Moving Material the Sustainable Way

Vincent Timber has introduced certain measures in recent years to support its aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, with an electric forklift fleet a major investment and change to the business.

Vincent Timber has introduced certain measures in recent years to support its aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, with an electric forklift fleet a major investment and change to the business.

Established in 1923 in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham, Vincent Timber is a prime example of how a fourth-generation business with strong family values has also carved out a leading role in its sector – as a supplier of natural timber cladding, solar shading and decking for prestigious building projects across the country.

In its bid to be carbon neutral by 2030 and integrate the highest levels of sustainability and energy efficiency it has installed LED lights with sensors throughout the premises, a biomass facility that uses waste products for heating, and substantial investment in a fleet of HGVs that are Euro 6 and ULEZ compliant, and which have reduced its carbon footprint by 50 per cent.

It is no surprise therefore that the forklift fleet that it had operated for decades – “dirty red diesel trucks” – according to managing director Darren Powell, has been retired, and replaced by something much more contemporary and in line with the company’s stance on environmental issues.

Three Combilift electric powered C5000 SLE sideloader models are now in operation at the 2.5-acre site, following demos from various manufacturers for the team of drivers, who judged the Combilifts to be the best of the bunch.

“Looking after our workforce is a major driver for our success,” says Darren.

“This applied to the choice of new handling equipment where operator feedback was decisive.”

Collaboration between materials handling suppliers Briggs Equipment, FTC Safety Solutions and the manufacturer Combilift resulted in a fleet of customised trucks that meet all operational requirements while reducing emissions and costs, as well as creating a quieter workplace.

The Combilifts’ 5t capacity makes light work of handling products that can be up to 10m long and weigh in at 4t, whether they are being offloaded, loaded or put into the 5m high top racking in the undercover storage areas.

Jake Vincent, operations director, commented: “Compared with the limited manoeuvrability of the old trucks the multidirectional capability is also particularly beneficial when moving product around tight spaces on the premises and between machinery on the factory floor.”

As a business that has the wellbeing of its 40-plus strong workforce at the heart of its ethos, safety around equipment and in the warehouse is paramount.

Vincent Timber therefore tasked FTC Safety Solutions to install its Pedestrian Detection Camera System onto the trucks, which uses AI and machine learning to help operators be more aware of pedestrians in their vicinity and to avoid collisions.

The provision of real-time detection and alerts minimises the risk of injuries and damage.

“As well as celebrating the rich history of the company, we are also looking towards further growth, and have purchased some adjacent land from the council to facilitate this,” adds Darren.

“Thanks to the expertise and first-class service of all involved, our up to the minute fleet will allow efficient handling of an ever-increasing volume of products across a more extensive area.”

Combi-CB70E – designed with timber in mind

One of Combilift’s latest models – the Combi-CB70E – is a further addition to its growing electric range, and offers powerful performance, extensive battery life and unrivalled ergonomics.

It boasts the distinction of being the shortest 7t capacity counterbalance truck on the market whilst also benefitting from multi-directional ability, enabling the versatile space saving handling of both long and bulky loads.

Design features such as its large super-elastic tyres and compact wheelbase make it ideally suited for the operational demands of the timber industry. With a 7,000kg lift capacity, the Combi-CB70E benefits from an impressively small footprint as well as exceptional manoeuvrability meaning that it can easily move bulky loads of timber around in confined spaces.

Occupational health and safety requirements mean that the welfare of the workforce has become ever more important over the years.

Drivers of industrial vehicles, who are often required to spend extensive periods in their workstations, quite rightly expect the highest levels of comfort and safety.

Combilift’s designers have therefore gone to great lengths to ensure that the latest generation of models are kitted out with top quality components that ensure sophisticated ergonomics for a stress-free in-cab environment.

Features in the spacious cab include generous glazing for excellent all-round visibility, the tilting steering column, hydraulic steering and the Grammer MSG65 seat. What sets the Combi-CB70E apart from other forklifts is its gas strut suspension cab, which uses components such as those found in large scale industrial machinery with cab suspension.

This guarantees the smoothest of rides over uneven or less than perfect ground conditions such as those typically experienced in lumber yards.

Combilift’s optional Auto Swivel Seat automatically engages and swivels the seat and armrest 15° to the right or left to accord with the direction of travel selected by the operator – reducing driver strain, particularly when travelling in reverse.

Combilift CEO and co-founder Martin McVicar says: “The increased capacities that we are offering in our electric range will answer the demand for ever more powerful products which at the same time help companies to achieve their aims for more sustainable operations.”

More at https://combilift.com

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