Aisle-Master help out in tight spaces for O’Brien Fine Foods

The company needed to replace its fleet of forklifts and ensure they maximised space and met the highest standards of safety.

The European headquarters of AGS Packaging Solutions Provider, based in Cork, has taken delivery of its third Aisle-Master VNA articulated O’Brien Fine Foods, based in Naas, Co. Kildare is a family run business and a primary supplier of high quality meat products to the Irish market. It is best known for its Brady Family Ham and Rudds brands and also supplies major retailers for their own label products. Following the construction of a new extension on its premises the company replaced its previous fleet of forklifts with a Combi-CB and three pedestrian Combi-WR models from Aisle-Master to maximise space and to ensure the highest standards of health and safety. to keep pace with growing business and the consequent rise in the volume of materials handled in its manufacturing facility and distribution centre.

Aisle-Master help out in tight spaces for O’Brien Fine Foods Aisle Master

The move to using walk-behind models rather than ride-on trucks wherever possible was a priority for Head of Procurement Maude Gormley, who chose three Combi-WR models to work in the packing station and the raw meat area. “Forklift trucks can pose a high level of risk to the workforce in this industry and we wanted to minimise this. The Combi-WRs are the solution for us to move pallets in very narrow aisles in the safest possible way: the multi position tiller arm means that the operator can stand to the side of the unit to eliminate any crush risk and the good visibility from this position gives a clear view of the load and any other personnel in the vicinity. A further advantage of pedestrian trucks is the short time – around 4 hours – and lower overheads involved to train our operators.”    

Operating conditions for equipment in the raw meat area are quite harsh due to the wet environment and the presence of brine, and the Combi-WR designated for this section was fitted with stainless steel forks to prevent any corrosion when handling the Dolav pallet boxes used to transport raw products. It also has a special 5150mm triplex mast to enable it to operate to a height of 4900mm whilst being able to pass under low pedestrian doorways.   

“Combilift’s engineers provided layouts for the new premises and made sure everything worked smoothly in the new set up.”

Maude Gormley, Head of Procurement, O’Brien Fine Foods.

The diesel powered 4t capacity Combi-CB works outside as a versatile machine, handling pallets of packaging and machine parts for the production facility. This compact, counterbalance design 4-way forklift was also the ingenious solution for picking pallets from two high level external first floor storage areas and loading them onto HGVs.    

Due to operational requirements it was fitted with a range of customised features including an 8m mast to provide an adequate lift height to reach the loading bays. A mast mounted camera and wipers on the cab roof offer good driver visibility when the mast is fully extended, whatever the weather. Telescopic forks enable the pallets to be accessed through an up and over gate and the additional feature of a fork positioner allows the driver to easily adjust the fork width depending on the load and pallet position.

The multidirectional ability and tight turning circle of the Combi-CB is also invaluable for working alongside one of the bays which is in a very confined space. It also copes easily with the gradients and slopes across the premises.

“The configuration of our factory across various levels is not the most straightforward for materials handling equipment, and the requirement to lift loads weighing up to 1800kgs to 7.7m was a challenge,” said Maude Gormley. “However, the models recommended by Aisle-Master and our consultants The Henley Forklift Group, together with the customised features, have more than lived up to our expectations. Aisle-Master’s engineers provided layouts for the new premises and made sure everything worked smoothly in the new set up. The Combi-CB4 is great for accessing tight spots and the low operating speeds of the Combi-WRs have ensured maximum safety.”

Aisle-Master help out in tight spaces for O’Brien Fine Foods Aisle Master

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