High-performance at 30 Below

Tomsk. Producing high-quality beer is not the sole mission of the Tomskoje Pivo brewery in Tomsk, Russia: the company also demands a high degree of efficiency in its production and warehouse logistics. And for that it uses counterbalanced trucks from Jungheinrich.

When the sun sets over Tomsk, things get even busier at the local brewery. For that is when the staff at Tomskoje Pivo – one of Russia’s oldest breweries – revs up production at full steam. A total of 1.6 million hectolitres of beer are brewed annually in this city located in the west Siberian lowlands, some 3,500 kilometres east of Moscow. “Then there are the other 400,000-plus hectolitres of alcohol-free beverages we produce every year, such as mineral water or kvass,” explains Vasily Russkov, Deputy General Director at Tomskoje Pivo.

Back in 1876 the German Karl Krüger established this brewery. Shortly thereafter – 130 years ago – Tomskoje Pivo moved to its current location, where it has remained ever since. Since then production volumes have developed similarly to the population in the university town of Tomsk, which went from around 50,000 residents at the end of the 19th century to well over 570,000 today.

The Tomsk-based brewery produces a wide variety of beers, from lager and pilsner to dark and top-fermented beer. The markets for these products are located primarily in western and eastern Siberia as well as central Russia. Vasily Russkov pauses for a second and then notes “it can actually be rightly said that we deliver to almost the entirety of Russia – plus Kazakhstan.”

“Quality Is Paramount”

Of course the brewery’s original target market was not nearly that large. But it can be safely said that today well over 700 people are employed in a wide range of capacities at Tomskoje Pivo – from brewing to transport and logistics, including an in-house quality assurance and research lab. Pointing to the company lab, Russkov comments that “quality is paramount here!”

These high standards involve not only beverage production, but also logistical processes at the brewery, where Jungheinrich counterbalanced stackers guarantee smooth pre- and post-production processes. “The excellent price for such an outstanding level of quality is what motivated us to make increasing use of Jungheinrich stackers for our logistical processes,” reports Russkov, who is also in charge of purchasing and logistics at Tomskoje Pivo. “This is especially true in comparison with other leading providers who are represented on our market.”

Part of the brewery’s fleet consists of Jungheinrich EFG 316k electric stackers. “The ‘k’ signifies a particularly compact stacker with an extremely tight turning radius,” explains Mark Spitsyn, Administrator of Rental and Used Equipment  at Jungheinrich in western Siberia. The advantage of the tight turning radius becomes fully apparent at the brewery, where full barrels of beer need to be readied for shipment. Two to three battery-powered stackers are permanently active here, manoeuvring back and forth in a limited amount of space.

One vehicle “concentrates” on the pallets, which arrive at the loading point via a roller conveyor. The stacker picks the first pallet up while the next one is still rolling in, then loads it on top of the second pallet. The stacker then picks up both pallets and deposits them at a specified location nearby. Stacker no. 2 now takes over, bringing the stacked pallets to a stretching machine, where they are wrapped and transported to block storage. During peak hours, a third truck is already waiting in block storage to take the pallets to the shipping zone, where they are generally loaded onto lorries.

“Like Feeding Unused Diesel Fuel Back Into the Tank”

“Our electric stackers are not only extremely manoeuvrable,” continues Mark Spitsyn, “but also consume very little energy, thanks to their state-of-the-art 3-phase AC technology and high level of efficiency.” The vehicles also feed regenerative energy from braking back into the battery, causing the Jungheinrich man to smile and make the comparison: “Imagine a car being able to feed unused diesel fuel back into the tank!”

Speaking of diesel: For transporting beer barrels and beverage crates in open areas, Tomskoje Pivo also employs Jungheinrich diesel stackers with hydrodynamic drive – so called torque converters, model DFG 320. “With their dynamic drive systems these trucks are ideal for transporting loads over medium to long distances,” comments Spitsyn. Their high-volume engines deliver high torque even at low RPM, resulting in a reduction in noise as well as an “extremely low rate of fuel consumption for this class of vehicle,” according to Spitsyn.

The engines consist of rugged industrial engines designed for use in high-performance forklifts. “These are highly reliable and have a long service life, even for particularly rough tasks,” says Spitsyn, adding that the engines were ideal for operations in a Siberian setting, with temperatures as low as minus 30° Celsius in the winter and a warm, steamy climate in the summer.

But no matter what kind of weather, work goes on at the Tomsk brewery 24/7, requiring not only rugged and high-performance vehicles, but a high degree of ergonomics as well. The whole drive train of the Jungheinrich torque converter is mounted in oscillating bearings, helping reduce the transmission of vibrations to the operator. The ample-sized operator’s cabin allows freedom of movement, and the large foot space with car-type arrangement of the pedals creates ideal conditions for our operators here.

Russkov explains however that the operators were not always of this mind: “There was some opposition at first, since our drivers were simply accustomed to using other forklifts.” But this resistance soon faded after a short period of familiarisation with the new equipment. Nowadays, says Russkov, the drivers have nothing but good things to say about Jungheinrich stackers. And this positive attitude is an important element in ensuring that logistical processes at the Tomsk brewery run smoothly and efficiently, delivering high quality – 24/7.

jak – 2013

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