations and 18 material recycling facilities, the business is capable of dealing with solid and liquid wastes of all types including hazardous or other special waste products.

At Viridor's recycling facility in Crayford, Kent, domestic waste materials such as glass, paper, cardboard and plastics are separated and processed before being baled and shipped for further processing into raw materials and, ultimately, going on to begin a second life as a new manufactured product.

Loose material gathered from the kerbside collections organised by councils and local authorities throughout the UK arrives by lorry at the Crayford plant around the clock. Indeed, it is perhaps testament to the way that the British public has embraced the environmental agenda that the site operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Incoming material is taken from the lorries and delivered directly to the processing plant by a fleet of front-hoe loaders. Once separated and processed, materials are neatly bound into bales which are then transferred into containers using a fleet of Jungheinrich counterbalanced forklift trucks.

The forklift trucks - six diesel-powered models from the Jungheinrich IC-engine VFG range - have all been specially modified for the application. The modifications have had a dramatic impact on cost efficiency at the site, while site safety will also benefit.

For example, the trucks' cab and mast have both been lowered to allow the forklifts and their loads to drive inside containers that measure just over 8ft high. The trucks that Viridor had been operating at the site before the arrival of the Jungheinrich machines needed a mast clearance height in excess of 9ft. This meant that Viridor had to transport bales of material in 9' 6" high containers. Because, the dimensions of the bales only allowed the blocks of recycled material to be stacked two high within the 9' 6" containers, a lot of empty space was left at the top of the container units.

With the lower mast of the Jungheinrich trucks Viridor can now transport the same number of bales in 8' 6" high containers with little or no wasted space. The shift to the lower height containers has enabled the company to achieve significant transport cost savings per container and with up to 70 container loads leaving the Crayford facility every day the annual saving is staggering.

Furthermore, to ensure that containers are stuffed in the most efficient and safe way, the forklifts feature double width bale clamps. The clamps allow two square bales measuring 1200mm x 1200mm and weighing up to 1100kg each to be carried side by side which dramatically speeds up the container stuffing process.

For added safety the Jungheinrich trucks have been fitted with a reversing camera system. When the trucks are reversing, a camera transmits a clear picture of the rear view to a screen within the operator's cab. This is particularly beneficial when the trucks are backing out of a container having deposited a load. The system not only gives a clear and unobstructed rear view, but ensures that the operator does not have to twist his body around uncomfortably to see any obstacles that may be in his way. Over the course of a typical shift, this significantly reduces operator fatigue which, in turn, means that the trucks perform at optimum efficiency.

Of course, the intensity of the operation and harshness of the outdoor environment at Crayford, means that efficient and reliable materials handling equipment is essential. While a full cab - complete with a CD system - ensures that the operator is sheltered from the worst of the elements, to limit the effect of the high levels of dust and other debris generated on site, the Jungheinrich trucks are all fitted with cyclonic air filters. The filters restrict the amount of air-borne particles that enter the engine which means that down time is kept to an absolute minimum.

Featuring a hydrostatic drive, the Jungheinrich VFG series trucks are particularly suited to highly intensive materials handling operations where a lot of 'shuttling' work is involved. Furthermore, because hydrostatic drive technology has only a few mechanical components, the trucks are low maintenance and easy to service.

Viridor's Barry Lowers comments: "The savings that the switch to smaller containers will allow us to make are very impressive. We had previously been wasting money transporting a lot of 'fresh air' in the 9' 6" containers!

He adds: "The VFG truck's proven reliability was also a significant influence on our purchase decision. The new trucks are far more efficient than our previous fleet which were always breaking down. We work the trucks extremely hard and it is important that they are available when called upon and the new Jungheinrich models have given us no problems whatsoever. I have been extremely impressed with the way they perform. The operators also really like the reverse safety camera. Viridor is extremely health and safety conscious and anything that improves on site safety is always very welcome."