Hydrobolt is a market leading specialist manufacturer of fasteners, supplying high integrity machine-turned products to the oil & gas, heavy engineering and construction industries. Around 70% of the output from its two UK sites in Wolverhampton and Birmingham is exported – used on critical applications such as sub-sea pipes for the energy sector.
Much of the work carried out at its main manufacturing operation in Wolverhampton is for bespoke products, which takes a sharp focus on quality, service and maintaining competitive lead-times. Under these demanding conditions ensuring fast and efficient handling of raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods, is absolutely vital, requiring a range of highly versatile, reliable and robust forklift trucks suited to the exacting needs of precision manufacturing.
When the contract on their forklift truck fleet came up for review Hydrobolt turned to its long-standing supplier of materials handling equipment, Rushlift, a wholly owned subsidiary of Doosan Industrial Vehicles.
“Although there were other companies out there, we wanted to stick with a supplier we rated,” says Ian Butler, Operations Director at Hydrobolt. “We’ve been with Rushlift for over nine years and have had mainly Doosan trucks over that time. They’ve always been very reliable and responsive to our needs.”
The review presented an opportunity to consider whether Doosan’s latest products could offer greater versatility than their current older models. On analysis, Rushlift identified the potential to rationalise the fleet by replacing a 7 tonne counterbalance truck and a smaller 3.5 tonne capacity forklift with a highly versatile 4.5 tonne Doosan gas truck, the G45SC. The new Doosan G45SC was capable of working both within the facility and, as it had a lower cab specially fitted, was well suited to unloading containers as well.
“Having just one truck that can be used in our transport area inside and for both yard duties and unloading containers, meant that we could take a truck out, which was quite a big cost saving,” says Ian Butler.
Versatility was a major factor for Hydrobolt, and Doosan’s comprehensive range of vehicles provided the answer. Storage of high volume goods, such as standard bolts, requires two dedicated warehouses served by four reach trucks. Rushlift supplied four of Doosan’s latest BR14JW-7 reach trucks equipped with height pre-selectors, keypad entry for security, along with beacons and flashing lights. The latest AC drive and hydraulic motors on the new model offers powerful performance and the mast reach design and damping system provides excellent stability.
One of the reach trucks is used for perpetual inventory stocktaking, nine hours a day, and the other three are deployed for regular duties.
A further upgrade to Hydrobolt’s fleet was the introduction of two new electric three tonne Doosan B30X-7 counterbalance trucks. One is assigned to the dispatch area on the Wolverhampton site, where packing and extra processes are undertaken, such as heat treatment, plating and testing, and the other electric truck is dedicated to general handling activities at the Birmingham operation – and is fitted with a rotator for handling steel coil. Both Doosan electric counterbalance trucks supplied are ‘feature rich’ standard models with Doosan’s well renowned oil-cooled disc brakes.
“In the despatch area we wanted to replace our gas truck with an electric forklift to create a cleaner and better environment for people working there. We had a slight concern, as to whether it would do the job as well as the gas truck, but I have to say it performs really well – no problems at all,” says Ian Butler. He adds: “The low running costs and positive environmental aspects of using an electric truck were very important to us.”
Completing the versatile ensemble of Doosan trucks supplied to Hydrobolt was a Doosan LEDH PPT powered pallet truck, useful for its high manoeuvrability in the tight, confined spaces between machining tools. “The powered pallet truck does a brilliant job. We have a large amount of material that is moved around as work-in-progress, so it’s invaluable – in fact, it’s probably the most used truck on site,” says Ian Butler.
Rushlift also recommended and supplied two Combilifts for Hydrobolt’s steel bar store, demonstrating the service company’s versatility in providing a complete handling solution.
Summing up, Ian Butler says: “In running a manufacturing business where product quality and lead-times are critical, you need reliable handling equipment. So for me, it’s all about the aftersales support and I can’t emphasise enough the fantastic level of support we’ve had from Rushlift.”