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Gower Chemicals goes for green option

24 August 2023

WHEN GOWER Chemicals reviewed its materials handling requirements, the local Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks supplier presented a compelling case for switching to electric.

For more than 30 years the industrial chemicals company had been running diesel-powered trucks at its Swansea facilities where its operations include sulphuric acid and dilution for the Welsh car and aerospace industries and a toll packing facility which receives ISO tanks of gases and decants them into different size containers. 

What persuaded Gower to make the switch?

It was on the strength of impressively powerful performance and strikingly low long-term running costs that the local Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks distributor won the day... and with it the contract for a fleet of four 2-tonne EDiA EM electric counterbalance trucks and one 2.5-tonne Mitsubishi EDiA EX counterbalance truck.

According to Andy Flower, site manager at Gower Chemicals Swansea: “Our operators were involved in the selection process right from the start and the Mitsubishi forklifts emerged as clear favourite across activities such as: loading and offloading IBCs and pallets of gas canisters, as well as moving them around the site.

“They were much quieter than the diesel, eliminating noise pollution and delivering a calm, stress free working environment. They also had many more built-in safety systems than their competitors.”

Meeting the brief… and surpassing it

The electric trucks are significantly smaller than diesels of a similar capacity, making them far more manoeuvrable. As Matthew James, local Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks distributor, explains: “As well as being exceptionally compact, the EDiA EX turns through a massive 100-degree lock to deliver the smallest turning circle on the market for safe operation in the very narrowest spaces. 

“At the same time, the unique AutoBoost feature maintains momentum by increasing torque when the trucks go up inclines or over uneven surfaces.

“Importantly, the Mitsubishi forklifts fulfilled a fundamental aspect of the Gower Chemicals environmental sustainability strategy by reducing its carbon footprint, doing so without compromise, both indoors and outside.”

Go-anywhere performance

Andy Flower adds: “Because 70% of their work is outside on a variety of different terrains, we wondered how the electric machines would perform. I’m delighted to say they’ve proved perfectly at home in all conditions with the suspension seats ensuring a really comfortable ride for the operators.”

Even slippery conditions have presented no problems thanks to a combination of all-wheel steering and an electric differential lock. The result is outstanding traction and control, even in the most challenging circumstances. 

According to Matthew James: “State-of-the art software automatically adapts performance characteristics to the driving style and ability of each individual operator, making handling totally intuitive.

“In tandem with that, EDiA’s Intelligent Cornering System calculates the speed, angle, and load at the very start of a turn, rather than half-way through it, automatically adjusting truck speed and optimising handling — for the highest throughput and the greatest safety.” 

Customer-focused support

Summing up the experience Andy Flower says: “We were particularly impressed by the carefully considered approach taken by Matthew and the entire team.

“They were really on our side and examined all the various options from our perspective. In fact, they were the only potential supplier to explain the implications of what would happen when the subsidy on red diesel ended; and calculated the huge cost savings we could achieve by switching from diesel to electric.

“When the new trucks were introduced, we set up full induction training for all staff via toolbox talks so that both forklift operators and pedestrians were aware of the differences, especially how quiet the trucks are.

“The opinion across the site is that the new trucks are really good and that the operators have made the change-over really smoothly.

“We are delighted with our decision, the trucks, and the support from the local Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks team. The service provided by them has been absolutely brilliant and any issues have been dealt with quickly and efficiently. They’re on site before I even put the phone down!”

For more information, visit www.mitsubishi-forklift.co.uk