November 17, 2019
Forklifts are widely used in parcel operations today to move different load carriers. However, the need for greater throughput is making sorting centres more congested and forklift movements are becoming an increasing challenge for many parcel operators.
Forklift operations create major health and safety risks so there’s a developing trend towards reducing their use wherever possible. Accidents involving forklifts are a growing problem, for example in the United States each year more than 1 in 10 forklifts are involved in an accident. Similarly, in the UK around 1,300 employees are hospitalised each year with serious injuries following forklift accidents, and the number is rising.
Forklift operations require skilled labour and often only one load can be moved at a time, making the process labour intensive and ineffective. The fact that the driver often returns with an empty load creates additional traffic which increases the congestion at peak times. As a result - as many operators will testify - a high number of forklift movements will inevitably become one of the bottle necks in production, leading to longer cycle times and lower forklift utilization rates.
Some operators using parcel roll cages are towing the units when moving long-distances in parcel sorting centres. Towing of roll cages is often however not flexible enough as it requires the pick-up to drop-off sequence to be well planned (last in, first out) for the operation to be efficient.
This is where the tugger trains provide a competitive advantage:
- they increase safety and ergonomics to make production operations more efficient.
- they reduce floor congestion significantly
- they lower the need for skilled labour
- wait times are reduced saving both time and money
One of the most effective tugger train systems on the market is the K.Hartwall LiftLiner. The LiftLiner allows loading and unloading from either side providing much needed flexibility compared to tow-arm systems where the drop off sequence is a constraint.
The LiftLiner is also the shortest tugger train on the market due to very compact scissor coupling design. A train consisting of 6 units is only 9600mm long and 1000mm wide, saving space and allowing for U-turns in very narrow aisles. Compared to towing arms, the patented scissor coupling features an additional safety feature as it prevents people from walking between carts.
“We are excited about the benefits the LiftLiner can bring parcel operators, or any company that has a lot of forklift movements today in their operations. This is another step for many companies in increasing capacity but reducing both labour costs and accidents, ” says Eero Heinonen, Head of Business Unit, Postal & Logistics at K.Hartwall.
The LiftLiner is compatible with all well-known tow tractor brands on the markets and compatible with both EUR pallet (1200*800mm) and ISO pallet (1200*1000mm) footprints.
In today’s parcel operation where the availability of skilled labour, the need to increase throughput and reduce congestion are becoming more dominant problems – part of the solution will be to utilize tugger train systems that increase capacity, flexibility and reduce time used for moving goods.
To see more about the LiftLiner please check here.