Elkem is one of Norway's largest industrial companies and a world-leading producer of metals and other materials. Elkem Aluminium produces over 200,000 tonnes of aluminium at its plants in Mosjøen and Lista. A carefully considered environmental policy governs all the company's operations.
The aluminium plant in Mosjøen recently took delivery of four electric lift trucks as part of a contract with Kalmar Norge. The Kalmar ECD 60-6 machines have lifting capacities of six tonnes.
"We're in the process of standardising all rolling stock at Elkem's ten plants in Norway," reports Einar Lorentsen, maintenance engineer and vehicle purchasing manager in Mosjøen. "We have assessed and rated the main features of each category of machine. Environmental performance and ergonomics were given a high priority, and Kalmar gained the highest score for lift trucks in the 4-7 tonnes capacity range."
Transport, tools and handling
The aluminium plant in Mosjøen has an output of 145,000 tonnes a year and employs around 550 people, 90 or so of whom are maintenance or service personnel on short-term contract. Production is continuous and the plant operates every day of the year. The main products are ingots for rolling into plate and foil, and casting alloys for various types of castings.
A large number of lift trucks are used in production for loading and unloading, and for handling a variety of production tools. Terminal tractors with roller trailers are used for tasks such as transporting materials and finished products.
"Until now all our lift trucks have been diesel-driven. These included three Kalmar lift trucks, one of them with a lifting capacity of 20 tonnes," says Einar Lorentsen. "Now we are replacing two rented machines and three of our own diesel machines, and buying a total of four six-tonne electric lift trucks from Kalmar.
Several aluminium plants, some of them in Norway, also use Kalmar electric lift trucks for intensive handling applications in harsh environments. The reliability and exceptional driving environment of these machines, combined with the benefits of electric operation, are appreciated by a growing number of companies.
Electric lift trucks deliver ergonomic and environmental benefits
The company's concern for the environment is reflected in everything it does. This made it natural to replace the existing diesel machines with electric lift trucks wherever possible. It was especially desirable to eliminate exhaust fumes and noise when moving goods onboard ship and when driving indoors. The electric machines also make a significant improvement in the driving environment, as they are quieter and have lower vibration levels.
The rolling stock at Elkem's ten plants in Norway is currently undergoing a process of standardisation. In the case of fork lift trucks, the first group to be assessed, six different suppliers were considered. These companies and their products were evaluated and ranked on the basis of Elkem's criteria. High priority was given to factors linked to the environment and ergonomic design. Kalmar Industries gained the highest score and was therefore chosen as the supplier of lift trucks in the 4-7 tonnes range.
"Ergonomic design and driver comfort, together with ease of maintenance, are important factors if these machines are to work efficiently in our production plants," says Einar Lorentsen who, together with a project group representing several Elkem plants, was responsible for evaluating the lift trucks.
The new electric lift trucks equipped with Kalmar's ergonomic Spirit Delta cab open up new opportunities for efficient handling, and meet high standards of comfort and environmental performance. This is a development that is well in line with Elkem's environmental policy.