Time is money, and any business needs to run efficiently, completing as many tasks as possible in the shortest time possible. That is why you need reliable equipment that will not stop working in the middle of a shift for a battery change.

Excellent battery life is what Jungheinrich offers with pride to satisfied clients all over the country. Their range of forklifts, for instance, boasts lithium-ion batteries that deliver long lasting power for less downtime and improved efficiency.

The Fruit Farm Group packhouse in Piketberg is one of Jungheinrich’s contented customers.

The Fruit Farm Group is one of South Africa’s biggest fruit exporters. The company owns a collection of production sites that include packhouses and farms worldwide.
Piketko is a business unit of The Fruit Farm Group, based in Piketberg in the Western Cape province of South Africa. This facility is a packaging and cooling area that packs apples and pears for the group’s own fruit farms, but they also cool citrus and table grapes for other farms in the area.

“Our path crossed with Jungheinrich seven years ago,” says Riaan Swanepoel, General Manager at Piketko. “Back then, the use of lithium-ion batteries just started, and we were used to the brand of forklifts that already operated here.”

The forklift can extend up to two metres and is capable of lifting loads in various ways.

A new dawn: less downtime with Jungheinrich Lithium-ion powered forklifts

“With the previous brand, it was the old way of working by stopping to change forklift batteries every seven or eight hours when they went dead,” he adds. Riaan explains that this process was extremely time-consuming: Firstly because of the time it takes to change the battery, and secondly, the time lost when a battery goes down without warning and work stops for that machine.

Now it is much easier. The forklifts have a better battery life, and they can easily be charged once the worker’s shift is done. That way it is ready for another laborious day tomorrow. There is also no need for extra batteries either.

With the new brand of forklifts, machines can charge in the charging bay after a full day of uninterrupted work. It is ready for its driver when he comes on shift again.

“A representative of the company came to visit us. At first, I thought Jungheinrich? I have never heard of them,” Riaan laughs. But he listened because the longer-lasting batteries sounded like an excellent alternative. “We started by evaluating it first, but the difference was obvious. Now it is seven years later and we cannot be happier.

“We use the forklifts for almost all of our work: unloading trucks from the farm, moving boxes to and from the sorters, lifting and stacking pallets, moving pallets of boxes across our cold rooms, and finally loading it onto trucks again when the fruit goes to market.

“There is a total of fourteen forklifts that work permanently from January to December. These 2-tonne lifters are ideal because some our products, like the pallets of pears, weigh 1,3 tonnes.”

Moving pallets of fruit from one fridge to the next is a necessary task that cannot be interrupted.

Moving, lifting, transporting … this MC lithium-ion powered forklift from Jungheinrich does it all.

Versatility and around-the-clock service from Jungheinrich

“The arrangement we have with Jungheinrich is for long term rental,” Riaan explains. Because of the rental agreement, Piketko recently received a new fleet of machines that gives them the best of Jungheinrich. This is top-of-the-range forklifts with the latest technology. He says that if the machines are used correctly, the batteries can easily last for up to 14 hours, sometimes even more. “In spite of loadshedding, we make up for lost time. The batteries even charge quicker.”

Added convenience for Piketko is the fact that Jungheinrich has a workshop on the same premises.

When there are any issues – which is a rarity – the forklift is parked in the workshop and another machine is temporarily issued. This means that work doesn’t have to wait during those circumstances either.

“Their aftersales service is excellent,” Riaan exclaims. “I think Piketko was one of the largest packhouses in the area that gave them a chance and they grabbed it with both hands.

“Communication between the packhouse and Jungheinrich’s finance department about the number of units used and for which times, is very useful. If I need more, I can ask for additional units.”

Because it is a rental, the supplier is responsible for services and repairs. The packhouse only needs to cover the cost of tyres or damages caused by a driver.

The workshop in Piketberg additionally offers all clients in the Western and Northern Cape a place from which machines can be serviced.

Thanks to the Jungheinrich workshop on the premises, Riaan Swanepoel of the Fruit Farm Group packhouse in Piketberg knows that he will always receive speedy service. Renting units also means when one needs to be serviced, there is always another one supplied.

For more information about Jungheinrich’s lithium-ion powered forklifts, visit their website.