Tradition. Innovation. Vision. The motto of Silbitz Group truly reflects both the company’s history and its forward-thinking approach. Since the establishment of its Rasberg foundry in 1896 the company has expanded, with three foundries and a mechanical machining facility across four sites in Germany and Slovakia.
Offering fast, high quality and reliable fulfilment from design to completion, Silbitz Group provides customers with a broad spectrum of services within industries including railway technology, machine tools, and wind power. Innovative implementation of research results and development is the main focus of the company, with improved logistics between the foundry and their network of customers being one of the key elements to meet their strategy. Yale Europe Materials Handling has been a part of Silbitz Group’s innovative journey for the past 20 years.
Carsten Herzer, Strategic Buyer at Silbitz Group explained, “though we have been a satisfied customer of Yale for over two decades, we saw the opportunity to follow best practice before making a large investment, and reviewed our truck fleet across all plants of the Silbitz Group for the first time. Our choice was made according to the total cost and total benefit principle. After analysing all proposals, we were pleased to see that Yale continues to offer the most overall value compared to costs.”
Yale was able to provide the solutions to meet the specific needs of the company. In August and September 2019, Yale dealer HFT Hebe- und Fördertechnik GmbH provided over 100 trucks to Silbitz Group across its four locations on a 72-month lease agreement with full service. HFT Hebe- und Fördertechnik worked closely with Silbitz Group to understand the needs of the three new locations, and using its expertise from supplying the foundry at the Silbitz site, recommended a solution ideally suited for each plant’s individual requirements.
As a result, numerous load capacities, attachments and equipment were adapted to meet current and future production requirements. Tailored solutions were found for numerous problems in order to improve future work in the plants. For example, the company’s Zeitz facility selected the GDP16EC12 counterbalance truck, which increased the load-bearing capacity from 12 to 16 tonnes. This means that the truck can now move significantly more parts and the bottleneck in crane loading is reduced. In many cases, the fleet has been standardised, thereby significantly reducing the variety of models. This enables more flexible use and easier interchangeability of the trucks.
“The trucks were individually coordinated with the purchasing department and the supplier to meet our needs at the Zeitz plant. This means that tasks can now be completed faster and more efficiently,” said Marc Spilke, Head of Maintenance and Technology at the Zeitz plant.
As well as securing the future viability of all manufacturing plants of the company group, the new fleet also demonstrates how seriously Silbitz Group is taking safety in the workplace – an important requirement in the tender process that supported the selection case for Yale. New LED technology is used for the headlights, which brightens up the work area and aisles. Cameras, monitors and panoramic mirrors have also been installed in the inside of the truck to assist operators.
Sensors have been fitted to the roof of the trucks to automatically recognise the area it enters, which consequently reduces speed when necessary. For the paint booths in the Stassfurt plant, four trucks were specially modified with the Pyroban ATEX explosion protection. This means that these electric trucks are now shielded and can be operated even in the vicinity of paint and dust mist. The Silbitz Group also selected Yale blue LED Pedestrian Awareness Light for use in their plants to aid pedestrians in seeing the trucks, particularly in dark or noisy environments. The red lines projected onto the floor provide an additional reminder for pedestrians to keep away from the truck.
The Silbitz Group fleet features the latest engine and drive technology for LPG and diesel engines which are certified according to the strict WLTP standard, which has significantly reduced fuel consumption. Adblue devices are used to further reduce exhaust emissions, keeping the burden on the environment as low as possible. As a technical innovation to reduce fuel consumption, the forklifts have an automatic shutdown that switches the engine off after three minutes of idling. “Through all measures to reduce consumption, the Silbitz Group will substantially reduce levels of CO2 emissions over a period of six years and significantly reduce fuel costs. The new fleet will help the Silbitz Group to achieve their goals for the DIN EN ISO 50001: 2018 certification,” said Energy Management Officer, Andreas Kühne.
The latest technology is also used to manage the fleet of trucks, with the Yale Vision fleet management tool allowing all trucks to be managed centrally. Driver activation is also controlled, since all forklifts can only be started with an operator key card, ensuring that the truck is only used by authorised drivers. If damage does occur, the built-in sensors detect this and automatically reports it, enabling repairs to be planned quickly and reducing equipment downtime.
“We’re proud to continue our working relationship of twenty years with Silbitz Group,” said Jens Assmuth, Branch Manager, HFT Hebe- und Fördertechnik GmbH. “It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that we would win the tender; we had to demonstrate that Yale continues to provide the best solution for the company’s requirements, and had the flexibility in its solutions to provide each of the locations with a fleet that meet its individual needs. Through our understanding of how Silbitz Group operates, we have been able to offer them a solution that not only aids work efficiency, but also keeps energy efficiency at its core.”