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This is issue #296 - 08 February 2007 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“For the first time China dominates RFID business”
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Demand for materials handling products to rise
CLEVELAND, Ohio, United States
Global demand for conventional materials handling products is set to increase, according to a new study.
World Material Handling Products, a study from industry research firm Freedonia Group, based in Cleveland, Ohio, said global demand for materials handling would increase 4.5 per cent annually through to USD117 billion in 2010.
The report said developing materials handling markets, such as China, India, Turkey, Mexico and Russia, were expected to have strong sales growth and equipment demand.
In general, there was good news for most markets.
“Materials handling equipment demand in Western Europe and Japan will show renewed strength following a period of relatively sluggish gains. Market advances in the US will accelerate. Increases will be fuelled by generally favourable economic conditions and higher income levels, leading to a rise in goods consumption and manufacturing production, boosting materials handling sales as fixed investment activity climbs,” the report said.
Up to 2010, the Asia-Pacific region would record the most growth in demand (5.9 per cent), compared with North America (3.6 per cent) and Western Europe (1.7 per cent).
“The US, Japan and Germany are the world’s largest producers of materials handling products. Germany and Japan are by far the major net exporters, although China and South Korea are expected to become increasingly important global suppliers.”
The report said demand for advanced or automated products, such as robots and automated guided vehicles, would post the best gains.
“These types of products and services can enhance productivity of the materials handling function, and are amenable to integration into larger-scale factory automation and automated warehouse-type environments,” it said.
“Conventional materials handling product demand, such as industrial trucks and lifts, conveyors, hoists, cranes and the like, will also improve. Developing countries that are exhibiting rapid industrialisation will register healthy demand for most types of materials handling equipment and systems, both conventional and advanced.”
A full copy of the report is available from Freedonia for USD5,300.
Report shows RFID market endures “booms and busts”
CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
Global Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) take-up rates have been non-linear, with some markets surging in tag take-up, while others, such as pallets, have lagged.
A 2007 RFID technology report, RFID forecasts, players & opportunities, by UK company IDTechEx, said although RFID tag sales had increased generally, numbers had been “disappointing to those expecting higher volume sales of versions in the form of labels”.
The report said about 3.752 billion animals, vehicles, pallets, smart cards, passports, banknotes, pharmaceuticals, tyres, books, tools, manufacturing parts and even sushi meals had been RFID tagged in the last 60 years.
Some industries had boomed in RFID adoption.
Tag use at airports had increased to two billion bags yearly, despite “being hampered by technical problems at the chosen global standard UHF frequency for airport baggage”, the report said.
UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer was on its way to tagging 350 million items of clothing yearly. The report said M&S had “seen a sales uplift by being able to have close visibility of stock levels”.
RFID cards and ticket numbers have “sharply increased”, the report said. ERG Australia has announced major orders for transport card systems in Manila, in The Philippines, and Italy, totalling USD40 million.
This year, China will supply RFID cards for its national ID scheme, the largest RFID project in the world.
“This has a dramatic effect on the total 2007 RFID market value as the RFID card portion accounts for 60.3 per cent of the total RFID market value (including tags, systems and services), dropping to 17.2 per cent in 2012,” the report said.
In 2006, 70 million animals were tagged. “This will rise to 90 million in 2007.” US-based Digital Angel has an order for up to USD10 million to tag fish, count fish populations and monitor migration patterns for the US Army Corps of Engineers, the report said.
However, pallet and case tagging is yet to realise significant benefits.
“Despite progressive mandates, what was anticipated to be a market of perhaps five to six million tags in 2006 came out at only about one third. That’s an average of a few hundred thousand tags that each mandated Wal-Mart supplier bought for the whole year,” it said.
“Adoption will not be linear but ‘hockey stick’,” it said.
“Technical problems (the need to read 100 per cent of cases and pallets despite metal/fluid contained in them and nearby) persist although users are pleased with the significantly improved performance from Gen 2. Infrastructure is still threadbare. IDTechEx has heard some major tag producers were looking to get out of the business or at least outsource tag production.”
The report said the biggest market was the US.
“Excluding cards, 58.4 per cent of the market in 2007 will be in the US and 33 per cent in Europe. Consequently, although China for the first time dominates the total RFID business, virtually without exporting, the US dominates everything beyond the card part.”
Chinese machinery company opens branch in India
Major heavy machinery manufacturer Guangxi Liugong Machinery Co Ltd (Liugong) will establish an assembly plant in India this year.
Liugong manufactures wheel loaders, skid steer loaders, hydraulic excavators, concrete trucks and forklifts and has operated since 1958. It has more than 2,600 staff.
A Liugong statement said the company produced about 10,000 forklifts a year.
Liugong chairman Wang Xiaohua said the Indian plant was part of a global investment plan.
“Our firm has laid out a blueprint for overseas business development and we are on the way to a leadership position in our key target markets abroad,” he told the China Daily.
“Liugong has been generous in research and development spending to maintain its competitive edge at home and abroad, with R&D earmarked for about two per cent of the company’s total annual sales revenue.”
Xiaohua said Liugong had plans to expand into Russia and was already established in Australia.
“Liugong is working on a feasibility study for setting up a production base in Russia after the one in India becomes operational, he said.
“To be well prepared for market penetration into developed countries, Liugong has set up its first overseas branch in Australia for R&D, testing and marketing.”
Liugong Machinery Australia, based in Sydney, has added forklift distributor Hewlett Equipment Australia to its dealer network. Hewlett is based in Queensland.
Xiaohua said Liugong had about 30 overseas distributors.
Liugong’s 2006 revenue was 8.09 billion yuan (USD1 billion).
The statement said Liugong produced 20,000 construction units annually.
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UK forklift firm forced to expand offshore
LOWESTOFT, Surrey, United Kingdom
UK-based forklift manufacturer and distributor Nexen Lift Trucks Ltd has been forced to build an additional assembly plant offshore, while continuing to operate its main premises in the UK.
Nexen is a family owned business, based in Lowestoft, UK, that manufactures and distributes diesel, gas and electric forklifts and materials handling products. It has been involved in the forklift industry for more than 40 years.
Nexen was “desperate” to find additional space, a Nexen statement said.
The company had an available site next to its Lowestoft premises and planned to build an assembly plant for its newly launched warehouse equipment range and a new research & development building to conduct research into hydrogen fuel cell technology and a new hybrid electric counterbalanced range.
Nexen sales director Pam Oakes said the new plant would have created about 50 jobs.
However, she said local councils, late last year, had “acted with a vengeance and changed their minds”, instead allocating the land for a 40 million pound (USD79 million) council base and marine science laboratory. The councils issued compulsory purchase orders to all property owners, including Nexen, that, if enforced, would have given the owners “no choice but to sell the land to the council”.
Oakes said “the final straw was when no decision was granted for planning permission on the site.
“We have looked at all the options and the only solution was to move this expansion project overseas. We have been in negotiations for the last few months for relocation and are now at the final stage.”
Oakes said she could not disclose the location of the overseas plant.
Nexen and its subsidiaries employ about 70 people in the UK and distribute products worldwide.
Canadian forklift distributor adds dealers
Canadian Forklift Distributors Ltd (CFDL) added seven independent dealers during 2006 and plans to add another six or seven this year.
CFDL established its Heli Fork Lift Canada division in January 2005 under an exclusive agreement with Anhui Heli Co Ltd, of Hefei, China.
In addition to Heli forklifts, other units of CFDL represent the narrow-aisle warehouse line of E-P Equipment Co Ltd, of Xiacheng, China; pallet and walkie forklift supplier Mo Doo Industry Co Ltd, of Seoul, South Korea; E-Go Electric Vehicles, of Suzhou, China; and Canadian Forklift Wholesale.
Jim Chesla, CFDL general manager, said: “We bring product to small-to-medium-sized, independent dealers across Canada who are often overlooked in the quest for market share by the big boys” in the forklift industry. “We provide an economical alternative.”
CFDL has 21 dealer branches with about one-third in the Province of Ontario, where CFDL is based in Thorold. “About 52 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product comes from Ontario and about 40 per cent of forklifts sold are in Ontario.” Chesla said.
Kalmar buys US service company
Major global cargo handling equipment supplier Kalmar Industries, part of Cargotec Corporation, in Finland, plans to buy US-based port equipment hire company Port Equipment Service (PES).
A Kalmar statement said the acquisition would “strengthen its position in US ports and create new opportunities with intermodal terminals”.
Kalmar and PES have agreed not to disclose the transaction value, the statement said.
PES, based in Virginia, reported 2006 net sales of EUR4 million.
PES was established in 2001 and has 56 staff, mostly service technicians, who build, maintain and repair Kalmar and other brands of container and heavy materials handling equipment.
Kalmar production plants are in Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Malaysia, China and the US. Kalmar’s net 2006 sales were EUR1.2 billion.
Cargotec Corporation is a major global provider of cargo handling solutions. Its class B shares are listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
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US Army orders JLG telehandlers
OSHKOSH, WI, United States
The US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) has awarded a USD102.2 million contract to JLG Industries Inc for equipment to be delivered over five years.
TACOM has purchased 566 JLG Atlas II military telescopic material handlers, including field service support, add-on armour, performance-based logistics and simulators for training purposes. The Atlas II design adds “lube-for-life” systems and on-board diagnostics to the capabilities of the Atlas I vehicle.
JLG’s McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, military support centre will manufacture the new telehandlers. JLG intends to deliver six Atlas II production verification test vehicles in June for military testing.
JLG became a subsidiary of Oshkosh-based Oshkosh Truck Corp on December 6.
“Our integration work is well underway and we continue to work hard with the JLG team as they become a core component of our great company,” Oshkosh CEO Robert Bohn said.
Forklift upgrade ‘underwhelms’ users
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia
Australian technology writers have likened Microsoft’s latest computer upgrade, Microsoft Vista, to a forklift upgrade.
Authors of an Australian technology magazine article have recommended computer users perform a “forklift upgrade” and migrate to Microsoft’s Vista, as opposed to “more gradual transitions”, saying full-scale “forklift” upgrades “cut the number of systems that have to be supported at any one time” and were “usually better planned and executed than projects done over a long period”. The authors especially recommended the upgrades for “large fleets” of desktop systems as, “with any large fleet, it is a good time to clean the slate and upgrade other systems as well”.
Technology publication Australian IT said Microsoft’s new “forklift” package had “underwhelmed” users.
Electronic wire guidance system “a real find”
MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia
A Melbourne-based, family-run forklift company has decided to install electronic wire guidance (EWG) systems as its core business, instead of dealing in forklifts.
Realfind Forklifts Pty Ltd co-director Susan Pryor said EWG systems for warehouses were becoming popular.
“We’re trying to get out of the forklift business as EWG is starting to take off.”
Pryor said she and her husband, John McGimpsey, were Realfind’s only employees and were “flat out”. “We travel around Australia, do marketing and installations and run the entire business on our own.
“We go to lots of trade shows, particularly Matex, where you find decision-makers.”
Pryor said EWG systems were for turret trucks and stock pickers. Many forklift companies installed the systems on behalf of their customers.
“This system consists of two components, a continuous, closed-loop guide wire installed in the floor, and a control installed on the vehicle. A wall-mounted line driver generates a low-level signal through the wire buried in the floor,” she said.
“EWG closes up warehouse aisles, increases storage because you can stack at floor level and you don’t need an extra bottom beam, and allows forklifts and turret trucks to travel at full speed without safety concerns, as they are guided. Turret trucks can have single-cycle throughput of 30 to 40 pallets, compared with 12 to 15 pallets with a conventional reach truck.”
Realfind has installed EWGs in more than 80 companies in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and on behalf of several forklift companies, since 1999. Pryor said Crown, BT Australia, Raymond Lift Trucks, Powerlift Australia, Hyster South East, Red Australia, Nichiyu, Yale Asia-Pacific and others had invested in the system.
She said it could deliver savings.
“One customer was able to reduce warehouse staff by 33 per cent.
“Steel rail systems cost about AUD250 to AUD300 a metre. EWG systems cost about AUD30 to AUD40 a metre.”
Konecranes moves into lighter lifting in Australia
UNANDERRA, NSW, Australia
Major global crane manufacturer Konecranes, based in Finland, has established a lighter lifting facility in Australia.
Konecranes Pty Ltd Australia is based in Ingleburn, Sydney. Its new lighter lifting warehouse, Light Lifting Equipment Centre, is in Unanderra, New South Wales, near Port Kembla, and was established in 2006 to meet demand.
“Our new centre in Unanderra was set up to meet the Australasian industry’s demand for lighter products,” a company statement said.
“Sales of lighter cranes have risen more than tenfold over the past couple of years.”
The statement said the centre’s lighter lifting products included the Konecranes XM system. The XM includes a monorail solution, a workstation crane system for loads up to 2,000kg, single girder cranes for loads up to 1,600kg, and free-standing cranes.
Konecranes South Asia-Pacific president Ed Yakos said the Unanderra facility “had been such a success that plans are already under way to expand it”. Total business in his region had “more than doubled in the last five years”.
The statement said the Unanderra centre had become the central distribution and service point for the Australian and New Zealand markets.
“Managed by light lifting specialist Richard Jackson, the new facility can airfreight manual and electric chain hoists, chain blocks, lever lifts and spare parts to most places within just 24 hours.”
Konecranes Australasia has more than 130 crane commissioning and maintenance specialists at 24 locations, delivering to mining, aviation, transport and production companies.
Konecranes’ clients include Air New Zealand, Alcoa, BHP Billiton, Australian Cement, Hydro Tasmania and Southern Hydro, Contact Energy NZ, Lihir Gold, Patrick Corporation and P&O container terminals, Ratchaburi Power Station, in Thailand, and Uncle Tobys.
Konecranes employs about 7,000 people in 41 countries. Its shares are listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
NTP brings electric stackers to Australia
ADELAIDE, SA, Australia
Adelaide-based NTP Forklifts Australia has introduced a new range of electric stackers and pallet-movers to the Australian market.
NTP’s national network of offices and dealers is the exclusive Australian distributor of the Manilec range from French manufacturer Manitou.
The products were launched in France in 2005 and in Europe in 2006. NTP visited the Manitou manufacturing facility in France in early 2006 to discuss modifications for the Australian market.
The stackers have a turning radius of 1,400mm with three lift capacities, 1,000kg, 1,400kg and 1,600kg, and six mast configurations ranging from 2.9 metres to 4.3 metres. The pallet-movers feature an off-centre, side-mounted control handle that improves driver visibility.
NTP national sales manager Damien Garvey said the latest models were “a significant strategic addition as they plug a gap that existed in the battery electric warehouse equipment sector”.
NTP represents Manitou rough terrain forklifts and telescopic handlers, TCM industrial forklifts and Taylor-Dunn industrial personnel and burden carriers.
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Watts Tyre Services appoint new General Manager for the UK
Watts Tyre Group is please to announce the appointment of Steve Collins as Director and General Manager for Watts Tyres Services UK.
Steve was formerly General Manager of Linde Materials Handling (UK) Ltd’s contract management unit, and has over 28 years experience in the materials handling industry.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
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ITA president to speak at China ITA meeting
WASHINGTON, United States
For the first time, an Industrial Truck Association president will address a sister association’s annual meeting. ITA president Jim Malvaso, who is Raymond’s president and CEO, said he had accepted an invitation from China Industrial Truck Association (CITA) managing director Su Enyi to be a keynote speaker at CITA’s annual meeting in Shanghai on May 21-22.
Click here for the full Fork Talk feature, including pictures.
Clark makes comeback
LEXINGTON, KY, United States
Clark Material Handling Co is rebounding under the ownership of Young An Hat Company Ltd (YAHC). Longtime YAHC executive Dennis Lawrence guides the Clark management team in Lexington as president and CEO, and the once-troubled Clark brand appears to be regaining lustre.
Click here for the full Industry Profile feature, including pictures.
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