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Envirowales battery recycling plant chooses Yale forklifts

July 25, 2017 by David Turner

An industry-leading recycling company is set to improve its processing capabilities and achieve even greater efficiency rates after working with Briggs Equipment to update and expand its materials handling resource.

Based in Ebbw Vale, Envirowales recycles lead acid batteries to produce lead alloys, sodium sulphate and polypropylene and has invested £58million to create the most modern facility in Europe. Utilising the best available techniques and operating to the highest environmental standards, the company is setting the pace with an impressive recycling efficiency rate of more than 95%.

The partnership with Briggs began in 2012, when Envirowales switched from a mixed fleet to Yale equipment. Briggs customised the company’s materials handling resource to meet key needs by specifying a fleet of trucks that can perform multiple tasks and is built to excel in the plant’s harsh operating environment.

Now, Envirowales has invested in 11 counterbalance diesel forklifts, ranging from 3-tonne to 12-tonne machines, with rotator attachments, to replace its Yale machines on a like-for-like basis while also adding extra capacity. Briggs has supplied the equipment, valued at £350,000, on a 48-month rental contract with full maintenance support from its skilled engineering team.

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Craig Williams, Logistics Manager at Envirowales, said: “Materials handling plays a vital role in our recycling operation and we’ve been extremely impressed with the performance of our Yale fleet, in particular how well it stands up to working in an acidic environment with airborne metallic dust.

“That said, the support we receive from Briggs Equipment is an essential part of the overall package, because it is the combination of reliable equipment coupled with superb engineering and customer service support that will meet our future needs and support our business as it develops.”

During the past five years Envirowales has realised operational cost savings of around £300,000, as the Briggs solution has helped the company to reduce damage associated with the demanding application’s harsh conditions plus operator misuse and unplanned maintenance.

To maintain performance and minimise the likelihood of machine breakdown the new Yale forklifts have been modified to cope with the demanding environment. Options to help expel dust from the engines include a more open chassis design, vented hooding and a lint screen positioned in front of the radiator that can be removed and washed.

The new machines will be in use for up to 1,500 hours a year, which would ordinarily warrant three services a year, however due to the extreme nature of the application, best practice warrants four services a year. By taking a proactive approach and allocating a day a week to preventative maintenance Briggs is keeping the trucks dust free and improving uptime.

Nathan Hancock, Key Accounts Manager at Briggs Equipment, said: “By working closely with Envirowales to understand its business and the challenging nature of the recycling environment, we’ve been able to develop a materials handling solution that supports the company’s own efforts to improve productivity.

“Technology will continue to play its part, as data available via our market-leading asset management tool, BE Portal will help to improve contract management and overall communication between our two businesses while also enabling Envirowales to take decisive action to reduce damage and improve safety for its 100-strong workforce.”