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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #262 - 01 June 2006 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Forklift future uncertain in Mexico.”
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California gets tough with standards
SACRAMENTO, CA, United States
by US correspondent Roger Renstrom
Californian regulators will impose tough emission standards on new forklifts and require engine retrofits or replacements to cut emissions on existing forklifts.
Once in place, the regulations will be the most stringent in the USA.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted on May 25 to adopt more stringent emission standards and test procedures for off-road large spark ignition (LSI) engines powering forklifts, airport ground support equipment, sweepers/scrubbers, industrial tow tractors, generator sets and turf care equipment (Forkliftaction.com News #259).
After focusing for many years on car and truck emissions, “we are now adding focus to the cleanup of engines used in off-road equipment, such as forklifts”, said Robert Sawyer, chair of Sacramento-based CARB. Within the state, CARB identified 88,000 LSI engines of which 40,000 were forklifts.
Gary Cross, an attorney representing the Industrial Truck Association, of Washington, DC, said: “We believe the standard is very challenging but the final regulation is far more palatable than had been originally proposed at the beginning of this process, two years ago. “They wanted forklifts to be electric. We are pleased they did not simply outlaw internal-combustion-engine forklifts.”
The regulation affects engines fuelled with gasoline, propane or natural gas, requires emission reductions of about 95 per cent versus an uncontrolled existing engine and, for the first time, calls for control of fuel evaporation emissions.
Retrofitting with catalytic converters can reduce emissions by 75 per cent on most forklift engines built since 1990. CARB will require retrofits or replacements by 2009 as one option for operators to attain acceptable fleet averages.
Revisions from the original proposal mollified many forklift dealers. CARB approved an exemption for small fleets of up to three units and provided dealers with a sales outlet for used equipment coming off lease. Previously CARB wanted dealers to be responsible for cleanup of vehicles coming off current leases.
CARB delayed implementation for users of agricultural forklifts. The burden was reduced largely because that industry tends to operate vehicles over longer periods of time. The special provision for agricultural operators applies to forklifts that cannot be retrofitted. CARB said about 60 per cent of agricultural forklifts fell into that category.
The Far West Equipment Dealers’ Association (FWEDA), of Dixon, California, represented forklift dealers’ interests in lobbying CARB. “FWEDA has spent a huge amount of money on this fight and probably saved dealers more than USD10 million,” Joe Hensler, president of Clarklift-West Inc, in Sacramento, said. “We will likely be forced to ask forklift dealers to help us pay FWEDA back some of its costs as it represented us almost on faith.” Historically, FWEDA mostly represented agricultural tractor dealers.
CARB will consider revisions for technical inconsistencies before submitting the LSI regulations to the California Office of Administrative Law for final adoption.
Terex files for 2005, deals with probes
WESTPORT, CT, United States
Equipment manufacturer Terex Corp has filed its 2005 annual report but said it remained the subject of federal investigations.
A US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation involves Terex accounting practices and was the subject of a written order Terex received on February 1.
The US attorney’s office has requested information on four 2000 and 2001 Terex transactions involving United Rentals Inc. A May 2005 SEC subpoena involves those transactions (Forkliftaction.com News #250).
“Terex has been co-operating with the SEC,” a Terex statement said. “Until the SEC’s investigation ... is complete, the company is not able to predict the outcome.”
Terex acknowledged accounting errors and said it “did not maintain effective controls over its financial reporting process, due to an insufficient complement of personnel with a level of accounting knowledge, experience and training in the application of generally accepted accounting principles commensurate with the company’s financial reporting requirements.”
Control deficiency directly contributed to a “material weakness” in income taxes and a resulting audit adjustment at two locations. Primarily, timing and adjustment issues arose because of “the inadequate reconciliation and review of parts and work-in-process inventories”.
During 2005, Terex replaced 12 senior finance personnel. The company intensified training of finance and business personnel and, during 2005’s fourth quarter, held mandatory business practice meetings for senior managers at 10 company locations in the US and Europe.
In the annual report, Terex said aerial work platform demand improved worldwide with particular strength in Asia and the Americas. The segment recorded stronger demand from the rental channel in the United States and, to a lesser extent, improved parts sales. Higher steel costs and costs to ramp-up production impacted on the segment’s profitability.
Terex formed the aerial work platforms segment in September 2002 after acquiring Genie Holdings Inc. It enlarged the segment in January 2006 by including the firm’s European telehandlers business, formerly part of the Terex construction segment (Forkliftaction.com News #243).
South of the Border: Rolf Slobotzky
MEXICO CITY, Mexico
During the eighth Intrupa dealers’ convention in Cancun, more than 100 people were presented with a general outlook on today’s market conditions. Six speakers who were Mexico Chamber of Commerce and machinery associations representatives, and market analysts, gave presentations on the Mexican economy, politics, finances, market strengths and weaknesses and a 2006 forecast.
Last year was a very good one, with more than 5,000 forklifts imported. The first quarter of 2006 seems to be heading in the same direction. However no one dares to forecast beyond July 2, the date of Mexico’s presidential elections.
Three political parties are running for the Mexican presidency; one extreme left, one centre and one right. Currently the extreme left and the right are in a tie. The centre party, which was in power for the last 70 years, has no chance of a comeback.
If the extreme left, the Partido de la Revolucion Democratica (PRD), wins we could be looking at a totally different ball game. There would be great social unrest with repercussions for businesses. It is likely foreign investment will halt and existing foreign investors might leave out of fear of an extremist left president. In that scenario, foreign investment would come to a momentary stand still and we would see a decrease in imports of capital goods and an increase in demand for used equipment.
Imports of new forklifts would decrease while sales of used forklifts would increase. Imports of new forklifts can be monitored through government releases of import figures, but there is no way of monitoring sales of used forklifts.
Rolf Slobotzky is Forkliftaction.com News's regular columnist from Mexico. He has been in the industry for more than 50 years and is an ex-president of the Mexican Association of Machinery Dealers.
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Hydrogenics aims for next generation tests
Clean-energy solution provider Hydrogenics Corp is exploring more forklift applications after leading a consortium through alpha trials last year (Forkliftaction.com News #195).
“We are talking to [several] OEM forklift manufacturers,” said Melissa McKinnon, Hydrogenics product manager for mobility power systems.
During 2005, “we put our technology to the test in real-world applications, and now we are coming out with more robust, commercial” hydrogen-based fuel cell power modules for use on forklifts, McKinnon said.
Two energy-modified Hyster Co 5,500lb (2,475kg) forklifts took part in last year’s in-service and refuelling demonstrations at the Oshawa assembly complex of General Motors (GM) Canada from January 17 to April 8 and at FedEx Canada operations, at Toronto Pearson International Airport, from August 1 to September 30. The project cost CAD3.54 million (USD2.85 million).
A Hydrogenics analysis found fuel cell-powered forklifts saved more than CAD1400 (USD1128) a month per forklift in comparison to slow or rapid charge. Labour productivity improvements drove most of the savings.
Between demonstrations at the two locations, Hydrogenics made minor adjustments to the Class 1 four-wheel, sit-down-rider, cushion-tyre Hysters.
“After the deployments, we collected information,” evaluated the economics and began redesigning systems for next-generation tests, possibly in 2006’s fourth quarter, McKinnon said. New locations would be identified for subsequent efforts to optimise the technology and drive out costs.
“The beta version will be available for commercial sale,” McKinnon said.
In the 2005 tests, government-funded Sustainable Development Technology Canada provided CAD1.56 million (USD1.26 million); Hydrogenics, Hyster parent NACCO Materials Handing Group, GM, FedEx and Deere & Company provided CAD1.59 million (USD1.28 million); and the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance provided CAD390,000 (USD310,000). The consortium was disbanded when the project ended.
“Fuel cells offer distinct advantages over current technologies” with users getting the benefits of both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and a battery, McKinnon said. Fuel cell technology “is emission free and has low noise and the extended run time and fuel time of an ICE. We see the cost of ownership being attractive and lower than rapid-charge scenarios”.
Hydrogenics develops fuel cell power modules, low-pressure stacks and test stands and hydrogen generation systems. The Hydrogenics ultracapacitor-equipped hybrid design relies on power from the fuel cell and energy from an energy storage device.
“Duty cycles of forklifts are spiky” and require peak power for short periods of time, McKinnon said. “If you size a fuel cell for closer to average power, you can reduce the overall cost of the package.”
Daewoo founder gets 10 years
SEOUL, Korea, South
Daewoo Group founder Kim Woo Chung was sentenced to 10 years’ jail on Tuesday for his role in a 40 trillion won (USD42.31 billion) fraud.
The Courier-Mail reported the Seoul Central District Court ordered Kim pay KRW21 trillion (USD22.2 billion) in fines and forfeitures. Prosecutors had sought a 15-year term and a KRW23 trillion (USD24.3 billion) won fine.
Kim, who surrendered to South Korean authorities after six years on the run, built South Korea’s second largest industrial group before fleeing the country when the business collapsed in 1999.
He was accused of KRW40 trillion (USD42.3 billion) of fraudulent accounting by Daewoo, illegally borrowing KRW9.8 trillion (USD10.4 billion) and illicitly transferring USD3.2 billion overseas.
In 1999, Daewoo owed foreign and domestic creditors KRW87 trillion (USD92.0 billion). Its business units were broken up and sold, and a group led by General Motors acquired Daewoo Motor.
Daewoo Heavy Industries separated from the group in August 1999. Its machinery division, which built forklifts, became a separate entity called Daewoo Heavy Industries & Machinery (DHIM) in October 2000 (Forkliftaction.com News #11).
In May 2005, Doosan Heavy Industries acquired a controlling stake in DHIM for KRW1.69 trillion (USD1.79 billion) (Forkliftaction.com News #210).
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Atlet and Nisa's seven-year marriage
SCUNTHORPE, United Kingdom
Atlet beat three other companies to supply Nisa-Today’s new Scunthorpe national distribution centre with a forklift fleet.
No price was disclosed for the 150-plus forklifts, which are expected to handle more than 1.4 million cases during peak periods.
Nisa-Today’s, Europe’s largest independent buying group for retailers and wholesalers, ordered 30 UHS Tergo reach trucks, 101 Tempo PPL low-level order pickers and 25 Atlet Presto PLP pallet transporters.
Atlet had been the main supplier to Nisa-Today’s facilities for several years but still had to bid for the seven-year contract.
Stephen Hunter, CEO of Re-Vision Logistics, which manages Nisa-Today’s national distribution centre, said it was not a “foregone conclusion” that Atlet would be awarded the order despite being Nisa’s long-standing supplier.
“Whenever we need new trucks, we set new benchmarks. Are the trucks reliable enough? Are they fast enough and can they lift high enough? Do our drivers like the trucks?
“We don’t just look at the price tags but at the whole life costs of truck ownership and the vital issue of after-sales support, including service and maintenance to sustain high truck time,” Hunter said.
Nisa-Today’s is owned by 560 independent retailers and 350 wholesalers. The buying group’s combined member companies’ annual turnover exceeds GBP15 billion (USD28.1 billion) a year. Nisa supplies to food and alcohol retailers and wholesalers.
Linde gases dirty laundry
Linde AG is diversifying into a consumer and service business, establishing a dry cleaning subsidiary, Fred Butler.
The company, which opened its first German stores in Frankfurt and Wiesbaden last month, provides textile cleaning technology based on recycled carbon dioxide (CO²). The environmentally friendly method is said to have benefits over conventional dry cleaning.
“The innovative strength and expertise of Linde AG, Europe’s second largest supplier of technical gases, is a real strength behind Fred Butler,” Linde said in a statement.
“Fred Butler cleaning technology is a further example of the varied application of technical gases.”
Linde said liquid CO² had been used for decades to clean sensitive instruments in the American aviation industry. The principle was applied to textiles in the mid-1990s.
Soiled clothing is placed in a sealed washing chamber. Liquid CO² and a small amount of biodegradable washing agent are added. A rotating drum ensures the CO² penetrates textile fibres to remove fat, oil and dirt particles. After the CO² is separated from impurities, it is compressed and stored for the next cleaning cycle.
Linde this week said it had bought Turkish industrial gas producer Karbogaz AS, which generated sales of EUR27 million (USD34.7 million) in 2005 and employed 230 people.
The price was not disclosed. Linde spokesperson Aldo Belloni said Karbogaz was a regional market leader in “the thriving CO² segment”.
Linde has appointed Credit Suisse to investigate the sale of its forklift segment as it intends to focus on its gas and engineering segment once it finalises acquisition of the BOC gas group (Forkliftaction.com News #259).
Forklift moves pallets of pot
BOSTON, MA, United States
Two men using a forklift to unload 26 pallets of marijuana from a semi-trailer were caught in the act by police.
Gerard “Jerry” Morello, 47, owner of Epping Motors, in New Hampshire, was arrested with his brother, Jeffrey, and Scott Goodreau, in Newburyport, Boston Herald reported.
FBI agents watched Morello and Goodreau unload the marijuana to a warehouse after a police dog alerted them to the warehouse’s contents.
“You’ve got my weed, you’ve got my money, what else do you want?” Morello allegedly told police.
New terminal for Russian port
Russia’s only deep water port, the Port of Novorossiysk, will invest USD66 million to build a new container terminal.
The quay line is being extended from 108 metres to 470 metres and the container yard enlarged from five hectares to 14 hectares.
Phase one of the project, building the 350,000 TEU container terminal, will be completed by the end of 2007, WorldCargo News reported. The entire project will be finished by May 2008.
Toyota rolls out 250,000th forklift
COLUMBUS, IN, United States
Toyota celebrated production of its 250,000th forklift at the Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM) plant in Indiana last week.
Toyota dealer Atlas Toyota Material Handling was presented with the 250,000th forklift, a four-wheel, internal combustion, cushion tyre forklift.
The majority of forklifts sold in the USA by Toyota are manufactured at the Columbus, Indiana, plant.
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China expo attracts global participation
MILWAUKEE, WI, United States
The inaugural CONEXPO Asia 2006 attracted more than 13,100 visitors from more than 75 countries. Top attendee nations were China, Australia, the USA, Korea and India. International visitors accounted for 18 per cent of total attendance. Chinese attendees included those from Hong Kong and Macau.
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Issue #8: Container cranes
ESSEX, United Kingdom
A recent tragic incident in which a manoeuvring ship struck a quayside container crane and caused it to collapse, killing one person, has highlighted the crane’s vulnerability. One feature of large quayside ship-to-shore cranes is that, to maximise their outreach, most are positioned so the front legs are very close to the quay edge ...
Click here for the full Cargo Chat feature, including pictures.
Dave Hoover: The proper way to add a forklift attachment
NEWARK, OH, United States
One great thing about forklifts is they can be used to do many different jobs and come with a huge variety of attachment options. One bad thing is that you must follow the correct steps or you expose operators to danger and your company to liability.
Click here for the full Safety First feature, including pictures.
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