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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #377 - 11 September 2008 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
Cascade, Terex wrestle with tough markets
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Manitou acquiring Gehl in friendly deal
West Bend, WI, United States
Manitou Group subsidiary Tenedor Corp has launched a friendly tender offer to acquire the remainder of outstanding shares of Gehl Co. Another unit, Manitou BF SA, is Gehl’s largest shareholder, owning 14.4% of West Bend-based Gehl common stock.
Material handling equipment manufacturer Manitou Group of Ancenis, France aims to strengthen its North American operations “by joining forces with a player known for its superior products and distribution networks,” says Marcel-Claude Braud in a statement. Braud is Manitou president and chief executive officer and, with members of his family, controls ownership of the group.
The tender offer follows a July 2004 strategic alliance under which Gehl agreed to manufacture and distribute select models of Manitou’s compact telescopic handlers in the US.
Under this week’s definitive agreement, Manitou will pay USD30 per share, representing a 120% premium over Gehl’s closing price on 5 September. The offer expires on 20 October unless it is extended.
“The combination of Gehl Co and Manitou offers a substantial value to our shareholders today while affording our dealers and employees with future opportunities for continued success,” says William D Gehl, the firm’s chairman and CEO. As of 1 February, he owned 3.7% of the shares of Gehl Co.
Manitou says it expects to retain the current Gehl management team.
The deal values Gehl at approximately USD450 million.
Gehl Co was founded in 1859, is publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange and reported profit of USD24.4 million on 2007 sales of USD457.6 million. As of 31 December, the firm had 848 employees. Gehl markets its compact equipment under the Gehl, Mustang and Edge brands, primarily for earthmoving and materials handling applications.
Gehl manufactures telescopic handlers and asphalt pavers at a 215,900 square foot (19,431sqm) plant in Yankton, South Dakota, and skid loaders at a 260,000 square foot (23,400sqm) facility in Madison, South Dakota. Gehl expanded the Yankton plant in 2005 and again in 2006. In addition, Gehl has invested in painting systems, laser cutting equipment and robotic welding technology to improve its manufacturing capabilities.
The West Bend site has corporate offices, engineering, research and development and distribution services and occupies 481,000 square feet (43,290sqm), including space where Gehl formerly manufactured agricultural implements. Gehl discontinued its agricultural implements business in 2006.
Manitou is a leader in rough-terrain equipment including all-wheel steer loaders and telescopic handlers and operates globally through 23 manufacturing and distribution subsidiaries.
In addition to the Manitou stake, other external Gehl owners as of 31 December included three Tontine investment affiliates of Jeffrey L Gendell of Greenwich, Connecticut, 9.9%, and Dimensional Fund Advisors LP of Santa Monica, California, 8.6%.
Gehl would owe a fee of USD14 million if it terminates the Manitou offer to accept a superior deal.
Kion grows despite higher costs
German forklift manufacturer Kion Group continued to grow during the first half of 2008, despite spiralling raw materials and transportation costs.
The company’s revenue increased 9.3% from EUR2.07 billion (USD2.9 billion) in 2007 to EUR2.26 billion (USD3.19 billion) for the same period in 2008.
Gordon Riske, chief executive officer of Kion, says the company managed to offset the sharp rises in costs by improving on its efficiency as part of the GoIPO program.
The GoIPO program aims to generate synergies in sales and service, purchasing, production and costs among the three forklift brands to boost the group’s profitability ahead of a planned public float.
“We increased our prices and realised synergies not previously explored through our multi-brand strategy,” he explains.
The company expects market conditions in the second half of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 to be tougher with global markets slowing.
Riske says the company is equipped to face the challenges of the coming 12 months and will focus on quality service, energy efficiency and productivity.
However, Kion does not anticipate a stock market flotation in 2009.
Kion’s global market share in terms of small and low-tech trucks declined slightly over the past six months because of price competition. However, it did expand its market share of container handlers, up 30% from last year.
Over 500 000 forklifts and warehouse trucks were ordered worldwide in the first half of 2008, with Asia and eastern Europe being the principal market drivers.
Yale and Forkway join forces in the UK
Amersham, United Kingdom
After three decades, Forkway Group has ended its relationship with Nissan and joined forces with a new preferred partner so it can access a complete range of products from one source.
Forkway has signed a distribution agreement with Yale Europe in the UK to create a partnership intent on increasing sales and the distribution network for both companies.
Martyn Fletcher, managing director of Forkway, says the partnership with Yale satisfies a long felt desire.
“As a UK company employing around 80 people, we will have the ability to supply a European manufactured product.”
Fletcher says Forkway did a through evaluation of the market before selecting Yale as its preferred partner.
“We selected Yale to replace Nissan, who we have represented for 29 years. This was a not a decision that was taken lightly, but with Yale being a truly global brand, we are moving into the top league of forklift suppliers with a complete range from one manufacturer.”
The agreement gives Forkway the ability to improve sales, marketing, and after sales relationships with its manufacturer and Yale Europe the opportunity to extend its distribution network.
David Bunting, area business director for Yale Europe, says working with local, entrepreneurial businesses has been Yale’s strategy for some time.
“However, the opportunity to work with a long established service provider of the size and stature of Forkway does not come along very often in the UK,” he says. “This partnership gives us the ability to bring a leading global brand even closer to more customers.”
Fletcher says Forkway’s personalised service ethos will be enhanced through the partnership with Yale.
”Personalised service comes from having long serving responsible individuals who know their customers’ needs and work hard to meet them.”
“With Yale and the almost endless variations within the Yale range, we are not obliged to adopt a one truck fits all approach or compromise on specifications in order to sell an item bought for stock.”
Stabau Attachments – seeking new dealers & sales partnerships
Founded in 1974, German manufacturers Schulte–Henke GmbH now has 170 employees producing attachments for forklifts from 500 KG capacity to 70,000 KG.
Marketing under the brand name “Stabau”, they produce 4,000 attachments each year.
Stabau boasts premium quality attachments and design solutions for customers.
The company is expanding now and seeks global dealers and sales partnerships especially in Asia, Africa and Canada.
Contact Stefan Luhn ++ 49 (0) 291-207-122 email Stefan.email@example.com
See the Stabau / Schulte-Henke Shopfront Click Here
Cardinal Carryor gets Clark’s Indianapolis market
Indianapolis, IN, United States
Forklift distributor Cardinal Carryor Inc of Louisville, Kentucky is establishing a unit to exclusively market Clark Material Handling Co equipment in the Indianapolis market. Clark and Cardinal Carryor completed the arrangement on 9 September.
The additional Clark territory is “an enormous opportunity for us to expand our capabilities already in southern Indiana and central Kentucky, and it gives us a continuous territory from the Tennessee (state) line to north of Indianapolis,” Mike Brumleve, president of Cardinal Carryor, tells Forkliftaction.com News.
The addition “more than doubles our geographic territory”, notes Brad Baker, Cardinal Carryor vice president, treasurer and operations manager.
The new unit, tentatively called Cardinal Carryor of Central Indiana, should open its doors in November with service and rental capabilities along with sales of attachments, chargers and new and used forklifts, according to Brumleve.
“Cardinal Carryor has faithfully represented Clark in Louisville and, as one of our oldest dealers, has earned the right to represent Clark in this traditionally strong (Indianapolis) territory,” says Scott Johnson, director of dealer services with Lexington, Kentucky-based Clark. “We believe Mike Brumleve and his team of professionals will have an immediate impact on the Indianapolis market.”
Cardinal Carryor employs 90 staff, including 38 forklift field service technicians, and occupies a Louisville facility with 30,000 square feet (2,700 sqm). In addition to Clark, the firm distributes and services equipment for the Crown, Bendi/Drexel, V Mariotti, Doosan, Hoist and Sellick brands.
Cardinal Carryor began distributing woodworking machinery and scrap containers in 1947, added forklifts in 1953 and became an authorised Clark forklift dealer in the Kentucky-southern Indiana marketplace in 1962.
Cardinal Carryor added forklift-related operations in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2005 and leased a new facility there in July 2008.
A sister company, Louisville-based Cardinal Integrated Systems, has operated in the Indianapolis market since 1983 as a supplier and installer of warehouse planning and material handling systems and allied equipment.
Maxwell, Plug Power cells power electric forklifts
San Diego, CA, United States
Fuel cell integrator Plug Power Inc is buying ultracapacitors from Maxwell Technologies Inc as a component for Plug Power’s GenDrive units to power electric forklifts. Neither the value of the commercial order nor the identity of Plug Power’s forklift customer was disclosed.
“This is a significant purchase order,” says Mike Sund, vice president of communications and investor relations with San Diego-based Maxwell. “In earlier times, we were talking about prototyping. This is beyond that.”
Plug Power ordered the Boostcap-brand 2,600-farad ultracapacitor cells in June and is accepting deliveries from Maxwell during the second half of 2008, according to Sund. Plug Power integrates fuel-cell-based power solutions for zero-emission electric forklifts and other continuous and back-up power applications.
Forklifts can use GenDrive power units as a replacement for lead-acid battery packs in electric forklift trucks, notes Andy Marsh, president and chief executive officer of Plug Power in Latham, New York.
“Productivity drives purchasing decisions in the material handling industry,” Marsh says. “Integrating Maxwell’s ultracapacitors into our fuel cell systems enhances the value of our GenDrive product for our customers. Ultracapacitors’ burst power capabilities for lifting, as well as regenerative braking for energy recuperation and longer operating life, make them an ideal complement to hydrogen fuel cells in this application.”
The linked technologies highlight “the synergy between hydrogen fuel cells’ extended energy output and ultracapacitors’ short duration burst power capabilities,” David Schramm, Maxwell president and CEO, observes.
Maxwell has a long-standing relationship of supplying Plug Power and another business, General Hydrogen Corp of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, which Plug Power acquired in May 2007 for about USD10 million.
Shares of Plug Power and Maxwell trade on the Nasdaq exchange.
Cascade, Terex wrestle with tough markets
Attachments manufacturer Cascade Corp and equipment maker Terex Corp have given indications of the economic challenges facing the materials handling industry.
Cascade of Fairview, Oregon reported lower sales volumes in North America and Europe and higher material costs during the second fiscal quarter ended July 31. Consolidated net sales decreased 1%, excluding the impact of foreign currency changes. Cascade reported profit of USD10.5 million on sales of USD150.1 million for the quarter.
Cascade continues to reorganise its entire European business. The firm has taken steps to reduce its workforce in Almere, the Netherlands and transfer certain products to Verona, Italy. “We are evaluating other changes,” says Robert C Warren Jr, Cascade president and chief executive officer. “Some may be significant.” No additional details were provided.
Warren indicates that Cascade does not anticipate an improvement in the European market and expects “further erosion during the last six months of year.”
Material price increases of 5% to 10% are prevalent “with up to 20% in some cases,” Warren notes in a conference call with security analysts. While Cascade seeks to pass along the increases, “some contracts are in place that preclude raising prices”.
Cascade’s construction attachment market “has dropped in half” and is “in worse shape than the lift truck market,” Warren observes. “Our sales have tracked the prime mover market for excavators and wheel loaders,” but Cascade is scrambling in the construction equipment market where dealers have worked through their inventories and are unwilling to take on new inventory. As a result, Cascade is living with short lead times.
Cascade “had a problem with a casting on a new product in Europe,” Warren says. A supplier “had a constraint in getting those casting sets to us.”
Warren notes that Cascade was “quite successful in our marketing effort in Europe” for the single-double pallet handler but the delay pushed back potential sales of about USD1 million. The product introduction is occurring in Cascade’s third fiscal quarter and may lead to recapturing the lost revenue.
Meanwhile, Terex of Westport, Connecticut lowered its 2008 guidance due to changing market conditions.
For the full year, Terex projects earnings per share of USD6.35 to USD6.65, down from its previous guidance of USD6.85 to USD7.15.
The equipment manufacturer had 2007 earnings per share of USD5.85 on sales of more than USD9.1 billion.
Continued market softening and input costs exist in the Terex aerial work platforms and construction segments in western Europe and the US, says Ron DeFeo, the firm’s chairman and CEO.
Nissan launches new forklift
Nissan has launched a new forklift range with engines that are more efficient and produce fewer emissions.
The 1F4 series has two engine options – diesel or gasoline/LPG –both offering more power and efficiency.
The new TD42 diesel engine boasts a quick glow system to help on cold mornings by improving starting functionality.
The other engine option, the TB45 gasoline/LPG engine, has a combination of features to reduce the toxicity of exhaust fumes. The electronic concentrated control system (ECCS) and a three-way catalytic converter work together for optimal performance.
The ECCS increases maximum output and lifting speed and the eco mode reduces noise and tyre wear, and makes sure the machine’s fuel usage is maximised.
The 1F4 has a new final drive design so it can be used for a variety of operations and can also be used on rough roads.
The braking system has been improved by increasing the size of the brake and the inclusion of a standard hydraulic booster, which means greater braking force with less effort.
Nissan has doubled the dust holding capacity of this new machine by using a cyclone air cleaner so the engine can operate for longer periods in dusty situations.
There are a range of optional extras to add to the comfort and operation of the 1F4 including a steering synchroniser, a fingertip control lever, an LPG swing-down bracket, double tyres and rain guards.
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CVS Ferrari and Manitou sign agreement
Isando, South Africa
CVS Ferrari has signed an agreement with Manitou to distribute its container handling equipment in South Africa.
The distribution agreement, signed last month, involves the selling, marketing and after-market support of equipment in South Africa, the countries on the border of South Africa and Angola and Zambia.
CVS Ferrari was considering opening a satellite company to handle distribution but decided to go with Manitou because of its experience in the South African market and industry.
Matteo Tosi, sales manager for CVS Ferrari, says the South African market is growing quickly and the company wanted to take advantage of the growth.
“CVS Ferrari had the choice of opening a local daughter company or picking a partner,” he says, adding that the task of deciding which option to take was not easy. “It was not possible to establish a daughter company because of timing (it would have taken five years) and distance.
“And choosing a partner is not always easy because often the best are all gone, but with Manitou, it was different.”
Tosi says CVS Ferrari chose Manitou because of the company’s reputation and industry knowledge.
“In a highly competitive and highly qualified market like the one of container handling equipment, only a partnership with highly referenced distributors is going to last,” he comments.
Tosi says Manitou is already a dealer for products not in competition with CVS Ferrari.
“Manitou’s technical knowledge is similar and the finance capability matches with our requirements, so the choice was easy!” he says.
Lindsay Shankland, managing director of Manitou South Africa, says its infrastructure is focused on after-market support once a machine has been sold, which will benefit CVS Ferrari.
“Our dedication to servicing the customer once a machine has been purchased was a key factor in CVS Ferrari partnering with us,” he says.
“And the fact that we have a broad-based black empowerment entity within our network (also factored in the decision).”
Manitou has kicked off the agreement with an order for 40 units valued at ZAR55 million (USD7 million).
Shankland says the range offered will meet all customer requirements and includes straddle carriers, container runners, tow tractors and forklifts.
“The high performer in the range is the empty-container handling masted forklift,” he says. “It is able to operate in narrow terminals, performs end-on stacking, has good fork handling and has double stacking capabilities.”
Best forklift operators recognised
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
The best forklift operators in the UK have been recognised at the National Material Handling Equipment (MHE) competition.
The competition, organised by Linde Material Handling and Co-operative Retail Logistics (CRL - part of Co-operative Group), pitted 33 forklift drivers against each other in a battle of skill, abilities and knowledge.
Twenty-three CRL distribution centres took part in the competition. An internal selection process chose the participants from these centres.
Competitors participated in safety and handling tests, driving competitions and skill evaluations. Linde conducted informative tours of the Basingstoke factory for competitors.
The winner of the reach truck operators division was James Cherry from the Cheltson depot, with Darryl Froude from Coventry in second place and Simon Mills from Halesowen in third place.
Chris Green from the Coventry depot was the winner of the counterbalance operators division, with Aaron Wright from Thurrock in second place and Steve Alsopp from Alfreton in third.
Wright says he likes participating in the competition and visiting the Linde factory because he likes seeing where the forklifts are manufactured.
“I like knowing that the products are getting better and better,” he says.
The day also featured a remote control forklift driving competition. Chris Green won this competition as well - with the best time of 43 seconds.
The competition was first organised two years ago by Linde and CRL to help staff get a better understanding of safe work practices and to provide an insight into product design and innovations.
Neil Morrison, Linde’s accounts manager and competition organiser, says the competition is a fun and effective way for all sides to gain perspective.
“Linking operators with management improves communication and is a way to engage staff on a business and social basis,” he says.
“CRL see that the staff buys into the ethos of the co-operative movement; both parties will benefit in one goal.”
Ian Smith, retail operations for CRL, says the competition helps deliver tangible, bottom-line improvements from staff involvement.
“This is one of the better events in the UK where we have the opportunity to bring managers and staff together,” he says. “Through the competition, we are able to engage the people who are the true backbone of our industry directly with senior management. All sides learn what the other does.”
Next year’s MHE competition will feature picking and pallet trucks.
JCB to receive Queen’s Award
Staffordshire, United Kingdom
A manufacturer of forklifts and telescopic handlers will be presented on September 25 with the UK’s most prestigious award for business performance.
JCB will receive a Queen’s Award in the International Trade category at a special ceremony at the JCB World Parts Centre in Uttoxeter after increasing overseas sales by more than 36% between 2004 and 2006.
The award will be presented by HRH The Duke of Gloucester to Matthew Taylor, JCB’s chief executive officer.
Taylor says the visit is a tremendous honour for everyone at JCB Service.
“This is a well-deserved recognition of the efforts of all employees in growing exports.”
JCB will conduct business as usual on the day of the Duke’s visit so he will be able to see the centre in operation.
Taylor says the company is proud to receive this award because it is the result of a huge amount of hard work from many people.
“A Queen’s Award enables us to showcase ourselves as a company to our customers around the world,” he says. “The award is given by an independent panel of judges and recognises the strength of achievements (of) the business.”
Winners of the award receive an invitation from The Queen to an evening reception at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen’s Award has been known to boost a company’s sales by up to 30% as the award raises a company's profile and encourages more customers to choose their business.
This is the 23rd time JCB has won the award since 1969. (Forklift Action news #339). (Forklift Action news #328).
Movers and Shakers
Redmond, WA, United States
Redmond, WA, USA
Genie has appointed a new senior compliance and applications engineer to assist product and standards questions from customers. Luke Webber will work with various Genie departments to address product compliance with governing standards, proposed product modifications for special applications and product application questions.
Webber, a mechanical engineer, has been with Genie Industries since 1999. Prior to his promotion, he was product managing the North American telehandler line.
Jacksonville, FL, USA
Southern States Toyotalift has appointed a new territory manager. Adam Fero will cover southern Duval, St. John, and Flagler counties.
Fero has worked as a manufacturer's rep in the aluminium extrusion industry for 10 years for Keymark Corporation. He holds a degree in exercise science from Purdue University and has worked as a personal trainer in Ohio.
Magnus Rosén has been appointed Ramirent’s new president and chief executive and will take over from Kari Kallio, who announced his retirement in early 2008. Rosén will take up his position on January 15th 2009.
Prior to his new appointment, Rosén was the head of BE Group’s Sweden Business Area. From 1997 to June 2008, he was the senior vice president, Scandinavia, for Cramo. Before working for Cramo, Rosén was the managing director for BT Hyrsystem.
Patrice Métairie will take over as manager of Haulotte France after the resignation of Pascal Aubebert.
Métairie has been managing Haulotte’s after-sales business since 2005. He joined Haulotte in 1995 as purchasing manager, and then managed the Le Creusot large boom and scissor lift production plant for five years.
New hand pallet offerings
Hamburg, Germany and Barbiano di Cotignola, Italy
The latest offering from Jungheinrich offers some noise relief and greater mobility options for hand pallet truck operators.
The AM 2200 can be customised to suit most businesses’ needs because it is available in different designs. This machine offers various versions including a tough design in stainless steel or semi stainless steel, a reduction in noise, or a machine that is easy to dismantle.
The noise reduction version is designed to meet the growing demand for low-noise options for materials handling equipment. This model is ideal for after-hours deliveries and can reduce noise by up to 50%.
Sebastian Huther, hand pallet truck manager for Jungheinrich, says shops in residential areas would benefit from this machine.
Noise suppression is achieved by the use of additional bearing brushes, low-noise wheels and special insulating mats.
The other version of the AM 2200, the AM20t, can be dismantled into two parts so it can be loaded into a car. Each component weighs 30 kilograms and can be carried by one person.
The AM 2200 – suitable for right or left-handed operators – can be used over short distances and can carry loads up to 2,200 kilograms (4,850 pounds).
Meanwhile, A new electronic hand pallet launched by Icem is a powerful, compact and fast machine with an inbuilt system to reduce rolling.
The TPC-AR has a new three-phase, AC-inverter motor system which ensures smooth and gradual acceleration. It can travel up to 8.5 kilometres per hour with easily adjustable controls on the console and can do 360 degree manoeuvres.
The electromagnetic brakes can be adjusted and adapted to different environments. The brake can also be used in an electronic regenerative braking system.
Equipped with a wear-resistant folding platform for the operator and side guards, the TPC-AR’s strong side wheels provide stability at high speeds or during sudden direction changes.
The reduced size makes the TPC-AR suitable to work even in narrow spaces.
Like other Icem machines, this version can be customised with specific solutions such as forks and platforms of any size, cold room guards, extension and fork expanders and weighing kits.
Forklift operator charged in water theft
Zephyrhills, FL, United States
Zephyrhills police officers have arrested forklift operator Michael Gordon Fernandes, 26, and charged him with grand theft for stealing bottled water with an estimated value of USD50,000.
Police say Fernandes and an unidentified individual conspired to steal five semitractor truckloads of bottled Zephyrhills-brand natural spring water over six weeks from a Zephyrhills warehouse of Nestlé Waters North America Inc of Greenwich, Connecticut. Parent firm Nestlé SA is based in Vevey, Switzerland.
Using a company-owned forklift, Fernandes loaded the pallets onto a truck for USD500 per truckload, and the co-conspirator would drive the loot away.
On 6 September, Fernandes was arrested and later released from the Pasco County jail after posting bail of USD10,000. Police seek to question the other person.
The office of a state’s attorney will review the charge and present it to a judge in the Florida circuit for Pasco and Pinellas counties, says Capt Robert McKinney of the Zephyrhills police department.
Nacco loses GM
General manager for Nacco Materials Handling Group Distribution for Asia Pacific, Stephen Whittingham, has resigned and will be leaving the group at the end of September.
Whittingham has been with the company since March 2006, as GM for Hyster Australia, before being promoted to his current position.
He tells Forkliftaction.com News that he has accepted a new role as managing director for an e-procurement and logistics outsourcing company in the aviation industry (listed on UK stock exchange).
“The opportunity provides great opportunities for future growth,” says Whittingham.
While the search is on for a new GM to replace him at Nacco, Whittingham leaves behind as his legacy a strong team of GMs in all eight dealerships that he was responsible for, plus a greatly improved level of profitability for the retail distribution as a whole.
Further economic challenges ahead
Australia's business executives expect a further decline in economic conditions in the December quarter as high fuel prices, continued inflationary pressures and a cut-back in consumer spending hurt sales and profit margins.
The latest Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Business Expectations survey reveals that fuel prices continue to hurt Australian businesses, with 92% of executives indicating that high petrol prices have had a detrimental impact on operations. Meanwhile, 32% of firms have noticed a slow-down in consumer spending in the past month and seven in 10 firms indicate that a tightening credit market will have a negative impact on operations.
The December quarter is expected to bring a steep decline in sales, profits, employment growth and capital investment.
According to Christine Christian, Dun & Bradstreet's CEO, the Reserve Bank's decision to cut interest rates should provide a much-needed boost to spending and investment and will be welcomed by Australian business executives.
"The recent interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank supports expectations that conditions will slow further, at least in the short term,” she says. “Despite this, the rate cut will be welcomed by executives due to its likely flow-on effects on spending and investment."
Not everyone is as enthused by the rate cut. One forklift dealer in South Australia tells Forkliftaction.com News that it was too small to make any difference whatsoever to business conditions.
Another player in the industry, Tom Naffine of NTP Forklifts, tells Forkliftaction. Com News that it’s too soon to tell what effect the rate cut will have on the industry as it usually takes a while for the industry to react to a change in monetary policy.
However, he adds that rate cuts can have an immediate effect on the Australian currency, and this may impact negatively on certain forklift importers.
New system to understand forklifts
HUNTINGWOOD, New South Wales, Australia
Linde Australia will launch a new forklift fleet management system in October or November this year that it believes will set it apart from its competitors in terms of the service, pertinent advice and savings it can provide to customers.
Rod Chapman, general manager, sales and marketing, tells Forkliftaction.com News that the FleetFocus system is unique to Linde and will enable it to become a ‘true’ fleet manager, able to provide customers with relevant reports and recommendations on the use of every forklift in operation.
“Previous fleet management systems tend to overload customers with all kinds of information on a weekly or daily basis without actually compiling the statistics in a relevant way to ‘tell’ the customer what changes are required to ensure maximum use of forklifts in the fleet and maximum savings,” says Chapman.
The new system was developed after extensive surveying of Australasian customers to find out exactly what kind of information they would like to receive with regard to fleet management as well as driver management and control.
“For example, some companies want to ensure their drivers actually read and comprehend the start-up checks without just ‘ticking the boxes’ automatically, as is often the case,” Chapman explains.
“This system enables us to put more ownership on the driver as we can change the order that the questions and topics appear so the driver has to investigate every question before answering.”
Chapman says the system’s strongest asset is its CanBus integration, which uses the information stored in each forklift’s ‘brain’, the same technology that technicians tap into when they’re servicing a forklift.
“CanBus gives us actual information from the vehicle’s control box, so there is no longer any guess work or estimations. We’re able to work with the facts and provide our customers with sophisticated recommendations on how we can help improve their business.”
Information provided will include:
• Key Time – The total time a vehicle was turned on after an approved driver has swiped their card or entered their unique ID number;
• Traction Time – This allows a comparison to the Key Time to measure true vehicle activity;
• Hydraulic Activity – Measuring lift, side shift, clamping etc.;
• Seat Time – To gain greater understanding of each application, how often drivers are on and off the seat, and whether the correct piece of equipment has been supplied;
• Steering activity – Allows the assessment of how active a vehicle is in terms of turning, whether the driver has enough room to do his job, and ultimately whether there are more suitable model types for a particular application;
• Speed Modification – Whether the customer wants the speed of the vehicle modified. Would it assist the management of the completion of start up checks or impacts over X if the speed was reduced after an event?;
• Fault Indication – An e-mail is sent to the Linde Control Centre reporting any faults in the field, enabling immediate action to ensure optimum fleet performance is achieved at all times.
Because the hardware is installed directly in the forklift, no installation is required in customers’ existing infrastructure so there’s no risk of it impacting on RF picking systems which may be installed in warehouses already.
“The wireless capabilities of this unique system allow greater convenience when accessing information for both Linde and their customers,” says Chapman, adding that there is no need for bulky onsite computers as the system is controlled remotely.
Another important feature is that it can be fitted to mixed fleets although it won’t have some of the specific CanBus capability but will still provide the other fleet management features.
Exide Liberator Reduces Battery Maintenance
Keeping the proper amount of water in batteries has always been a key to efficient battery performance. Yet watering batteries usually is a hassle for busy companies.
Exide Technologies’ new Liberator low maintenance battery is becoming a popular alternative to the sealed maintenance free Element battery for dealer rental fleets and companies with maintenance control problems.
The Liberator, introduced into Australia last year, is a flooded tubular design traction battery that offers lower gassing than a conventional standard traction battery and 2 to 3 month watering intervals.
Liberator’s unique low maintenance charging profile through Exide’s HP Series Chargers also equates to energy savings and reduced Whole of Life Cost.
For further information on the Exide Liberator Battery Contact Exide Technologies on: 1300 365 959
Port plans new terminal management system
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
The Ports of Auckland is planning to introduce a new, state-of-the-art terminal management system which it says will enhance productivity at the port by ensuring jobs are optimally allocated to available straddles.
The port has selected Total Soft Bank (TSB) to help it develop the final business case, with a decision expected within the next six months.
If the project is approved, then the port would be the first in the Southern Hemisphere to roll out TSB’s CATOS (Computer Automated Terminal Operating System). CATOS is a fully integrated container terminal operation system with customisation and process optimisation which has been successfully deployed in more than 70 ports across America, Asia and Europe.
Group manager, information technology, Pieter Bakker says the project, which has planning phase approval, will be one of the biggest IT initiatives the port has ever undertaken.
"We see it as a key enabler for customer service and capacity improvements as well as a catalyst for a step-change in productivity. It’s also an opportunity to rationalise our multiple existing applications into a single, best-practice solution," says Bakker.
"The next step involves the development of a process blueprint covering all aspects of container terminal operations, container freight station (packing), billing and e-commerce services. In future phases we will also be looking at the implementation of conventional cargo and marine services modules."
Infrastructure Australia 2008
ADELAIDE, South Australia, Australia
A specialised trade exhibition focusing on the products and services required for commercial, industrial and major projects will be held in Adelaide on 16-18 October at the Adelaide Showgrounds in South Australia.
Infrastructure Australia will showcase products required for the construction of new projects as well as for the maintenance of existing projects such as commercial and industrial buildings, parks, roads, tunnels, streets, air and sea ports, railways, mines, malls, sporting arenas, venues, hospitals and universities, etc.
Also featured at the exhibition is Conmex, the exhibition dedicated to the construction, mining, earthmoving, civil contracting, quarry and allied industries.
So far, the only forklift company exhibiting at the exhibition is NTP Forklifts, which plans to showcase its range of Manitou and TCM equipment which is suited to mining support roles and various applications within the construction and infrastructure industries.
NTP marketing co-ordinator Cassandra Brown tells Forkliftaction.com News that the company will be exhibiting the Manitou TM 1440, a telescopic handler with elevated work platform to 14 metres, as well as a 4WD rough-terrain forklift with capacity to 2.5 tonnes. If available at the time, NTP also plans to showcase the Manitou 180ATJ (articulated knuckle boom work platform), and the MT 1030S telescopic handler with stabilisers and a TCM industrial forklift.
The exhibition is divided into six sections: buildings, roads, parks, ports, railways and mining.
A specialised section entitled “Green” will also be featured, focusing on sustainable projects and the various products used.
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