The Park, the multi-award-winning manufacturing and blending plant in Avonmouth, produces 25 million 9L case equivalents of wine each year at its 80,000m² warehouse and distribution centre, the largest of its kind in Europe. Recent problems with the supply chain and shipping, in tandem with a period of growth, prompted the management to look at ways of increasing on-site storage for containers and ISO Tanks which are shipped mainly from Australia and New Zealand.

Freight Manager Bob Prescott and his team evaluated various options and concluded that the capabilities of the Combi-SCs would enable containers to be stored much closer together as well as double stacked for maximum density. “The container handling equipment we have used for years can only lift one load at a time and their manoeuvrability is very limited,” said Prescott, “whereas the three-wheel Combi-SC can turn on its axis and access much tighter spaces.”

The own weight and axle loading of the Combi-SC models is much lighter than other types of heavy handling equipment such as reach trucks, enabling them to work on less than perfect ground conditions. Some concreting and general surface improvements were carried out in the yard, however, mainly to determine and mark out areas that could bear the weight of double-stacked containers. The potential for storing containers or ISO Tanks, each containing around 24,000 litres of wine, has now expanded from 166 bays to 250, representing a massive increase in capacity with no requirement to purchase or lease extra space.

Each Combi-SC that is built in the factory in Monaghan is tailor-made to customer specifications, and The Park’s 35t capacity telescopic double stacking models feature a fixed fully automatic attachment to handle 20ft ISO Tanks and containers, which can also lift 40ft containers via chains if required. Weighing systems with an accuracy of +/-2% were also fitted, as were 129° cameras front and rear to ensure when the load is raised the driver has 360° visibility from the cab.

Richard Lloyd, General Manager, European Operations and Supply Chain comments: “The addition of the Combi-SC straddle carrier has enabled us to react to a dramatic decline in global shipping reliability and double our storage capability of wine, importantly within the same footprint. This change in capability is transformational for the site in meeting its customer demand on time.”