Mastering the cold at IM Logistics

Gallinagh, Co Monaghan, Ireland:  IM Logistics’ new cold store near Heathrow’s Terminal 5 uses a combination of push-back racking and two Aisle-Master articulated trucks for best space utilisation to help offset the high costs of the site.

Investment in the frozen capacity warehouse was justified by lack of frozen food storage facilities in the area.  “The nearest are either in Reading or Hemel Hempstead,” says Rajen Rawal, director.  “Following our successful working partnership with Montana Bakery at this very convenient location we realised that we could branch out to fulfil the growing demand for this service,” he says

IM Logistics' new cold store near Heathrow's Terminal 5 uses a combination of push-back racking and two Aisle-Master articulated trucks

Darren Carson of Linde South East advised IM Logistics on the materials handling aspects of its operation, where he was tasked with finding forklifts able to operate at -25º C and also ensure the best possible pallet density in the 1,000m2 cold store.

“We visited other sites which are using Aisle-Masters, including a cold store, and were impressed with the fact that they are still going strong after years of operation.  As we plan on doubling the size of our facility in the next two years we want equipment in place that offers longevity and the ability to cope with whatever workload we throw at it,” Rawal says.

Following six years of operation in cold stores worldwide Aisle-Master has developed the cold store cab to maximise labour efficiency in this harsh environment.  Drivers would need to have regular breaks every twenty minutes or so were it not for the fully enclosed heated cab, which keeps them warm throughout the whole of their shift time.

Other features include heated cab windows, allocated areas within the cab for the use of a bar code scanner and low energy LED work lights as standard.  Low temperatures can have an adverse effect on battery performance but Aisle-Master’s designers have counteracted this by fitting a 930-amp battery to cope with IM’s 5am to 5pm shifts.  Battery changeover using a pallet truck at the rear of the vehicle is quick and easy.

The two AC electric powered Aisle-Masters work exclusively in the cold store, putting pallets of frozen goods from the blast freezer into the racking and picking them when required for dispatch.

Pallet trucks supplied by Linde are used for final loading of pallets onto HGVs in the loading bays.  “We are very pleased with how things have worked out,” Rawal says.  “The costs incurred per square foot in cold stores make space saving absolutely crucial, and with a top racking height of 8.5m we can accommodate just over 1,000 pallet spaces.  We are moving a total of 800 pallets a week in and out at the moment and thanks to the excellent advice from Linde and the quality of the trucks we are well placed to move up a gear in the next few months when we take delivery of our own fleet of HGVs and take on more customers.”

The trucks are on a five-year contract hire agreement with Linde that includes service and maintenance.  Darren Carson: “When we supply specialist equipment it is crucial that we fulfil customer requirements but it is also of paramount importance that we have the right truck from a dealer’s point of view.  We have assessed Aisle-Master as the best articulated brand when it comes to quality, maintenance and dependability.  The Linde service department is very appreciative of the he five year warranty, and was also full of praise for the free training carried out for our team of engineers by Aisle-Master’s Mark Buffham at the Camberley depot.”

Aisle-Masters can work in aisles of 1.75m, have capacities of up to 2.5 tonnes, and lift heights of up to 12.5 metres, with AC electric or LPG power.  Also new to the range is the narrow 1030mm chassis, 1.5 tonne capacity 15E model, able to work in even tighter aisles for more space saving handling and storage.


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