Hubtex supplies all locations of the Austrian J. u. A. Frischeis GmbH with individual special solutions in the field of industrial trucks. These are optimised for the respective logistics processes and premises. The patented HX steering system from Hubtex plays a special role in this.
One standard for all: Bernhard Vincenz can only dream of such simple solutions. The engineer is logistics manager of J. u. A. Frischeis GmbH (JAF) at the company headquarters in Stockerau and is also jointly responsible for technical purchasing at the 59 locations of the international wood wholesaler. In this function, Vincenz is involved in new developments and the configuration of industrial trucks, among other things. The Salzburg-Bergheim, Linz and Stockerau sites, which were supplied with customised equipment by Hubtex, show how different the requirements for the “ideal forklift truck” can be.
The Salzburg-Bergheim branch ordered an MQ 70 reusable forklift (load capacity 6000 kg with a load centre of 1050 mm) with a removable order picking platform. The platform has a load capacity of 2.0 tonnes and can pick up panels with dimensions of up to 3,300 x 2,070 mm. “Order picking directly from the shelf means a significant time saving for us”, says branch manager Thorsten Klingbeil. Without a platform, the complete packages of goods would first have to be placed in a suitable location and then picked from there. There is no space between the shelves, so that long distances have to be accepted.
The shape of the platform was optimized for the local conditions. “Hubtex designed us an individual platform with rounded corners, which allows us to turn comfortably in the aisle despite the limited space available,” reports Klingbeil. In addition to the special design, the platform offers a number of other details that Hubtex has realised especially for JAF. These include the two backrests on the two lateral control panels, which can be adjusted with one hand and adapted to the operator’s body dimensions. Equally easy to adjust is the sturdy tubular steel construction, which can be used to secure the heavy wooden panels from slipping. A special feature of the platform concerns the downward-cranked workplaces of the order pickers, who therefore do not have to bend down so far when stacking the panels.
The HX-steering, which is offered as an option for the MQ 70, brings another significant relief. The patented steering system allows the change from longitudinal to transverse travel without stopping, which makes manoeuvring faster and easier. In addition, the HX steering system minimises wheel wear, because the change of direction takes place while the vehicle is in motion and the wheels therefore no longer turn on the spot. “The advantage of the intuitive steering system is the smooth transition between the vehicle’s directions of motion and forms of movement. Steering program changes that make operation more difficult and slow down the processes are not necessary”, reports warehouse manager Silvio Hager and adds: “The HX steering was at the top of our drivers’ wish list and this will remain so for future investments”.
Hager had involved about ten of its employees in the planning process and had taken their suggestions and ideas into account. The number of contacts at Hubtex was much smaller: “We were able to discuss all changes and special requests with just one contact person,” recalls Hager.
The “mobile project team” from Hubtex was helpful in this respect. At the head office in Fulda, experienced project technicians support the sales field service in the quotation phase in working out special customer-specific solutions. Depending on the project requirements and progress, project technicians and sales representatives visit the customer together to work out the best possible solution. The project technician then ensures direct communication with the design and development department – enabling Hubtex to implement experience and market requirements in vehicle development.
The uncomplicated and efficient cooperation and the advantages of the HX steering system are also appreciated in Linz. The Frischeis branch there has put a new MQ 80 into operation, which is also equipped with the innovative steering system. Overall, the focus when configuring this unique vehicle was on the areas of safety, goods protection and comfort. The reinforced and thus particularly low-vibration forks as well as the covers of the load-side front wheels speak for themselves. These serve as protection for the sensitive wooden panels. “Without covers, it can happen that the wheels get caught in the aisles when being threaded into the aisles and damage the goods in the process”, explains Christoph Kapeller, the branch manager responsible for Linz.
The Linz location is structured differently from Salzburg-Bergheim, so that the distances between shelf compartments and picking stations are significantly shorter. Against this background, Dipl. Ing. Kapeller also decided against the purchase of a picking platform. In Linz, the required wooden boards are lifted out of the racking on pallets with the MQ 80 and picked at ground level. In order to ensure that the heavy pallets are lowered as gently and gently as possible, the graduate engineer had additional guide rollers installed in the mast spar, with which the mast can be retracted particularly gently under full load.
The automatic reduction of the travel speed from a lifting height of three metres to 2 km/h also contributes to safe and gentle transport. Special attention was paid to the lighting, which was supplemented by two separately adjustable LED worklights on the cab roof and a further two LED headlights on the mast. A “BlueSpot” mounted on the cab roof also minimises the risk of collision: the light source projects a blue spot onto the road in the direction of travel, thus warning of the approaching forklift truck at intersections.
Another picking method is used at the company headquarters in Stockerau. This location, founded in 1948, is both the largest branch and the headquarters of the family business. In the warehouse logistics alone, 89 employees work here, moving around 9,700 m³ of wood per month in two-shift operation during the season. Panels with a length of up to three metres are picked in Stockerau using mobile platforms that allow work to be carried out on both sides of the rack aisle. “In this way, the equipment never has to turn over, which significantly increases the picking performance,” emphasizes logistics manager Bernhard Vincenz.
The latest device is a Hubtex EZK 30. The special features of the induction-guided machine include the integrated scissor lift table with a useful stroke of 1,000 mm and the likewise integrated device for strapping the picked stacks of panels. The finished commission is removed with a separate stacker. Diverse practical shelves up to the waste container round off the equipment package. This device is also used in a very similar form at the Hungarian company site in Dunaharaszti, so that “the configuration of the machine for Stockerau took only a few days and few telephone calls”, Vincenz reveals.
The EZK 35 is always operated by a two-man team. This also applies to the replacement of the battery weighing around 2.2 tonnes, which is also used in the same way in the MQ 45 multi-directional sideloader. This type of truck is used in Stockerau to replenish the shelves and uses the same pool of exchangeable batteries as the EZK 35. When the battery has a residual charge of 10 to 15 percent, the team drives to the charging station and exchanges the energy storage device for its fresh counterpart.
“We used to replace the truck when the charge level was low, now we just replace the batteries,” says Vincenz, describing the paradigm shift in energy management at the Stockerau site. In this way, there is hardly any downtime, which further increases the utilisation rate monitored by Fleetmanager. “The devices are permanently in operation between 6 a.m. and midnight,” says Vincenz, who has long been working on further rational concepts for order picking. But there will be no “standard for everyone” at Frischeis in the future either.
Hubtex models from the MQ 70 series with a removable order-picking platform are also used at JAF IMHOLZ in Leipzig 2. These are inductively guided and equipped with mobile personal protection equipment.
In 2006, the JAF branch in Kramsach was one of the first locations where a Hubtex multi-way forklift was used. Due to the positive experience and reliability, Hubtex was again chosen for the Kramsach site and two MQ 70 with HX steering were put into operation.
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