DESTINED FOR BREWERIES Adopting an electric forklift fleet significantly reduces harmful fume emissions, improving the air quality and creating a clean workplace
Industrial equipment distributor Shumani Industrial Equipment has completed the delivery of 54 forklifts to logistics service provider Liquor Runners for use at a major beer producer in South Africa.
This large-scale contract serves to consolidate the company’s position as an equipment supplier in the food and beverage industry, says Shumani Industrial Equipment MD Victor Nemukula.
The company signed the deal towards the end of last year, with delivery having been completed by July, he says.
“The 3.5 t forklift units are capable of handling two pallets at a time for maximum stacking and offloading efficiency,” Nemukula explains, adding that the client preferred these machines because they are electric.
Traditionally, internal combustion engine units running on either gas or diesel were the preferred option, but two of Shumani’s major beverage clients are standardising on electric units because of the sustainability and efficiency benefits.
“Electric forklifts are better suited to the food and beverage industries because they don’t emit dangerous fumes that might contaminate the product. This makes them safer for use in hygienic environments,” he says.
Liquor Runners is also switching its client’s forklift fleet from lead acid to lithium-ion batteries, necessitating driver familiarisation on the new units, as they require opportunity charging.
Nemukula explains that electric forklifts have fewer moving parts and, therefore, do not have to burn fuel for energy, which can help companies save significantly on fuel and maintenance costs.
Moreover, electric forklifts benefit the environment in the long term and employees in the short term.
“Adopting an electric fleet significantly reduces harmful fume emissions, improving the air quality and creating a clean workplace.”
He adds that opportunity charging during shift changes, as well as the weatherproof internal electronics, allow for modern electric forklifts to be operated indoors and outdoors 24/7, thereby maximising uptime and efficiency.
All the B35 X-7 forklift units are new, and imported directly from original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) Doosan, in the US. As part of the deal, Shumani Industrial Equipment also secured an ongoing service and maintenance contract for the new fleet. Other forklift OEM brands on offer from the company include Bendi, Crown and Kalma.
Liquor Runners is one of a range of major food and beverage clients that Shumani Industrial Equipment deals with, ensuring it has a growing footprint in the sector.
The alcohol beverage sector suffered significant setbacks on the back of Covid-19 alcohol restrictions, but Nemukula believes that it appears to be on the mend since restrictions have been eased.
Designated an essential service provider during the Covid-19 lockdown, Shumani Industrial Equipment managed to play a key role in ensuring that the food and beverage supply chain remained fully operational during the various stages of the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Beverage Industry Opportunities
Apart from warehousing equipment solutions, the company also supplies cleaning equipment such as floor scrubbers, generators and compressors. This enables the company to supply customers with end-to-end solutions for all their materials handling and ancillary requirements.
Nemukula believes there is significant potential to supply cleaning equipment to the liquor industry as well, along with other access equipment, such as cherry pickers, which are eminently useful in warehouse applications.
“Cherry pickers are among the most frequently used access equipment available. They are extremely versatile and ideal for any job that requires lifting users to a higher angle, especially in hard-to-reach places,” he says.
In a statement issued in April, Shumani Industrial Equipment national sales manager Mathew Goby said food and beverage was one of those industries showing exponential growth, especially as new competitors were constantly entering the market with lower-priced products, making “the demand for quality materials handling equipment critical”.
Moreover, remote monitoring is one of the ways through which the company ensures such a proactive response to any maintenance or service issues, as any issues that need attending to can be red-flagged, in addition to providing critical information on machine performance and driver behaviour.
“If any of our forklifts are not running, it means downtime and lost productivity for our client. It is our main aim to ensure that all of our units are fully operational and optimised at all times,” Goby added.
As the largest black-owned industrial equipment supplier in South Africa, Shumani Industrial Equipment is an appointed dealer for all Goscor Group companies that import industrial equipment for the South African market.