All wrapped up

17 July 2017

The European headquarters of AGS Packaging Solutions Provider, based in Cork, has taken delivery of its third Aisle-Master VNA articulated forklift to keep pace with growing business and the consequent rise in the volume of materials handled in its manufacturing facility and distribution centre.

Pharmaceutical, IT, automotive and engineering are just some of the sectors that look to AGS to supply customised packaging concepts using a wide range of materials including corrugated, AirPaq, foam and FSC-certified fibre/core and bamboo. Established in Ireland in 2003 by its parent company in Massachusetts, AGS moved to new 100,000 ft² premises in 2008, a quarter of which is now taken up by warehousing.

The original Aisle-Masters, acquired 3 years ago, replaced turret trucks which had come to the end of their operational life and were chosen in part for their versatility to work inside within pre-existing narrow aisles as well as outside. Operations manager Noel Finnegan also adds that the company was looking for something more contemporary to meet evolving requirements.

“We looked at a number of different brands and the warehouse staff were heavily involved in the decision making process,” says Finnegan. “We saw the Aisle-Master as comparable to a combination of a VNA and counterbalance truck, and a demo provided by our partners in Lift Truck Sales (Toyota) proved that it could do just what the manufacturers stated. It’s a great improvement on the previous system: the ability to pick from racking and load directly to HGVs in the yard is particularly beneficial as this eliminates double handling and really speeds up operations across the twelve hour shifts that the trucks put in.”

Inside the facility, the Aisle-Masters’ manoeuvrability enables them to move easily around the manufacturing areas to take semi-finished or finished products to and from the storage bays. The majority of pallets are not overly heavy, but the 1.5t AM15 SHE electric powered models ensure that 1t loads can be easily lifted to the top bay height of 7m.  

The trucks move easily within the 1900mm aisle-widths that were configured for the old machines. “There is very limited turning space at the end of the aisles and I was initially worried about potential damage to the racking,” said Warehouse Manager Tomas Bernotas, “but this has not been the case at all - testament to the ease of operation of the trucks and the visibility they offer the drivers.”

It’s a busy time for AGS and the arrival of the latest Aisle-Master coincides with the installation of a third row of racking which will increase the pallet count to 2,500, to enable AGS to pack even more into its available space.