Ibstock plc is a leading manufacturer of innovative clay and concrete building products. With 38 manufacturing plants in the UK, the business supplies the construction sector under such well-known brands as Ibstock Brick, Forticrete, Supreme, Anderton and Ibstock Kevington – generating revenue of over £390 million.
On-site safety is a top priority across all of its plants, a conviction it pursues vigorously when specifying requirements for its vast fleet of forklift trucks. In fact, to ensure the safety of its workforce the business has been instrumental in working with two forklift truck manufacturers on developing an innovative pedestrian detection and automatic braking system for reversing lift trucks.
Initially introduced on hydrostatic trucks, the system has more recently been significantly upgraded and adapted by Doosan for use on five of its torque converter, three tonne capacity D30S-7 counterbalance trucks, which were supplied to Ibstock’s Forticrete facility in Anstone near Sheffield in early 2019.
Rob Lloyd, Production Manager for Forticrete, explains the reasons for engaging with Doosan on developing the automatic braking system for torque powered forklift trucks: “We’re moving thousands of tonnes of concrete products a year between production processes, block stacking and loading vehicles. Much of the work involves rough yard duties and that demands a tough, rugged truck that is capable of providing reliable performance in a harsh environment. We found hydrostatic trucks were not best suited to the task and realised we needed the robust, heavy-lifting power of torque trucks – but, critically, we needed them to have automatic braking when reversing.”
The sophisticated pedestrian detection system automatically applies the brakes if a person or obstacle is detected in the path of a reversing vehicle. The three-stage safety system warns with an alarm and flashing lights at 9-5m from the object, automatically slows the forklift at 5-3m and at 3m the brakes are applied hard to perform an automatic controlled stop. An override button fitted to Doosan’s reverse grab handle allows the driver to proceed at a slow speed if the path can be navigated safely.
Working together with local Doosan dealer, Glosrose Engineering and control and safety specialists, Transmon Engineering, the Doosan trucks were quickly prepared and run through their paces by the team from Forticrete. The feedback was very positive, with drivers praising the responsiveness of the vehicle, the comfort of the driving position and the comprehensive range of safety features on the Doosan truck.
In addition to the standard safety features – and along with the new pedestrian detection system – the Doosan trucks were all supplied to Forticrete fitted with the ‘blue spot’ and ‘red triangle’ projected warning light systems, seatbelt interlocks, door interlocks on the cab, HEPA filters on the air conditioning to remove fine silica particles, automatic radio cut-out when reversing, key-pad driver access and flashing beacons that remain active for 15 minutes after the truck is switched off.
Together with the five Doosan D30S-7 Diesel counterbalance trucks, Glosrose also supplied a two tonne capacity Doosan B20X-7 electric counterbalance for indoor applications, handling product within the curing ovens.
“What we liked about Doosan and Glosrose was that they were keen to work with us and were easy to work with,” says Rob Lloyd. “Also, the Doosan product was renowned for its rugged and reliable performance in tough conditions – when you’re lifting one tonne packs of blocks and stacking them six high you need a powerful truck that can do the job.
“But it’s safety that’s our top priority, and importantly, on the Doosan automatic braking system the vehicle comes to a complete stop, whereas on the hydrostatic truck the similar system doesn’t stop the vehicle completely. The Doosan system is better and safer, and that’s absolutely critical to us.”