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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #275 - 31 August 2006 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Jury says Crown forklift safe but awards USD4.2 million.”
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TVH “forced to keep growing”
By Christine Liew
TVH Forklift Parts NV (TVH), of Waregem, Belgium, has acquired the global materials handling activities of IMC Holdings Inc, of Illinois, USA, for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition comes after TVH announced the purchase of Belgian forklift sales and rental company Euro Forklifts in July (Forkliftaction.com News #269).
IMC, headquartered in Grayslake, Illinois, is active in the world market through the LPM, Intrupa and CMC subsidiaries and brands. According to a TVH statement, IMC’s 2005 consolidated turnover was about USD100 million, achieved mostly via its North America and Mexico businesses. It also has companies in Brazil, Singapore and Europe.
TVH and IMC are leading distributors of replacement parts and accessories for OEM forklifts. Both companies distribute and sell parts for access equipment and in-plant industrial equipment. TVH, a family-owned company, was established in Belgium in 1969. It employs more than 1,600 people and has customers in 162 countries. Systems Material Handling (SMH) represents TVH in the USA, with more than 400 employees working at five facilities.
TVH marketing manager Lieven Pauwels said IMC’s success in the USA was the main reason for the acquisition.
“The takeover was mainly done because of Intrupa in America, since they were fairly small in Europe.
“Planning this acquisition started a while ago. TVH wants to be a true one-stop-shop for customers and therefore TVH is forced to keep growing,” he said.
TVH’s global distribution network includes subsidiaries in the UK (TVH UK), France (Manupièce), Sweden (Bozela), Australia (TVH Australasia) and China (TVH China). In 2003, TVH bought SMH and acquired offices in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
The IMC acquisition adds established subsidiaries in Brazil (Intrupa do Brasil Ltda) and Singapore (Intrupa Asia Pacific Pte Ltd) to TVH’s global distribution network.
TVH would not comment on rumours IMC facilities in areas overlapping with SMH facilities would close. Pauwels said TVH was still in “evaluation” stage.
“A decision will be made for the best of the group, its customers and employees as quick as possible.”
An LPM master distributor in the USA told Forkliftaction.com News he was concerned about losing his “captive market”.
“I am the only LPM distributor in my town but there are about 20 TVH dealers here,” he said.
“Will large-volume LPM parts buyers pay the same prices as small-volume LPM parts buyers?”
Forkliftaction.com News understands Intrupa Manufacturing Co Ltd (Canada) customers Jamsons Industrial Supplies Inc, a Canadian wholesale forklift parts distributor based in Cambridge, Ontario, and R&R Forklift Inc, a forklift parts specialist in Kitchener, Ontario, are in discussions with TVH over future business relationships.
Jamsons vice president Tim Jamal said:
“We are still absorbing the acquisition. It’s too early to determine the overall impact but we will have some comments in the weeks to come.”
Chuck Boetsch, IMC chief operating officer, would not comment on the acquisition. He said all statements were co-ordinated by TVH to ensure a “consistent message”.
IMC was founded in 1961 after CEO Hans Anger emigrated from Germany. He started the business travelling around mid-west USA in a Volkswagen van, visiting dealers and camping at state parks to save money, taking orders for a small range of parts made in the Anger family kitchen in Chicago.
Jury finds forklift safe, imposes liability
PORTLAND, ME, United States
By US correspondent Roger Renstrom
In a wrongful death lawsuit, a US District Court jury in Portland found a 1989-model standup forklift’s design was safe but imposed liability on manufacturer Crown Equipment Corp.
The jury found Crown had insufficiently informed users about a safety improvement available for older forklifts. The jury returned the verdict late on August 28 after deliberating for 10 hours. The trial started on August 15.
Forklift operator Thomas Brown was asphyxiated on August 1, 2003, because of an equipment flaw, according to plaintiff attorney Terrence Garmey, representing Claire Brown, the dead man’s widow.
The jury determined there was no product defect and no design negligence but a post-sale failure to warn, said John Maxa, vice president and general counsel with Crown, in New Bremen, Ohio, USA.
Brown was backing the forklift while moving chemicals in a storage area at Prime Tanning Co Inc, in Berwick, Maine, USA. Brown’s chest was compressed between a shelving unit and the forklift’s dashboard, Garmey said. A Crown-made guard was not installed on the forklift although it was available for the model.
The jury awarded USD4.2 million in damages but reduced the amount by USD200,000 for what it perceived as Brown’s negligence, Garmey said.
Judge David Cohen reduced the total award under Maine law to USD1.6 million, consisting of USD800,000 in economic damages, USD400,000 for pain and suffering and USD400,000 for loss of consortium.
The litigants dispute whether the USD200,000 should be deducted from the jury’s USD4.2 million award or the judge’s USD1.6 million award.
The verdict is “one of a string of defeats Crown has experienced regarding older models”, Garmey told Forkliftaction.com News. “The machine has acted as a serial killer. At the time of [Brown’s] accident, there had been 227 incidents, half of them serious and 11 fatal.”
The jury found Crown had a duty to advise people, Garmey said.
Crown added the safety guard to its forklifts in the 1990s and told customers it was available as a retrofit kit for previously manufactured forklifts.
“We feel the issue on which they found against Crown was improperly [put] before the jury and contradicted by the evidence,” Maxa said. The verdict, which Crown intended to appeal, “is a very inconsistent result [and] permitted Crown's commitment to product safety to be used against it”.
The verdict, “if allowed to stand, is a bad message for product safety”, Maxa said. “The court's ruling permitted a jury to impose liability on a company whose product it found to be safe.”
During the trial, attorney James Campbell, representing Crown, said Brown was responsible for the incident and Crown had created safety-training material that Prime Tanning did not use. Prime Tanning acquired the forklift third hand and therefore did not get the letter from Crown, but Prime Tanning did possess a Crown operator’s manual that warned of the possibility of under-rack horizontal intrusion.
“Crown, from its beginnings, has been committed to designing the safest forklifts possible [and] has won numerous awards for its designs,” Maxa said. “This is the reason the jury found this truck to be safe. This accident, of course, was very tragic, but our system of justice does not permit sympathy and emotion to prevail over the law and the facts.”
Forklift maker Lowry enters receivership
By US correspondent Roger Renstrom
Rapid growth has pushed Lowry Industrial Lift-Trucks Ltd, of Georgetown, into financial receivership under provisions of Canadian law.
“The business is flourishing, and we are sold out until January,” president Bill Lowry told Forkliftaction.com News. “Unfortunately, the growth has overextended my personal ability to finance the operation.”
For the fiscal year ending September 30, Lowry Industrial’s unit manufacturing volume was expected to more than double compared to fiscal 2005, Lowry said. The business does not disclose unit or sales details.
Lowry manufactures solid-tyre, indoor-style forklifts with heavy lift capacities of 18,000-40,000 pounds (8,100-18,000kg) and gas, propane or diesel power systems. The business was established in 1984, employs 15 and occupies 30,000 square feet (2,700 square metres).
Schwartz Levitsky Feldman Inc, of Toronto, Canada, a firm of chartered accountants, has taken possession and control of the Lowry premises. It intends to dispose of all the forklift firm’s assets, pursuant to the Canadian Personal Property Security Act.
The receiver said Lowry owed secured creditors Liftking Industries Inc, of Woodbridge, Canada, CAD914,600 (USD817,000); Business Development Bank Canada, of Mississauga, Canada, CAD65,000 (USD58,000); and Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto, CAD1,000 (USD893). Liftking Industries supplies manufactured forklift assemblies to Lowry.
The receiver also listed 124 unsecured creditors.
In its low-volume, heavy-capacity specialty niche, Lowry competes with some lines of Hoist Liftruck Manufacturing Inc, of Bedford Park, Illinois; Royal Tractor Company Inc, of New Century, Kansas; and Taylor Machine Works Inc, of Louisville, Mississippi.
Obituary: Airtrax founder Peter Amico dies
BLACKWOOD, NJ, United States
Airtrax Inc founder Peter L Amico Sr, 62, of Hammonton, New Jersey, died at home, of natural causes, on August 25.
Amico was the principal advocate for the company’s modular, omni-directional system that allows vehicle wheels to move in lateral, diagonal and rotational directions.
Nicholas E Fenelli, chief operations officer, was named Airtrax acting CEO.
Amico signed the Airtrax financial report for the second quarter, ended June 30, as the firm’s president, CEO, chairman and acting chief financial officer.
Amico was born and raised in New Jersey, served in the US Air Force and had an extensive background in sales and structural steel design. He held sales positions with Firestone Tyre & Rubber Co and Union Steel Products Inc and was president and majority owner of Titan Aviation & Helicopter Services Inc before establishing an Airtrax predecessor company in April 1995.
The US Navy agreed in January 1996 to transfer the omni-directional technology to Airtrax under a co-operative research and development agreement. A separate electric or hydraulic motor independently powers four polyurethane-covered steel wheels on an omni-directional vehicle. An operator directs the vehicle’s motion through a microprocessor-enabled joystick.
In launching the omni-directional technology on the ATX-3000 Sidewinder forklift product line, Amico and Airtrax dealt with multiple start-up business issues. They included operating losses, funding requirements, production development, commercial market acceptance, protecting patent rights, establishing distribution channels and ramifications of FiLCO GmbH’s January insolvency filing (Forkliftaction.com News #272).
Blackwood-based Airtrax’s stock trades publicly as an over-the-counter bulletin board issue.
Amico is survived by his wife, Patricia, five children and 10 grandchildren. A masonic funeral and memorial service were held on August 30 in Vineland, New Jersey.
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South African forklift business gives “fine” performance
CAPETOWN, South Africa
South African transport and logistics company Imperial Holdings Ltd has released its financial results for the year ended June 25, 2006, which show profits across the board, including in the forklift sector.
In the report, Imperial said operating profit was up by about one third, to ZAR4.5 billion (USD635 million).
The Imperial Holdings Group has business units in South Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom. They include vehicle and forklift leasing, aviation, motor vehicle imports, and financial services.
The report said despite pricing being under pressure due to the strong rand and price reductions limiting revenue growth to 13 per cent, record forklift sales were achieved.
“The forklift business in South Africa delivered a fine performance.”
However, results from UK-based Impact Forklift were “below expectation”.
Imperial has been involved with several acquisitions including a controlling interest in MCC Plant Hire and Mining Contracting. The acquisition has increased Imperial’s fleet of vehicles and forklifts by 1,039 units to 26,252 units, which it said “represented good growth in market share”.
Imperial’s leasing and fleet management division leases forklifts and motor vehicles. It is the largest business of its type by value in southern Africa and operates in the public and private sectors, providing light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles, forklifts and warehousing handling equipment.
Imperial said it would pursue further fleet management opportunities.
“We expect macro factors, such as higher interest rates and vehicle prices, to create new opportunities for us in fleet management and facilitate margin improvement. We will pursue further opportunities in South Africa and the rest of Africa in other mobility-related industrial, mining and construction equipment.”
Jungheinrich on track for China growth
Jungheinrich AG has officially opened a new assembly plant in the Qingpu industrial zone in China.
The plant is expected to start producing electric pedestrian pallet trucks in the northern hemisphere autumn of 2006.
In a statement issued last year, Jungheinrich said the Chinese manufacturing base was part of the group’s strategy to increase its market share in China. An initial EUR2 million (USD2.4 million) investment was made to establish the plant, where about 50 employees will assemble the forklifts (Forkliftaction.com News #233).
In 2005, Jungheinrich employed 8,998 people, made net sales of EUR1.645 billion (USD2.110 billion) and produced 66,500 units of materials handling equipment. About 72 per cent of sales were made abroad.
Forkliftaction.com News will publish an exclusive interview with Jungheinrich Lift Truck (Shanghai) Co Ltd managing director Jian Chen in September. Chen will talk about Jungheinrich’s achievements in the Chinese market.
JCB tech climbs Kilimanjaro for hospice
ROCESTER, United Kingdom
An IT technician for telehandler manufacturer JCB will scale Africa’s tallest mountain next month to raise more than GBP1,000 (USD1906.30) for a UK hospice.
Derek Truby, 50, was inspired to do the climb after viewing a documentary on a man climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, two years ago.
“I thought to myself ‘that looks really tough, I’d love to do it’. So I arranged to do it,” he said.
Truby has been training for the nine-day trek to and from the summit of Kilimanjaro, 5,895 metres above sea level, through weekend expeditions in the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia.
He will start the climb on September 6 or 7, depending on weather conditions. The Nightingale Hospice in Wrexham, UK, will receive more than GBP1,000 (USD190.52) from Truby’s sponsors.
Forklift causes agency evacuation
ALBANY, NY, United States
Carbon monoxide fumes from a propane-fuelled forklift forced the evacuation of a US career agency on Tuesday afternoon.
Times Union reported nine people from Northeast Career Planning’s office on 279 Broadway in the Village of Menands, Albany county, USA, were taken to hospitals after suffering nausea and headaches.
Ryan Henderson, assistant fire chief of the Village of Menands, said his crew spent three hours tracing the source of the fumes to the forklift and airing the contaminated space.
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Manitou announces new dealer, new telehandler
By Daphne Haneman
Manitou Australia has appointed National Equipment Pty Ltd as the Australian supplier of its entire range, which includes a new telescopic handler.
National Equipment, servicing western Sydney, NSW, specialises in rough terrain materials handling equipment and will distribute the Manitou brand, including Manitou’s new telescopic handler, the MHT 860 L Turbo LSU.
Manitou Australia’s commercial manager Stuart Walker said the appointment was demand driven.
“Due to growing customer demand and Manitou’s increased product range it has been necessary for Manitou Australia to expand our dealer network in NSW,” he said.
National Equipment technical operations manager Steve McLintock said he was looking forward to the new affiliation with Manitou.
“We are pretty excited to be developing a relationship with a world-class dealership and have been amazed with the fantastic feedback regarding the range,” he said.
The MHT 860 L Turbo LSU was manufactured at Manitou’s Italian factory and arrived in Australia last week. It will be unveiled at this week’s Sydney International Mining & Engineering Exhibition (SIMEX).
A Manitou statement said the MHT 860 L Turbo LSU’s (load sensing ultra) technology was unique.
“Three simultaneous proportional movements can be carried out: tipping while raising the boom and extending the telescope, tipping and opening the grab,” it said.
The MHT 860 L Turbo LSU has a lifting capacity of 6,000kg, a Perkins engine and three separate radiators preventing overheating in intense operating cycles.
NTP Forklifts Australia will also distribute the new telescopic handler.
It’s a forklift, it’s a truck, no it’s…
By Daphne Haneman
Shepparton forklift business DMA Mobile Forklifts Pty Ltd has been inundated with calls after designing a truck that converts to a forklift.
DMA owner Ray Cox and TMF Engineering Solutions have built a mobile forklift welded to an Isuzu NKR 200 truck chassis. The vehicle has a rearward facing 2-tonne forklift with a 4.8-metre lifting capacity.
Cox said the forklift and truck operated as one. “The truck is the forklift. You just turn up on site.”
He said speedy delivery, stability and greater lifting applications were unique features of the vehicle.
“You can jump in the truck and drive anywhere a forklift is needed at road speed limits. It can access places a crane truck or standard forklift can’t. It can even fit under carports and between some fence panels,” he said.
A DMA statement said dual gearing and steering was operated from the truck cab and the forklift. New models were fitted with reversing cameras.
Statewide Forklifts Pty Ltd sales & rental manager Lou Pacchiarotta said he liked the forklift but thought it was suitable for small jobs.
“I like the truck/forklift. It looks small and tidy and the up side is you will be able to get to jobs quicker than waiting around for a tilt tray to pick up a forklift then deliver it to the site. However, it’s not very practical for a rough building site which uses all terrain forklifts,” he said.
Pacchiarotta said return on investment was another consideration as hire costs for a 2-tonne forklift were “quite reasonable” at about AUD80 a day or AUD180 a week. However transport costs often “blow the budget” and that meant the mobile forklift could be a good investment.
ForkLift Sales Queensland director Steve Cunliffe said it was a clever concept and best suited to pulling a dog trailer.
”It would be best designed to pull a dog trailer which carries up to four pallets. This means when the driver gets on site, he disconnects the trailer, jumps on the forklift and unloads the trailer. He is not limited to delivering one pallet at a time,” he said.
Two DMA mobile forklifts operate in Queensland and one in Shepparton. A fourth is being built. Cox said he planned to manufacture a fleet.
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BS Forklifts International BV from The Netherlands - doubles its size!
One of Europe’s biggest wholesalers of used forklifts and container handling equipment is now expanding their warehouse capacity to twice their current size. Their goal is to have more than 1,000 units in stock, in order to serve their customers even better than they have for the past 25 years. This Euro top 3 company plans to expand their business from 3,000 units per year to 5,000 units.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
Speed Limiter success story - Warehouse Safety Solutions
Malaysian car manufacturer Perodua has a fleet of 162 forklifts, 81 of which are diesel. Perodua is Malaysia's second largest car manufacturer and employs around 10,000 people. With this many people on site the Perodua Safety Committee recognised the need to control the speed of their forklifts. Perodua approached their forklift supplier whom in turn approached WSS to help solve their problem. WSS flew to Malaysia and installed one speed limiter for Perodua to evaluate...
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
TCM’s All-New Three Wheel Electric Lift Trucks
TCM’s new FTB16-7 and FTB18-7 Class 1 Electric Three Wheel Lift trucks are clean sheet designs engineered to increase your operation’s productivity and profitability. Optimized to deliver reliable day-to-day performance, they also feature improved safety, easy operation, and reduced maintenance as top priorities. Their state-of-the-art features include: Move more material quicker and with greater control + Reduce your cost of operation with simplified maintenance. Read More...
Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.
FLTA Safety 2006 delegates to trial internet safety tool
ALTON, United Kingdom
A new online safety tool for forklift drivers will be trialled by delegates in the weeks leading up to the Fork Lift Truck Association’s (FLTA) 2006 safety conference.
Click here for the full Fork Talk feature, including pictures.
Dave Hoover: Safety is a choice
NEWARK, OH, United States
We face thousands of choices every day and many have nothing to do with safety. Most people probably go months without giving a serious thought to safety decisions, but that does not mean they are not making safety related choices, they just don’t realise it.
Click here for the full Safety First feature, including pictures.
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