Cider Maker Uses Barrel-Grabbing Forklift Attachments


Photo courtesy of Simon Jarvis (via Wikimedia Commons and in the public domain)

Thatchers Cider — a fourth-generation cider maker based in Sanford, North Somerset, England — was once a sleepy, genteel apple grower that provided area farmers with a refreshing beverage.

But with the sudden boom in popularity in cider drinks, ales and other products, managers at Thatchers Cider suddenly found themselves having to fulfill orders from throughout the country, from rural pubs to city bars. Managers quickly understood that they would need to find a way to increase productivity at their 110-year-old facility.

Thatcher’s owners turned to B&B Attachments, the UK’s leading supplier of forklift attachments, for help. The company supplied the cider maker with five innovative keg clamps, two double pallet handlers and a push/pull forklift attachment.

Keg Clamps Make Movement Easier

The Kegmaster clamp attachments allow the forklift operator to get a secure grip on kegs and casks and facilitate easy pallet handling without the removal of the center tine. They also provide the operator with improved visibility when approaching the load, improving driver confidence and ensuring the safe and secure handling of kegs and casks.

The clamps, which are made by Kaup Equipment, decrease the risk of damage to trucks and other doorways, reduce maintenance costs and ensure less shock while loading kegs onto trucks.

Double Pallet Handler Doubles the Load

The Kaup double pallet handler attachment was designed specifically for moving several pallets at the same time. It can be quickly and easily altered to handle either single or pairs of palletized products.

The double pallet handler has two sets of hydraulically-operated forks, which function in a synchronized way so that the center pickup of the load is guaranteed. This action provides a quick and efficient way to handle pallets of kegs and casks.

The push-pull attachment allows optimum performance when handling materials on slip sheets.

Attachments Streamline Operations

In all, the new forklift attachments have significantly streamlined and improved operations at the Thatchers Cider facility so that the company is better able to respond to the enormous uptake in orders, according to Jeff Janes, the company’s distribution manager.

“We are delighted with all the attachments provided and the dedicated service B&B Attachments has delivered to us over the years of working together,” James told Materials Handling World magazine. “The attachments provided by B&B are an integral part of our operation, enabling fast and reliable loading, unloading and end of line support. They have been chosen for their excellent visibility, optimum performance, maximum productivity and reliable operation.”

Thatchers Cider makes its product from apples grown on its own 360-acre orchard, as well as with fruit purchased from other apple growers in the area. It is known within the cider industry for pioneering the method of growing its apple trees in a hedgerow style.

The company currently uses five JCB Teletruk forklifts and four Linde counteralance forklifts to handle its range of premium apple ciders that it sells in both draft and packaged formats.

B&B Attachments is a 30-year-old company that uses 15 field-based service engineers to provide post-order service for its clients. It is the official distributor of Kaup products in the UK.



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