Since the advent of containerisation and the forklift truck, the pallet has become vital for the storage and transport of goods around the world. Palletising goods make a lot of sense - pallets are a consistent size, meaning businesses can be sure they will fit in their racking, and ensuring that all kinds of forklifts will be able to pick them up.
Pallets are also lightweight and strong in comparison to other storage and handling solutions. Pallets are everywhere, but what happens if the goods you handle are much, much bigger than the standard Europallet?
That's the problem facing Mac Messe und-Austellungscenter GmbH, a German designer, manufacturer and distributor of stands to the trade fair industry. At Mac's facility in Langenlonsheim, Germany, many of the loads that are carried are stand components, which can be several metres long. These types of load have to be handled in a very different way to standard pallets.
In the words of Mac's Chief Logistics Department Manager Andreas Ullrich, "standard pallets are an exception. Mostly we handle special pallets with up to 5 metres in length." Because of this, the type of equipment Mac uses is slightly different to what you might find in a more conventional warehouse. The company makes use of TERGO UFW multi-directional reach trucks, which can be driven in any direction and change course instantly due to a 360 steering system. In this way, trucks can remove these long loads from the aisle sideways, since turning to leave the aisle like with a typical reach truck would be impossible.
For businesses like Mac who handle these kinds of difficult goods, speaking to a knowledgeable supplier is essential if the right solution is going to be found. Despite their challenges, Mac found a solution, and the company continues to grow their business and their logistics operation. To find out more about their cooperation with UniCarriers, click below to get access to the full case study.