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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #343 - 17 January 2008 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Bromma inspects deficiencies, sets records.”
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Crown adds IC forklift to product line
COVINGTON, GA, United States
Crown Equipment will distribute Komatsu-built internal combustion forklifts through its 40 dealers in the US and Canada.
The forklifts will be marketed under the new Hamech brand and are based on Komatsu’s current model range. Crown’s 62 independent dealers in North America can choose to offer Hamech in their product lines.
Crown says in a statement that the branding agreement with Komatsu Forklift USA allows its dealers to offer internal combustion forklifts and a consistent level of aftermarket support. The distribution network will manage Hamech part orders, service support and warranty.
Jim Moran, Crown’s senior vice president, says adding Hamech forklifts means the Ohio-based forklift manufacturer can meet a wide range of customer needs.
Eric Kobori, Komatsu Forklift’s vice president, sales & marketing, says the Japanese manufacturer is pleased to be chosen as Crown’s OEM partner.
“Komatsu Forklift USA is very pleased that, in such a competitive marketplace, Crown valued the quality and reliability of the Komatsu product.”
Crown, of New Bremen, Ohio, has been manufacturing electric forklifts since the mid-1950s. It is the leading electric forklift brand in the US. According to dhf-intralogistik’s latest world ranking, Crown is the world’s sixth largest forklift manufacturer.
In a November 2007 article, titled ‘The BMW of Forklifts’, Forbes writer Emily Schmall reports that Crown, the “last privately owned forklift manufacturer in US”, has seen sales double in the past five years. Its sales totalled USD1.7 billion in 2006.
Komatsu Forklift USA, of Covington, Georgia, will only distribute its own brands through its dealer network in North America. Its product range includes internal combustion engine and electric forklifts with capacities from 3,000lbs to 35,000lbs (1,361kg to 1,5876kg).
Associations focus on global competition, safety and skills
Forklift and telehandler industry associations around the world say their goals for 2008 include promoting safety, assisting members to become globally competitive and tackling skills shortages.
Industrial Truck Association (ITA) president Stan Simpson told the association’s annual meeting in Alberta, Canada, last September that ITA was undertaking two pilot projects that could become major efforts.
ITA wants to track state legislative issues relevant to its members and level the playing field for tariffs levied by other countries on US forklift exports.
The US-based Material Handling Equipment Distributors’ Association (MHEDA) plans to educate its members on the opportunities and challenges of globalisation. This will be addressed through conventions, educational offerings, its publications and the work of its standing committees.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) of Wisconsin, US, says the off-road equipment manufacturing industry is increasingly worldwide in scope. Hence, AEM aims to provide services to help members compete effectively on the global stage.
The UK’s Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) encourages its members to stay competitive through its annual awards for excellence. This year, the event to recognise industry members’ achievements in 2007 will be on February 9.
The Japanese Industrial Vehicle Association (JIVA) is co-organising Logistech-Tokyo 2008 from September 9 to September 12, and will host the 11th Alliance of Industrial Truck Organisations’ meeting on May 16 to open a forum for international forklift manufacturers.
The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), of Sunninghill, UK, will continue to draw on its members’ real-world experiences to influence new legislation and regulations, then interpret their technicalities for members in an understandable form.
MHEDA wants to contribute to raising the materials handling industry’s profile by better defining the industry’s role and impact in the supply chain to its members.
AEM says it will “aggressively address” the need to develop a future workforce for the industry by spotlighting the industry’s vital contributions to good roads and clean water. Other efforts include its teen-friendly construction challenge program that will culminate in a finals event at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show in March 2008.
FLTA chief executive David Ellison says the lack of skilled forklift engineers “threatens the future of our whole industry”. Engineers are ageing and retiring and new talent is needed.
Ellison urges employers, including non-FLTA members, to hire apprentices and young people to consider the industry for a career. He says the association’s national forklift truck engineer apprenticeship program is improving the quality of apprentice training in the UK.
This year, FLTA will emphasise forklift safety messages through its campaigns, Safe User Group and the National Fork Lift Truck Safety Conference. One issue to be discussed is the safety of engineers working at height on masts.
BITA hopes to secure a broader audience for its pocket-sized operator safety guide that reinforces training and is based on more than 50 years of best practice knowledge.
MHEDA says besides helping members face the rising cost of operating their businesses, it will educate them on the impact, opportunities and challenges of “going green” in the industry.
United Rentals ends merger agreement
GREENWICH, CT, United States
United Rentals has received USD100 million after terminating a merger agreement with RAM Holdings Inc and RAM Acquisition Corp, Cerberus Capital Management LP’s acquisition vehicles.
United Rentals sent Cerberus a notice of termination of its July 22, 2007, merger agreement and requested the private equity firm pay the termination fee outlined in the agreement.
Under the agreement, the fee is payable within two days of termination. A United Rentals spokesperson confirms the fee was paid on December 26.
The spokesperson says United Rentals’ immediate need is to move forward and focus on its business.
“In light of Chancellor Chandler’s December 21 opinion, the board of directors determined the company is best served by terminating the merger agreement and the constraints it imposes.”
Delaware judge Chancellor William Chandler had ruled against United Rental’s petition to force Cerberus to close the USD4 billion buyout.
United Rentals is also terminating previously announced debt tender offers and consent solicitations made by its subsidiary United Rentals (North America) Inc. Completion of the merger was a condition to consummating the offers.
United Rentals took Cerberus to court after the latter sought to repudiate the merger agreement
(Forkliftaction.com News #337).
Bromma inspects defects, sets record
Cargotec has reported to the Helsinki Stock Exchange that it will book a one-off cost of EUR18 million (USD26.4 million) in its fourth quarter operating profit.
The cost follows welding-related deficiencies identified in Bromma spreaders, which requires a global inspection program and potential preventive repair. Cargotec owns the Bromma container spreaders brand.
About 1,730 spreaders will be inspected. Welding cracks have been found in 35 spreaders so far. Bromma says the deficiency is not expected to cause an immediate safety risk when the container spreaders are used in normal operating conditions.
Bromma says its offices are contacting customers to arrange inspections for potentially affected spreaders. The inspection and repair process is expected to cause minimal disruption to terminal operations.
No load failures or injuries have been reported.
Lars Fredin, Bromma vice president of sales & marketing, says 2007 was a “record year”.
“[It was an] extremely strong year in investments of new equipment in terminals and ports around the world. We believe the industry will continue adding new equipment and replacing old equipment in 2008.”
Last October and November, large numbers of Bromma Marathon yard crane spreaders were ordered for Asian and Middle East terminals. The orders included:
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Ballard supplies to Danish company
Ballard Power Systems has signed a two-year agreement to supply fuel cell stacks to Danish system integrator H2 Logic A/S.
“The agreement with H2 Logic is evidence of growing interest in fuel cell-powered forklift solutions,” says Mike Rosenberg, Ballard’s materials handling director.
“While volumes under this supply agreement will be small initially, we see strong growth potential with H2 Logic.”
Danish company H2 Logic A/S will buy Ballard’s Mark9 SSL and Mark1020 ACS fuel cell stacks to integrate into fuel cell hybrid systems targeted at forklifts for warehouses and distribution centres.
H2 Logic’s business development manager Mikael Sloth says the company is excited to develop and commercialise its fuel cell hybrid systems with Ballard as a strategic supplier.
"Ballard's technology has proven itself in terms of performance, reliability and ease of integration," Sloth says.
H2 Logic, established in 2003 in Herning, Denmark, is a developer of hydrogen fuel cell motive power solutions. This year, the company starts a pilot test involving two forklifts and one pallet truck from Atlet. H2 Logic supplies the fuel cell systems and refuelling station.
An H2 Logic spokesperson tells Forkliftaction.com News the company is looking for end users with class 3 forklifts in three-shift operations for demonstration projects in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia for applications in ports, warehouses, distribution centres and supermarkets.
H2 Logic received its first order in 2004 developing fuel cell systems for two handicap vehicles using metal hydride storage.
Metal hydride storage stores hydrogen at low pressure in a solid metal powder structure. It is ideal for forklifts as it contributes to counterbalance weight.
Sloth says metal hydride storage is still in the R&D stage and will not be used in the company’s forklift demonstration projects.
He says H2 Logic developed one of the world’s most advanced combined off-grid and on-grid hydrogen chain systems in 2004.
Raymond shares fuel cell research findings
GREENE, NY, United States
Raymond Corp has unveiled the early findings from its two-year research program on hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts, developed with funding from the New York Energy Research & Development Authority.
Last January, Raymond converted its Greene, New York, manufacturing site into a “living lab” with hydrogen fuel cell powered Raymond forklifts and an indoor hydrogen refuelling system working in the facility (Forkliftaction.com News #294).
The program’s goal is to evaluate the performance of hydrogen fuel in electric forklifts and demonstrate the safety of a hydrogen-fuelled forklift environment.
According to a Raymond statement, the study’s early findings show that, compared to battery-powered forklifts, hydrogen fuel cell forklifts maintain comparable performance. The braking distance and maximum travel and lift speeds of the forklift are equivalent to that of an electric forklift, Raymond says.
Raymond says refuelling the fuel cell forklift consumes a few minutes compared to the 20 minutes needed to remove and replace a battery from the same forklift model.
However, the battery in electric forklifts contributes to the counterweight. Raymond says extra weight must be added to the fuel cell unit and the weight distributed within the fuel cell system so the centre of the gravity is the same as that of the battery.
Raymond is also testing:
Doosan outlines future goals
SEOUL, Korea, South
Doosan Group plans to increase its global competitiveness and see annual sales total KRW100 trillion (USD106.9 billion) by 2015.
It wants to be in the world’s top three largest construction equipment manufacturers by 2010. Doosan boasts that three of its business sectors, Bobcat, Doosan Infracore Portable Power and DII Attachment, are leaders in the world market.
Bobcat accounts for 75% of Doosan’s construction machinery sales. Doosan says Bobcat has a 38% market share in the US and 43% in Europe. It posted USD2.6 billion in sales in 2006 and projects USD2.9 billion in sales in 2008.
Doosan says it wants to invest in its employees, training them to be world class and globally minded. It is encouraging employees to improve foreign language proficiency and develop their cross-cultural understanding.
Doosan Infracore’s Technological Institute will support researchers in developing next-generation industrial vehicles, construction equipment and electronic control technologies.
Manitou introduces “world’s largest rough-terrain telehandler”
WACO, TX, United States
Manitou North America will introduce what it claims is the world’s largest rough-terrain telehandler at ConExpo in March.
The MHT 10160, which has a 36,000lb (16,329kg) maximum capacity and a 15,430lb (6,999kg) capacity at the maximum lift height of 31 feet 10 inches (9.7 metres), is the first heavy rough-terrain telehandler to be launched in the US market.
Powered by a 175 hp Tier 3 Mercedes turbo diesel engine, the machine has a capacity of 9,260lbs (4,200kg) at its maximum forward reach of 18 feet (5.5 metres). It has a two-speed hydrostatic transmission.
The MHT telehandler has all the standard operating features of the Maniscopic line, like three steering modes and frame levelling for a heavy duty machine capable of demanding applications.
MHT 10160 specs at a glance
Another port in B&B’s sights
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia
Babcock & Brown, Australia’s second-biggest investment bank, has raised its stake in Britain’s last remaining listed port operator, Forth Ports, to 20.4%.
The move has fuelled reports it could soon make a takeover bid for the docks’ operator, which owns seven ports in Britain.
Forth Ports, based in Edinburgh, owns Scotland’s largest container port, Grangemouth, and controls the Port of Tilbury on the Thames.
According to a report in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, analysts say Forth is now “in play” and predict a GBP1 billion-plus bid for the company that owns Tilbury Docks and has a substantial property portfolio.
However, one adviser in B&B’s home city of Sydney says the investment is “"strategic” and unlikely to result in a takeover offer “any time soon”.
The bank’s listed infrastructure arm, Babcock & Brown Infrastructure, has maintained a breathtaking pace in acquiring assets in recent months, despite the rising cost of borrowing.
In August, BBI revealed it could spend more than AUD2 billion on acquisitions after reporting a 43% increase in pre-tax earnings to AUD513 million.
Movers & Shakers
LYDNEY, United Kingdom
Watts Tyre Group has appointed David R Brown as general manager of Watts USA. Brown has more than 20 years’ experience in the industrial tyre industry. He was previously president and owner of Southern Industrial Tyre, of Central Florida, and Southern Industrial Tyre & Wheel.
Theodor Maurer has been appointed a member of Linde Material Handling GmbH’s management board. Maurer, who replaces Georg Silbermann, will be responsible for sales and will drive after-sales and service business expansion. Silbermann has left Linde after four years with the company.
GREENVILLE, NC, United States
Stuart Jacover is now vice president of sales, central region, for the Hyster Company. He was previously director of OEM sales for GNB Battery.
Paling Transporter has appointed Peter Fulcher as director of sales and marketing. He has experience as an end user, business developer and entrepreneur in the materials handling industry.
SEOUL, South Korea
Yong Maan Park has been appointed Doosan Infracore chairman and representative director. Sung Chul Choe has been appointed vice-chairman. Park was previously chairman and Choe was president.
Forklift used to photograph nesting birds
HALIFAX, United Kingdom
Paul Thewlis stood on a pallet on a forklift, 30 feet in the air, for half an hour to take this photograph.
Thewlis and his co-workers in a UK workshop did not hear the birds nesting in their workshop because of machinery noise, according to the Evening Courier newspaper, which invites readers to submit “great nature photographs”.
When Thewlis noticed the birds, he photographed them as the mother wren was feeding her chicks.
A day later, the birds flew away.
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Global restructure will affect Australian jobs
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia
A restructure of container shipping company Maersk Line will result in the loss of 2,000 to 3,000 jobs around the world, including in Australia.
According to a report in The Australian newspaper, some changes will be made by April this year. A spokesperson for the Australian arm of Maersk Line says the restructure will affect Australian workers, but he could not say how many positions will be axed.
Internationally, Maersk Line has a global workforce of 25,000 with about 400 based in Australia.
According to the Maersk Line website, the company has staff and offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Fremantle. The Australian quoted the spokesperson as saying the regional office will move from Sydney to Singapore.
The company, which has a fleet of more than 500 container vessels and more than 1.9 million containers, did not say how much money it expects to save because of the restructure.
25 year anniversary for Matex
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia
Materials handling and warehousing exhibition Matex celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2008 as a stand-alone event in a new venue.
It will include forklift demonstrations, an inaugural two-day supply chain conference and the grand final of the forklift competition.
“Matex 2008 will be a three-day exhibition at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park, from April 15 to April 17,” says organiser Michael Nissen.
Confirmed exhibitors include Century Yuasa Batteries, Hyster, Hubtex Australia, Karcher, Yale Asia Pacific, Schaefer Systems International, Red Australia, Metalsistem Australia and Manhattan Associates.
Sydney Ports appoints new CEO
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia
Grant Gilfillan, newly appointed chief executive officer of Sydney Ports Corporation, began work on January 7.
Gilfillan has returned to Australia after working as senior vice president and managing director, Middle East and Africa, for DP World.
NSW Ports Minister Joe Tripodi welcomed his appointment, saying Sydney Ports faces key challenges in the near future, including the State Government’s $1 billion expansion of Port Botany.
Other projects include a proposed Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre, an international tender for a third terminal operator for the Port Botany expansion, and managing the road and rail interface for cargo freight as trade figures rise in Sydney.
Optimism wanes on Australia’s economic future
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia
Business optimism about the performance of the Australian economy during the next 12 months has waned, a new survey shows.
The January 2008 SAI Global/Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) Survey of Investor Confidence shows while economic conditions remain favourable, business is now less optimistic about 2008 than it has been previously.
"Looking forward over the next 12 months there was less optimism being expressed by the business community," ACCI director of industry and innovation Greg Evans says.
"That relates to concerns regarding inflation, wages growth and an expected increase in interest rates."
Business concern about interest rates has reached an all-time high at number seven on a list of top 10 investment constraints.
Evans says business does not believe there is any case for another rate increase after the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia meets next month.
New materials handling distributors appointed for Australasia
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Logistics and materials handling supplier Schaefer Systems International has appointed two new distributors in Australasia.
Forklift truck manufacturer Crown Equipment has been appointed in New Zealand, which is regarded as exciting new territory for Schaefer.
Alan Clark, director, sales & marketing Australasia, for Schaefer, says: “Crown Equipment brings a wealth of experience with trained sales staff who now can offer a turnkey solution of lift trucks and quality racking and associated equipment.”
In Australia, Schaefer Sydney, supplier of storage systems to the commercial and industrial sectors, has been appointed the new distributor.
Later this year, the company celebrates its 10th anniversary in Australia, a period that has resulted in increased market share and the introduction of leading-edge European technologies to the domestic market.
BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
Worker crushed by forklift
A man died after he was trapped under a forklift west of Brisbane this week.
Police say the 60-year-old man was working at a nursery at Adare, north of Gatton, when he drove the forklift down an embankment, causing it to topple.
Work Place Health & Safety officers are investigating the incident.
Charity golf day supports blind, deaf kids
Truck dealership Sydney UD presented the Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children (RIDBC) with a cheque for AUD7,000 following a successful charity golf day.
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Opening Ceremony of Yixing FAAM Industrial Batteries Co Ltd
In October 2007, Chinese customers and government officials were treated to a spectacular show during the presentation of the new FAAM facility in China, Yixing IBF, which is located in Xushe, Jiangsu Province (250 km from Shanghai).
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
4th Guangzhou International Brand Forklift & Accessories Exhibition China 2008
The 4th Guangzhou International Brand Forklift & Accessories Exhibition China 2008 is due to be held in the Liuhua Complex of Chinese Export Commodities Fair during March 13-15, 2008 .It will become an important platform for the enterprises of forklift & accessories to publicize the brands, process the effective transactions and open up the international markets.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
OSHA happy with 2007 enforcement
WASHINGTON, DC, United States
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) conducted more inspections and issued more citations in fiscal year 2007 than the year before. In fiscal year 2007 (2007), OSHA conducted 39,324 inspections, 4.3% more than its stated goal of 37,700 and cited 67,176 serious violations, 9% more than the previous year.
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