Carpet Boom boost for Invicta…
From fashionable flooring to artificial grass, the demand for boom attachments has never been stronger, and is helping to demonstrate the versatility of the forklift attachment market.
Attachment specialists, Invicta, are working on an order for their 70th carriage mounted carpet pole of 2016, an impressive feat for a product that can last up to a decade.
New competition in the high street has undoubtedly had an effect on demand, but the handling of carpets, or more strictly speaking ‘rolled product’, shows little sign of abating.
“It may look like a simple product,” says Invicta’s managing director, Peter Sharpe, “but it’s easy to misuse the attachments, stressing the load and creating potentially hazardous situations. Uneven surfaces and lateral movement add stress, so the important thing is to ensure the equipment is correctly specified.”
With booms, weight distribution is all important. Standard stocked Invicta booms are rated to carry products up to 600kgs at load centres of 2500mm, but racking protection can also increase the gap from the carriage back plate to the start of the load by up to 300mm.
“The effect is to push the load further away,” adds Peter, “putting additional stresses into the back plate and shrink ring assembly, this here the quality matters. With a 3m pole carrying a 4m carpet or a 3.7m pole carrying a 5m carpet, a quarter of the length of the carpet is self-supporting. That’s fine, but we have experienced where this is exceeded the cardboard core will potentially collapse, crease the carpet, and effectively ruin it.”
Designing and manufacturing in the UK allows Invicta to develop products to suit their practical application in the market, where attachment quality and reliability generally trumps price and availability. In the North East, Frank’s The Flooring Store operates a fleet of hybrid Still forklifts at its Shildon base, with Invicta carpet boom attachments. The company brings in product from around the world and delivers across the UK. Being able to deliver in 48 hours or less is critical, as customers may have emptied their living rooms, bedrooms, or whole house in readiness of a delivery.
“Companies like ours operate long hours, so it is crucial that to have equipment which is fit for purpose,” says Jo Lupton, who oversees operations. “Because we have a highly successful retail operation, we can use special offers or pricing changes to predict the workflow or flatten peaks and troughs. The aim is to keep the throughput constant and steady. It used to be that the biggest peak would occur towards the end of the year. Now, we see the mid-summer growing season where the spike is, due to the demand for artificial grass.”
With garden centres, builders merchants and other businesses finding a market for artificial turf, vinyl, and rolled goods, in addition to the carpet industry, Invicta has developed a fork mounted version, added knurling to grip lighter loads, and created a low profile alternative, to help with vision or height restrictions.
“Businesses with smaller fleets like the flexibility of a fork mounted attachment,” concludes Peter. “Operators can drive into the fork pockets, just like a pallet, attach the heel pin retention for safety, and away they go. If you have a mixed load requirement and only one or two trucks in your fleet, it helps to not have one permanently tied up as a boom truck.”