New STILL MX-X for Middleton Paper Company’s newly built WALSALL WAREHOUSE.

Middleton Paper Company, one of the UK’s leading paper processors, is the first company in the UK to take delivery of the new STILL MX-X series modular VNA combi-order picker. Supplied directly by STILL’s Midlands based UK headquarters at Bilston, the new trucks are helping to achieve a despatch lead time of just 30 minutes.


Replacing the proven STILL MX10, 13-3, 15-3 and 15-4 models, the new STILL MX-X has been developed on a modular platform design enabling users to configure the machines precisely to the demands of the application. The many variations possible with this new platform provide customers with highly cost effective solutions.


Middleton Paper Company, part of the Middleton Group, is one of few companies in the UK that can convert mill stock into packaged paper to supply the merchant trade, and has experienced increased growth since its premises at junction 9 of the M6 motorway were built in 2001. Mr Jason Middleton, Joint Managing Director for Middleton Paper, commented: “When we began processing at the new site, production was approximately 54,000 tonnes, and by the end of 2003, our figures increased to in excess of 70,000 tonnes. The new warehouse, which was finished earlier this year, is in response to increased demand for our paper product.”


The Middleton Group began with rather humble origins as a family run fish and chip shop during the 1960’s. Since then, the group has become a national conglomerate of six different companies, over 250 employees and £30million turnover, yet still retaining its family run principles.


Processing at the Walsall site begins with the arrival of reels of raw paper being delivered to the goods-in holding facility, where it is taken directly to the two main cutting lines. The paper can be cut down to standard or bespoke sizes before being packaged to the customer’s requirement. Once packaged, the finished paper is ready for racking in the newly built warehouse where the STILL MX-Xs take over.


Responsible for selecting the right equipment to ensure the finished paper is handled efficiently is Mr Steve Middleton, Operations Manager.


“When planning the new warehouse we wanted to make the most of the space available from the outset, so we decided to increase the height as well as floor space over our existing warehouse,” he said. “While this meant we could store a lot more on site, it also meant we needed new VNA trucks to cope with the height of the racking.


“After getting in touch with many different warehouse equipment manufacturers I finally decided on the STILL product. Thanks to STILL’s new modular chassis, the MX-X was the only truck which could achieve lifting our desired weight to our required height and stay within our budget,” said Steve.


The STILL MX-X series offers a host of options, including rated capacities from 500kg to 1500kg scaleable in 100kg increments, five mast modules scaleable in 500mm increments providing lift heights to 15 metres, four chassis lengths and three types of driver cabin.


Middleton Paper’s new warehouse has increased its holding capacity to over 12,000 tonnes. “We need such a huge warehouse because of the nature of our business. We process a vast amount of different paper sizes, grades and qualities, and have to hold minimum quantities in anticipation of orders,” Steve said, adding: “we also wanted the ability to offer our customers storage space, providing them with increased service.”


The lead-time from order to despatch can be as little as thirty minutes, highlighting the need for fast and efficient materials handling equipment. “We need efficient and reliable machines in order to maintain our standard of service,” said Jason. “We are currently working towards ISO 9001:2000 accreditation, and this latest investment in new warehouse and handling equipment takes us another step towards achieving that goal,” he added.


In today’s health and safety critical working environment, STILL believes nothing can be left to chance, and as a company, has always invested heavily in the design of safer forklift and warehouse handling equipment. “I’m particularly impressed with the built in safety features of the new MX-X,” said Jason. “It’s good to know that our new trucks are not only more efficient, but also safer to use,” he said.


The STILL MX-X’s box-type mast is very rigid and provides high stability and resistance to twisting at height. Additionally, mast bracings are fitted as standard on mast heights of 4.9 metres and above. These lateral and crosswise box-sections have been developed as design elements and endow the MX-X with an outstandingly stylish appearance as well as additional strength and stability.


Mr Mike Marshall, UK Manager for STILL’s International Systems Division comments, “STILL is the leading manufacturer throughout Europe in VNA systems and is able to provide the end user with highly cost effective solutions. STILL’s International Systems Division enables us to sit down with the customer and evaluate the design of the truck to maximise usability within a given application. The new MX-X has 60% fewer parts than the outgoing model and 14 patented parts making it more reliable, more energy efficient and more productive than conventional VNA trucks.”


“We are very pleased to be the first company to take delivery of the new STILL MX-X,” said Jason, “and an added advantage is the fact that the STILL UK headquarters is only a few miles up the road making our service worries a thing of the past.”


“The new MX-X has taken two years in design and twelve months of field tests, not to mention three years of market research to evaluate the needs of VNA users. The result is state of the art technology offered by STILL, and should further enhance both our competitiveness and our market share across Europe,” Mr Marshall said.

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