26 March 2015, 14:50
Bendi once again took centre stage at the FLTA Awards for Excellence, with the Bendi Order Picker winning the prestigious Innovation Award.
Since 1995, the Awards has served as a “Pick of the Year” for materials handling products and services, rewarding those who strive to raise standards throughout the fork lift truck industry; making Bendi a truly worthy winner.
As the son of Freddy Brown, one of the industries most influential and charismatic inventors, it comes as no surprise that Simon Brown, Bendi Managing Director, has gone on to become a ‘chip off the old block’ with his own award winning invention – the Bendi Order Picking Articulated Forklift Truck.
FLTA chief executive Peter Harvey said: “This Award is bestowed upon the company which – through votes cast by the truck-buying public – has launched the most imaginative and genius product of the past 12 months; and the Bendi Order Picker certainly was a popular and well deserved winner”
The FLTA Awards were held for the first time, at The International Centre in Shropshire – the birthplace of the British Industrial Revolution; so quite apt that a revolutionary British manufacturer won the coveted Innovation award!
So where did Simon Brown first get the idea for the Bendi Order Picker? “It was actually during a visit to a large Bendi customer,” commented Simon. “I was walking the warehouse with the customer, a leading wholesaler of toiletries, and noted inefficiencies in the picking operation, primarily when it came to replenishment. That was back in 2012 and the Bendi Order Picker is now in production at our factory in Redditch; so to win an award, which is voted for by the industry and the truck-buying public, is great honour and one I was proud to receive on behalf of the Bendi Team.
Order Picking with a Twist!
With the demand for next-day deliveries now becoming the norm, customers are moving a larger proportion of their available floor space over to picking rather than bulk storage. Whilst most picking operations are carried out with great efficiency, there remains a sticking point when an order picker picking at ground level reaches an empty pallet location. The operative will put out a call for the reach truck to bring down a pallet from the second level, which interrupts the picking process and causes unnecessary delays or missed picks. It was here that the idea for an articulated order picking truck was born.
A Bendi Order Picker can pick like any other stand-on order picker, with however, two distinct advantages: Firstly, it retains the normal function of the Bendi so it can stack pallets to height within narrow aisles. Normally order pickers can only order pick but they can do this in a very narrow aisle, however they cannot stack pallets and another machine is required to lift the pallet from the racks and place it into a location ready for the items to be picked. Traditionally this has been a reach truck that requires a 2.8-3m aisle to turn and stack the pallets. This extra space costs money.
The Bendi Order Picker is the first truck designed to do “Self Replenishment”.
The Bendi Order Picker has two pallet handling locations and as such the operator can pick and replenish a location without having to call another machine for assistance or multi handle the picking pallet to get the replenishment pallet. As no other replenishment trucks are required, the Bendi can take advantage of its aisle performance allowing two great benefits:
• A near 50% reduction in the wasted aisle space
• A more efficient order picking route
Traditionally as aisles are circa 3m wide, order pickers either spend their time zigzagging from side to side or they pick up one side and down the other. This has necessitated the need for two trucks to pass in the aisle as no one machine could do all the work in one aisle and blocking it off for one or other of the functions is too slow and time consuming.
As an order picking truck, the machine is required to lend itself to the stop start nature of picking, locating, scanning and searching and needs to be easy to get on and off with a comfortable low level entry and either a standing platform or semi seated arrangement. The Bendi Order Picker has both and this leap from the traditional seated articulated trucks has laid way for Bendi to offer the first stand on articulated truck. Gone are the traditional automotive style controls in favour of electric steering and fingertip controls.
Traditionally the articulated truck has been much like any counterbalance or other forward facing machine to reverse, however the stand on feature of the truck now allows the operator to turn through 180 degrees and face forwards whilst reversing giving unrivalled vision and thus increasing safety and operating efficiencies.