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Dear reader,
WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #376 - 04 September 2008 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Container crane numbers climb

INSIDE FORKLIFTACTION.COM

NEWS
Manitex brand gets corporate billing
Cat backs down on import ban
Crane Rental recapitalises
More mixed results
Container crane numbers climb
Local authority charged over forklift death
New system for remote monitoring
Plans for ProMat 2009 gain momentum
Movers and Shakers
Workhorse still going - 25 years on
New fleet put to work

LOCAL NEWS
Green power pays off for battery supplier
Briefs
Cash flow is vital for small businesses
Freight industry too man-heavy

MEDIA RELEASES
Contact American Industrial Transmission for your transmission rebuild

PRODUCT WATCH
A fork ahead: BOLZONI AURAMO
WE-LIFT Forklift Spare Parts – the leading forklift parts supplier in China!

ADVERTISEMENTS
U.S. Open Forklift Rodeo & Safety Expo 2008 Forklift Safety Seminar
Showcase your product to +120,000 readers for USD465!

SAFETY FIRST: Rob Vetter: Do the Right Thing

INDUSTRY PROFILE
Paul Mohrman: LiftPower Inc



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Inside Forkliftaction.com
We’ve seen quite a few financial results in the past couple of weeks, as the reporting season unfolds, and it looks like mostly good news. It hasn’t been unusual to see revenue and profit growth of 20% or more, year on year, among the major manufacturers, which is quite impressive considering the gloom and doom on the broader economic front. Part of the reason must be the diversification of the major players, most of whom sell a range of products to many different markets. So while the housing sector may be slow in one region, it is going strong elsewhere. Similarly, retail may be off the boil in a particular market, lowering demand for warehousing products, but the shortfall could be made up by a surge on the manufacturing side. It’s classic swings and roundabouts and while it may be nerve-wracking for individual players, the diversity must surely be one of the strengths of the industry as a whole. Here’s hoping we all stay on the right side of the economic cycle…



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NEWS STORIES
Manitex brand gets corporate billing
Bridgeview, IL, United States

A manufacturer of rough-terrain forklifts, boom truck cranes and special mission-oriented vehicles has changed its identity and moved to build its market in challenging times.

Publicly traded Manitex International Inc of Bridgeview was known until 28 May as Veri-Tek International Corp.

“On the materials handling side, we have responded to the more difficult market conditions by commencing a streamlining of our operations and will continue to prudently position ourselves so that we are prepared when this market finds firmer footing,” says David Langevin, Manitex chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Manitex reported profit of USD1.61 million on sales of USD50.0 million for the six months ended June 30.

Rough-terrain forklifts of the firm’s Manitex Liftking ULC subsidiary are used in both commercial and military applications, and the unit also makes Noble forklift products. Specialised lifting equipment addresses needs within the utility, ship-building and steel mill industries.

The firm builds rough-terrain forklifts, mission-oriented vehicles and specialized carriers at an 85,000 square foot (7,650 sqm) facility of Manitex Liftking in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, and manufactures the boom cranes in an 188,000 square foot (16,920 sqm) site of subsidiary Manitex Inc in Georgetown, Texas. Manitex leases both locations.

In the market for rough-terrain forklifts, Manitex says it competes with products from Case New Holland, Sellick, Harlo, Manitou, Mastercraft and Load Lifter.

The firm’s straight mast forklifts are available with lifting capacities from 6,000 pounds (2,700kg) to 50,000 pounds (22,500kg) and lift heights from 10 feet (3m) to 32 feet (9.6m).

A series of truck-mountable, tag-along forklifts has lifting capacities ranging from 4,000 pounds (1,800kg) to 6,000 pounds (2,700kg).

A line to handle heavier loads, known as Dynaluggers, can lift up to 30,000 pounds (13,500kg). A hydraulic cylinder raises and lowers the Dynaluggers’ crane-type boom. The machine can be outfitted with a forklift-type or claw-type lifting attachment.

A line of four-wheel-drive telehandlers has telescopic three-section booms that lift, extend and tilt with lifting capacity up to 12,000 pounds (5,400kg).

The military forces of the US, Canada and England utilise Manitex Liftking forklifts.

Historically, a Wixom, Michigan facility of Veri-Tek designed and built automotive and heavy equipment testing and assembly systems that could identify defects through the use of signature analysis and in-process verification. Veri-Tek sold assets of its diesel engine testing equipment to a production streamlining business of EuroMaint AB of Sundbyberg, Sweden in August 2007 and discontinued other activities of its former testing and assembly equipment segment.

The remaining segment, lifting equipment, was obtained through acquisitions in 2007 and 2006 Forkliftaction.com News #322 .
The firm completed a USD9 million placement of its common stock in September 2007 and issued 1.5 million shares of stock to institutional investors.

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Cat backs down on import ban
Washington, DC, United States

US equipment giant Caterpillar Corporation has backed down from its attempt to ban grey imports of used equipment into the United States.

Earlier this year, Forkliftaction.com News reported on a complaint filed by Caterpillar with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

Caterpillar was attempting to prevent a number of equipment dealers, including Hoss Equipment Co., Worldwide Machinery Inc. and World Tractor and Equipment Company LLC, from importing Caterpillar hydraulic excavator models that are not imported by Caterpillar itself.  The complaint also sought to enjoin the named respondents from future sales of used Caterpillar excavators that have already been imported into the US.  

However, the machinery manufacturer settled the matter before it went to court, backing down on its attempt to halt the imports. Instead, Caterpillar has agreed to allow the dealers to continue to import Caterpillar hydraulic excavators if certain safety issues are addressed.

The dealers are required to ensure that all imports are modified within 45 days of their importation to include:  
a. English warning/instruction labels;
b. English operation and maintenance manuals;
c. Lift table stickers (where applicable);
d. Travel alarms;
e. Seatbelts; and
f. Up-to-date, product improvement program (safety only).

Hoss CEO Gregg M Hoss tells Forkliftaction.com News  that “all of these six items are repairs and retrofits that have been done by Hoss Equipment, Worldwide Equipment and World Tractor before reselling or renting imported units to end-user customers in the United States in the normal course of their business”.

“A Caterpillar representative acknowledged that Caterpillar was aware of the fact that the three remaining respondents had been performing these repairs and retrofits before the complaint was lodged with the ITC,” he pointa out.

The three dealers and Caterpillar’s authorised dealers will not be subject to any ITC bans on the importation of Caterpillar hydraulic excavators.  

However, Caterpillar says it will request that the US Customs and Border Protection service requests foreign dealers’ certification prior to allowing any importation of Caterpillar hydraulic excavators that are not being imported by the named respondents, Caterpillar’s authorised dealers or Caterpillar itself.

According to the Independent Equipment Distributors Association (IEDA), a trade association dedicated to issues affecting independent equipment dealers, the ITC has not yet definitively ruled on Caterpillar’s request and there is still some chance Caterpillar will not receive the conditions it is requesting.  

In any event, a complete ban on importation of Caterpillar hydraulic excavators has been averted.  

However, safety-related considerations, which many independent distributors already comply with, will be mandatory with respect to imports, IEDA points out.

When Caterpillar began the action, the dealers claimed the ban was intended to control the distribution chain for Caterpillar’s products, with fears the action would spread to eventually cover “all foreign-built Caterpillar products”.

The main respondent, Hoss Equipment Co, claimed that Caterpillar, through Caterpillar Remarketing Services and its authorised dealers, was the largest single importer of these units and was intent on controlling “the whole pie, not just the lion's share”.

Caterpillar countered by arguing it was seeking the ban on safety grounds.

Hoss is relieved his legal ordeal is over. “After two years of litigation and over USD3 million in legal fees by all the respondents to Caterpillar’s complaint, Hoss Equipment Co., Worldwide Machinery and World Tractor will be allowed to continue operation of their import business in the same manner in which they had been before the Caterpillar complaint,” he says.

“If the original complaint was solely safety-based, and had Caterpillar contacted the respondents prior to lodging this complaint, Hoss Equipment and the other respondents would have voluntarily joined with Caterpillar in seeking regulatory measures to ensure the safety of its end-user customers,” he adds.

Hoss describes the complaint as “ill-advised”: “Had the same money and time been dedicated to an informational campaign instead of a fair trade complaint, all parties (including Caterpillar’s shareholders) would have been better served.”

The terms “grey market” or “grey imports” refer to the practice of importing items from a source other than their distributor in the local market.

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Crane Rental recapitalises
Orlando, FLA, United States

Crane Rental Corporation has announced a recapitalisation of the company with a private equity firm in order to continue with expansion plans.

The company has partnered with Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Co. Inc. (HKW), a private equity firm, to secure greater financial resources.

Alan Ashlock, Crane Rental’s president, says HKW will provide additional financial strength to aggressively fuel the company’s growth and maintain its inventory of state-of-the-art equipment.

Crane Rental recently purchased the Manitowoc 31000, a new heavy-lift crawler crane, under financing arrangements. Ashlock says this purchase will increase Crane Rental’s ability to serve the power industry.

“This piece of equipment is the largest purchase Crane Rental has ever made, with the price exceeding our capital expenditures for the last two years.

“One of the most appealing aspects of a partnership with HKW is their reputation for assisting strong companies with their next level of growth while allowing existing leadership to continue in current roles,” says Ashlock. “It was important for us to be able to continue delivering the same quality service along with maintaining our exemplary safety standards.”

PNC and Babson Capital, the mezzanine-funding arm of MassMutual, provided debt financing, and PCE Investment Bankers, an investment bank for middle market companies, initiated the transaction and was financial advisor.

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U.S. Open Forklift Rodeo & Safety Expo 2008 Forklift Safety Seminar

Where and when; 8:30 to 10:30 am 7th November at the Champion Center, Clark County Fairgrounds

Subject “FORKLIFT SAFETY: GETTING BEYOND OSHA COMPLIANCE”

A PANEL OF THREE LEADS THE DISCUSSION......

If OSHA compliance is your goal with regard to forklift safety, then you are really missing the mark! Learn what world class companies are doing in this area. Learn what OSHA is looking for & what you can do to avoid costly litigation. You WILL leave this presentation with ideas on how to improve forklift safety at your facility & be committed to making the necessary changes!

Dave Hoover, President, Forklift Training Systems, Inc.

Bob Heater, Ohio Division of Safety & Hygiene Consultant, Dayton, Office

Dale Henderson, OSHA Cincinnati Area, Office.

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More mixed results
Paris, France

France

Manitou has reported an 8.1% increase in net sales to EUR725 million (USD1.05 billion) for the first half of 2008.

This is despite a 70% fall in sales in Spain, which went from EUR79 million (USD115 million) to EUR24 million (USD34.9 million), and a 15.7% fall in UK sales to EUR55 million (USD80.1 million).

However, Manitou reports strong growth in the rest of the European market, particularly in Benelux countries with sales increasing by 89% to EUR65 million (USD 94.7 million). Sales in France increased by 18.5% to EUR297 million (USD433.7 million), 44% in Germany to EUR42 million and doubled in Poland to EUR17 million (USD24.7 million).

Manitou says the gross margin fell by 0.5% due to an increase in raw material costs and a downturn in the US dollar and Pound Sterling.

Net profit for the first half of 2008 was down 11.6% from EUR54.8 million (USD79.8 million) to EUR48.5 million (USD70.6 million).

Manitou expects the second half of 2008 to be marked by further declines in equipment sales in the construction sector, strong pressure on raw material prices and further depreciation of the sterling.

The company is implementing cost-cutting plans in order to preserve profitability.

Singapore

Tiong Woon has reported an increase of 58% in sales revenue for the 12 months to June 30 2008, with the strongest growth coming from Singapore.

Sales revenue for the crane company was SGD158 million (USD110.7 million) despite pressures from rising oil prices and materials.

Sales in Singapore contributed SGD100.4 million (USD70.3 million) or 64% of the total revenue; compared to SGD43.8 million (USD30.7 million) or 44% in 2007. The second and third largest revenue contributors were Thailand, turning in SGD17.3 million (USD12.1 million) or 11%, and the Middle East with SGD10.9 million (USD7.6 million) or 7% of total revenue.

The new fabrication yard in Bintan made a pre-tax loss of SGD3.4 million (USD2.8 million) but the heavy lift and haulage arms of the company contributed SGD99.2 million (USD69.5 million) to overall turnover, a profit before tax of SGD30.6 million (USD24.5 million), an increase of 133%.

The trading arm saw an increase of 13% to SGD19.6 million (USD13.7 million), registering a profit before tax of SGD4.2 million (USD2.8 million) due to better selling prices of brand new cranes.

There was a decrease in the turnover of the marine transportation segment by 19% to SGD12.6 million (USD8.8 million), but overall profit before tax of SGD3.8 million (USD2.6 million, was up 11% from the previous year. Tiong Woon says the decrease in turnover was due to a number of its tugboats undergoing maintenance during the last few months.

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Container crane numbers climb
Surrey, United Kingdom

Orders for ship-to-shore container cranes have steadily increased for the third year in a row, according to WorldCargo News’ 15th annual survey.

In the 12 months since 1 July 2007, there were 389 orders, compared with 323 in 2006 and 248 in 2007.

The survey shows Chinese supplier ZPMC accounts for 304 of those orders, with 85 units supplied by others including Konecranes, Doosan, Fantuzzi, Kalmar and Liebherr.

WorldCargo News reports bookings for supply of units for 2009 are ahead of those for 2008 at the same time last year. Results show around 315 ship-to-shore container cranes will be supplied in 2008 with ZPMC accounting for 77% or 241 units of those orders.

The survey says ZPMC has reported orders worth USD2.03 billion for the first half of 2008, up 32% for the same period last year. The company has around USD7 billion of orders in hand.

WorldCargo News says Konecranes is strengthening its position in the Russian Baltic after receiving one of its biggest orders, worth USD58.1 million. JSC Fourth Stevedoring Company ordered four ship-to-shore cranes and 10 RTGs from Konecranes with delivery for the third quarter of 2009.

The survey reveals business for Liebherr Container Cranes has been steady, with 21 orders in the past 12 months.

Other companies showing growth throughout 2008 were Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction with 15 units ordered, 13 orders coming from PSA Singapore, and Fantuzzi with nine orders.

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Local authority charged over forklift death
Plymouth, United Kingdom

The Health and Safety Executive is taking the Plymouth City Council to court after an employee was crushed to death by a forklift in February last year.

The Health and Safety Executive is prosecuting the council for five breaches of health and safety regulations including failing to ensure the safety of employees and failing to provide proper training.

Rory Littley, 22, was killed when caught between a forklift and the back of a lorry.  Littley had been standing on the forklift and lifted off the ground so he could untie wheelie bins stored on the back of the lorry.

The forklift lurched forward and he was crushed between the vehicles. A coroner’s inquest returned a finding of death by misadventure.

David Ellison, chief executive of Fork Lift Truck Association, says serious accidents like this happen regularly.

"The lifting of personnel balanced on forks, or on a pallet, is a common cause of serious accidents. Individuals can easily fall and they are offered no protection if there is an incident,” he explains.

The FLTA has a range of informational sheets on its website to assist organisations with the correct procedures for lifting people using a forklift.

“In certain circumstances, work platforms can be used to lift people - and for immediate advice on this subject FLTA Fact Sheet 18 on our website -  
www.fork-truck.org.uk - can be consulted," says Ellison.

Plymouth City Council has entered no plea to the five charges and will stand trial on 2 October.

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View our current advertisers in the column “Product Watch” lower in this newsletter. For USD465 your product can be featured in this column, with a photo, a product description and your contact details.

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New system for remote monitoring
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

A new intuitive system launched by Lamerholm will assist companies operate their fleets safely and productively.

The FleetControl Manager works with forklifts fitted with vehicle-mounted computers (VMC) to provide total fleet management. The system, manufactured by ShockWatch, uses the VMC touchscreen to allow operators access to the forklift, general usage monitoring and real-time impact detection.  

Lamerholm says any factory using a fleet of forklifts with VMC can benefit from FleetControl.

“It is useful for fleets that need to be managed in order to reduce damage to the forklifts and surroundings, enables maintenance planning and will monitor drivers for health and safety compliance,” says Lamerholm.

FleetControl has been designed for large warehouses and logistics centres to maximise and enhance the existing infrastructure and hardware systems.

The system uses the existing VMC so there is no need for a separate display unit on the truck.  It features large on-screen buttons and easy to read text, which means operators do not have to remove safety glasses or gloves to use the system.

The system is easily programmed to use existing company ID systems so only trained and certified personnel can gain access.

Clint Branch, engineering vice president of ShockWatch, says the new system offers equipment location services, general usage monitoring and real-time impact detection and recording.

Fleet managers can select up to 10 parameters to be monitored including speed, weight of load, number of lifts, and running time.

Through the EquipCommand software, FleetControl Manager enables management to set parameters from a central location.  Alerts are received when action is required and can be sent directly to a desktop computer or via text message.

Specialist engineers at Lamerholm will be able to advise and train customers on how to use the system or can provide a fully programmed system depending on customer requirements.

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Plans for ProMat 2009 gain momentum
Chicago, IL, United States

Organisers project that the ProMat 2009 trade show from 12-15 January in Chicago will feature more than 800 materials handling- and forklift-related exhibitions, in excess of 100 educational sessions and multiple networking opportunities.

In showcasing materials handling products and services, ProMat exhibitors offer a range of manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, logistics and information technology solutions for the supply chain.

Among services, ProMat 2009 will offer an international buyer program that can link interested buyers and sellers through a business centre in the show hall. Also, a knowledge centre will be located on the show floor.

As ProMat keynote moderator, Forrest Sawyer is slated to lead a discussion about “Building the Workforce of the Future.” Sawyer is a documentary producer and media strategist and former US television broadcasting network journalist and news anchor.

Sawyer will guide a panel of four or five experts. They will talk about how the world’s workforce is changing and evaluate the impact of baby-boom generation retirements that may cause a decline in working population through 2025. Members of the panel will be announced in the northern autumn.

The trade association Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) of Charlotte, North Carolina, sponsors alternating biennial trade events such as ProMat 2009 and NA 2008. The latter occurred in April in Cleveland, Ohio.

MHIA, which has represented the material handling and logistics industry since 1945, says ProMat 2009 in the south exposition hall at Chicago’s McCormick Place will be the largest international materials handling and logistics show and conference held in the US next year.

MHIA predicts exhibitors will occupy a total of at least 300,000 square feet (27,000 sqm) in January. Initially, about 350 exhibitors reserved 224,700 net square feet (20,223 sqm) of ProMat 2009 floor space at a November 2007 space-draw in Chicago. Toyota Material Handling USA of Irvine, California selected the first booth of the draw.

Materials handling and logistics equipment and systems manufacturers, integrators, consultants, publishers and third party logistics providers form the core of MHIA’s membership base, which is aligned to numerous product-specific sections, councils and affiliates.

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Movers and Shakers

Murcia, Spain

Rafael Eduardo Wefers Verástegui has been appointed market development manager for Mecano Continentals. He will be responsible for Germany and Austria and will develop the growing network of Mast rough terrain forklift distributors.

Verástegui replaces Stefan Neumann, Mast Explorer market development manager for north and east Germany and Austria.

Selma, CA, USA

MEC Aerial Work Platforms has appointed Gary Crook as director of new product development.

Crook has worked in the aerial lift industry for over 13 years, 10 years with UpRight and three years with JLG. He will be responsible for setting strategic direction and ensuring MEC’s new products meet the needs of their customers.

Crook will be based at the Fresno facility.

Columbia, Sc, USA

Richard Stichter has been appointed as crane and project manager in Southern Industrial Constructors’ Columbia office.

Stichter will be responsible for the branch’s six cranes, co-ordination of maintenance and operations, management of operators and client relationships. He will oversee job bids and manage all operational aspects of jobs won.

Prior to his appointment with Southern Industrial Constructors, Stichter owned and operated an award-winning heavy mechanical contracting and crane rental company.

Houston,Tx, USA

Shigeru Tanemura has been appointed president of Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc.

Tanemura replaces Hideaki Ninomiya who is returning to Japan to take up a new post with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Tanemura was the senior general manager of the MHI General Machinery and Special Vehicle headquarters in Sagamihara, Japan. He has over 32 years’ experience in the forklift business and has been with MHI for over two years.

Lexington, KY, USA

Clark Material Handling Company has appointed Joel Williamson as production manager.   Williamson will oversee the manufacturing, modification, material planning and production control operations at the Lexington facility.

He has 15 years’ experience at Clark. Williamson was instrumental in the development and design, and manufacture start-up of the ESX model counterbalance forklift.

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Workhorse still going - 25 years on
Manchester, United Kingdom

The saying ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ certainly applies to the battle-scarred forklift used by a Manchester business for the past 25 years.

Descaling Services bought the Mitsubishi FD20 in 1982 to do the hard work in its factory. Descaling Services provides blasting, industrial spray painting, descaling and acid pickling services.

The FD20 is the business’s only forklift and it has proved to be a reliable and easy-to-service machine.

Paul Warburton, assistant works engineer for Descaling, says the corrosive pickling acids and chemical descalers have affected the FD20’s looks.

“She might not look good on the outside, but it is not looks that count. Our Mitsubishi has been long-lasting, strong and robust.

“She has been put to the test every day, and looks or no looks, she always passes.”

Warburton says the machine has been dependable and a pleasure to drive.

“I would rate it seven out of five. It is truly marvellous.”

Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK is not aware if Descaling’s forklift is the longest-running in a workplace, but the company would be interested to hear about any older Mitsubishi forklifts.

Mike Jones, general manager of Mitsubishi, says he is delighted to hear about Descaling’s long-running forklift.

“But it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Mitsubishi forklifts, whether produced 20 years ago or last month, are renowned for their reliability, efficiency and easy serviceability,” he comments.

Jones says today's equivalent of that FD20 would be an FD20N (or a compact FD20CN) from the Mitsubishi FD15-35N series - often referred to as the 'N series'.  

“In 25 years, there has been continuous development with added new levels of performance and ergonomics to their ultra-dependable predecessor,” he adds.

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New fleet put to work
Lancashire, United Kingdom

Many of the new machines recently purchased by a Lancashire plant hire company will be put to work on the Edinburgh Tram Network development project.

Buckhurst Plant Hire signed a multi-million-pound deal with JCB for the supply of 70 new machines.  The new machines will be added its 1,000-plus machinery hire fleet.

Buckhurst purchased 30 of JCB’s new 12.5-metre 535-125 Hi-Viz Loadall telescopic handlers, 30 JCB 531-70 Loadalls and 10 JCB 3CX Turbo backhoe loaders.

Construction services company Carillion is using 30 JCB telescopic handlers, hired from Buckhurst, on the GBP375 million (USD664 million) Edinburgh tram project. Carillion will use the telescopic handlers on the project at Leith Docks for offloading packages of pipe work for gas and water utilities.

Carillion is co-ordinating the diversion of all pipes and cables under the tram route.

Chris Brown, operations manager at Buckhurst, says the company always invests heavily in new equipment from brand leaders so it can supply customers with the latest and high quality machines.

“Our high level of customer service is supported by our reputation for supplying quality plant at competitive prices,” he says. “By purchasing these new models, we can continue to deliver that offering.”

JCB says the all-round visibility on the new Loadall 535-125 and 535-140 Hi-Viz models has improved by 10%, particularly to the rear of the machines, compared to the models they replace.

“Both machines retain their impressive lift and height capabilities and have a more compact rear chassis, which results in a 90mm reduction in overhang,” says JCB.

“Further improvements include new axles featuring higher lock angles, which improve the machine’s turning radius by around 250mm. These improvements in manoeuvrability and visibility combine to make the new HiViz Loadalls safer, easier and speedier to operate on confined sites.”

Brown says Buckhurst chose JCB for the expansion of its fleet because of the quality of its products and back-up.

“The Hi-Viz models were of particular interest as they help us ensure our customers, like Carillion, are provided with the safest machines possible.”

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LOCAL STORIES

Green power pays off for battery supplier
PADSTOW, New South Wales, Australia

Local battery supplier Exide Technologies of Padstow, New South Wales has found Australian companies are becoming more environmentally aware, following the government’s recent announcement of a carbon trading emission scheme.

As a result, customers are purchasing ‘greener’ battery products, albeit initially more expensive than the traditional flooded product.

Exide recently supplied a major food distribution centre with over 700 batteries and 400 chargers for its fleet of forklifts.

“They chose the Liberator battery because of its environmental benefits and total life savings,” says John Cowpe, general manager, Australasia Industrial Division.

“It’s a low-maintenance product so they don’t have to water the batteries weekly, and the technology results in fewer carbon emissions and, therefore, a smaller carbon footprint for the company.”

According to Cowpe, the company has the most comprehensive range of lead-acid batteries in Australasia and is leading the way in terms of its ‘green’ credentials.

“Besides the traditional flooded product, we offer a low maintenance battery unique to Exide, which only requires topping up every two to three months, along with two other maintenance-free products, using Gel and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) technology.”

Cowpe says the company is committed to educating end-users on the ‘whole life costs’ of their battery choice. “The initial price paid may not end up being the cheapest and best option over time,” he says.

The company now offers a battery rating system to help its customers assess and reduce their carbon footprint when selecting motive power battery solutions. The ratings for each Exide product are based upon guidelines established by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

“When viewed in conjunction with the system’s “whole life costs” calculator, customers can quickly discover how clean, quiet lead-acid battery power can reduce their carbon dioxide emissions while lowering their costs of operations.”

Last year, the company recycled over 25,000 tonnes of batteries from forklift, car and other applications in its smelter in New Zealand.

“We are the only battery company to own a lead recycling smelter in Australasia,” Cowpe tells Forkliftaction.com News.

“More than 97% of all battery lead is recycled into secondary lead. When this volume is compared to recycling rates of 55% of aluminium cans, 45% of newspapers, 26% of glass bottles and 26% of tyres, the numbers suggest that no other industry is as proficient at recycling its spent products,” he adds.

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Briefs
Australia

One third of Australian businesses are innovative

During 2006/07, over one-third (37%) of Australian businesses reported undertaking some form of innovation, according to figures released recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
More than three-quarters (76%) of innovative-active businesses claimed that the most common driver of innovation was profit-related.

Breakfast celebration for automation specialist

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in Australia, SSI Schaefer International is hosting a series of breakfasts for SCLAA members in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne this month.
The events offer the opportunity to exchange experiences, learn from others and investigate new and innovative ways of improving your distribution operation.
For more information: www.aipack.com.au/Content/Attachment/Schaefer_invite.pdf


Supply chain solutions for Australia

Australia’s definitive freight transport event, AusIntermodal, took place on Wednesday and Thursday this week at Hilton on the Park, Melbourne.

With Australia spending vast amounts on transport infrastructure to meet the growing freight task, the conference focused on the role of Infrastructure Australia, Auslink 2 and the federal government’s plans to improve freight logistics.

The conference brought together industry leaders to discuss supply chain solutions, the future of Australian road and rail, and how to combat climate change in the freight transport industry. Jean Trestour, Head of Maritime Transport Policy from the European Commission, delivered a keynote international address and discussed European intermodalism and potential applications in an Australian context.

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Cash flow is vital for small businesses
Australia

Many Australian small businesses are headed for a cash crisis in the wake of the global credit crunch, according to a survey by CPA Australia.

The survey showed that cash flow problems and pressure on profit margins were being experienced by many small businesses, and that many smaller enterprises may not be undertaking normal business processes, such as preparing cash flow forecasts or chasing late payment of debts.

CPA Australia business policy adviser Gavan Ord says the survey reinforces the need for businesses to have relatively simple processes in place in order to manage their finances.

“It found that 41% of respondents never prepare cash flow forecasts, and 25% never chased up late payments. That could be a recipe for disaster.

“Keeping your books up to date, preparing budgets, including cash flow forecasts and comparing actual results against budgeted results are essential to the proper management of business. The information this provides puts businesses in a far better position to manage their cash resources and their profitability than they would be otherwise.

“Cash is fundamental to the operation of a business.  Even profitable companies may still experience problems if they do not manage their cash flow effectively.”

Other key findings in the survey include:

• 39% of small businesses that have borrowed funds do not know the interest rates on those borrowings,
• small business confidence remains reasonably high with 66% of those surveyed expecting their business to grow in the next few years,
• 36% of those surveyed had to borrow in the past year for business survival, with banks the most common lender, and
• 69% of those surveyed prepared financial statements at least quarterly.  With rising costs, financial statements become increasingly important as they give business owners the ability to track and respond to these cost increases so that they can maintain profit margins.

CPA Australia has issued a guide aimed at helping businesses manage during tough times, including tips on how to improve business cash flow, financial position and profitability.

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Freight industry too man-heavy
MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia

Applications for the 2009 Women in Freight Logistics and Marine Management Scholarship have opened through the Department of Transport.

The $10,000 scholarship is aimed at encouraging women across Victoria into management positions within the freight, marine and logistics industries, and at helping to address the gender imbalance in an industry that has been traditionally male dominated.

A report by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council found that women represented 27% of the transport and logistics workforce compared with the average across all industries of 44%.

The scholarship is awarded for one year full-time or two years’ part-time study. The scholarship recipient is given the opportunity to work part-time with the Freight, Logistics and Marine Division within the Department of Transport.

For further information on the Women in Freight, Logistics and Marine Scholarship, visit: www.transport.vic.gov.au/freight. Applications close on 31 October 2008.

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A fork ahead: BOLZONI AURAMO

The Bolzoni Auramo Group is producing quality forks satisfying both the customer requirements while meeting the industries strict standards.

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SAFETY FIRST
Rob Vetter: Do the Right Thing
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Faced with the tough decision of failing a trainee or being a 'good guy', trainers have an obligation to follow their head rather than their heart.

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INDUSTRY PROFILES
Paul Mohrman: LiftPower Inc
Jacksonville, FL, United States

At 58, Paul Mohrman is easing out of the family business - but remaining close to the industry in another materials handling venture.

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Editorial Calendar 2008

January
Review of 2007
February
Forklift safety in warehouses
March
Forklifts in the construction industry
April
Materials Handling in the Benelux
May
Straddle Carriers
June
Attachments: clamps
July
ICE forklifts - trends
August
The forklift market in Australia
September
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October
Pallet stackers
November
The forklift market in Russia

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