Yale Material Handling helps McCain Foods reduce, eliminate lift truck batteries, battery chargers.

Want to lift truck fleet costs? Here’s a story to get charged up about.

McCain’s USA’s Appleton, Wis., plant (pictured left) is busy 24 hours a day, five days a week. It processes and ships more than 130 million pounds of frozen appetizers per year. And here are some more numbers? Appleton uses 20 electric lift trucks and three batteries per truck to stay productive not only during each shift – but also between shifts.

However, storing as many as 60 batteries on site posed certain environmental and safety hazard risks for employees. And in the midst of so much hustle-bustle activity, McCain officials were not exactly certain whether the facility was optimizing its fleet of electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) lift trucks and motorized walkies.

Last but not least, all lift trucks face some tough, challenging operations inside this frozen food facility.
Realizing that lift truck electric battery needs were probably costing the operation valuable uptime, McCain Appleton officials turned to Yale Materials Handing in Green Bay, Wis.

Yale Materials Handling– (YMH) Green Bay is one of the Midwest’s premier materials handling companies. Founded in 1985, YMH – Green Bay has expanded its locations by adding branches in Stevens Point and Marinette, Wis., to better serve its Wisconsin and Michigan clients. McCain has partnered with YMH – Green Bay since 1990.

“Two years ago, we teamed with YMH – Green Bay to help us understand and maximize our lift truck fleet’s capabilities,” says Alfredo Villarreal, McCain Foods’ regional warehouse manager. “They assisted with gathering data to help us better ascertain our needs and make the necessary adjustments for our facility to be as cost effective as possible.”

YMH – Green Bay ran time studies to help McCain indentify how long their operators were running their Yale lift trucks on a per-shift basis. The data helped synchronize McCain’s demand – in regard to usage – with a set amount of time equating to a specified number of loads. YMH – Green Bay helped McCain consolidate and eliminate extra equipment based on the number of hours the lift trucks ran. This resulted in cost savings and better facility energy efficiency.

After a review of McCain’s battery usage, YMH – Green Bay introduced new “opportunity” battery charging technology. This technology allows operators the opportunity to recharge their battery and top off its charge at any time without having to remove the battery from the lift truck.

By using opportunity battery charging, McCain no longer needed operators to charge batteries prior to their shift. With this technology, McCain eliminated 10 battery chargers and reduced the need for three batteries per truck to one battery per truck that lasted throughout the three-shift duration. As a result, McCain consolidated its total batteries from 60 to 20.

“YMH – Green Bay allowed us to change the way we charged our conventional batteries,” says Villarreal. “By moving to the new cutting-edge technology, our batteries could be charged more often in the truck without damage. The difference between an eight-hour charge time and 15 minutes during an operator’s break affects our bottom line.”

Today, the McCain Appleton plant’s lift truck fleet consists of 27 Yale lift trucks. McCain purchased two ICE lift trucks (one GLC40AF and GLP60TG respectively), three ERP040TH, four ERC050VG and nine ESC040FA electric rider lift trucks, one MPE080LE, five MPE060LF and one MPE080LC end riders and two MPW050LE motorized walkies.

“YMH – Green Bay saved us money, while increasing our equipment’s productivity,” says Villarreal. “With fewer batteries to maintain and store, our employees are truly able to dedicate their time to getting the job done. In addition, our plant’s safety and energy efficiencies have increased.”

McCain USA is a unit of McCain Foods Ltd., Florenceville, New Brunswick. A global leader in the frozen food industry, McCain operates 53 worldwide facilities and posts annual sales of more than C$6 billion,

Yale Materials Handling Corporation is a leading provider of a full line of high-quality, high-performance lft trucks (Forklifts), including electric, gas, LP-gas and diesel powered lift trucks; narrow aisle, very narrow aisle and motorized hand trucks. Yale offers comprehensive Fleet Management services, as well as Yale service, parts, financing and training. -- Yale Materials Handling Corp.

(800) 233-YALE / www.yale.com