Diesel-free Warehouse – New Hubtex GTR-X 330 in Sandomierz
In April 2019, on behalf of NSG Pilkington Polska in Sandomierz, Nijman/Zeetank introduced the Diesel-free Warehouse project, which involved replacing all diesel-powered warehouse vehicles with electric ones.
The project was received enthusiastically by the Management Board of NSG Pilkington Polska and is being gradually implemented. Given its high cost, the project is multi-stage and will take place over a long period of time. The main goal of the project is to improve the working environment for all production workers at NSG Pilkington and Nijman/Zeetank warehouse workers, by eliminating vehicles that emit exhaust fumes and by reducing CO2 emissions. Additionally, Nijman/Zeetank focused on improving the safety of operations as well as the comfort and ergonomics of the operators’ workstations.
The first stage was to design, build and launch a new battery room to allow safe charging of batteries for all vehicles and forklifts used in the warehouse. At the same time, Nijman/Zeetank ordered and introduced a fleet of new electric forklifts with a lifting capacity between 3.5 and 8 tons. This stage was successfully completed.
Replacement of Hubtex vehicles
It was then time to replace two highly specialized Hubtex vehicles with the new electric GTR-X 330 HP. That stage of the project required an individual and special approach, many design changes, as well as meticulous verification of numerous details due to the working conditions of these vehicles (the transport of glass inside and outside the production and warehouse hall); additionally, the inclination of the driveways to the entrance doors of the warehouse had to be considered. That, plus problems with the availability of electronic materials and components, resulted in a longer delivery time for these vehicles than anticipated. Fortunately, the new Hubtex-GTRs (GTR = Glass Transporter) were recently delivered to Sandomierz, where they replaced two previous-generation diesel-powered vehicles. Each of the new Hubtex transporters are equipped with one high-capacity battery on each lift and one spare battery, so that they can operate continuously without unnecessary interruptions 24 hours a day,7 days a week, all year long.
The transporters are equipped with many safety systems, such as proximity sensors that warn the operator when the vehicle is approaching an obstacle, as well as a supporting camera that helps the operator when picking up the glass racks from the production line or from the warehouse. The vehicle also has Safety Blue Lights which face both directions of its movement. The operator’s cabin includes a comfortable swivel seat with an operator presence sensor and a seat belt. Inside the cabin, there is also a control panel and a screen showing the image from the camera located at the other end of the Hubtex.
One of the biggest challenges was to develop a new drive solution allowing the vehicle to climb inclines of 3 degrees. That is because the main entrance to the hall is entered from the outside by a ramp with a significant slope. Another crucial element was the selection of drive wheels that would be suitable for operation inside and outside the halls. The wheels also had to be able to withstand driving with a heavy load over a railway crossing located on the premises of the factory in Sandomierz.
The tests carried out by the manufacturer at the factory in Fulda, Germany and in the presence of Nijman/Zeetank employees confirmed that our and our customer’s expectations and requirements were successfully met. The transporter easily climbed a slope of 5 degrees with a load exceeding 33 tons! An additional benefit was a noticeable reduction in the noise levels emitted by the transporter compared to the old diesel version, making its operation more user-friendly.
We hope that all operators enjoy using the new Hubtex transporters and, of course, a safe working environment!