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Electric power and 4-way is best for Crown Imperial

11 January 2019

Furniture manufacturer Crown Imperial has enhanced handling procedures at its production facility at Herne Bay by bringing in a number of Combilift models to replace old counterbalance and reach trucks.

Crown Imperial was established as Crown Products in 1946 and this family run business now specialises in the manufacture of high quality British furniture for kitchens, bedrooms and living areas. It has recently overhauled and enhanced handling procedures at its manufacturing site at Herne Bay by bringing in a number of Combilift models to replace old counterbalance and reach trucks.   

The variety of raw materials and the varying dimensions of finished products that need to be moved around and stored at the 10,000m² production facility require versatile equipment, and the company was also keen to reduce the level of ride-on forklift traffic, particularly in areas where a lot of other personnel are present. It found the ideal solution in the form of Combi-WR4 multidirectional pedestrian stackers and a Combi-CBE4 multidirectional counterbalance design forklift.

Crown Imperial is the first UK company to take delivery of the new 4t capacity electric powered Combi-CBE4 – which ticked all the boxes for Store Manager Bruce Whiting. “We wanted a truck that could work in narrow confines, offer enough capacity to cope with our heavier loads, and we also stipulated electric power. ”

The CBE4 is used for a wide range of tasks; offloading 6m long packs of timber, chipboard and MDF and taking them to racking, and handling long profiles and timber doors. It can also attach a tipping bin to the forks and manoeuvre this between machinery in the main hall to take chipping waste to the wood burner for recycling, which provides fuel for heating the facility.    

The Combi-WR4s have a capacity of 1,450kg and handle lighter loads such profiles, pallets of components as well as cardboard that is used for packaging. A major feature of all Combilift’s walk behind trucks is the unique patented multi-position tiller arm which enables push button rotation of the rear wheel parallel to the chassis and back. This offers excellent visibility of the surroundings, the forks and the load, and when working in narrow aisles the operator can stand at the side of the unit rather than the rear, avoiding any crush risk.

Bruce Whiting adds: “Thanks to the Combi-WR4’s manouevrability in the small aisles of the warehouse area we can put stock where we couldn’t previously and can now store all elements of a customer order in one place. With the old reach trucks we had to split orders and keep them in different locations. It is now much quicker to locate a specific order, and if customers want to delay shipment there is no issue for us with lack of space. We are able to do things that were impossible before from a handling, storage and safety point of view and new possibilities for better utilisation of space and equipment keep occurring to us.”