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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #289 - 07 December 2006 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“500 mini forklifts and more on internet.”
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Skilled forklift workers a global rarity
By Christine Liew
Forklift industry members worldwide say there is a shortage of maintenance personnel, technicians and good salespeople in the industry.
Henry Whitney, president of Argentine marketing company Marketeck SA, told Forkliftaction.com News most South American forklift distributors suffered a “serious shortage of maintenance personnel”.
“One distributor said ‘I have five service vehicles but rarely have more than four out on the road because I can’t get experienced mechanics to go out without supervision.’ He said he has plans to purchase and equip two more service vehicles but has put off buying them for fear of not being able to man them.”
Whitney said forklift salesmen were scarce because, for many, forklift sales was “just a job, not a career”.
Forkliftaction.com News South of the Border columnist Rolf Slobotzky said Mexico was especially short of technicians for electric forklifts.
“There are so many innovations coming out [for] controls and systems.
“On the other hand, there is a question of what comes first – the chicken or the egg? Most times salespeople put new models in the market and then start to worry where to get a technician familiar with the new system.”
Slobotzky said there was also a shortage of salespeople. “If you have a good one, keep him happy. Meanwhile, try to train young guys. One out of three will work out, but then you multiply your training costs by three.”
US big forklift manufacturer Taylor Machine Works vice president for operations Robert Taylor agreed there was a shortage of maintenance personnel and technicians.“Sales[men] you can find but good salesmen are tough to come by.
“Experienced engineers are definitely tough [to find] in our area in Mississippi. We have found the only way for Taylor to get the right engineers is to get young guys and train them the Taylor way,” he said.
Jungheinrich AG corporate communications spokesperson Wolfgang Fessel said the German manufacturer also recruited young people.
“We train our own junior staff in-house and in co-operation with universities. The young people work half the time and go to college or university the other half. They earn money during their studies and Jungheinrich does not lose contact with them.”
Fessel said the company was in a “good position” because it had hired “highly qualified” engineers contracyclically in 2002 and 2003. He said the company’s flexible work times, good work culture and career advancement opportunities were attractive to employees.
“Most Jungheinrich employees stay in the company once they have entered it. The average length of employment is more than 14 years.”
Carlo Fallarini, sales and marketing director of Bolzoni Auramo Group, said forklift dealers told the Italian forklift attachment maker that hiring a good service engineer was “always a headache; a high cost but an investment”.
He said Bolzoni was in a different situation after acquiring Auramo, Brudi and, more recently, Meyer (Forkliftaction.com News #281).
“Thanks to the acquisitions, we have on board many experienced, skilled people in the field of forklift attachments … especially in technical areas like engineering, manufacturing and quality.”
UK-based Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) chief executive David Ellison said the situation in the UK would be similar to Europe. In May 2006, Forkliftaction.com News reported the FLTA was promoting forklift engineering as an exciting career option. The initiative was a response to the aging forklift workforce in the UK (Forkliftaction.com News #260).
Doosan Infracore Europe SA sales & marketing manager Daniel Vanhemelrijck said that, in his opinion, the skills shortage problem was not new.
“When I discussed with national dealers all over Europe, many complain about difficulties finding technical staff as well as sales. [They] are even more difficult to keep once you have found them.
“This trend will probably get worse in the future [as] forklifts become more and more sophisticated,” he said.
Do you experience a similar problem in your country? Make use of the Forkliftaction.com Jobs & Resumes section to advertise jobs or recruit employees.
Jungheinrich US and GNB build close partnership
RICHMOND, VA, United States
The GNB Industrial Power division of Exide Technologies has signed an agreement to supply Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp, of Richmond, Virginia, batteries for its forklifts sold in North America.
The batteries will be painted to match Jungheinrich’s yellow colour scheme and carry the Jungheinrich brand.
Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp president John Sneddon said the company’s goal was to become a “major player” in the North American market.
“Our new business partner, GNB Industrial Power, is willing and able to supply the batteries we need, when we need them, even with our significant growth expectations.”
GNB motive power product manager Michael Matson said it was the first time in North America that a battery manufacturer and an OEM forklift company had signed “such a co-operative agreement”.
Jungheinrich technicians will match each forklift with the correctly-rated battery and charger at its distribution centres in Richmond, Virginia, and Fresno, California, before the forklifts are shipped for sale.
Previously, Jungheinrich dealers and sales offices received batteries and installed them themselves.
Through the new partnership, GNB has established “quick ship” inventories on a consignment basis at Jungheinrich distribution centres.
“So, in effect, we treat their facilities as our own,” Taylor Frederickson, GNB’s OEM account manager said.
GNB supplies 10 different Jungheinrich-branded batteries to Jungheinrich distribution centres.
GNB makes forklift batteries in North America. Exide Technologies’ Industrial Energy Europe division makes forklift batteries for the rest of the world.
EnerSys moves strategically in Swiss market
READING, PA, United States
Industrial battery maker EnerSys has bought the lead-acid battery business of Leclanché SA, of Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.
Terms were not disclosed.
EnerSys said in a statement that it would take over Leclanché’s existing customers and contracts and “certain sales and service employees” to maintain continuity in customer relationships.
Company president and CEO John D Craig said the acquisition was in line with EnerSys’s goals to acquire companies with a high level of synergies and to expand its market presence.
EnerSys Europe president Ray Kubis said the transaction provided a “solid platform” for the company to increase its presence in Switzerland.
“We plan to use our extensive global manufacturing, technical, sales and distribution network to build on this platform and grow in this market.”
Kubis said increased investment and employment were planned in the Zurich area.
In 2005, EnerSys acquired FIAMM SpA’s motive power battery business for EUR25 million (USD33.3 million) (Forkliftaction.com News #206).
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TVH founders share passion on web
Belgian forklift parts and used forklift supplier TVH Group is exhibiting its sizable collection of miniature forklifts, including valuable collectors’ items, on www.forkliftscalemodels.com.
Collectors can view images of more than 500 miniature forklifts, telehandlers, aerial platforms, diggers and skid steer loaders. The collection, owned by the group’s founders, the Thermote and Vanhalst families, started more than 40 years ago, a TVH statement said.
There are more than 71 brands in the collection, some obtained in the 1960s.
TVH spokesperson Davy Vanoutryve said the collection was a result of the Thermote and Vanhalst families’ passion for forklifts.
“Since the two TVH founders were practically born in a forklift, the passion for the business was there since the very beginning,” he said. “No matter if it was selling, renting, repairing a forklift or selling parts.
“The first scale models were received when the two founders started travelling around the world to make the company a global leader in the industry. Occasionally they received a scale model from a supplier as a business gift … the collection grew and grew.”
Vanoutryve named a “handmade oakwood Patria model”, a collection of Crown models from Crown Equipment Corp owner James F Dicke and a limited edition series of “casted Hyster models” as precious pieces.
TVH claims the website displays the world’s largest online collection of scale models from the materials handling sector.
Not all models are for display. There are 198 models currently available for sale.
“The models that aren’t produced anymore are not for sale. We call them collectors’ items” on the website, Vanoutryve said. Some of the models are currently displayed in showcases around TVH’s Waregem headquarters.
The Thermote and Vanhalst families are keen to add new models to the collection. Collectors who wish to sell can contact the families via the website.
Most models were obtained from OEM suppliers and business contacts, but some were sourced from the makers of zamac models and toys. Zamac is an acronym for zinc and aluminium metal alloy casting.
O’Neill heads merged Illinois business
ELGIN, IL, United States
Two newly merged forklift dealerships adopted a new identity, Equipment Depot of Illinois, in mid-November and appointed Larry O’Neill as president and CEO.
The combined Elgin, Illinois-based business has roots going back to 1951.
Material Handling Services Inc (MHS) and Illinois Material Handling (IMH) merged on July 17 and now operate six stores covering 54 counties in Illinois and northwestern Indiana.
A major driver for the deal was IMH’s representation of Caterpillar forklifts. As part of the merger, MHS parent firm Pon North America exchanged dealerships, purchasing IMH from Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp, of Brookfield, Wisconsin, and selling its Wisconsin operations to Wisconsin Lift (Forkliftaction.com News #271). Now, the state line separating Illinois and Wisconsin sets marketing limits for Equipment Depot of Illinois (EDO) and Wisconsin Lift Truck.
O’Neill joined EDO in early October. Previously, he was general manager of product support with Patten Industries Inc, a major Caterpillar dealership in Elmhurst, Illinois.
EDO said it had 325 employees, including 180 service technicians, operated more than 120 service vans and had projected annual sales of about USD75 million.
The firm distributes Caterpillar, Mitsubishi, Linde and Nissan forklifts, SkyTrak, JLG and Genie aerial work platforms and telehandlers, Princeton truck-mounted forklifts and RailKing railcar movers. Its rental fleet includes more than 700 forklifts and 120 pieces of aerial and specialty equipment.
A state-of-the-art superstore was opened in Elgin, consolidating former MHS stores in Carol Stream and Des Plaines. MHS had its corporate office in West Chicago. Jasper Van den Driest, marketing manager, said EDO may open a new satellite service facility in Du Page County.
Operations in Illinois continue at stores in Grayslake, south Rockford, Morton and Alsip, all formerly MHS sites, and a north Rockford location, formerly an IMH facility.
EDO reports to Pon North America, a division within the equipment & power systems group of privately held Pon Holdings BV, of Nijkerk, the Netherlands. Before the merger, Pon owned MHS.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Pon North America employs more than 1,500 people at 35 forklift sales and service locations in eight states.
Other Pon North America units are Equipment Depot of Texas, of Waco, Texas; Portman Equipment Co, of Cincinnati; and LeveeLift Inc, of Evansville, Indiana.
O’Neill succeeded Ed Fritz, who moved to Equipment Depot of Texas as executive vice president with responsibility for the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Fritz had been CEO of MHS.
Electric steering introduced on pedestrian trucks
Jungheinrich AG has introduced electric steering on all pedestrian stackers, a first for pedestrian trucks, a company spokesperson said.
For the past 15 years, electric steering had been available only for ride-on trucks.
The tiller’s steering movements are detected by a sensor and transmitted through the steering motor to the drive wheel, producing “effortless steering”.
Jungheinrich product manager Oliver Hiekel said effortless steering was necessary in confined areas “for stacking in an aisle, to manoeuvre a truck with the tiller in the upright position” or “applications where steering forces may cause concerns”.
A Jungheinrich statement said the electric steering was similar to steering a car.
Electric steering is available on Jungheinrich’s EJC212-216 pedestrian stackers as an option for an additional nine per cent of a truck’s price. The EJC212 can lift up to 1,200kg, the EJC214 up to 1,200kg and the EJC216 up to 1,600kg. The EJC range is equipped with a 24V three-phase AC motor.
Kalmar nets 13 E-One orders
Kalmar has received orders for 13 E-One rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes from customers in South America.
The Port of Trinidad and Tobago, an existing Kalmar customer, ordered five E-One units to be delivered by the end of 2007. The five+one wide, one-over-five high RTGs will be equipped with Kalmar’s Smartrail autosteering and container position verification system and its remote maintenance & monitoring system (RMI). They are fitted with Bromma spreaders.
Neptunia SA, a Peruvian intermodal terminal operator, ordered two E-One RTGs equipped with Smartrail and Bromma spreaders. Delivery is scheduled for late 2007. The machines will be seven+one wide and can stack one-over-six high.
Terminal Pacífico Sur Valparaiso SA, of Chile, has ordered six seven-plus-one wide, one-over-five high E-One RTGs with Smartrail, RMI and Bromma spreaders.
The units are due to be delivered in the latter half of 2007.
JLG gets more Army refurbishment work
WARREN, MI, United States
The US Army’s Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) has awarded a USD23.7 million contract to JLG Industries Inc to refurbish all-terrain lifter Army system (ATLAS) vehicles and the ATLAS’s predecessor, SkyTrak Model 6000M vehicles.
“JLG has refurbished more than 450 [Army] vehicles used in places like Iraq and Afghanistan,” David Peacock, JLG vice president of government products and programs, said in a statement.
The award is part of a USD27.1 million contract. TACOM’s sole source contract with JLG began in July 2004 and has generated about USD51 million of revenue to the manufacturer.
Liebherr awarded Swiss Uni degree
Willi Liebherr, president of Liebherr-International AG’s administrative committee, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Freiburg, Switzerland.
The dean of the university’s Faculty of Economics & Social Sciences, Prof Philippe Gugler, recognised Liebherr’s achievements in “putting scientific theory into business-management practice”, in a laudatory speech.
Liebherr-International AG, of Bulle, Switzerland, is the holding company of the Liebherr Group, which manufactures a reach stacker with a unique curved boom (Forkliftaction.com News #164).
Forklift unloads illegal drugs
CANTON, OH, United States
A forklift was used to unload more than USD1 million in illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia to be incinerated in a steel company’s blast furnace.
The Associated Press reported the illegal goods, collected by Canton police in 2002 and 2003, were burned at 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit (1,565.6 degrees Celcius).
Canton police chief Dean McKimm said it was ironic to see evidence collected by police burned but “at least you know it’s not going back on the street”.
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New Zealand celebrates Toyota 8-Series launch
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
More than 500 guests attended three New Zealand-based AB Equipment Ltd Toyota 8-Series forklift launches in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington last month.
On November 23, 150 guests attended a harbour-side launch at Auckland’s viaduct basin, where Toyota-sponsored America’s Cup challenger, Team New Zealand, has its headquarters and training base.
Toyota had been a major sponsor of Team New Zealand for more than eight years, a statement said.
Team New Zealand, established in 1993, will compete in the 32nd America’s Cup challenge off Valencia, Spain, in 2007.
AB was an official supplier of counterbalanced Toyota forklifts to the team’s New Zealand and Spanish operations, the statement said. The forklifts “lift, move and store sails, rigging and keel components”.
Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said: “We simply couldn’t do without the support of AB Equipment and [its] supply of Toyota forklifts.”
AB general manager Scott Carrick said the Auckland launch was “an impressive unveiling of the latest design and innovations from two teams”, AB Equipment and Team New Zealand.
AB imports and distributes Toyota, BT, Raymond, Kalmar, Combilift and Moffet brands for purchase or rental. It also distributes earth moving and transport equipment through its 14-branch national network.
AB is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hellaby Holdings Ltd, which is listed on the NZ Stock Exchange.
The statement said AB was the sole distributor of Toyota forklifts in NZ and had imported and distributed Toyota forklifts for 25 years.
Until 30 years ago, AB was known as Andrews & Beaven. It was founded in the late 1800s and was originally an agricultural equipment supplier.
Snubbed safety notices incur penalties
Two Victorian companies were forced to pay costs after disregarding WorkSafe Victoria improvement notices for storage and forklift safety issues.
A Huntingdale import and distribution company received a 12-month good behaviour bond and was ordered to pay AUD1,000 to the court fund after it failed to comply with WorkSafe improvement notices.
A AUD1,500 costs order was made against Top Value International Pty Ltd, which pleaded guilty to two charges under section 43(3) of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 1985.
WorkSafe executive director John Merritt said failing to respond to improvement notices was viewed seriously by WorkSafe and the courts.
“Getting improvement work done within the agreed time generally means the end of the matter, but not doing so, or not advising WorkSafe of changed circumstances, greatly increases the risk of prosecution and the many costs that come with that.”
He said notices regarding forklifts and pedestrians were particularly important.
“In the past five years, nearly 3,000 forklift-related injuries have been reported in Victoria. Almost half of all people injured by forklifts are pedestrians,” he said.
“It is vital that pedestrians and forklifts are separated and that the machines cannot hit storage racks which could fall.”
A WorkSafe statement said the improvement notices had asked the companies that faced court to separate pedestrians from mobile equipment, mark walkways, prevent vehicle damage to storage racks and install safety signs.
The statement said WorkSafe had given information to the two companies that would help them comply with the notices.
However, when a WorkSafe inspector revisited the workplaces, the notices had not been complied with, and no appeals against them had been lodged.
WorkSafe told the court a lack of staff and money were said to be reasons for non-compliance.
WorkSafe said it had a range of guidance material on forklift safety including Forklift safety: reducing the risk which was available online at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au or by calling WorkSafe for a printed copy.
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Tiger - EP launches the forklift T-Series
E-P is the no.1 manufacturer of electric warehouse equipment in China. The E-P electric pallet trucks and stackers are world class in quality, performance & appearance with a competitive price and a 100% service guarantee.
E-P manufactures a global range of materials handing equipment: hand pallet trucks, electric pallet stackers, electric pallet trucks, forklifts and more.
Now E-P launches its new model forklift T-Series: TIGER.
Diesel-powered models FD20T, FD25T and FD30T have a rated capacity of 2000 kg up to 3000 kg and a lift height of 6000mm.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
Mobile picks up Multiton business
In the wake of Multiton ceasing operations, Mobile has secured a number of their old accounts who were seeking alternative suppliers. These dealers were suddenly left without branded stacker and pallet truck product lines. To make matters worse, Multiton indicated that after a couple of months after closing it would not be servicing any aftermarket requirements for any of its products already in the field.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
5th Intermodal Africa 2007 South Africa Exhibition and Conference
Hosted By The National Ports Authority of South Africa
International Convention Centre, Durban
Thursday 29 and Friday 30 March 2007
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
Award finalists selected
ALTON, United Kingdom
The Fork Lift Truck Association’s (FLTA) technical committee has scrutinised the year’s new products and services and developed a list of finalists for its annual awards for excellence.
Click here for the full Fork Talk feature, including pictures.
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