Plant & Works Engineering
Cutting the carbon footprint
Published:  18 January, 2024

Bachy Soletanche has announced it recently switched from diesel to electric forklifts at its manufacturing site in Burscough, Lancashire, as part of a companywide plan to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030.

Bachy Soletanche had been using diesel trucks for many years. But after demoing a truck supplied by its local Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks distributor, it was clear that the Mitsubishi EDiA electric counterbalance truck was the way forward.

“It was time for us to move on from diesel, as the company is taking many steps reduce our carbon footprint,” said Steve Egan, Maintenance Supervisor at the Bachy Soletanche Burscough site. “We manufacture tools that are used in the geotechnical industry, and we have a busy 9-acre site. The small turning circle and manoeuvrability on the EDiA trucks was a good selling point for us, as was the electric differential lock as it reduces wheel spin. There is good visibility through the mast and around the truck too, which helps the operators to maintain awareness of the load and the surroundings.”

Bachy Soletanche now has two Mitsubishi 3-tonne EDiA EX forklifts, which are used to carry loads in and out of a service workshop on site, as well as a Mitsubishi 5-tonne EDiA XL used in the yard to unload lorries.

With driver comfort a top priority, the 5-tonne forklift includes air conditioning to support all-weather working.

Kevin Gorman, Sales Director of the local Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks distributor said: “Every truck has been fitted with an accumulator to reduce load bouncing. The concrete yard is uneven in places, so when the trucks drive over bumps, the accumulator reduces load bouncing and minimises risk of a lost load. Weight indicators were also added to better inform the operators so that they don’t overload the truck. All trucks have side shifting fork positioners to take the strain away from the operator and allow for accurate loading. To support sustainability, Bachy Soletanche specified biodegradable hydraulic oil.”

Blue spotlights and safety zone lights were added to the EDiA trucks to alert pedestrians to the trucks’ presence and enhance safety, plus anti-collision software was installed to encourage operator accountability.

“We use a key system so we can register any knocks and bumps and it shows us who was driving,” said Egan. “It means the operators are more inclined to take care of the forklifts.”

It has been a smooth transition to electric at Bachy Soletanche and the team has been pleasantly surprised.

“The charging process has been easier than we expected. It doesn’t interrupt operations. The trucks are used almost every day, but not continuously, so we only have to charge them approximately once a week,” says Egan. “We use the eco power mode which helps save on battery life.

“Importantly the operators like the EDiA trucks. They think they are really comfortable to drive and easy to get on and off of. Plus the trucks are really quiet and it has reduced pollution in the area. Kevin and the team have been great to work with. They’re always on hand when we need them.”