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|Some see the wave of consolidation at dealer level in the US as an indication of a second stage of market correction. The first was the shake-ups at manufacturing and distribution level, which included staff lay-offs and alterations to production processes. The current phase, partly triggered by the Nacco Material Handling Group Inc move towards dealership consolidations in North America for its Hyster and Yale brands, sees strong dealer chains getting bigger, and more vulnerable ones being pursued and acquired. We’ll be exploring these moves in more detail in a couple of weeks, in our North American special report, so watch this space …|
|Job cuts imminent at Grammer |
|About 240 employees at Grammer AG will lose their jobs this year, according to an agreement signed between the company and its works council.|
Negotiations started last year between Grammer’s executive board and the works council regarding changes to production structures and employee numbers at the Haselmühl plant, as well as cost reductions in the company. The two parties have just concluded their discussions.
Of the job cuts, 180 affect the Haselmühl plant while a further 60 positions will be eliminated in “mainly sales, logistics, production planning and other areas”, says Grammer spokesman Ralf Hoppe.
Since May 2009, the Haselmühl plant in Amberg has been particularly hard hit by the declining order and revenue volumes that have impacted the whole company. The facility specialises in the manufacturing and sales of seats for forklifts, tractors and construction machines. It has suffered a drop of about 50% in orders since the second quarter of 2009 (Forkliftaction.com News #421).
However, Hoppe says there is “a stabilisation and slight positive development” for Grammer’s automotive business, while the seating business “has also somewhat stabilised but on a very low level”.
“We do not expect significant market rebound in the seating segment, especially for tractors, forklifts and trucks,” he adds.
Grammer AG and the works council have agreed on severance package payments and the establishment of a temporary transfer company for employees affected by job cuts.
“If you choose to join the transfer company (instead of a severance payment), you will be trained and supported by a professional team to prepare for job interviews and applications,” Hoppe says.
He explains that the transfer company will “employ” its members and pay them for a period of six to 12 months, depending on the employee’s age. The company is funded by Grammer and the German government.
The works council is a group of employees elected by a German company’s employees to represent them. Workers’ unions support work councils and the majority of council members are usually also union members.
Grammer AG develops and produces components and systems for automotive interiors, and driver and passenger seats for off-road vehicles, trucks, buses and trains. In 2008, Grammer AG achieved EUR10.007 billion (USD14.198 billion) in revenue, EBIT of EUR32 million (USD45.4 million) and a net profit of EUR14 million (USD19.9 million). It employs about 7,200 people in 17 countries.
|Ontario targets forklifts in safety blitz |
Toronto, ON, Canada
|Inspectors for the provincial ministry of labour in Ontario are targeting forklift enforcement during a month-long effort to make workplaces safer.|
Inspectors intend to take a zero-tolerance approach to any regulatory contraventions.
The government under Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has made a commitment to eliminate workplace injuries and, among its activities, is focusing on hazards involving forklifts and lifting devices. The province’s Safe-At-Work strategy was launched in June 2008.
The ministry says that the forklift safety blitz will include mushroom farms and greenhouses for the first time and that inspectors will review workplace activities during evenings and weekends as well as regular weekday hours.
Inspectors will focus on lifting device inspection and maintenance, the qualifications of individuals operating a lifting device and existence of a safe work environment.
Ministry statistics report at least 18 workers have died since 2003 as a result of incidents involving lift trucks, reach trucks, forklifts and tow motors.
More than 25% of those deaths occurred last year, the ministry says, with five workers being killed between January and August.
The province’s workplace safety and insurance board says the average forklift lost-time claim resulted in 67 days lost from work between 2003 and 2007.
The occupational health and safety council of Ontario reports the occurrence of 9,455 forklift-related incidents involving a lost-time injury between 1996 and 2008.
The labour ministry says causal factors include a lifting device striking an object such as a racking system; a worker being struck by forklift trucks, other lifting equipment or improperly-secured loads; and lack of preventative-maintenance and load-capacity examinations.
Ontario employs 430 full-time occupational health and safety inspectors.
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|Alta buys United Lift from Gorman family |
Wixom, MI, United States
|Alta Equipment Co has acquired a majority of assets of United Lift LP from the Gorman family and is establishing another metropolitan Chicago location for the Hyster brand, probably in Itasca, Illinois.|
Nacco Material Handling Group Inc (NMHG) appointed Alta on 1 January as the Hyster dealer in the Chicago area, western Michigan and northern Indiana markets. In December, Wixom-based Alta acquired Aurora Lift-Truck Service Inc in Montgomery, Illinois as its first Chicago-area location (Forkliftaction.com News #444). Alta represents NMHG’s Yale brand in multiple Michigan locations.
Referring to the United Lift deal, Ryan Greenawalt, Alta vice president of business development, says: “This was the next step for our Chicago market strategy. We are going to raise the bar in terms of service expectations for the Chicago market.” Alta employs 35 service technicians in the Chicago market and nearly 200 for all of its locations.
NMHG is moving toward selective geographic dealership consolidations in North America for its Hyster and Yale brands, but the Alta expansion appears to relate more to opportunities in a down market than to dealership or brand consolidation. Yale dealers in the Chicago area are YES Lifts LLC, Voss Equipment Inc and Fitzgerald Equipment Co Inc.
Jack Gorman, 71, his wife Nancy and their three children sold the United Lift assets except for buildings and real estate in Bellwood and Lansing, Illinois, and certain rental fleet units.
Gorman and his wife started United Lift Truck Inc as an independent forklift service, rental and used-sales company in 1963, initially working in a garage and subsequently at locations in the Chicago suburbs of Stone Park and later Melrose Park.
The business acquired the Hyster dealership and the sites in Bellwood and Lansing in May 1990 and adopted its current limited-partnership name. In addition to the Hyster brand, United Lift has represented the lines of Royal Tractor Co Inc of New Century, Kansas; V. Mariotti of Torino, Italy; and Mobile Industries Inc of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Gorman says he believes the forklift market has become extremely competitive because of the reduction in the number of units that consumers purchased in the last year. Every brand is fighting for marketshare and trying to maintain core customers, he notes.
“In the last 47 years in business, I have not seen a downturn that has happened so quickly and that has gone so deep as this one,” Gorman says.
The founders’ son Trent Gorman ran United Lift operations as president in recent years, and their daughter Dana Czarnecki worked in the administrative side of the business.
Trent Gorman has joined Alta Equipment in a management capacity.
Jack Gorman is in the process of winding down the United Lift business and has discontinued the Royal, Mariotti and Mobile representations. He intends to complete the sales of fleet vehicles and either sell or rent the two physical sites.
|Komatsu unlikely to keep Tusk dealership sites |
Rolling Meadows, IL, United States
|Komatsu Forklift USA LLC core dealerships are unlikely at this time to add North American sites of the soon-to-be-discontinued Tusk brand (Forkliftaction.com News #445).|
“There has been no discussion or intention conveyed to convert all Tusk dealers to Komatsu,” says Keith Allmandinger, senior marketing manager. “Each situation would be viewed on its own merits as we would view any other dealer applicant.”
In the western hemisphere, Komatsu Forklift’s 100 distributors manage about 150 locations. Nine of those Komatsu-brand dealers also represent Tusk, which has 33 distributors with about 65 locations in the US, Canada and Mexico. Sales of Tusk-branded equipment will cease on 31 July.
Allmandinger adds: “If Komatsu Forklift has a need, or an open territory, the existing Tusk dealer could be considered to fill that need, if interested. For the most part, Komatsu already has representation in the markets served by existing Tusk dealers.”
Komatsu Forklift USA of Rolling Meadows is an affiliate of Tokyo-based Komatsu Ltd’s regional subsidiary Komatsu America Corp.
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|Linde adds fuel cell forklifts to its product range |
|Linde Material Handling has delivered two fuel cell forklifts to Linde Group’s gases division.|
The fuel cell forklifts are based on the Linde E30 three-tonne electric counterbalanced forklift. In place of the usual 80 volt battery, the forklifts have a fuel cell and a tank which stores 1.6kg of hydrogen gas at 350 bar.
Electricity generated from the hydrogen supplies the electric motors that drive the truck. The supercaps, which are large condensers, act as a buffer and cover performance peaks when the forklift pulls away or does lifting. The trucks bear the CE mark and can be used on public roads.
According to Linde Material Handling, the forklifts’ performance is “not different” from the equivalent battery-powered model in the range.
The forklifts were developed over the past two years with Linde’s long-term partner, Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Hydrogenics. Linde’s contractual partner, Gruma Nutzfahrzeuge, based in Garching near Munich, has been involved in the project from the beginning, and is responsible for the forklifts’ service and maintenance.
Benefits of the fuel cell forklift include “zero emissions” as the only waste product from the splitting of hydrogen molecules is water, and there is no longer a need for battery replacement or a battery-charging process that lasts several hours. Safety risks related to the use of battery acid are also removed. Forklift operators are only required to undertake an additional hour-and-a-half of training to use the trucks.
Linde Gas is using one of the forklifts to transport gas bottles between production halls and the truck embarkation point, which involves the crossing of a public road. The second forklift is involved in gas bottle filling. Both fuel cell forklifts replace previously used 3.5-tonne diesel forklifts.
Linde Material Handling has incorporated the fuel cell forklifts into its product range and they are now offered as a customised option. The forklift manufacturer has produced a beverage industry version that offers an optimised view over the load.
The Linde Group and Linde Material Handling are separate entities. In 2006, the Linde Group sold its forklift business to financial investors Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, to focus on its gas and engineering business (Forkliftaction.com News #285).
|Hybrids tweaked for explosive atmospheres |
Shoreham by Sea, United Kingdom
|Two hybrid forklifts with explosion protection are believed to be the “first of their kind” for energy-efficient use in potentially explosive atmospheres.|
For the first time, the Pyroban Group has converted two hybrid forklifts manufactured by Still GmbH in Hamburg that combine diesel and electric power.
Robin Chapman, principal engineer for Pyroban’s safe handling division, says forklift technology has become increasingly complex.
“Energy consumption and the environment are driving forklift design, leading to new and innovative handling technology,” he says.
Chapman adds that converting equipment for use in an explosive atmosphere has become “progressively challenging”.
“Increased electronics, controls and performance-enhancing components like turbochargers have led to continued investment in Pyroban’s own technology to match requirements,” he explains.
To complete the Still forklifts’ conversions to ATEX 94/9/EC, Pyroban had to assess every component on the vehicles to identify potential causes of ignition through heat, sparks, static energy and other sources.
The naturally aspirated 1.9 VW diesel engines, all motors, brakes, electrics, the forks, the seat and other components were modified using explosion-protection techniques that included restricted breathing enclosures and surface temperature cooling.
“The trucks are required for zone 2 operation, so we were able to use Pyroban’s System 5000 which combines gas detection and automatic truck shutdown with various protection methods,” Chapman explains.
Pyroban’s System 5000 incorporates an automatic calibration and gas test to ensure that the gas detection system is working daily.
“We have retained almost all the original characteristics of the truck including the exhaust system but more importantly, the overall environmental performance has not changed. I believe these are the first of their kind,” Chapman says.
Pyroban Group Ltd provides explosion-proof safety and environmental solutions globally. The company was established in 1972 and has manufacturing facilities in the UK, the Netherlands and China. ATEX is the European Union legal framework for controlling explosive atmospheres and the standards of equipment and protective systems used in them.
|Konecranes launches SMARTON crane |
|Konecranes has introduced the SMARTON crane, which is made of 98% recyclable material.|
Designed to be environmentally friendly, Konecranes claims the crane’s braking energy, when fed back into the power grid, reduces energy consumption and cuts energy costs by up to one third.
Its compact size also enables new industrial spaces to be smaller, subsequently reducing construction costs and heating expenses.
The SMARTON has a “human-interface-to-machine” system that continuously updates the user on the weight of the load and its position relative to the available workspace. The crane also monitors its own condition and recommends when and what kinds of inspection or preventive maintenance should be performed. The user can therefore plan and minimise maintenance shutdowns, and maximise uptime, reducing costs.
According to Konecranes, the crane has an evolutionary design that is based on technological improvements in modular components and features. The crane can easily be updated with smart solutions like automated positioning, extended speed range, defined working areas, maintenance, monitoring or remote diagnostics, to meet changes in the user’s needs.
Depending on the set up, the SMARTON crane can lift loads ranging from 30 tons to over 500 tons. It is used in industrial sectors like steel handling and warehousing, automotive, general manufacturing, power, workshops, automatic storage systems and mining.
Konecranes provides lifting solutions to the manufacturing and process industries, shipyards, ports and terminals. In 2007, the group’s sales totaled EUR2.103 billion (USD2.939 billion). It has 9,700 employees in 43 countries.
|Movers & Shakers |
Brock McCormack has joined Deutsche Messe as the company’s spokesperson for foreign fairs. In his new role, McCormack will support Deutsche Messe’s growth abroad by increasing communications with the international media. He has been employed since 1997 at Deutsche Messe’s US subsidiary, Hannover Fairs USA Inc, in Princeton, New Jersey as director of marketing and communications.
Bert-Jan Knoef has been appointed chairman of the management board of Still, starting in April. Knoef succeeds Rolf Karg who retires at the end of March. He has been a member of Still’s management board since 2005, having responsibility for sales, service and marketing. He previously held various executive positions in sales and marketing for Linde’s refrigeration technology division. From 1985 to 1998, he was employed in a variety of international management roles at the Black & Decker Group.
Thomas A Fischer has also been appointed to the management board. Fischer takes over Knoef’s previous responsibility in sales, service and marketing. Fischer has held a variety of senior management positions at Still since 1995, most recently as managing director of Still sarl in France. Prior to this, he worked in sales and marketing for Lenze, Mercedes-Benz and Renault Trucks Germany.
Cory Hanlon has been appointed sales manager for Palfinger Crayler truck-mounted forklifts for Midwestern United States. Hanlon has over 10 years’ experience in the area of truck-mounted forklifts and other materials handling equipment. He will provide the Midwestern markets the support and service needed to continue its growth in the expanding market.
|Cargotec receives order from Ports America and St Petersburg |
|Cargotec has been awarded an order for four Kalmar ESC350W straddle carriers from Ports America.|
The new, all-electric 3-high units with a lifting capacity of 50 tonnes will help Ports America handle increasing cargo volumes at its Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) facility.
David Adam, acting president of PNCT, says Cargotec’s local presence and reliable service contributed to the decision to order the machines.
“Cargotec offers a complete range of innovative and environmentally friendly cargo handling equipment. That, combined with its commitment to parts availability and service, assured us that Cargotec can deliver on its promises,” Adam explains.
The machines feature electrically controlled engines, which Cargotec says lower exhaust emissions and reduce fuel emissions. The units for PNCT will also be fitted with variable speed generator (VSG) systems for further fuel savings and reduced emissions. VSG systems optimise engine use by determining whether the cranes need increased power for heavy lifts or little power when idling.
Ports America, the US's biggest terminal operator, expects container volumes at East Coast ports to dramatically rise. The widening of the Panama Canal by 2014 has prompted many terminals to plan for growth.
To accommodate PNCT's immediate handling needs, Cargotec recently supplied Ports America with three rental units. The three Kalmar ESC350 straddle carriers featuring Smoothlift hoist systems arrived fully erect from Denmark just after the New Year.
Ports America currently operates over 70 other-branded straddle carriers.
The new Kalmar units will be delivered in the second quarter of 2010. The value of the order is not disclosed.
Separately, Cargotec has received an order for 12 Kalmar TR619i terminal tractors and one Kalmar DCF 90-45E7 empty container handler from the newly-built container terminal at the Seaport of St Petersburg, Russia. Ten machines have already been delivered with the rest scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of this year.
The new greenfield container terminal is slated to open in the northern hemisphere spring of 2010. The first phase of the terminal construction started in 2008, with the goal to accommodate an annual handling capacity of 350,000 TEUs. Implementation of the project required an investment of USD120 million.
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|Schenker Australia awarded supply chain contract |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Schenker Australia has been appointed as international freight forwarding and customs clearance partner for Hagemeyer Brands Australia (HBA).|
The company will implement a sophisticated inbound supply chain for the consumer electrical and appliance products distributed by HBA.
The contract includes inbound transportation services for high-quality products from Japan, Italy, Germany, France, China, Singapore and Malaysia to various locations within Australia.
Schenker will import more than 4,000 TEUs via ocean freight and more than 30 tonnes via air freight.
|Worker killed by falling forklift load |
Laverton, Victoria, Australia
|An inquiry is under way into the death of a 60-year-old worker who died in Laverton last month after being hit by a falling forklift load.|
WorkSafe believes the man was guiding a forklift driver who was removing computer equipment, weighing some 200kg and standing about 2m high, from the back of a semi-trailer. The equipment was on castors and not mounted on a pallet.
Forklifts are among the state's most dangerous machines, accounting for 57 deaths since 1985. Sixteen of those deaths involved loads falling from the forklift.
To reinforce material already conveyed to industry about the dangers of working with forklifts, WorkSafe recently released posters warning of the dangers of working near the machines.
|Record container trade at Port Botany |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Port Botany reached another record in container trade, notching up its strongest trade movements on record for a six-monthly period, with almost a million containers (993,999 TEUs) passing through the port from July to December. |
In December 2009 alone, an average of 5,600 shipping containers passed through Port Botany every day. This is up 10.6% on the previous year.
Ports and Waterways Minister Paul McLeay says the latest figures continued an eighth year of growth in trade for Port Botany.
“When compared with other ports around the world, Port Botany has proven its resilience in a tough international economic climate,” says McLeay.
|UGL scoops $120m contract |
Carrum, Victoria, Australia
|Engineering and infrastructure company UGL Limited has been nominated by Melbourne Water Corporation as preferred construction partner in a joint venture with Baulderstone for the planned upgrade of a water treatment plant in Carrum.|
UGL’s share of the AUD380 million project is approximately AUD120 million, with the upgrade scheduled to start mid-2010, following final approval by government.
The upgrade will be completed by the end of 2012, followed by a further two years of operations and maintenance services. UGL and its alliance partners will provide design and construction services and will also participate in the initial operation and maintenance phase of the project in conjunction with Melbourne Water.
|NZ rail link complete |
Auckland, New Zealand
|Construction of the new rail link between the Port of Auckland and the Wiri Inland Port is complete.|
Ports of Auckland MD Jens Madsen says completion of the rail exchange is a major step forward for the port company and for the Auckland region.
“New Zealand needs top quality infrastructure and a flexible mix of sea, road and rail transport options if our economy is to grow,” says Madsen.
“This is about bringing the seaport right to the doorstep of businesses in South Auckland. Exporters and importers will be able to drop off and pick up containers without having to negotiate the Auckland motorways.”
There are also potential benefits for the community through reduced road congestion, with the rail link forecast to eventually save up to 2.5 million truck kilometres per year – the equivalent of 100,000 central city truck trips.
In conjunction with logistics provider NZL Group, Ports of Auckland has established CONLINXX, a new subsidiary company, to operate the Wiri Inland Port. It commenced operations on 1 February.
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|Bolzoni Auramo at the CeMat India 2009 |
|Bolzoni Auramo participated for the third time in the CeMAT India 2009 show held in Mumbai from 10 to 13 December 2009.|
At its booth, Bolzoni Auramo presented the AR-Series paper roll clamp with split arm, able to handle different diameter rolls at the same time and offering effective and safe solutions to heavy-duty paper handling tasks. Also on show was the HN-Series hook-on sideshifter which brings important advantages thanks to its vast range of uses.
The feedback from customers, truck dealers and end-users was very positive and Bolzoni Auramo, European market leader for forklift truck attachments, expects to benefit from the CeMAT contacts in the first quarter of 2010.
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
|In search of the oldest truck |
|Widely recognised as introducing the very first electric powered low lift platform truck to the European market, Yale is searching for the oldest Yale forklift truck or pallet truck, still in operation today, to mark its 90th anniversary year in 2010. Yale is offering a trip to the Big Apple in return for information on the oldest Yale forklift truck or pallet truck still in operation*.|
Click here for the full text of this release, including pictures.
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Editorial Calendar 2010
The Forklift Market in The USA
Attachments: Pallet Handling
Used Forklift Dealers
The Forklift Market in China
Materials Handling Equipment in Ports
The Forklift Market in Latin America
Industrial Tryes and Wheels
Batteries and Chargers
Materials Handling in Europe
Warehouse Counter Balance Forklifts