Six new Hyster electric lift trucks which feature special engineering to meet the demands of brewery operations have been provided to the Heineken Ireland site in Cork. Heineken Ireland is a wholly owned subsidiary of Heineken International.
Its site in Cork, founded in 1856, employs 458 people and ships two million kegs per year to pubs, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. As such, the brewery’s yard operations are intense, loading and unloading on average 20 lorries each day.
“Empty kegs arrive every day and have to be unloaded and placed on a conveyor to take them to the production area,” explained Matt Hardy, Industry Manager for Hyster Europe. “At the same time, full kegs are collected and stacked in the storage area ready for dispatch. These are challenging loads as they are not always palletised, they vary in size and are often very tall.”
To help overcome these challenges, the Hyster Special Truck Engineering Team developed a raised operator compartment for the six new Hyster J3.5XN lift trucks which improves all-round and upwards visibility. In a standard truck the operator would not be able to see past tall loads and would normally have to work in reverse due to the limited forward visibility. The raised operator compartment enables operators to see over loads and operate in the forward direction where a standard truck could not, enhancing operator comfort.
To further support operators and enhance comfort, the lift trucks were also supplied with Blue Pedestrian Awareness Lights (PAL) front and rear, red side PAL’s, a reverse camera, an auto park brake, a cab heater, UV protection overhead guard glass, a high backed suspension seat and mini lever controls.
The new lift trucks also feature a specialised Kaup Keg clamp attachment which enables efficient lifting of non-palletised kegs of multiple sizes and quantities without changing attachments. This is critical to the operation when lifting either 18 x 50L kegs or 24 x 30L kegs at a time. The electric Hyster forklifts also include mud flaps to protect the attachment from road debris for optimal durability.
Furthermore, Hyster electric lift trucks operate at a lower noise level, reducing noise pollution. This allows the site to run longer shifts at night if required to increase production, despite being based in the centre of town. This also benefits operators and site staff by creating more comfortable working conditions. Electric trucks are also more environmentally friendly. By switching from diesel to electric lift trucks, Heineken has reduced its site Co2 emissions by 112 tonnes per year.
As in many busy beverage operations, space is another key challenge for the Heineken operation. Up to six trucks must work continually over two shifts between 7am and 7pm, sometimes in tight confines. The design of the Hyster lift trucks enables them to be manoeuvred in smaller spaces, allowing operators to complete the job safely and efficiently.
“The reliability of the new Hyster lift trucks is also essential for keeping the operation flowing,” said Colin McNeely, Sales Director – Ireland, for Briggs Equipment, the exclusive Hyster distribution partner for Ireland. “Maintenance and daily check downtime is minimal, and the batteries are charged at the end of the shift ensuring maximum uptime during busy periods to maximise efficiency.”
For quick and easy battery replacement, the electric Hyster forklifts have been provided with side battery extraction. Briggs Equipment Ireland is located close to the Heineken brewery and provides a full service contract which includes a total battery management service, removing the need for drivers to be involved in any battery maintenance.
To enhance productivity, the Hyster Tracker telematics system is used for fleet reporting. This monitors both truck utilisation and battery life, ensuring optimum management of the fleet to reduce costs. Two Hyster H2.5FT LPG forklift trucks and one Hyster R1.4 Reach truck are also used within the goods area at the Cork site.
“For Heineken International, the reliability and efficiency of its distribution chain are of the utmost importance,” Hardy added, explaining that Hyster lift trucks are in use within many of the 70 Heineken sites around the world, including Italy, France, Poland, Slovakia, Russia, Cork in Southern Ireland, and also Ghana, Nigeria and Egypt.
“With a combination of good training, aligned to the Heineken standard, and Hyster trucks customised to the particular needs of the application, we are pleased to see the site in Cork achieving very high levels of operator productivity,” finished McNeely.