Winery increases fruits of labour with custom-built forklift
When boutique winery Ocean Eight decided to retire its 30-year-old ‘relic’ of a forklift, it turned to Toyota to build a customised replacement to meet its material handling needs.
Mike Aylward, general manager and winemaker, said Ocean Eight’s forklift is used for general warehouse duties but takes on a more demanding and critical role during harvesting at the vineyard, which is situated on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
“The forklift is very much used in the processing side of our winery. Fruit is delivered in 500 kg bins, which the forklift lifts and then rotates into our grape press or grape destemmer. As we process around 90 tonnes of fruit a year, it is vital we have a reliable forklift doing this work,” said Aylward.
“We only get one crack at it, and when the grapes are ready to be harvested they must come off straight away. There is no time to waste when making high-quality wine.”
Where previously carrying out these two tasks meant a time-consuming process of attaching or detaching the bin tipper, the new Toyota 8FBN25 8-Series battery-electric forklift has been fitted with a custom-built attachment that delivers significant benefits in the busy harvesting season.
Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) engineers created a quick-release mechanism for the bin tipper attachment, so the forklift retains its full range of features with the attachment on or off.
“This adaptability is a real plus when we are in the heat of harvest,” Aylward said.
TMHA Melbourne Area Sales Manager Grant Owen said the custom-made forklift has improved efficiencies at the winery since it was previously a difficult process to swap between the bin tipper and normal forklift duties.
“By being able to quickly remove the bin tipper they’ve increased the forklift’s capacity from 1.3 to 2.3 tonnes, so they’re very happy that they can now get the full range of uses they need from their forklift,” said Owen.
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