Kuna Foodservice, a food distribution center based in St. Louis, Mo., has been servicing Midwestern clients such as restaurants and country clubs for more than 90 years.
In recent years Kuna grew in product volume as its customer base grew, and it eventually needed more space. First, it expanded to a 98,000 sq. ft. distribution center that includes a refrigerated receiving dock, freezer and storage area for paper and canned goods. Next, to make best use of that space, it tried out a concept that was new to them: a moving mast reach truck from Jungheinrich.
Kuna uses the ETV 214 series, which insert and remove loads by moving their masts rather than extending or retracting their forks via a pantograph mechanism. The absence of the pantograph allows operators to more easily see through the mast and fork carriage, and the truck’s sit-down style provides greater operator comfort, which is important in applications where the operator is required to stay on the truck for longer periods of time.
Kuna purchased three of these moving mast reach trucks as well as seven electric ECR 327 walkie end rider pallet trucks to replace their existing fleet. A 24-hour operation, Kuna relies on the moving mast reach trucks during the day to stock warehouse materials and the walkies at night to fill and load product orders into trucks.
Kuna custom-ordered these lift trucks with a freezer package, headlights and a regenerative lowering package. The heated seats included in the package help keep Kuna’s operators warmer and allow them to stay in the frigid conditions longer, helping to increase overall operator productivity.
Headlights on the reach trucks help combat shadows in the freezers, enabling workers to shine light on the racks and read bin signs without having to exit the operator compartment. The regenerative mast lowering package generates electricity in the lift system when a load is lowered back to the ground. The conserved electricity is then fed back into the battery.
With energy conserved during pallet moves, the battery charge on Kuna’s new lift trucks lasts up to 12 hours, approximately four hours longer than the products previously used in the Kuna fleet. The extended battery life minimizes the lift trucks’ down time and allows two crews to work off of one charge.
A “Hot Pick” feature on the pallet trucks allows the equipment to move alongside the worker while filling orders and stops automatically at a designated distance determined by the operator’s touch. This feature has eliminated the need to hop on and off the truck to move it, significantly reducing the company’s injuries and worker compensation claims.