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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #294 - 25 January 2007 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Crown opens plant near Shanghai.”
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Dobbs Imports buys Heli business in 31 states
MEMPHIS, TN, United States
Heli’s forklift distribution in eastern and central regions of the United States is getting a fresh start under new ownership.
Consequently, the significance of pending Heli-related litigation is now moot.
Newly formed Dobbs Imports LLC, of Memphis, Tennessee, USA, acquired the Heli distribution business in 31 states from MH Imports Inc, of Dallas, Texas, USA, on January 7.
Forklift industry veteran Bruce Pelynio was named president and CEO of Dobbs Imports under an equity partnership arrangement with diversified investment company Dobbs Management Service LLC (DMS), of Memphis. Dobbs Imports is trading as Heli Americas.
In mid-2006, diversified conglomerate Sammons Enterprises Inc, of Dallas, had hired Pelynio as president of its new MH Imports subsidiary with an intention to develop the Heli business, but legal issues quickly arose.
Nacco Materials Handling Group Inc and its Yale Materials Handling Corp unit, in Greenville, North Carolina, sued Sammons on June 21 in a federal court in North Carolina. They claimed the MH-Heli relationship would violate existing business agreements between Yale and another Sammons forklift-marketing business unit, Briggs Industrial Equipment Inc (Forkliftaction.com News #273)
DMS’s involvement and the change of ownership bring the Heli business under an entity without forklift-industry conflicts.
“With the purchase of MH by myself and Dobbs, the litigation is null and void,” Pelynio told Forkliftaction.com News. The legal conflict had put Pelynio’s earlier MH efforts on hold.
Pelynio’s team is now recruiting dealers to market the electric and internal combustion powered forklifts that Anhui Heli Co Ltd, of Hefei, China, manufactures.
‘We have not signed any dealers yet,” Pelynio said on January 22. “We have a list of 35 applicants.”
Pelynio said Dobbs Imports had a variety of Heli forklifts in US warehouse storage and was positioned to make the units available through new dealership connections. Heli forklifts have lifting capacities of 2,000lbs-22,000lbs (900kg-9,900kg).
Dobbs Imports has hired three marketing managers, each with forklift industry experience. Mike Kennedy joined as Northeast regional manager, based near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mike Mills, in Charlotte, North Carolina, is Southeast regional manager. Tom DeRidder, in Chicago, Illinois, is the North Central regional manager.
Pelynio’s organisation and two other North American Heli distributors collaborated in exhibiting at the January 8-11 ProMat trade show in Chicago.
Southwest Equipment Sales (SWES), of Denver, Colorado, represents Heli in 19 US states, and a division of Canadian Forklift Distributors Ltd, of Thorold, Canada, covers all Canadian provinces.
Dobbs Imports and SWES plan to have Heli equipment in a booth at the American Rental Association’s February 7-10 Rental Show in Atlanta, Georgia.
In addition to Dobbs Imports, other current investments of private equity firm DMS include beer distributorships and health-plan administration. The lineage for the family-run business goes back to 1920 and has included ownership of automobile dealerships, restaurants and airline catering services.
Crown opens China factory
NEW BREMEN, OH, United States
Crown Equipment Corp is the latest global forklift manufacturer to open a manufacturing plant in China.
The US-headquartered company has opened its factory and sales operation in Suzhou, China, after announcing plans for its construction in 2005.
The plant has been production ready since 2006. Crown started manufacturing some smaller materials handling equipment in the 150,000 square foot (13,936 square metre) factory in April 2006, a Crown statement said.
In 2005, Forkliftaction.com News reported Crown planned to transfer production of some smaller models from its plant in Galway, Ireland (Forkliftaction.com News #210). Crown refused to comment on Suzhou’s production models and the number of employees at the plant.
Crown president Jim Dicke III said the number of Crown customers in China was a key factor in the decision to manufacture in east Asia.
“Many of our global customers are already in China or making plans to open operations. Providing service support for these existing customers in China is very important to our company,” he said.
Dicke said Crown was “extremely impressed” with the talent of Chinese employees the company had hired and the quality of Crown’s Chinese suppliers.
Suzhou, in Jiangsu Province, is about 120 kilometres west of Shanghai, China. Crown’s global operations cover the US, Australia, England, Germany and Mexico.
Greene plant converted to test lab
GREENE, NY, United States
Raymond Corp is using its Greene, New York, plant as a test lab to observe what fuel-cell powered forklifts require to operate in a manufacturing environment.
The company said in a press release that it had won USD750,000 from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) to research hydrogen fuel cell applications in electric forklifts.
Since 2004, Raymond has worked with fuel cell technology companies to explore the reliability of fuel cells as a forklift power source.
But this year Raymond has transformed its Greene manufacturing plant to a “living lab” with fuel cell-powered Raymond forklifts working in the facility.
Steve Medwin, manager of advanced research, said three class 2 forklifts and one class 3 forklift in the Greene plant’s fleet would be fuel cell powered.
“Testing will occur over two years with the goal being to show the benefit of using fuel cells rather than typical lead-acid batteries,” he said. The forklifts will be used in the manufacture of Raymond forklifts.
Michael Field, Raymond vice president for research & development, said the NYSERDA contract confirmed the merit of the project.
“By using our own facility as a test lab, we can streamline the development process and learn firsthand the requirements for using fuel cell-powered forklifts in a manufacturing environment.”
Asked if Raymond would release a fuel-cell forklift like Toyota’s FCHV-F, Medwin said “future truck plans were confidential”. Raymond Corp is part of the Toyota Material Handling Group.
The US manufacturer would develop the necessary infrastructure for indoor fast-fill hydrogen refuelling systems.
“The facility changes are modest. A hydrogen dispenser will be located indoors in part of the facility while the hydrogen tanks and compressor will be outside on a concrete pad,” Medwin said.
“Construction of the refuelling system started in November and the anticipated completion date is March 31, 2007. The first units to be tested are expected to arrive around the same time,” he said.
The Greene headquarters include corporate offices, R&D facilities and 350,000 square feet of manufacturing area. Raymond produces stand up and sit-down counterbalanced trucks, order pickers, Swing-Reach trucks, sideloaders and Transtackers at the Greene plant.
The Transtacker is a heavy-duty AC/DC powered machine for narrow-aisle load handling and orderpicking. The Swing-Reach forklift is a warehouse machine with high-level pallet handling and case-picking capabilities.
B&B Attachments UK operation plans worldwide expansion in 2007.
In many applications there is a need for refurbished forklift attachments.
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Konecranes expands product range
Konecranes has entered the straddle carrier business after buying all Consens Transport Systeme GmbH’s product rights.
The acquisition includes finished, stocked products, semi-manufactured products and Consens’s intangible assets, Konecranes communications officer Fredrik Wicklund said.
Jyrki Melaanvuo, director of yard cranes, who leads a team of experts from Consens joining Konecranes, said the acquisition combined Konecranes’ “intelligent lifting solutions with Consens’s knowledge of straddle carriers”.
Konecranes estimates the market for straddle carriers is more than 500 units a year. The machines supplement Konecrane’s ship-to-shore cranes, rail-mounted gantry cranes, rubber-tyred gantry cranes, forklifts and reach stackers.
The Finnish manufacturer’s existing distribution and service network for cranes and forklifts will market the new product line.
“The Konecranes straddle carrier is designed to maintain shock-free lifting of 60 tons and has a true twin 20 lifting capability,” Melaanvuo said.
The acquisition value was not disclosed.
Last year, Konecranes acquired MMH Holdings Inc, the owner of US-based Morris Materials Handling Inc, for USD79 million (Forkliftaction.com News #265). Konecranes bought UK-based Morris Material Handling Ltd in 2005 (Forkliftaction.com News #191) and SMV Lifttrucks AB in 2004 (Forkliftaction.com News #174).
Komatsu Forklift merges with Komatsu Zenoah
Komatsu Ltd’s board of directors will merge the Japanese company’s forklift and small construction equipment manufacturing subsidiaries on April 1.
The merger is expected to capitalise on the subsidiaries’ manufacturing synergies and help Komatsu boost its small equipment business.
Komatsu Forklift Co Ltd, in Minato-ku, Tokyo, had 3,434 employees and consolidated sales of JPY123,086 million (USD1.02 billion) for the financial year ended March 31, 2006. The company manufactures and sells forklifts and logistics equipment.
Komatsu Zenoah Co Ltd, in Kawagoe-city, Saitama, had 1,877 employees and consolidated sales of JPY97,950 million (USD811.1 million) for the financial year ended March 31, 2006. It manufactures and sells construction equipment, hydraulic components and outdoor power equipment.
Komatsu Ltd had been aiming to create greater synergy in its manufacturing processes, a company statement said. Komatsu Forklift’s forklifts and Komatsu Zenoah’s mini construction equipment products were similar in size and weight. Both companies produced similar product volumes.
After the merger, Komatsu Forklift, the surviving company, would change its name to Komatsu Utility Co Ltd. The company’s planned line of business would be “research and development, manufacture and sale of Komatsu Group’s small equipment”, the Komatsu statement said.
Head office would be Komatsu Forklift’s current office. Komatsu Ltd product division’s current president, Susumu Isoda, would be Komatsu Utility Co Ltd president.
“Komatsu Utility Co Ltd will retain [its] existing sales and service network and continue to use the name ‘Komatsu Forklift’,” the statement said.
The subsidiary reorganisation, excluding the sale of Komatsu Zenoah’s outdoor power equipment business, would not affect Komatsu Group’s consolidated results, the statement said.
Komatsu Ltd is negotiating to sell Komatsu Zenoah’s outdoor power equipment business to Husqvarna AB, of Sweden. Komatsu Zenoah’s hydraulic component business will be integrated into Komatsu’s engines & hydraulics business division on April 1.
After the merger, Komatsu companies that conduct forklift and small construction equipment business in Japan and overseas will be under Komatsu Utility Co Ltd’s control.
Employees gain Naumann/Hobbs ownership
PHOENIX, AZ, United States
Employees stepped toward becoming owners of forklift dealership Naumann/Hobbs Material Handling Inc and affiliated companies in a transaction that was disclosed on January 12.
Principal owners Bob Hobbs sr and his wife, Karen Naumann Hobbs, “did a wonderful and unselfish thing and gave us an opportunity to build our future”, Bryan Armstrong, president and CEO, told Forkliftaction.com News. Son Tom Hobbs, who is executive vice president, and Armstrong previously had minority ownership stakes.
Forming the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) does not impact executive management, which includes Armstrong, Tom Hobbs, chairman Bob Hobbs sr and chief financial officer Becky Alvis.
Bob Hobbs sr said: “We see the ESOP as the next great step in our company’s evolution. Our company motto is ‘keep the customer satisfied’ and our employee owners are more motivated than ever to exceed our customer’s expectations for the future.”
Lenders to the ESOP include the former majority and minority owners plus private equity interests.
Shares in the ESOP will be released to employees over time as the ESOP retires the debt. “We are among the few companies with 100–per cent employee ownership,” Armstrong said. “Now, employees have vested interests, and that makes them prouder and more involved.” The ESOP arrangements were completed on November 1.
The Phoenix-based firm employs 330 people, of whom 54 per cent are service technicians, Armstrong said. Other sites are in Tucson, Nogales and Yuma, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Mexicali, Mexico.
Lester C Naumann, from Ohio, started the business in 1949 selling forklifts from Clark Material Handling Co, which the dealership continues to represent. His daughter, Karen, met her future husband while they were students at Arizona State University. Eventually, Naumann brought in Hobbs to help run the business. In 1979, Bob and Karen Hobbs acquired the business from Naumann.
Naumann/Hobbs became a Crown Equipment Corp forklift dealer in most locations in 1991 and a Mitsubishi/Caterpillar Forklift America dealer in 1997.
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Obituary: Oliver Wilson
MILWAUKEE, WI, United States
Oliver S Wilson, 90, founder of ex-Clark dealer Wisconsin Industrial Truck Company (WITCO), died on January 20.
WITCO parts manager Tim Wilson (no relation) said Oliver Wilson served in the US navy in World War II as a logistics supply officer before entering the materials handling industry. WITCO was one of the first Clark dealerships in the US and the first in Wisconsin state, Tim Wilson said.
Oliver Wilson was born in Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Chicago, Illinois, after the war. Throughout his career he established many companies, including WITCO, Superior Equipment Company, Lincoln Contractors, Wilson Steel, Wilift, and Stack n Store Systems. The latter was merged into WITCO.
WITCO currently handles Daewoo/Doosan, Nissan, EP, Hawker Powersource and Bulldog batteries and chargers, Motrec industrial vehicles, Interlake rack systems, American wire products, and FuelMaker natural gas refuelling systems.
WITCO president, Oliver’s son Doug, said his father “taught him well” about the materials handling business. Doug Wilson has established a sister company, WITCO International, to distribute an electronic control unit for diesel-powered vehicles in Asia. WITCO has branches in Madison and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Oliver Wilson is survived by his wife, Lucia, daughters, Lucia and Melissa, son, Doug, and nine grandchildren.
Gehl introduces RS telehandler
WEST BEND, WI, United States
Gehl Company has added a RS5-19 telescopic handler to its RS Series product line.
“It’s a great machine for working in parking garages and low-ceiling buildings,” a Gehl spokesperson said. The Yankton, South Dakota-built RS5-19 has an overall height of six feet, four inches (1.93 metres) and its boom reaches to 19 feet, one inch (5.82 metres).
“The telehandler was designed to meet the growing needs of contractors, builders and rental firms for a 5,000lb (2,268kg) capacity machine,” a Gehl statement said.
Kalmar buys Balkan company
Kalmar Industries has bought Slovenia-based service contractor Tagros doo for an undisclosed sum.
Tagros doo, established in 1994, has 35 employees, mostly technicians. The company reported net sales of about EUR2 million (USD2.59 million) in 2006, a Kalmar statement said.
Tagros doo provides general maintenance for rubber-wheeled container handling equipment and industrial forklifts at the Port of Koper, in Slovenia.
Golden Gabelstapler goes to JM
RICHMOND, VA, United States
Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp has presented awards to its top three dealers using sales volume as its primary selection criteria.
The top award, Golden Gablestapler (German for golden forklift), went to JM Equipment Co Inc, of Fresno, California.
New England Industrial Trucks, of Boston, Massachusetts, and Montacargas Y Manejo de Materiales SA, of Mexico City, Mexico, were the other award recipients.
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Hytsu enlarges to meet R&D needs
Hytsu Group has opened a new factory and moved its headquarters to larger premises to accommodate its growing business and a need for more employees.
The new headquarters is on the fourth floor of the Tomson building in WaiGaoQiao Free Trade Zone, in Pudong, Shanghai. It is 200 square metres larger than the previous office.
Hytsu’s new Pudong factory is about 10km south of the headquarters. It is 5,000 square metres, 2.3 times the size of the old factory.
The R&D and quality control centre at the factory has increased staff numbers from 28 to 40.
More than 500 people work for Hytsu.
Movers & Shakers
BRISBANE, Qld, Australia
TVH Australasia has appointed Peter Milliken as general manager, sales and business development. He previously worked for EMC as group general manager and has more than 20 years’ industry experience.
GLADSTONE, Qld, Australia
Darren Boland has been appointed Hyster North’s central Queensland area manager. Boland has worked for Hyster North for two years. He was previously area sales manager and used equipment manager in Brisbane. Before Hyster North, Boland was account manager with National Fleet Network.
DALLAS, TX, United States
Pat McPhee has joined the national sales team of Narrow Aisle Inc, in Dallas. McPhee has spent more than 40 years in the materials handling industry, including many years in sales positions with Hyster Co.
RICHMOND, VA, United States
Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp has appointed Greg Mason as manager of product management and training at its Richmond, Virginia, headquarters. It has named three product managers, former Multiton brand manager Ray Schmidt for class 3 forklifts, technical area veteran Paul Moffatt for class 2 forklifts and a new Jungheinrich employee, Jeff Bowles, for class 1 forklifts.
MILWAUKEE, WI, United States
James H Woodward jr, former executive vice president and chief financial officer of JLG Industries Inc, has joined Joy Global Inc as executive vice president. He also becomes chief financial officer, replacing Donald C Roof. Woodward left JLG after the company was acquired by Oshkosh Truck Corp. Joy Global Inc is a mining equipment manufacturer and distributor.
Forklift lifts massive wine bottle
NEW YORK CITY, NY, United States
A forklift was instrumental in promoting Australian wine at “G’day USA: Australian Week” last week.
A wine bottle more than 1.8 metres tall and weighing 585kg, inside a gigantic box, had to be lifted with a forklift when it arrived on Wall Street, New York, Associated Press reported.
Twelve men used a dolly and an iron pry bar to ease the box through the doors of the Cipriani Wall Street ballroom.
The equivalent of 387 bottles of shiraz was in the giant bottle that was part of a week-long effort to promote Australia to US tourists.
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Linde increases forklift fleet uptime
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
Linde Materials Handling Australia has installed a fleet management tool that increases service productivity and first-time fix rates.
A Linde statement said in-van global positioning systems and two-way data transmission terminals, which transfer data via satellite, had been installed in 120 service vans in late 2006 for “quicker response times and to improve first-time fix rates”.
Linde said it understood it was the only Australian forklift fleet business using the system nationally.
James Withey, Linde general manager, service, parts and dealers, said the tool improved fleet uptime.
“There are benefits, especially for companies renting our equipment at multiple sites. We [can] see that some vehicles are exceeding their budgeted usage and others are being under-utilised. Several times we have swapped machines from one site to another as a cost-saving initiative for the customer,” he said.
“On other occasions, we have detected an increase in customer damage and been able to alert the customer to a potential personnel or driver training problem.”
Withey said service technicians could input and receive data.
“Each time a technician works on a vehicle, he/she inputs its hour meter reading into his/her in-van terminal and, within seconds, the data is transferred directly into a fleet management system,” he said.
“Likewise, parts carried by technicians are bar-coded and details scanned and entered into a forklift’s service history as they are used.”
The Linde statement said the management tool had been developed in Australia. Similar systems had been successfully deployed at Linde sites in Europe.
Linde Materials Handling Australia is a division of German-based Kion Group.
Port of Brisbane sets record for imports/exports
BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
The Port of Brisbane Corporation (PBC) had a trade record of 26.7 million tonnes of imports/exports in the 2005/06 financial year, an increase of 736,096 tonnes (2.8 per cent) from 2004/05.
PBC CEO Jeff Coleman said export and import trade had increased.
“Brisbane’s export trade has grown 5.1 per cent (574,662 tonnes) to reach 11.8 million tonnes, while imports have grown 1.1 per cent (161,434 tonnes) to reach 14.9 million tonnes for the period,” he said.
Container trade had grown in the last five years. Exports of full containers increased 8.3 per cent and imported full containers 9.9 per cent.
Last November, Forkliftaction News reported global container movements had increased 10 per cent. (Forkliftaction.com News #286)
Coleman said regional demand for coal and other energy-based commodities, driven largely by China’s strong economic growth, had increased Brisbane’s coal exports by 12.2 per cent to a record 4.1 million tonnes.
Meat exports had grown, driven largely by demand from Japan after outbreaks in the United States of mad cow disease.
A PBC statement said refined oil and gas imports reached a record 1.1 million tonnes, and iron, steel and cement imports hit record highs.
It said retail imports remained strong, increasing eight per cent.
PBC returned a AUD35.8 million dividend to shareholders in 2005/06, an increase of 53.3 per cent on 2004/05.
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Nissan forklift introduces the Platinum II Series –seeking symbiosis of people, vehicles & nature
MARENGO, IL, United States
The launch of Nissan Forklift’s new lower emission Platinum II Series lift trucks is a reflection of Nissan’s global philosophy which seeks “symbiosis of people, vehicles and nature”. These trucks are powered by Nissan’s own reliable and efficient industrial engines, which have been redesigned to incorporate technological advances to increase fuel efficiency and performance.
Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.
Safety campaign “not rocket science”
ALTON, United Kingdom
The Fork Lift Truck Association’s (FLTA) CEO says FLTA’s latest safety campaign is “not rocket science” but simple reminders that can save lives. David Ellison was referring to the Safety 4MOST campaign that FLTA will launch at IMHX 2007, in Birmingham on March 13-16.
Click here for the full Fork Talk feature, including pictures.
Company: Hytsu Group
As a materials handling manufacturer, Hytsu Group's business line covers materials handling, storage and building equipment, etc. With advanced R&D and workmanship, and complete after-sales warranty, Hytsu Group can provide its clients with the most integrated materials handling service.
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