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JDM Food Group and Combilift

11 December 2015

JDM Food Group replaces articulated forklift with a Comb-WR pedestrian reach stacker from Combilift.

Since JDM Food Group was established in 2000 it has experienced substantial growth and has had to increase factory space year on year after moving to its current site in Bicker, Lincolnshire in 2010. As production expands, so does the need for storage space, and in JDM’s case there is the added requirement to make optimum use of every inch of the relatively expensive cold storage facilities. This has been achieved by replacing an articulated forklift with a Comb-WR pedestrian reach stacker from the Irish specialist manufacturer Combilift.  

JDM Food Group Ltd began as a supplier of bespoke ingredients to the food manufacturing sector and is seeing significant growth in its whole head and added value categories as well as developing a portfolio of innovative products specifically designed for the foodservice sector. In addition to whole head garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, the company’s diverse offering includes roasted vegetables, sauces, dressings, drizzles and marinades, which it supplies to food manufacturers, retailers, global restaurant chains and pubs. Its freezer store houses standard pallets and europallets containing a variety of raw and finished products which need to be easily put away and accessed, which is where the compact and manoeuvrable Combi-WR comes into its own in temperatures of minus 18°C. 

“We built the new freezer a couple of years ago,” says Logistics Manager Mark Cooley, “and it was quickly apparent that the articulated truck we had been using was not going to be up to working efficiently in this environment – both from the point of view of the low temperatures and the very tight spaces. The articulated Aisle-Master cold store model from Combilift’s sister company would have been a good alternative but we finally settled on the Combi-WR as we felt that it offered a number of advantages over a ride-on model in our particular circumstances.” 

The easy and straightforward operation of the Combi-WR was a major attraction according to Mark: “Compared to training with conventional forklifts it is quicker, cheaper and more straightforward and 3 or 4 operatives can be proficiently trained in one day. A pedestrian truck is also beneficial from a safety point of view when there are a number of other personnel in and around its vicinity.”

Extreme changes in temperature put great demands on any piece of equipment but the very robust build of the Combi-WR and cold store specific features such as 32 grade wax free oil and a Vulkollan Tractothan rear drive wheel (which offers excellent grip) allow it to move pallets between the warmer drop off area into the freezer and out again with no adverse effects such as condensation build up.  

JDM’s MHE consultant Multy Lift supplied the Combi-WR on a contract hire basis and its engineers are on hand for after sales service, maintenance and repairs. They are rarely called upon however as it has proved to be a dependable and valued piece of equipment. Repair bills have also plummeted since it replaced the old articulated truck.

“As we have just the one truck for this application, reliability is crucial and when we need it, nothing else will do, but since the Combi-WR has been in place we have had no issues," says Cooley. "It is a no compromise machine that offers us the versatility to handle anything we need to – even buckets of purees that require very stable transportation – which is when its smooth lift is very advantageous.  I can’t think of anything that would be as flexible and easy to use in our very narrow aisle operations.”

About the Combi-WR range
The WR “Walkie Reach” trucks, available in two and four-directional models, are Combilift’s first pedestrian units and were developed as an answer for customers needing a cost effective and small solution for handling lighter loads. Their versatility means that they are suitable for both pallet handling and for moving longer loads and offer a high level of operator comfort and safety when placing and picking in narrow aisles. The patented multi-position tiller which allows push button rotation of the rear wheel parallel from the tiller to the chassis and back enables the operator to remain at the side of the truck rather than between the truck and the racking, so eliminating crush risk and improving forward visibility. 

Incorporating the benefits of AC technology in the traction, pump and steering motors, the WR models have a load capacity of 1,450kg. With electronic power steering, pantograph and side shift functions it is the only pedestrian reach stacker range which can work in an aisle-width of 2.1m pallet to pallet.

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