For 57 years Stamco has been supplying the south east of England with prepared timber, mouldings, treated timbers and building materials. As its range has grown, materials handling requirements have also evolved and the company has recently installed a sizeable fleet of new Combilift sideloaders at its main facility at St Leonards on Sea.
The seven Combilift 4WSLs and one C3000 EST formed part of 19 replacement trucks supplied by Mexmast to replace the previous fleet that had come to the end of its working life. Stamco was keen to take advantage of more recent technological developments in the forklift market and put out a tender to seven companies. Operations Director John Cornelius explains why this was awarded to Mexmast. “It was not only due to the fact that they offered the right equipment for the job at the right price but we were also impressed with the whole service and support package, which has already proved to be first class.”
Stamco has also replaced existing Combilifts at other branches with three new C4000 4-way models, and the timing of its fleet renewal was fortunate as Combilift had just developed the 4WSL series. John Cornelius: “Having traditionally worked with 4 wheeled sideloaders in our timber business we wanted to continue down that path. Using Combilifts in our merchant division meant that we were aware of the calibre of the company and its products. Nevertheless we put the 4WSL through its paces on site, compared its performance with competitors’ machines and it came out as the clear winner.”
Certain features incorporated into the new model make for very beneficial operation across the extensive 5.5 acre site: a steep slope that links the upper and lower levels of the facility is a challenge for any truck carrying heavy packs of timber which can be up to 6m in length, and in wet weather and when it is covered with leaves conditions can be even more problematic. The robust JCB axle includes an automatic locking differential which gives good traction to the rear wheels, enabling the 5t capacity 4WSLs to cope perfectly where other machines had struggled, for example with wheel spin.
A further feature that is very beneficial for the timber sector in particular is the ultra-clean Deutz engine, which eliminates the possibility of any exhaust residue. This had been an issue in the past with other trucks according to John Cornelius, who adds that once any soot particles had settled on the timber they were impossible to wipe off and the quality of the product was therefore compromised.
The trucks work long shifts from 4am until 8pm, offloading deliveries, moving packs of timber of various weights and sizes around the storage, pre-treatment, production and despatch areas. They work in relatively tight pre-existing aisle widths within racking up to 5m high enabling Stamco to make maximum use of storage capacity. Up to 6000 cubic metres of raw materials and finished goods are held on site at any one time and over the course of a year the new trucks will handle over 60,000 cubic metres of material. The electric powered C3000 EST Combilift is a narrow chassis stand-on model and this is used primarily within racking system for moving lighter cubic metre packs of timber.
“From our point of view we very much welcome the introduction of the 4WSL as this enables us to offer a more comprehensive range from the one manufacturer, known for its reliable and robust products,” said Darren Baldwin of Mexmast. For John Cornelius this dependability is also crucial:” We don’t have the luxury of being able to buy a back- up machine ‘just in case’ so we need 100% reliability which is what we now have. If there are any minor problems, Mexmast’s operation is able to react quickly with enough engineers working in our area to respond within our target time. As an independent, good customer service is one of our strong selling points and this new fleet enables us to keep pace with our busy schedules to deliver the goods.”