A movable bulkhead came to the rescue of a fresh meat sypplier as it took on a new venture.
Pinkertons, which operates from headquarters in Armagh, acquired another Northern Ireland-based business, sandwich maker and hot food specialist Ashwood Agencies, in September 2012.
The move meant that whereas previously Pinkertons had only distributed products at chilled temperatures, it now needed to transport frozen foods as well.
While Pinkertons delivers to hotels, butchers, supermarkets and wholesalers throughout Ireland, most of Ashwood Agencies’ customers were located in and around Belfast. To maximise efficiency, Pinkertons therefore resolved to invest in its first, dual-temperature (chilled and frozen) vehicle to serve the city.
But as sales manager David Gibson explains, this presented Pinkertons with a quandary: "We were taking on an entirely new type of business and uncertain as to how quickly it will take off, and how much fresh and how much frozen product we would have to carry. For this reason we were keen to make the load area in our new vehicle as flexible as possible, so we could deal with a range of volume requirements."
The solution, as developed by Gray & Adams (Ireland), is a movable, two-piece ‘mattress’ bulkhead, complete with integral door, which can be positioned between shelving modules to create either 50:50 or 75:25 splits in the cargo area. This allows Pinkertons to configure the vehicle to suit the load, while also offering excellent insulation properties so that temperature integrity is maintained.
The bulkhead can even be removed altogether for single-temperature operation, while its PVC finish also means it is easily cleaned, an important feature when transporting food.
Gray & Adams’ insulated box body wears an eye-catching livery and is fitted with a ThermoKing T-800R Spectrum refrigeration unit. The 10-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego 1018 chassis on which it is mounted is Pinkertons’ biggest yet, the company having previously relied primarily on 5.0- and 7.5-tonne vehicles.