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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #278 - 21 September 2006 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Japan's top five forklift companies keep rankings for 2005.”
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Propane-fueled engines “may meet new standards”
WASHINGTON, DC, United States
A non-profit trade organisation has demonstrated that propane-fuelled engines for forklifts in Classes 4 and 5 may meet strict new environmental standards.
The research and development arm of the Washington-based Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) funded a three-year USD1.39-million study at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), in San Antonio, Texas.
The research examined existing propane, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), forklift technologies and their ability to meet 2007 US Environmental Protection Agency regulations and included recommendations for further study. The 2007 regulations call for large spark-ignition non-road engines to reduce hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions from three grams per brake horsepower-hour (g/bhp-hr) to two g/bhp-hr and show an increase in useful engine life by 40 per cent.
“We will bring fuel quality funding initiatives to the council” in early October, said Brian Feehan, managing director of PERC’s engine fuel programs. “Some are under way already.”
SwRI recommendations call for a study to determine the sources of heavy-end deposits, research into deposit formation mechanisms, and an evaluation of heavy-end mitigation methods. SwRI also suggested a study of intake port and intake valve deposit trends with “additised” LPG and development of improved analytical methods to predict the deposit-forming potential of LPG motor fuels.
The program used three-way exhaust catalyst units from three manufacturers in Canada’s Ontario province, Nett Technologies Inc, of Mississauga, DCL International Inc, of Vaughan, and Engine Control Systems/ECS, of Newmarket.
Outside research involved 10 Yale forklifts with Mazda 2.0 and 2.2-litre engines operating in a climate-controlled beverage warehouse. SwRI measured and evaluated fuel residue deposits in the engines’ vaporisers, said Mike Ross, SwRI program manager.
At SwRI laboratories, three Nissan H20 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines ran simultaneously, and their vaporisers yielded other samples.
Currently propane fuels more than 670,000 forklifts in the US, according to PERC’s September 2005 engine fuel roadmap. PERC determined the number from an analysis of forklift sales and conversions, discussions with fuel cell manufacturers and details from forklift training and maintenance programs.
PERC said propane fuelled many engine-driven forklifts because it supported durable engine fuel systems capable of varying engine speeds with low carbon monoxide emissions and low engine maintenance costs, compared to gasoline or diesel systems.
George Maes, of Linde Material Handling, represented the Industrial Truck Association, of Washington, on the PERC project’s steering committee.
Among its missions, PERC aims to promote safe, efficient use of propane as an energy source. Current PERC funding, under the 1996 federal Propane Education & Research Act, comes from a levy of five-tenths of one cent per gallon of odorised propane gas. The levy was projected to collect USD50.4 million during 2006 to fund PERC programs and projects.
Metal technology group buys Balkancar company
A Bulgarian metal technology group has bought a majority shareholding in state-owned forklift maker Balkancar Sredets AD.
GTM Angel Balevski, a leading Bulgarian investment company in the metal processing field, signed a contract with the Bulgarian privatisation agency to acquire 69.99 per cent of Balkancar Sredets' shares, the Pari Daily reported. GTM submitted the highest bid of LEV91.11 million (USD59.41 million) for the stake in Balkancar Sredets.
GTM is an abbreviation for metal technology group in Bulgarian and Angel Balevski was a renowned Bulgarian scholar in the field of metal sciences and technology. The group website said its member companies used the “most up-to-date technologies”, including a counter-pressure casting method developed by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Metal Science & Technology.
According to the report, two Bulgarian investment companies, Zagora Car and Bulcari, bid LEV35.5 million (USD23.15 million) and LEV61.66 million (USD40 million) respectively for Balkancar Sredets. After GTM was successful, the two companies appealed to the Bulgarian Supreme Court.
GTM CEO Krassimir Dachev could not be reached for comment before Forkliftaction.com News went to press.
Anton Stoynev, sales manager of Balkancar Zarya, a former Balkancar Holding subsidiary, said the Bulgarian Supreme Court had upheld the decision of the Bulgarian privatisation agency.
Stoynev told Forkliftaction.com News most of Balkancar Holding’s subsidiaries still operated today.
“State-owned Balkancar was established in April 1965. Headquartered in Sofia, it co-ordinated the activities of 14 subsidiaries, comprising three forklift companies and 11 forklift parts companies.
“Balkancar Sredets, of Sofia, and Balkancar Record, of Plovdiv, are the only Balkancar forklift producers today,” he said.
Forkliftaction.com News has reported that the site of a former Balkancar forklift manufacturing company, that ceased operation after it was liquidated, had been sold as real estate to VP group subsidiary Lithuanian Vilnius Acropolis (Forkliftaction.com News #268).
Balkancar Sredets and Balkancar Record distribute forklifts through their own distribution channels in Romania, Russia and other CIS countries, Stoynev said.
The 11 forklift parts companies are in the Bulgarian towns of Pleven, Byala Slatina, Assenovgrad, Lukovit, Tran, Knezha and Mezdra.
Stoynev said some companies had been privatised and others were still state-owned. Forklift wheel manufacturer Balkancar Zarya, of Pavlikeni, in northern Bulgaria, was privatised in 2005.
The Balkancar organisation was converted into a joint stock company, Balkancar Holding EAD, in April 1989, Stoynev said. The Bulgarian Government was the sole shareholder. In 2002, two of Balkancar Holding’s major creditors filed for bankruptcy. The proceeding started in September 22, 2002, and is still running (Forkliftaction.com News #125).
Other forklift manufacturers in Bulgaria include Apex Service, Apex 11, Dimex, Hercu and Vi&Rus.
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Cascade aims to expand into construction attachments
PORTLAND, OR, United States
Cascade Corp plans within months to expand into the construction attachment market through buying an existing company.
It was “unclear yet” whether manufacturing attachments for a variety of heavy-construction equipment would involve forks for telescopic handlers or truck-mounted forklifts, said Richard Anderson, Cascade senior vice president and chief financial officer.
Other details about the possible deal were unavailable, but Cascade is negotiating an increase in its revolving credit facility to USD125 million from USD25 million to fund the planned expansion and provide short-term funding for a share repurchase program.
Globally, Cascade manufactures forks in seven factories and is building an eighth in Xiamen, China.
Robert Warren, Cascade CEO, said: “A year and a half ago, with the upswing in the North American market, we almost got caught flatfooted by a huge increase in demand for forks. We had already initiated a line expansion of North American production, and were able to hold all our customer base, but just barely.”
The 2005 expansion doubled manufacturing capacity at Cascade’s Findlay, Ohio, USA, plant and helped the company “move back from total use of capacity to a much more comfortable level”.
Portland-based Cascade manufactures materials-handling load engagement devices and related replacement parts, primarily for the forklift industry. For the second quarter ended July 31, Cascade reported profit of USD11.9 million on sales of USD119.4 million. Profit was up 11 per cent and sales up 4 per cent from 2005’s comparable quarter.
NMHG sells Yale Netherlands
Nacco Materials Handling Group (NMHG) has sold its shares in Yale Netherlands BV, of Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, to Citra Group BV.
Yale Netherlands will be placed in the trading division of the Citra Group, under Citechma Retail & Services. The acquisition fitted the group’s growth strategy for the logistics sector, a company statement said. Citra Group has holdings in companies that import, sell and hire equipment from the John Deere, Liebherr, Ingersoll Rand and Votex-Bison brands.
Yale Netherlands general manager Leo Westhoek told Logistiek.nl that the company’s relationship with NMHG subsidiary Yale Europe, of Hampshire, United Kingdom, would remain unchannged.
“At least we have not noticed a difference in the past. They did not favour us because we were their own, compared to independent dealers.”
The report said Yale Netherlands was owned by NMHG for eight years but NMHG started selling its Dutch offices four years ago to divert resources to R&D.
Westhoek told Forkliftaction.com News the company was not ready to disclose changes that would follow the acquisition, including whether Yale Netherlands would change its name. The acquisition price was not disclosed.
Logistiek.nl is a Dutch logistics magazine owned by Reed Business Information, a US-based business-to-business publisher with more than 100 titles and services worldwide.
Japan’s top five retain rankings
Market rankings among Japan’s top five forklift manufacturers for 2005 remained unchanged, a Japanese newspaper reported.
According to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Toyota Industries Corp (42.4 per cent), Komatsu Forklift (19.5 per cent), Nippon Yusoki (11.5 per cent), TCM (7.6 per cent) and Nissan Motor (7.5 per cent) were the top five Japanese forklift manufacturers in 2005.
Last year, Japanese forklift sales jumped 8.6 per cent to 81,970 units. The report said the increase was due to strong demand for forklifts in industrial plants and logistics facilities, following a business pickup.
Komatsu Forklift Co and TCM Corp lost 0.2 per cent and 0.6 per cent market share respectively after shifting their focus to overseas markets, the report said. Forklift sales overseas were said to yield higher profit margins.
Battery-powered forklift sales increased 11.8 per cent to 38,178 units and Toyota Industries Corp and Nichiyu forklift manufacturer Nippon Yusoki Co led in battery-powered forklift production.
Forkliftaction.com goes to China
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Kalmar to buy distributor Catracom
Cargotec, of Helsinki, Finland, parent company of Kalmar Industries, has signed an agreement to buy one of its biggest distributors in Europe.
Catracom, in the Port of Antwerp, has been distributing Kalmar equipment since 1985. Since then it has sold 170 Kalmar reach stackers and 1,000 Kalmar heavy forklifts to Belgian ports and industry. Catracom has also delivered more than 200 Terex PPM reach stackers and distributed Terberg tractors since 1994. The company’s engineering department manufactures dedicated port equipment, like fork carriages, masts for heavy duty operations and crane spreaders.
Both parties agreed not to disclose the price.
Catracom employed about 100 people and had net sales of about EUR70 million (USD88.9 million) in 2005. Catracom owner and managing director Ludwig Callens would remain with the business, a Kalmar statement said.
Kalmar president Christer Granskog said Catracom had been a strong partner for Kalmar for many years.
“This acquisition supports our strategy of being close to customers at major ports and container terminals around the world. It significantly strengthens our existing service offering and network in the Port of Antwerp.”
The agreement is subject to competition authority approval.
Nissan LSI engines get tick of approval
MARENGO, IL, United States
Large spark-ignited engines used in Nissan Forklift’s internal combustion forklifts have been certified by US regulatory bodies as meeting 2007 US environmental regulations.
The US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board have approved Nissan’s K21 and K25 gasoline, LPG, and dual fuel industrial engines and TB45 diesel engines. Nissan Forklift had redesigned the engines to include technological features to reduce exhaust emissions.
BT extends range, improves trucks
BT has extended its range of Ixion stackers, adding the SPE200 and SPE200L models for heavy-duty applications.
The SPE200L is equipped with elevating support arms for work on uneven surfaces and ramps. It can carry two pallets at once, one on the forks and the other on the support arms, a BT statement said.
The two tonne trucks, which have the BT Powerdrive (Forkliftaction.com News #259) and BT patented Powertrak systems, can stack up to 3,950mm. The Powertrak system senses the load on the forks before applying the appropriate drive-wheel pressure to ensure stability and “maximum driving and braking performance”.
BT has introduced a new generation Minimover pallet truck that comes in HWE100, HWE100S and LWE130 models. The pallet trucks have a new control handle similar to the handle on BT’s heavy-duty pallet trucks and stackers.
Manufactured at the Mjölby plant, in Sweden, the forklifts will be available in all BT’s global markets, BT Europe manager of marketing support Michael Utterström said.
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Forklift interrupts swine and boar production
LAUNCESTON, United Kingdom
A brewery whose products include the prize-winning beverages Sozzled Swine, Tipsy Trotter and Bodmin Boar has halted production after a burglar used a forklift to wreck the beer vats.
The BBC reported a burglar used a forklift to pierce seven settling tanks containing 5,000 pints of beer at the Ring O’ Bells brewery in Launceston, UK.
Worker Geoff King said the brewery would not operate for “a while”.
“It’s a complete and utter mess; pure sabotage,” he said.
Ring O’ Bells founder Adrian Carter used to own a pig called Monty, hence the names of the brewery’s beverages.
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Port of Melbourne digs deeper, claims record profits
MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia
The Port of Melbourne Corporation (PMC) has had a record after-tax profit of AUD48.5 million and record expenditure on research and land infrastructure for the 2005/06 financial year.
The profit was assisted by research & development items, a statement said.
“The after-tax profit benefited from one-off items, including allowable deductions for research & development expenditure and changes in accounting policies to comply with recently mandated International Financial Reporting Standards.”
The statement said spending on infrastructure totalled AUD26.7 million on upgrades to berths, rail developments, wharf rehabilitation at Webb Dock, South Wharf and Gellibrand Pier, development of Victoria Dock, and security.
AUD35.2 million was spent on unique environmental impact studies for a channel deepening project. Research results would be released at the end of the year.
Deepening the port channel began in 2005 to accommodate larger vessels and avoid costs of double and triple cargo handling where businesses bypassed the Melbourne port in favour of deeper ports.
PMC CEO Stephen Bradford said the project was important for trade.
“Channel deepening is a critical project for the Victorian economy if we are to trade efficiently with the rest of the world.
“The valuable research from trial dredging is an important investment in understanding the marine environment of Port Phillip Bay and how we can best deliver a sustainable project for the benefit of all Victorians,” he said.
PMC’s total revenue for the 2005/06 year was AUD134.7 million, a nine per cent increase on the previous year, the statement said.
PMC would continue its development program and had released a port development plan that provided a framework for continued capital expenditure of AUD2 billion for the next 30 years. It included plans to increase the percentage of freight movements by rail, the statement said.
Port of Melbourne, at the north of Port Phillip Bay, handles 39 per cent of Australia’s container trade.
Police to check all port workers
FREMANTLE, Western Australia, Australia
by Daphne Haneman
Every Australian port has tightened security after the Australian Government mandated use of photo identity cards.
From January 1, 2007, maritime personnel working at or accessing maritime security zones must wear a maritime security identification card (MSIC).
Federal transport & regional services minister Warren Truss said the MSIC scheme covered “70 ports and all waterfront workers, maritime contractors, agents and maintenance staff, seafarers on Australian regulated ships, truck and train drivers and operators, regular port visitors and suppliers, and anyone working on an offshore oil and gas facility”.
The MSIC must be “attached to outer clothing” and “worn above the waist”, a federal Department of Transport & Regional Services (DOTARS) statement said.
The identity card is a DOTARS initiative.
It affects about 75,000 maritime workers in Australia.
The application process included a consent form for Australian Federal Police to conduct background checks, the statement said.
DOTARS said it was the first time background checks had been conducted on maritime staff.
“The card shows the holder has met minimum security requirements to remain unmonitored in a maritime security zone.”
Maritime Union of Australia Victorian deputy branch secretary David Schleibs said workers with criminal backgrounds would not necessarily lose their card entitlement.
“Criminal history must have something to do with maritime security or export and import. So, a fight in a pub or a murder charge would not mean a worker lost their right to a card,” he said.
Fremantle Ports CEO Kerry Sanderson said introducing the MSIC was part of an overall security program already in progress at the Fremantle port.
“Fremantle Ports has implemented a security plan, approved by DOTARS, and is working with customers, tenants and other stakeholders to improve security arrangements,” she said.
In the past two years, Fremantle Ports has spent about AUD3 million on inner and outer harbour security. That has included replacing and upgrading time-lapse video recording equipment, installing high-security steel fencing and improved lighting on Victoria Quay.
Sanderson urged port employers to start the MSIC application process.
“I encourage people who need regular access to port operational areas for work to apply for an MSIC as soon as possible because, from January 1, 2007, you will not be admitted without one,” she said.
About half of all maritime workers had submitted applications and a further 34,000 were expected, the statement said.
Corrupt forklift assessor sacked and fined
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
A former NSW accredited assessor has been found guilty in the NSW Industrial Court of issuing false certificates of competency to 11 forklift operators.
Chief industrial magistrate Gregory Hart found the former assessor had been holidaying overseas on dates he claimed to have assessed the operators.
Quang Tran was fined AUD66,000. He was the last of nine former accredited assessors to be prosecuted in NSW between 2005 and 2006.
WorkCover NSW “identified corrupt activity” in the national certificates of competency licensing process in May 2004 and referred the matter to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Magistrate Hart said the offences were not breaches of a technical nature, nor the result of laziness, but were deliberate.
WorkCover CEO Jon Blackwell said the offences could have had safety consequences.
“These were very serious offences which could have led to serious injury and even death of workers,” he said.
“WorkCover has introduced substantial changes to prevent corruption and ensure all certificate of competency holders are properly identified, qualified and competent to operate the equipment listed on their licences.”
Blackwell said under the proposed changes, applicants for certificates must be at least 18 years of age and have undertaken WorkCover-accredited training and assessment.
Photo licence required for forklift operators
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
by Daphne Haneman
All NSW forklift and plant operators will require five-year photo licences under a new WorkCover NSW regulation.
The new licence will replace a “non-photo” National Certificate of Competency (NCOC) licence previously issued to 36 classes of machine operators, including forklift drivers, in NSW.
WorkCover NSW CEO Jon Blackwell said the photo licence had been introduced to assure employers that operators were competent.
“The photo licences will provide greater security for the community by providing proof and assurance for workers and employers that people operating complex machinery or undertaking high-risk work are competent and have a valid licence,” Blackwell said.
A WorkCover NSW spokesperson said NSW was the only Australian state which required drivers to have a licence before being allowed to operate equipment.
Forklift operators in other states were permitted to operate equipment without a licence if they were supervised, a WorkCover statement said.
However, from July 1, 2007, the NCOC standard would apply uniformly across the country and forklift and plant operators in all states were encouraged to carry photo licences, the spokesperson said.
NSW WorkCover said in the next two years, it would contact operators with NCOC licences issued before March 29, 2004, and “invite them to apply” for a new photo licence. It said operators should wait until they received a letter from WorkCover.
Bunnings Warehouse Ashfield safety improvement representative Leslie Owen said the licences were a good idea.
“Photo ID for plant and forklift operators is a great idea. It will clean up most, if not all fraudulent activities of drivers operating with borrowed licences. It will add a new safety dimension where companies hiring or employing forklift drivers will know at any given time who is driving their valuable investments,” he said.
The new licences are valid for five years and cost AUD60 a class. One licence may contain several licence classes. Pre-1997 licences will continue to be recognised until August 31, 2007.
In a WorkCover statement, WorkCover said it had identified some licences that had been “issued contrary to requirements of the Workplace Health & Safety Regulation 2001”, and some operators would have to be re-assessed before receiving new licences.
Forklift operator “adopted” after workplace lockout
MANGERE, Auckland, New Zealand
Residents in a small New Zealand community have “adopted” forklift operator Darrin Moffitt after he was locked out by his employer Progressive Enterprises Ltd (PEL) for taking strike action last month.
Palmerston North residents told Green Left Weekly they hoped to support Moffitt and his family for the duration of the dispute.
PEL is a subsidiary of Australian-owned Woolworths Ltd, which has its head office in Sydney. PEL employs 18,000 workers at distribution centres for New Zealand supermarkets and supplies Countdown, Foodtown and Woolworths supermarket groups. Woolworths also operates 33 Dick Smith Electronics stores in New Zealand.
Palmerston North, where Moffitt worked, is one of three PEL distribution centres at the centre of the dispute.
Hundreds of New Zealand workers went on strike in August protesting against PEL’s three separate worker contracts at supermarket distribution centres in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch.
A union representative said the contracts meant PEL workers were paid different rates at different distribution centres. He said workers would return to work when the company agreed to a collective bargaining agreement.
Rail, Tram & Bus Union national secretary Bob Hayden said Australian unions supported the strike action.
“It’s about global solidarity. We are building a united front with trans-Tasman unions against unjust corporate attacks on workers,” he said.
PEL locked out striking workers in August and disagreed with union demands.
“If the unions can agree to drop their demand for a single collective agreement to cover [all] sites, the lockout will be lifted and employees can return to work. Sensible wage bargaining will continue on the basis of the three pre-existing individual site agreements,” a PEL statement said.
A union statement said three Australian unions, the Maritime Union of Australia, the Transport Workers’ Union and the Rail Tram & Bus Union, affiliates of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, would join the picket to support the campaign for a collective agreement.
The unions have raised AUD15,000 in support of workers who have been locked out for three weeks while negotiations continue.
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Cascade presents at the Movimat Show in Sao Paulo
Cascade presents Push Pulls, Paper Roll Clamps and Fork Positioners at the Movimat Show in Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 8 -14, 2006. The logistics show was attended by more than 25,000 people. Of the 240 exhibitors, the Cascade / Central booth was one of only two lift truck attachment exhibitors.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
Nissan Forklift at the Forefront of Compliance with Environmental Regulations
Nissan Forklift is pleased to announce certification from both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), for the 2007 Standards for Large Spark-ignited (LSI) Engines, for Nissan’s full line of internal combustion forklifts. The Nissan engines have been redesigned to incorporate the latest technological advances for increased efficiency and performance, while greatly reducing exhaust emissions, well below the new requirements.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
Don Nelson: An expensive lesson for a company
A case involving Abitibi-Consolidated Co of Canada outlines a violation of the OSHA and, although a fine was imposed as a result of a worker injury, the violation relates to the employer “failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker”.
Click here for the full Safety First feature, including pictures.
Event: CeMAT Asia 2006
CeMAT Asia will be held from October 10 to October 13 at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre (SNIEC). More than 300 companies, a 28 per cent increase on last year, will exhibit products and services on about 20,000 square metres of space. Event organiser Deutsche Messe AG tells Forkliftaction.com News more.
Click here for the full Industry Profile feature, including pictures.
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