Use the best to produce the best – that’s the simple strategy for success adopted by Australian manufacturer Borg. This leading producer of melamine panels and components for joinery applications may not be a household name, but its products are in hundreds of thousands of homes and commercial premises.
Borg is the leading manufacturer of cabinet doors in Australia, and also produces a range of melamine panels, decorative melamine board products and shelving, chiefly under the Parbury and Polytec brands. Key customers include medium to large secondary manufacturers, decorative material and panel resellers and distributors and its own Polytec distribution business. Borg operates manufacturing sites in New South Wales at Charmhaven, Somersby and at Oberon. The Oberon facility manufactures medium density fibre board (MDF), Ultraprime MDF Mouldings and Readicote Door Skins. The three sites which are supported by a 25,000 square metre warehouse and distribution facility at Somersby are long-term users of Linde forklifts, and have recently begun a switch from diesel to electric power.
“I started the business in 1990 and our association with the Linde brand pretty much stretches back to the company’s beginnings,” Michael Borg said. “We use our forklifts very intensively, at some sites for three shifts a day, seven days a week and at other places for five days per week. They move raw materials and finished products around in our manufacturing facilities and also meet our material handling needs in our warehousing and distribution operations.”
The company buys its equipment outright and employs its own mechanics to service it. Each forklift is checked weekly under a maintenance regime which extends to washing and painting as well as routine upkeep and repairs.
“Experience has shown us that outright ownership is the best option for our level of equipment usage,” Michael Borg said. “Most of the trucks we are changing over now are up around 20,000 to 24,000 hours and they are five or six years old. They have all spent their working lives carrying near maximum loads.”
After two decades Michael Borg still recalls what attracted him to Linde for the company’s material handling equipment needs from the outset.
“Because we are a manufacturing company we buy production machinery and so we frequently review the best that is available around the world, particularly from Italy and Germany,” he said. “Whatever we buy we try to get the best, because we know it will be working extremely hard in our hands. We believe Linde represents the best of what is available in the forklift market globally. In our demanding environment the others just won’t stand up. They might last three or four years, but after that they won’t be much use and before that their maintenance and running costs will be a lot more than Linde’s.”
Borg sites previously used Linde diesel forklifts with load capacities from two to five tonnes, while the Oberon business acquired from Carter Holt Harvey in 2010 had legacy Toyota equipment. More than a year ago Borg made a crucial decision to progressively switch from diesel to electric forklifts, largely based on projected energy costs. It has since built up experience with six Linde 387 series two tonne capacity electric forklifts and an advanced PosiCharge charging solution.
“We’ve gone to electric forklifts because that is where we believe the future lies, especially with the savings you can achieve with maintenance costs and fuel, not to mention the low emissions outcome,” Michael Borg said. “With Linde electric forklifts there isn’t much that needs attention maintenance-wise and the PosiCharge system is working extremely well for us in our three shift work environment. The trucks are never just sitting around waiting to get charged. If they are not in use they go on charge and when the operators are on their breaks they put the forklifts on charge. Because we’ve not had electric trucks without a PosiCharge system there are no old habits to break. The operators just know that they need to put their trucks on charge.”
We believe Linde represents the best of what is available in the forklift market globally. In our demanding environment the others just won’t stand up.
The PosiCharge system maximises the already outstanding productivity of Linde electric forklifts and provides on-vehicle fast charging ability, eliminating the need for battery changes and dramatically reducing OH&S issues. Intelligent chargers at the heart of the system measure temperature and state of charge and use algorithms to automatically calculate how much charge to provide, without heat stress on the battery. This enables charging to take place safely at up to three times the rate achieved by a conventional charger.
The combined solution of latest generation Linde 387 and 388 series electric forklifts and the PosiCharge installations will also provide whole of life cost reductions due to maximised availability. A cleaner manufacturing environment due to the absence of particulate emissions is also a significant outcome. In staged deliveries over six months Borg sites at Somersby and Oberon will take delivery of 12 Linde E50/600 five tonne capacity electric forklifts from the recently released, high performance 388 series. The Oberon site will also get an E25/600 forklift with paper roll clamp from Linde’s 387 series and six 3.5 tonne capacity E35 387s will be delivered in September to Somersby and distribution branches around the country.
All of these Linde electric forklifts represent the state of the art for energy efficiency, safety and durability. The trucks up to 3.5 tonne capacity feature Linde’s unique combi-axle, allowing them to turn like a three wheel truck. Overhead tilt cylinders on all the Borg forklifts provide additional safety when lifting heavy loads up high.
“We have over 30 Linde diesel forklifts and we have liked their hydrostatic drive and their efficiency, but we are changing over to Linde electric forklifts and we’ll be keeping these new forklifts for a very long time,” Michael Borg said. “The smaller Linde electric forklifts which we have had for a year have been awesome and the operators all love them. With Linde we know we are getting the latest technology and even when you factor in the cost of a new battery after five or so years we calculate that the electric forklifts will be very much cheaper to own and to run.”