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|Has the market bottomed? Clearly, knowing when the upswing is about to begin is crucial and those companies that get the timing right will start preparing for growth in time to catch the wave. Unfortunately, in Europe, there are warnings that the pain may not yet be over and materials handling could actually face a second dip. |
The uncertainty makes it more important than ever to be in tune with the market and perhaps the best way is by listening to customers. Knowing when they plan expansions or retractions can provide some insight into the state of play. The uncertainty puts dealers at the forefront since they have direct access to the market and can act as a conduit between customers and manufacturers.
There’s no doubt that market intelligence is more vital than ever – and we’ll do what we can to shed light wherever possible.
|FEM asks members to prepare for ‘double-dip’ |
Chesterfield, United Kingdom
|The European Federation of Materials Handling (FEM) is advising its members to prepare for another decline in the economy as materials handling sales appear to have reached their lowest levels.|
John Meale, vice president of FEM and managing director of Thorworld Industries, says the global recession has hit the industry hard and is likely to affect it further.
“The good news is that sales now appear to have reached their lowest levels and Europe, including the UK, is pulling out of recession - but FEM is greeting this news with caution and we are advising our members to prepare for the very real possibility of a ‘double dip’,” Meale warns.
He explains that cuts have been widespread in the private sector but that hasn’t been true for the public sector. “With the installation of the new coalition government [in the UK], that is now being rectified through cuts and increased VAT and taxation in a bid to repay the huge debts incurred as a result of the banking crisis ... this is likely to result in the second dip for the materials handling industry.”
Meale urges FEM members to be wary of signs of recovery in the economy and to remain cautious about undertaking substantial investment.
According to FEM data, in 2008 and 2009, industrial trucks have seen sales drop by up to 40%; mobile elevating work platforms between 65% and 70%; racking and shelving up to 40%; elevating equipment between 35% and 40%; cranes and lifting equipment between 40% and 50% and intralogistics systems up to 20%.
Meale says his company, Thorworld Industries, had been forced to make redundancies as sales dropped across its entire product catalogue.
“More worryingly still, we have also seen a drop in levels of maintenance that can put employees at risk and cost companies dearly in the long run in terms of repairs,” he adds.
Leading UK construction equipment maker JCB has reported a pre-tax profit of GBP29 million (USD44.3 million) despite declining sales. JCB has made 1,800 redundancies to adapt to lowered demand for its products.
Last month, we reported that Toyota Material Handling UK (TMHUK) was resizing its Castleford site. TMHUK operations director Tony Wallis denied the redundancies were the result of the recession but indicated that Toyota was expanding elsewhere in the UK (Forkliftaction.com News #464).
FEM, which stands for Fédération Européenne de la Manutention, represents the interests of over 1,000 companies in Europe which employ 160,000 people and have a combined turnover of EUR45 billion (USD57.6 billion).
|Konecranes acquires BM |
|Konecranes has acquired service company Bouyer Manutention (BM) based in Tours, France.|
Jean-Maxime Guhur, director of Konecranes (France) SA, says BM’s large contract base and strong knowledge of and relationship to the nuclear industry will strengthen the group’s position in France.
BM, a family-owned company, was established in 1988. Its competencies include mechanical and electrical maintenance, and modernisation of overhead cranes and machine tools. The company employs 38 people and its 2009 net sales was about EUR5 million. Its customers are in the nuclear, automotive, steel and food industries. It has service branches in Chinon, Le Mans, Orléans and Poitiers.
The value of the acquisition is not disclosed.
BM will be consolidated into Konecranes’ books in the third quarter of 2010. Konecranes bought 100% of BM’s shares through the holding company Bouyer GCP.
Separately, Konecranes has received an order for a single boom shipyard crane from Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Shipbuilding, India. The crane will be delivered to L&T’s new shipyard at Kattupalli near Ennore Port in Chennai. Konecranes’ general manager for shipyard cranes, Timo Valkonen, believes the delivery will boost the company’s position as a crane supplier to shipyards in India.
|Standards revision may impact US forklift designs |
Charlotte, NC, United States
|An effort to set international standards relating to environmental considerations of packaging may eventually impact on the way forklifts in the US are designed and built for carrying unit loads.|
International meetings last month in Beijing, China created a draft that is primarily based on existing European Union standards. Earlier, multiple US group meetings occurred to form the US position on seven proposed standards, says Michael Ogle, vice president for educational and technical services with the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) in Charlotte.
The trade group MHIA has a leading role in the review and development of standards at the international level.
The American National Standards Institute accredits MHIA to administer three US technical committees dealing with pallets, freight containers and packaging. The committees review and provide voting recommendations on international standards under the Organization for International Standardization.
“The packaging and environment standards have little connection to forklift trucks,” Ogle says. “If packaging types are modified, then there may be an effect on how unit loads are built and carried by the trucks, but otherwise there is no direct connection.”
Ogle serves as secretary for the MHIA-administered MH10 unit-loads and transport-packaging organisation within the US Technical Advisory Group to the international TC122 subcommittee on packaging and environment.
Marilyn Baker of the Coca-Cola Co in Atlanta, Georgia is overall chair for US task groups. Individual task group chairs include Brian O’Banion of the Fibre Box Association in Elk Grove Village, Illinois; Ramani Narayan of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan; Laura Rowell of MeadWestvaco Corp in Glen Allen, Virginia; Bill Armstrong of Sealed Air Corp in Danbury, Connecticut; Fred Hayes of the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute in Arlington, Virginia; Paul Rankin of the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association in Landover, Maryland; and Jeff Wooster with Dow Chemical Co’s North American plastics unit in Houston, Texas.
Organisers project completion of the standards during 2012.
|LTW’s Aisle Changing Technology |
|LTW’s aisle-changing technology is unique in the material handling industry. With our fast and efficient aisle-changing stacker cranes, LTW warehouse systems can be tailored to meet the throughput needs of each customer. Due to LTW’s high level of expertise with automation, our stacker cranes are able to handle tedious loads with a smooth shuttle placement technology. This precision results in consistent stability and less product damage. Stacker crates create better cube utilization of warehouse space, increased storage efficiency, reduced labor costs and increased throughput. |
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|JCB sales drop by one-third |
Rocester, United Kingdom
|JCB saw 2009 sales drop by a third to GBP1.35 billion (USD2.061 billion) but still managed to increase its pre-tax profit through cost-cutting measures.|
Selling a total of 36,000 machines - compared to 57,000 in 2008, JCB increased its pre-tax profit to GBP29 million (USD44.3 million) from GBP28 million (USD42.8 million) the previous year.
Company chairman Anthony Bamford says the whole of JCB pulled together to respond to a challenging year, which was particularly severe in the first half. “Tough action was taken to adjust our cost base to align it to a much-reduced level of demand and this resulted in an improving profit trend as the year progressed,” he says. JCB made about 1,800 redundancies last year.
JCB intelligence shows that the global construction equipment market fell 46% in 2009 but the company increased its marketshare to an all-time high of 12.2%. It now has over 40% of the global backhoe loader market and 28% of the global telehandler market.
JCB claims it is now the world market leader in telehandlers with its Loadall range. JCB spokesman Nigel Chell tells Forkliftaction.com News that the company’s closest competitor for the telehandler market is Ancenis, France-based Manitou.
Bamford says that the construction equipment industry in the first half of 2010 saw a “strong recovery” in emerging markets like India, Brazil and China although Western Europe and North America remain weak. “On balance, we expect to see a significant improvement in both sales and profits this year compared to 2009.”
“Despite the economic difficulties, we continued to invest in new products with 11 innovative machines launched so far this year, including the most fuel-efficient backhoe loader we’ve ever produced,” he adds.
One of JCB’s largest investments in its history was announced this year – the GBP80 million (USD121.5 million) project to develop a combustion system for a new diesel engine that will be used in telehandlers and other equipment. The company hopes to produce the off-highway sector’s cleanest engine with its JCB Ecomax T4 4.4 litre engine, which will go into production in 2012 (Forkliftaction.com News #454).
|Product News |
|JCB introduces smallest ever Loadall|
Rocester, United Kingdom
JCB will showcase its smallest Loadall telehandler, the 515-40 model, at IOG Saltex from 7-9 September.
The new model, which is 1.8 metres high, 2.97 metres long and weighs less than 3.5 tonnes, has a patented chassis design. JCB says it challenged conventional design concepts to develop the offset, single-spine chassis with the machine’s cab then occupying the resulting space.
Equipped with a 50hp Deutz engine, the JCB 515-40 can handle a 1,500kg payload at a 4-metre lift height. JCB says the telehandler is suitable for commercial growers, garden centres and nurseries, and can perform many on-site tasks, which previously required several different machines.
Jungheinrich’s new pallet carrier
Jungheinrich is launching a new pallet carrier, the “Under Pallet Carrier” (UPC), for deployment in compact shuttle storage systems.
Shuttle systems enable storage in highly compact channel racking systems. This is made possible by autonomous load shuttles which load pallets into rack channels on their own.
Jungheinrich already produces an “In Pallet Carrier” (IPC). The IPC loads pallets onto its own forks and can be easily docked onto reach trucks, counterbalance trucks or narrow-aisle trucks. This is suitable for short channels and order picking. In contrast, the UPC is mainly for storage systems that employ long channels that need to be continuously filled and emptied.
Any conventional forklift with sufficient residual lifting capacity can serve as the carrier truck for the IPC and UPC.
|Collective Intelligence expands in the UK |
Birmingham, United Kingdom
|Despite challenging economic times, Australian forklift fleet monitoring provider Collective Intelligence (CI) has started its expansion overseas with a start-up business in the UK.|
Company director Garry Squire, who re-located from Sydney, Australia to the UK Midlands, says the start-up, CI Monitoring UK Ltd, will also be a base for future expansion in Europe.
“Though challenging for everyone, CI has continued its growth through the difficult last four years and the recent move into the UK market is expected to see them increase and continue this upward trend,” Squire says.
He adds that CI had been investigating growth opportunities for over two years and saw a need in the UK market for its “simpler, more economical and reliable systems”.
CI claims its remote monitoring products stand out from competitors because they are web-based solutions “that require no site infrastructure for data capture”. This could mean lower costs and easier installation for equipment end-users.
“Equipment can be moved and relocated multiple times without the worry of installing site repeaters, routes or dedicated computers,” Squire explains.
CI says it works with many forklift OEMs and blue-chip organisations. It aims to achieve closer, long-term relationships with “one or two organisations that want to add value to their customers and take more control of their rental fleets”.
Established in Sydney by James Hayes, Collective Intelligence started marketing its remote monitoring solutions for the forklift market in 2003. Staffed by 20 people, it is now creating solutions for other equipment markets.
|Indian academy seeks global forklift partners |
|Forklift Academy of India (FAI) is inviting international forklift manufacturers to help promote safe forklift driving in India through its target of training 50,000 operators by 2013.|
The academy’s CEO, Fazal Shaikh, tells Forkliftaction.com News that the Indian industry is forced to employ untrained forklift operators who learn only through experience because there is no dedicated Indian forklift operator safety training school.
“At critical times, these (untrained) operators are unable to manoeuvre out of danger and are trapped in avoidable accidents. This prompted me to venture into this project,” Shaikh says.
A former Voltas manager, Shaikh now offers two programmes for forklift operators at FAI. A one-day workshop on safe operation and daily forklift maintenance is offered to experienced but untrained forklift operators. A six-day course is available for novices or high school leavers wanting a forklift driving career.
Training for individuals and small groups of students takes place at FAI’s 5,000 sqft (465 sqm) facility in Pune that consists of a training warehouse, lecture hall, library and administrative office. Students are trained on a 3 tonne diesel forklift and hand pallet trucks. There are plans to add more equipment.
Shaikh says that FAI has trained Indian students who were going overseas. “Some students going for higher studies in Australia want to make extra income by working as forklift operators and there were even those emigrating to Canada who wanted to have forklift driving skills.”
To date, FAI has conducted over 60 courses since its inception in January 2008. Shaikh says the school can only reach its target of training 50,000 forklift drivers by 2013 through planting branches in all major Indian cities and towns.
He invites global forklift manufacturers to help him achieve his goal through partnerships and franchises.
In 2008, FAI was nominated for a Tata NEN Hot Startup Award, while in 2009, it was a finalist for the Sankalp awards which recognise sustainable social enterprises in India.
Forkliftaction.com News reported that Macneill Engineering established a training institute for forklift operators next to its factory in Diamond Harbour Road, Kolkota, in 2007 (Forkliftaction.com News #442). We contacted Macneill CEO Pradip Churiwal for details of his institute but did not receive a response by press time. Shaikh says he cannot comment on the Kolkota institute as he has not seen its curriculum.
Shaikh, 62, retired in October 2007 as national service and training manager for Voltas Ltd’s materials handling division. He had worked for the Indian forklift manufacturer for over 30 years and had received training at BT Sweden when Voltas ware representing BT warehouse products in India.
|Movers & Shakers |
Detlef Sieverdingbeck has been appointed Linde Material Handling GmbH’s head of corporate communications. In the newly created role, Sieverdingbeck will be responsible for internal and external corporate communications worldwide. He will report directly to the chairman of the management board, Theodor Maurer, and will work with KION Group GmbH’s head of communication and investor relations, Michael Hauger. He was previously head of group communications at the Schaeffler Group.
Reading, PA, United States
EnerSys has appointed Seifi Ghasemi as a member of its board of directors. Ghasemi was chairman and CEO of Rockwood Holdings Inc. Before that he was chairman and CEO of GKN Sinter Metals and a board member of GKN plc. He has also served as president of BOC Gases, Americas and was a member of BOC Group plc’s board of directors. He has a Masters in Science in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.
Lexington, KY, United States
Clark Material Handling Company has appointed Gaynell Phillips as a national accounts sales representative. Phillips will work closely with dealers and regional sales personnel as well as end users in establishing and maintaining national and major account relationships. She has over 17 years’ experience in the materials handling field, including her former role as national accounts sales manager for Nissan Forklift Corp.
|Watts Equipment donates two forklifts |
Manteca, CA, United States
|Forklift dealer Watts Equipment Co Inc is continuing its record of community awareness through the donation of two electric Toyota forklifts to the Salvation Army.|
Marolyn and Brock Watts own the dealership and “believe in giving back to the community” quietly, says Shirley Perreira, the firm’s general manager and vice president.
“Both (forklifts) included a charger, and one had a scale,” she notes. “One was brand new, and the other was more than five years old.” Each forklift has a lifting capacity of 5,000 lb (2,250 kg).
“The total value is about USD60,000,” Perreira says. “We are also taking care of the maintenance.”
The Salvation Army in Lodi, California uses one of the forklifts in its warehouse and the other in its shelter facility. Existing forklift equipment in the Lodi locations will move to another Salvation Army operation in Oakland, California.
The cafeteria at the Lodi Salvation Army serves more than 200 meals daily and more than 400 on holidays, in part utilising the capability of an industrial kitchen and services from a culinary training school. The facility offers overnight accommodation if space is available, showers, laundry services and, as needed, extended stay programs.
Annually, Watts Equipment makes a charitable donation on the basis of community needs. The 2007 donation, for instance, involved 10 pallet jacks to different food banks and two pallet jacks to the local Red Cross.
The dealership employs around 45 staff, occupies about 15,000 sqft (1,350 sqm) in its Manteca facility and has a geographic service area including Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. “Watts Equipment is a family business, with a family way of thinking,” Perreira says.
Watts Equipment was established in 1967 and began representing the Toyota brand in 1971 and the Crown brand in 1984. The company also represents eTec Minit Chargers and IPC Eagle power scrubbers.
The charitable international Salvation Army, an evangelical Christian church, was founded in 1865, has its international headquarters in London and accepted the donation in June.
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|Gough rolls out forklift fleet upgrade |
Penrose, Auckland, New Zealand
|New Zealand-based Gough Materials Handling is upgrading Toll’s national fleet of forklifts, with the roll-out expected to be completed by September 2010.|
The company has a long-term relationship with the logistics giant, dating back to 2001, which resulted in GMH supplying some 64 new machines ranging in size from 2.5t to 5t capacity to Toll Distribution.
“The GMH team is extremely happy to continue our relationship with Toll,” says Darren Allen, general manager of Gough Materials Handling.
“We look forward to building on the high-quality Hyster handling solutions and service standards we have established over the past nine years.”
|Free OHS workshops at WA Safety Show |
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
|Free workshops on the new harmonised OHS legislation will be held daily at the WA Safety Show from August 24 to 26 at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre.|
Held by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA), the workshops will assist employers to meet their obligations under the new legislation.
CCIWA's Anne Bellamy says the workshops will "concentrate on the practical implementation of the new laws. In particular, we will provide information on many of the day-to-day requirements of the new model act”.
The peak employer group says that despite the WA government's opposition to some non-core areas in the harmonised Model Work Health and Safety Act, the state's employers and those running businesses or undertakings face sweeping changes to workplace safety under the new Act.
In daily seminars at the show, OHS lawyer and Norton Rose partner Maria Saraceni will explain the legislation due to take effect on January 1, 2012 and says there are only four areas that will distinguish WA's OHS legislation from the national model act. Penalties will be increased but will remain lower than in other states; safety and health representatives will not be able to call a stop-work; union right of entry will be dealt with under industrial law; and the reverse burden of proof in discrimination matters will not be introduced.
"As with the national model act, officers in WA will have a positive duty of care to exercise due diligence to ensure that their corporation complies with its statutory obligations. That's the biggest change that harmonisation will bring in Western Australia," says Saraceni.
"It's a change of mindset – you'll need to become pro-active about safety and be able to demonstrate what it is you have done in meeting your new obligations. The next 18 months until the new laws are implemented will be essential to allow you to adopt the new approach necessary to help you meet your obligations."
|Worker killed by falling load |
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Last week’s death of a 41-year old wharfie at Melbourne’s Appleton Dock is under investigation by WorkSafe Victoria.|
The incident occurred as the worker was rigging a steel drum to a lifting device with a steel beam, similar to a gantry crane. The incident occurred when the hydraulic jacks did not operate in unison, causing the three-tonne steel beam to fall on the worker.
According to WorkSafe’s Ross Pilkington, there are a number of very serious incidents every year involving cranes and lifting devices. “They’re large machines which can have horrific consequences if something goes wrong.”
This is the 13th workplace fatality of 2010 and the sixth in Melbourne. In the past 12 months, five Victorian workers have died in incidents where items have fallen on to them.
Paddy Crumlin, national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, says it is the third fatality on the wharves in five months.
"The industry's safety record is appalling. We need national legislation. We need regulation that establishes a robust compliance and enforcement regime, supported by guidance material covering the full range of stevedoring hazards. We need the federal government to intervene."
|Record container trade for Sydney |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Container trade has reached a record eighth consecutive month of growth at Sydney’s Port Botany, with May 2010 figures reaching 152,500 TEUs, an increase of 7.9% on the same month last year.|
For the year to date, total container trade reached 1.755 million TEUs, up 5.6% on the same period last year.
Jason McGregor, Sydney Ports Corporation’s senior marketing manager, says the record trade growth was being accounted for in the planning and investment in infrastructure that Sydney Ports was undertaking.
“The development of a Third Container Terminal, once operational, will significantly boost capacity for exporters and importers. Construction of this massive project is on track and over $168 million will be invested on the project in 2010/11 financial year.”
McGregor says the port is concentrating on improving the supply chain as part of its paddock-to-port focus, which will create enormous opportunities for businesses in regional NSW.
|SCLAA calls for award nominations |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Submissions are now open for the longest-running national awards program in the industry, the Australian Supply Chain & Logistics Awards.|
Presented by the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA), the awards will be announced at a gala dinner on Thursday, 28 October at Luna Park in Sydney.
Vince Aisthorpe, national awards chairman, says the awards represent industry peer recognition of excellence. “The wide range of award categories ensures there are opportunities for all businesses, institutions and individuals of any size or status from across the entire supply chain and logistics spectrum.”
This year’s ASCL awards include:
• T&L Future Leaders Award
• Storage & Handling of Materials Award
• Training, Education & Development Award
• Information Management Award
• Manufacturing Logistics Award
• Environmental Excellence Award
• T&L Industry Excellence Award
• Supply Chain Management Award
The closing date for submissions is 3 September. For more information, see www.sclaa.com.au
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