Mitsubishi EDiA trucks help leading pipe manufacturer reduce costs and emissions

Pioneering composite steel drainage pipe manufacturer, AquaSpira, recently unveiled ambitious plans to reduce its embodied carbon by half and has taken a significant step in achieving it by switching from IC engine to electric forklifts at its site in Nelson, Lancashire.

When the company’s three trucks were due for replacement, AquaSpira contacted local Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks dealer Jofson for support.

AquaSpira Managing Director Neil Wallace explained: “We are investing in a series of initiatives to de-carbonise our production, inline with our R&D innovations to de-carbonise through pipe design and sensors. This has included the use of recycled materials in our manufacturing, the installation of solar panels and reducing our road mileage. It’s all about making sensible decisions for the good of both our company and our workforce.

“Choosing electric forklifts will help us cut not only our carbon footprint but also our running costs. This work supports the huge strides we are making in helping housing and commercial developers and the transport industry considerably reduce their impact on the environment through their drainage specifications.”

Small but tough

Jofson Sales Manager Lee Whittaker worked with AquaSpira to source the right trucks for their operations, recommending three models from the award-wining Mitsubishi EDiA range– renowned for its agility, strength and state-of-the-art ergonomics.

Given the different requirements across the site AquaSpira acquired a 2-tonne EDiA EM FB20AN for use in the warehouse, a 2.5-tonne EDiA EX FB25CN for general purpose work such as unloading and loading, and a 3-tonneEDiA EX FB30CN for heavy-duty lifting of steel coils and finished pipes.

Lee Whittaker said: “All EDiA models are compact and have a >100-degreesteering axle with dual drive motorswhich guarantees a very small turning circle, making them ideally-suited to working in tight spaces such as the warehouse, or out in the yard where they are required to manoeuvre around equipment and materials.

“These trucks are lifting large metal and plastic loads which have a tendency to slip and move, so extra care is needed. EDiA has a Sensitive Drive System that ensures smooth movement and its Intelligent Cornering System judges angles at the very start of a turn and automatically optimises speed for greater stability.

“EDiA has exceptional all-round, 360-degree visibility thanks to Scandinavian design principles, while the ECO and PRO modes allow the motor parameters to be adjusted to suit each operator’s capability and the task undertaken. All these features add up to give operators greater confidence and control when handling difficult loads day in, day out, further reducing the risk of accidents.”

A fleet management system was also added, which provides pin-code access for authorised use and pre-shift check programmes.

“The system ensures greater accountability among operators as we know who is working on what truck and when,” says Leigh Cain, Transport Supervisor at AquaSpira.

“We chose some really useful safety features for the trucks, including a rear blue spotlight, and a rear handle and horn, all of which help alert pedestrians working nearby so they keep a safe distance from the truck.”

Clean and quiet

The new EDiA trucks are used to cover a large site over varied and sometimes uneven terrain, but have proved equal to every challenge.

Leigh Cain said: “The operators like the new trucks and the fact that we can adjust a lot of the truck settings means every task is handled with ease. The noise is the biggest difference we noticed. The EDiA forklifts are very quiet, and as there are no emissions it is much safer for anyone working around them, especially in the warehouse.”

As well as supporting leaner and cleaner operations, electric trucks have the added benefit of being future-proof, given the impending end to red diesel subsidies that could see the running costs of diesel trucks soar.