Baustoffwerke Havelland: Berlin, Germany

Backbone of production

Baustoffwerke-main.jpg12 solid hours of operation every day, 230 days per year, up to 5 tonnes per cycle and incredibly important for production: Baustoffwerke Havelland is a producer of building materials and, since March 2017, dependent on the Yale GDP120DC Heavy Duty Forklift Truck supplied by Yale dealership MF Gabelstapler Service GmbH. Baustoffwerke Havelland is located north-west of Berlin where it produces bricks for the building industry.

The company supplies a modular kit for the building industry. Architects send CAD data directly to the sand-lime brick manufacturer, who then produces the precision “plane-elements” ready to be assembled at the building site. Although this makes things much easier for the builder, it is a tough challenge for the producer: the plane-elements come in various sizes and widths of up to one metre. Because they are sold by the piece, palletising makes no sense: a forklift truck is required at the end of the plane-element production line. The truck grabs up to 20 elements with a total weight of up to 5 tonnes and transports the package to the company’s outdoor storage area. When it’s time for delivery to the site, the forklift picks up the specified items and places them on a lorry - round the clock, 230 days a year.

Long-term stability

This system worked well for many years, but in 2016 the company decided to introduce a back-up factor into its warehousing logistics by buying a second heavy duty forklift truck, especially since the previous model had already been in service for several years. In addition to technical details, the building materials producer also kept a careful eye on total cost. “It’s no help if the initial investment costs are low but we have high operating costs, long stand-still periods or high maintenance costs,” Olaf Lilie explains. The crucial thing here is long-term economics, which also includes the matter of service response time. Mr Lilie, “The bottom line is we need robust stability.” Which means a heavy-duty 12-tonne forklift, because the building materials company didn’t want to chance a smaller truck to handle the frequently heavy loads and risk longer break-down periods. The new truck had to be heavy duty and reliable and be able to move quickly around the grounds.

Baustoffwerke Havelland made several enquiries, received many tenders but quickly selected the Yale unit. MF Gabelstapler offered a model that was comparable with the existing pincer stacker with which they had gathered good experience over more than five years. Lilie, “We chose that which we know and like. We did not want any experiments.” They had faith in the Yale product based on past experience.

Customisation from the front line

Buying a standard forklift truck for this heavy duty work was not a suitable option for Baustoffwerke Havelland. The key feature of the GDP120DC at Havelland is the hydraulic brick clamp supplied by Steinweg Klammersysteme. The clamp is an extended version with an overall width of 230 centimetres, matching the size of the large format plane-elements, the grabs have a special coating so that they can handle unpacked and plastic-wrapped stones at the same time. An LED lamp on the grab eases the job when lighting is poor - an extra feature suggested by the truck drivers themselves.

It was a priority at Baustoffwerke Havelland to include staff suggestions when choosing this vital piece of equipment. Important aspects raised included the need to improve operator comfort and wellbeing at work: the vehicle has a seat with air suspension, an extended backrest, a lumbar support and is heated. The fully glazed cabin is fitted with a recirculating air system plus air conditioning, a reading lamp and a document shelf, all designed to ease the working environment as well as a radio for entertainment. “It was important for us that staff have a good, protected place of work,” Olaf Lilie says.

A lasting partnership

The forklift has been in service at Baustoffwerke Havelland since March 2017: its availability and its performance are just right, according to Olaf Lilie. Communications with the dealer are also efficient and straight-forward. MF Gabelstapler has maintained after sales contact with Baustoffwerke Havelland and makes all efforts to satisfy the company’s forklift truck requirements. Mr Lilie, “We feel that we are in good hands.”

What Our Customers Are Saying

"They know what they are talking about. We soon agreed with MF Gabelstapler about detailed specifications. There are no complaints about service quality."

Olaf Lilie - Technical Manager, Baustoffwerke Havelland