Feature story


Thursday, 8 April 2004 ( #152 ) - BRUSSELS, Belgium
Prologistics, the triennial trade fair "for the total supply chain", held at the Brussels Heizel from March 31 to April 2, attracted more than 7,000 visitors, an increase from 6,000 in 2001. Organisers Axis and Prologistics vzw said the show had benefited from the concurrent Empak packaging fair during the first two days. About 190 exhibitors covered the 8,400sqm fair ground. Forkliftaction.com News's European correspondent Luc De Smet spoke to exhibitors about what's happening in one of the most exciting materials handling markets in the world. Dealer MT Lift presented Caterpillar's CAT25, which Forkliftaction.com News first saw at IMHX 2004 in February. Still showcased the RX 50 three-wheeler and its CR20 order picker. Yale presented its AC three-wheeler. Yale's products have been distributed in Belgium by family-owned Hilaire Van Der Haeghe nv since 1984. The company claims to have an 8% market share in electric and thermal counterbalance forklifts. Manitou showed its Kleos and electric stackers and lifters but Forkliftaction.com News also saw a StarTruck, or EMA 18, articulated truck on the stand. Manitou has 11 dealers in Belgium who sell 500 of the 800 machines Manitou sells in the Benelux. Warehousing and handling models have been integrated with Manitou's since its acquisition of LOC. LOC machines are still available in France and Belgium but elsewhere Manitou markets them under the Manitou brand. OMG importer ACD Handling was pushing the NEOS 16 SE warehousing truck, which has a retractable mast. It does the work of a counterbalance truck in the yard and, in the warehouse, has a residual capacity of 1.6 tons at a height of 6 metres. Typical for OMG's ERGO 8 and 10 TA3 three-wheelers is its TOS tilting system. The mast is not tilted, but the chassis is lowered or lifted on the back axle. This unique approach enhances stability. "With more than 200 machines we've now got some 5% of the electric market in Belgium," said importer Daniel Hanssens, who started ACD Handling in 1999. Since then he has established a network of 10 dealers in Belgium, four in the Netherlands and one in Luxemburg. OMG builds about 4,500 trucks a year at its plant in Gonzaga, Italy. BT showed off a Pro Lifter stacker and its new narrow aisle articulated Vector C15 with an advanced lift system that combines generative technology with a "load balance" system. As the cabin moves upwards, it is assisted by decompressing gas in a pressure tank. When the cabin comes back down, that recompresses the gas for the next round. "That allows us to continue with 48V batteries where others must move towards 80V," said commercial director Gregor Mahieu. BT is said to have 30% of the warehouse truck market in Belgium, about 4,300 trucks in 2002. The next Prologistics will be in March 2007. See Forkliftaction.com's online photo gallery here