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|Whose responsibility is forklift safety? Is it up to operators to make sure they do the right thing, or does the responsibility lie with their employers? And what about the forklift manufacturers? Should they be held liable for the safety of their equipment – to the extent that they have to design for the most reckless operator? These are difficult questions which will no doubt be debated for some time to come. In the meanwhile, this week’s Special Feature looks at safety products and services which may not completely eliminate all the risks, but they’ll certainly help ensure safer workplaces. |
|Product innovations help keep workers safe |
|Materials handling safety is an ongoing issue for most workplaces, but with adequate training and the use of modern technology, injuries and accidents involving forklifts and other equipment can be reduced. Annette Densham reports on the latest safety equipment and technology and the way they can protect workers and equipment. Read more|
|New report has tips to stave off insolvency|
London, United Kingdom
|A new report by British market analyst Plimsoll Publishing reveals tips to help UK forklift companies avoid insolvency - but only if they are prepared to make tough decisions.|
Restructuring specialists believe the number of UK insolvencies will soar by 55% by the end of 2009.
David Pattison, senior business analyst at Plimsoll, says companies need to understand the extent of the problems they are facing in order to fix them. “The symptoms of a failing business are all too familiar,” he says.
Companies go through a five-stage process on the slippery slope to failure – pressure to increase sales and ultimately sell at a loss, taking on extra short-term debts to finance the sales drive and then the banks suggest a switch to long-term finance. The final two stages are an increasing overdraft that erodes profits and finally nervous banks demanding immediate repayment of the uncontrolled debt.
Pattison says the critical factor in this cycle is to understand the key measures to monitor in the business to pinpoint any decline. “If companies are made aware of their problems sooner, management then has more time to put a survival plan in place and stave off the administrators.”
He says companies in this situation have three options if they want to survive: “They can cut costs now but that is not easy; it means the company must accept it will be a smaller enterprise,” he explains. ”The objective must be to reduce the level of debt and get the business back on an even keel.
“They can sell the company, look for an investor or the third way, trade their way out. However, in the current economic climate, this trading their way is the least likely strategy,” he says. “Most of these companies have fairly long-term problems, so it’s clear their current business is not competitive in the market.”
Pattison says out of the 483 UK forklift companies, 110 are considered in danger and at risk of failing.
|Defendants Crown, Jefferds win liability case |
Charleston, WV, United States
|A Kanawha County Circuit Court jury has returned a verdict in favour of defendants Crown Equipment Corp and Jefferds Corp in a case stemming from a 2002 forklift accident.|
The jury in Charleston determined that the Crown forklift was not defective at the time of its manufacturing and that plaintiff Jeremiah Morris was not entitled to an award. Doctors amputated Morris’s lower left leg following the accident at an Alcoa Inc factory in Virginia.
Attorneys for Morris contended during the products liability trial from 15 January to 2 February that the forklift should have had a door to confine the driver.
The defendants maintained that federal regulatory agencies have rejected the theory that a forklift should have a door.
Crown is based in New Bremen, Ohio and forklift distributor Jefferds, also operating as Homestead Material Handling, has an operation in St Albans, West Virginia.
The case has a twisted history.
Judge Tod Kaufman in the Kanawha County court dismissed the case initially in 2004 because of a West Virginia law stating that circumstances leading to the litigation needed to have occurred in West Virginia. In 2006, the state Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional and enabled Morris to continue with his case.
West Virginia legislators revised the venue law giving latitude to judges on where a case should be heard. At that point, attorneys for defendants Crown and Jefferds appealed unsuccessfully to the US Supreme Court, which declined an opportunity to review the matter.
|Battery manufacturer wins environmental award|
Reading, PA, United States
|Industrial battery manufacturer EnerSys has won an environmental award for its approach to treating industrial wastewater.|
The Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association presented the Industrial Pretreatment Award to the company’s plant in Kentucky.
Dennis Brumbaugh, EnerSys Richmond plant manager, says when wastewater discharge limits were cut in 2006, the company needed to find an approach that would meet the new requirements.
EnerSys installed a membrane filtration system for cleaning industrial process wastewater. The company processes between 30,000 to 50,000 gallons (113,000 to 120,000 litres) of water per day through the filtration system.
James Pikul, EnerSys Richmond Plant environmental, health and safety manager, says the new treatment method is a closed-loop system. “This means that the waste by-products are reintroduced back into the manufacturing process,” he explains. “We now recycle 80% of our waste sulfuric acid. We also recycled 210,000 pounds (95,00 Kg) of lead in 2008 that was extracted from our wastewater.”
EnerSys Richmond plant also won the Richmond Chamber of Commerce’s Industry of the Year award in recognition of its commitment to lessening its environmental impact.
|Rocla’s work recognised at design competition |
|Rocla’s automated warehouse truck (AWT) and Rapid low-level order picker have been given an honourary mention in a prestigious Nordic design competition.|
The Fennia Prize is a competition ”rewarding the exemplary use and application of design in business”. The competition is organised every second year by Design Forum Finland, Fennia and Kauppalehti and carries a EUR35,000 (USD44,471) prize pool.
The Finnish manufacturer of intelligent materials handling solutions was recognised for the unique solutions used in the Rapid and AWT. Rocla launched the AWT last year (Forkliftaction.com News #347) and the order picker was launched this year (Forkliftaction.com News #396).
Petteri Masalin, head of design at Rocla, says a profound understanding of customers’ processes together with extensive user studies were the focal point for designing the awarded products. “Our goal was to improve customers’ logistical processes, reduce costs and increase the flow of work,” he explains.
Rocla won the Fennia Prize Grand Prix in 2007 for its Humanic reach trucks and was honourably mentioned in 2005 (Forkliftaction.com News #193).
|Big Fork Truck’s big move runs smoothly|
Keighley, United Kingdom
|UK heavy-duty forklift supplier Big Fork Truck (BFT) has successfully completed the relocation of 35 textile looms from Lancashire to India and Pakistan.|
Eric Cooper, owner of Big Fork Truck, says the equipment came from a defunct mill in Nelson.
“The mill had closed down,” he explains. “But in countries such as India, the equipment still has significant value where the vibrant economy and long textile industry history create a lively second-hand market.”
Cooper says the biggest logistical challenge was in managing the traffic outside the building. “However, there was also the economic factor,” he says. “To make substantial savings in transportation costs, we were able to double stack and bolt the looms together.
“So, instead of getting three looms into a 12-metre (39 foot) container, BFT were able to get six looms in, saving containers and money.” The final weight of each container was 8 tons.
A Hoist 8-ton, 4.5-ton compact forklift and 25-ton all-terrain crane were all used to move the equipment out of the mill and into the containers.
Cooper says BFT also used in-house designed and manufactured skates, which were bolted to the equipment. “The skates can change direction without having to jack up the machines and redirect (them), so the machine can be pushed manually and/or pulled with a small forklift.”
|The Mule gets arbor attachment |
Milford, CT, United States
|Beyond Products Inc of Milford has added an arbor attachment to its all-in-one Mule lift, stacker, transporter and work bench.|
The 14.75-inch (0.1m) attachment facilitates lifting and hauling rolls of film, foil, label stock or other coiled material and is available as a factory-installed option to meet applications and needs of customers in the printing and packaging industries.
Other Mule options include a work platform with adjustable work blocks for maximum flexibility and a fork attachment for tubes, totes, hoppers and pallets.
Beyond Products announced the new accessory during the WestPack 2009 trade show on 10-12 February in Anaheim, California.
|Ausa to launch new telehandler at show |
|Spanish manufacturer Ausa will introduce its new telehandler at Intermat. |
The new Tauralift T 276 H model has a 2,700 kilogram (5,920 pound) capacity and 6.1 metre (20 foot) reach height.
The T 276 H is powered by a Kubota V3600T turbo diesel engine and uses a permanent four- wheel drive hydrostatic transmission that produces a top speed of 24 km/h (14.9 mph).
The telehandler features a joystick for control of all movement, three steering modes, anti-vandal security system, hydraulic quick hitch and a tilting cabin to make maintenance easier.
Intermat is held every three years and is focused on the construction sector. There will be over 1,300 exhibitors from more than 40 countries at the event which will run over five days from Monday 20 to Saturday 25 April at the Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre in France.
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|Auctioneer opens new site|
Minneapolis, MN, United States
|Ritchie Bros Auctioneers will mark the opening of its new permanent auction site in Medford with an unreserved industrial equipment auction on March 19.|
The new 120-acre (485,622 sqm) site replaces the company's former 28-acre (113,311 sqm) site in Lakeville, Minneapolis. The Lakeville site will be sold in June. The site features a new 30,653-square foot (2,847 sqm) auction building housing a 561-seat auction theatre and a 27,291-square foot (2,535 sqm) building for refurbishing equipment.
Andy Artley, regional manager for Ritchie Bros, says the company is excited to be able to provide a “top-notch” facility to its customers. "We are located in a very visible and convenient location for people to transport their equipment and trucks to and from our new yard.”
|Movers and Shakers |
|Shady Grove, PA, US|
Glen Tellock has been elected chairman of Manitowoc. He replaces Terry Growcock, who retired as chairman at the end of 2008. Tellock joined the company in 1991 as director of accounting. After serving as corporate controller and vice president of finance and treasurer, he was appointed senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1999. He also served in dual roles as senior vice president of Manitowoc Company and president of Manitowoc Crane Group from 2002 until he was named president and chief executive officer of the corporation in 2007.
Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
The PALFINGER North America Group has appointed Bart Conry as its new Group Fleet Manager. Conry is responsible for all fleet sales for all products offered by PALFINGER, Omaha Standard and MBB Interlift. He will focus on the long-term growth of the organisation through fleet account development, sales force management, and operations and sales strategies. Conry graduated from the Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree of Science and Business Administration. He has worked for companies such as Peabody Galion, Buckeye Truck Equipment, Great Lakes Truck Equipment, America’s Body Company and Leggett & Platt.
Dinolift Oy‘s executive chairman, Lars-Petter Godenhielm, has been appointed managing director. Godenhielm takes over from Erkki Hokkinen who recently resigned.
|Telehandler operator wins skills competition |
Las Vegas, NV, United States
|An Illinois man has beaten 19 other operators to win the grand prize in a telehandler skills championship held during the World of Concrete expo in Las Vegas this month.|
Len Mackowiak of Midwest Masonry took home Pettibone's grand prize at the fourth annual telehandler skills championship. He won a 2009 Harley Davidson Super Glide.
The competition involved a series of challenges from depth/height perception to loading skills to decide the best operator in the States.
Operators had to choose one of Pettibone’s telehandlers – an Extendo fixed pivot machine or the Traverse, transfer-capable machine - as their equipment of choice to complete the challenges.
The first challenge required operators to retrieve three 2x6 boards from a fixed location and then load all three onto the telehandler forks. The goal was to replace the boards in their original positions on sawhorses.
The second test involved moving down a lane to the base of a scaffolding system and placing the forks into a box resting at the top of the scaffolding.
Mackowiak won with 2 minutes and 53 seconds and second place was awarded to Wayne Sheffield of HJK Masonry who came in 8 seconds after Mackowiak. Sheffield was awarded a $500 Visa gift card.
Michigan-based Pettibone manufactures and distributes telehandlers. The company introduced forward-reaching, rough-terrain machines to job sites in the 1950s.
|Mitsubishi finds oldest forklift |
|A 27-year-old forklift has been named the winner of Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks’ ‘Keeps on Running’ contest.|
The winning forklift is a 1982 FGC25 Mitsubishi forklift used by Prescher Willette Seeds, a soybean farming company in Minnesota. The forklift has had the same operators since it was purchased.
The competition called for people to show how their Mitsubishi forklift had withstood the test of time (FLA #372 )
The family-run business was founded in 1933 and raises, cleans, packs and ships more than 100,000 bags of soybeans on their 3,500-acre farm each year. As the winner of the contest, the company received a brand new FGC25N Mitsubishi forklift truck.
The former demo forklift was purchased from Herc-U-Lift of Maple Plain in 1986.
Mike Hughes, plant manager of Prescher Willette Seeds, says the company has two Mitsubishi forklifts that are more than 20 years old. “We run them hard, especially in our busy spring and autumn seasons.
"We've never had a need to replace the forklifts because they are so dependable and are always ready to run when we are,” he says.
The old forklift will not be out to pasture, Hughes says they will continue to use it.
|Bonus tax deduction gets bigger |
Canberra, ACT, Australia
|Government seems determined to boost capital investment by Australian businesses, with its latest announcement this month to increase the tax deduction on eligible assets from 10% to a whopping 30%.|
It has also lowered the asset threshold for small businesses, from AUD10,000 to AUD1,000.
The original incentive, announced in December 2008 (Forkliftaction.com News #395), was part of the government’s AUD6.4 billion nation building package and provided for an additional tax deduction equal to 10% of the cost of an eligible asset.
This allowance would be applicable to most new tangible depreciating assets - which includes most items of plant and equipment - over AUD10, 000 which are acquired or ordered by the end of the current financial year.
The measure was estimated to cost AUD1.6 billion over the forward estimates period.
A month after it was announced, Forkliftaction.com News reported that the forklift industry was not feeling any positive knock-on effect from the announcement.
This month’s expanded offer provides an additional AUD2.7 billion temporary tax break to small and other businesses to boost business investment.
Small businesses will be able to access the tax break for assets costing AUD1,000 or more. For all other businesses, the asset threshold is AUD10,000.
The tax break provides an additional tax deduction for assets acquired from 13 December 2008 to 30 June 2009, where the asset is also installed before 30 June 2010. The deduction will be equal to 30% of the asset's cost.
For assets acquired between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2009 and where they are installed ready for use before 31 December 2010, the deduction is 10% of the asset's cost.
Assets that are eligible will be tangible depreciating assets used in carrying on a business, for which a deduction is available under Division 40 of the ITAA97.
Further, the tax break will be available for new expenditure on existing assets as well as for new assets. The assets must be used in Australia.
Draft legislation to implement the investment allowance will be released for public consultation later this month.
|NTP Forklifts moves to bigger facility |
Darra, Queensland, Australia
|NTP Forklifts Australia has moved from its Rocklea branch to a new purpose-built facility in Darra, just minutes from the previous site it had rented for the past 11 years.|
The new three-level building on an 8,000 sqm site has been specifically designed for the materials handling industry, and includes a showroom as well as a modern 2,000 sqm workshop which will enable the business to provide a high level of after-sales service to customers.
Queensland general manager John Hutton tells Forkliftaction.com News that the business had outgrown its previous premises and the new building better reflects the image and market position of the branch.
He adds that the facility will also be used for training, and new product demonstrations on TCM, Manitou, Jungheinrich and Taylor Dunn equipment to existing and potential clients.
|Forklift danger sours grape harvest|
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
|A safety warning by SafeWork SA has been issued to farmers and labour companies as the grape season begins.|
“Even for the most experienced workers, farms can be dangerous places to work,” says SafeWork SA acting executive director Bryan Russell.
“However, at this time of the year, the risk of harm rises considerably with hundreds more students, backpackers and professional pickers at work in farms and vineyards.
“When you factor in the presence of young and inexperienced workers, some of whom may understand limited English, then the chances of injury or worse rise again.”
Risks of harm from forklifts and tractors, either as a driver or bystander, are among the most common hazards faced by fruit pickers.
Other risks include heat exhaustion, skin damage from sun exposure, fatigue, falls from height, manual handling and chemicals.
|Recovery on track for lifting specialist |
Southbank, Victoria, Australia
|Lifting solutions provider Boom Logistics this week announced a net profit after tax of AUD13.8 million for the half year ended 31 December 2008.|
The company’s crane hire division was the top performer with revenue of AUD146.3 million, a 24% improvement on the same period in the prior year.
Achievements during the half year included:
• completion of a AUD175 million, three-year revolving credit facility and a AUD32 million working capital and general transactional banking facility in place until September 2011;
• strong improvement in the utilisation of the core wet hire crane fleet; and
• strong operating cash flows facilitating debt reduction with a consequent decrease in the gearing ratio from 92% (30 June 2008) to 86% at 31 December 2008.
|New container berth for Brisbane |
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|The new AUD65 million container wharf at Port of Brisbane, commissioned this month by transport minister John Mickel, will boost the port’s trading capacity by allowing at least six container vessels to be accommodated simultaneously by the two major stevedores.|
"The extra trading capacity provided by this new berth means the port is well positioned to handle future trade growth, and to remain a competitive, commercially focused entity for the benefit of the Queensland economy," says Mickel.
"Importantly, about 80 jobs were created during the construction of the Berth 10 container wharf."
Berth 10 is managed and operated by Patrick Corporation, which is completing its new container terminal behind the berth. The port's other major stevedore, DP World Brisbane, has moved along the quayline and taken control of Berth 7 which was previously operated by Patrick.
Port of Brisbane Corporation chairman David Harrison says both stevedores are making significant investments over the course of the transition.
The Port of Brisbane Corporation has invested more than AUD724 million in capital expenditure projects during the past five years, and in the next five years plans to spend another AUD1 billion.
|Report on T&L industry|
The Australian Logistics Council launched a report this month entitled “Who Moves Australia? Workforce Participation in Australian Transport and Logistics”.
The report identifies the number of people employed within the Australian economy whose jobs involve, either wholly or in part, transport and logistics activities.
Sponsored by Queensland Transport and the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council, a copy of the report can be downloaded at: http://www.austlogistics.com.au/dmdocuments/T&L%20Workplace%20Report%20Dec%2008.Final.pdf
ICHCA meeting in March
The International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA) will host a luncheon meeting at the Queensland Rugby Club in Ballymore on 4 March.
The guest speaker is Dr. W.F.C. Tranberg, senior manager, infrastructure planning and chief engineer of Port of Brisbane Corporation, who will speak on "The Port of Brisbane - Now and the Future".
Logistics innovations on show
Sydney, New South Wales
Supply chain professionals will pick up the latest logistics innovations at this year’s Smart Supply Chain Technology show, a biennial event which takes place from 10-11 June at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
This year’s theme, “Meeting the Challenge – Logistics Innovation for Operational Efficiency”, recognises the opportunities and demands presented by the current business environment and identifies innovation as a key to meeting these challenges.
The show, part of Supply Chain Week, will be held alongside the Smart Conference, a conference for supply chain professionals.
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Editorial Calendar 2009
Rough Terrain forklifts
Safety products in MH
Forklift Market in Canada
Forklift Market in the United Kingdom
Fleet & Asset management
Narrow Aisle forklifts
Forklift batteries and power solutions
Forklift Market in India