What do those with a finger on the pulse make of the current materials handling trends? Forkliftaction News continues its series of discussions with industry leaders, this week hearing from Davide Roncari, recently appointed Chief Operating Officer at Cascade Corporation.Forkliftaction News: What are the most significant changes in the materials handling sector that you are seeing at the moment? Roncari
: Cascade Corporation is seeing several trends in the materials handling sector - growth in the logistics industry, an increasing demand for energy-efficient products and a greater need for custom materials handling solutions.
Cascade understands the importance of energy efficiency in the materials handling market. Our global R&D team is focused on developing new technologies to optimise energy use of our attachments. As part of our commitment to reduce our environmental impact and further improve customers' productivity, Cascade will continue to innovate through the development of energy-efficient systems and designs.
We've also seen a trend where customers worldwide are demanding more tailor-made attachment solutions. Our global engineering team provides 24-hour/day design support and includes 200 product design engineers with decades of expertise and technical knowledge. This allows Cascade to design more custom attachments than anyone else in the industry on a global scale. Included in our custom solutions portfolio is the ability to produce attachments that can handle heavy-duty loads such as 50 tons of steel, massive paper rolls or oversized mining tyres. For large-scale applications and other unique applications from forging to wine barrel handling, Cascade can meet special attachment requests with fast, effective and reliable solutions anywhere, any time. FLA: We've seen some major forklift manufacturers moving into logistics through acquisitions. What is your approach to expanding your market? Roncari
: We have seen an increased focus on the logistics industry, which is advancing due to the rapid growth of e-commerce solutions. Cascade is quickly following suit and actively developing application-specific attachments to improve efficiency and productivity across the supply chain. We're continuing to develop solutions that fall into the Internet of Things category - interconnecting the lift truck, driver and attachment to obtain and transfer essential data. Our mobile weighing solutions that weigh loads during transfer have the ability to gather data through wireless Bluetooth technology and share it with digital platforms. Expanding on these solutions using the latest digital technology further positions us to provide the best value to our customers in this changing market.
From automated clamp force control systems to a variety of application-specific clamp configurations for precise handling, Cascade also offers the logistics industry a full range of damage-reduction options. We will continue to enhance these options to optimise attachment performance and ensure that goods are handled securely with reduced product damage.
In addition, Cascade has adapted its product range for automated guided vehicles (AGVs), which are being used more readily in the logistics industry. For example, Cascade offers a full range of paper roll clamps, multiple load handlers, carton clamps and other attachments that can be designed and equipped with an electronic interface and sensors for quick and easy plug and play with AGVs. FLA: What changes are you seeing in the use of attachments and how is that impacting on your business? Roncari
: Customers are focused on reducing and even eliminating the downtime of their attachments. Cascade is developing ways to extend standard maintenance intervals to minimise downtime and optimise productivity. We have already taken steps towards this by moving to a 1,000-hour service interval on our fork positioners, sideshifters and rotators. The bearings on our latest carton clamps and multiple load handlers are also backed by our 10,000 hour/36 month guarantee for extended service life. FLA: Some manufacturers are reducing their production operations in their traditional bases and moving to lower-cost markets. What are your plans in this regard? Roncari
: With operations across all continents, Cascade has been committed to a 'glocal' approach by maintaining a global business model, but producing locally and providing local customer support for the local market. Plans for future operations in new countries will continue to follow this policy.FLA: With the rapid changes in technology, what advice do you have for materials handling equipment buyers? How can they make the most of the technology without replacing their existing equipment and incurring further capital costs? Roncari
: As the materials handling market evolves, Cascade is committed to continuous improvement and developing the latest technology to ensure the highest quality products and customer satisfaction. We want to find cost-effective solutions for our customers, and we advise buyers in their lift truck attachment purchases to focus on the total cost of ownership, product reliability and durability, and energy efficiency. Cascade products are known in the industry for their reliability and longevity. Over the past few years, Cascade has introduced two new Performance Plus programs to bring even greater added value: our industry-leading warranty program and our buyback program. Cascade also offers global remanufacturing services that help extend the life of the product. We will continue to launch similar programs as a part of our commitment to lower the total cost of ownership, saving our customers money over the life of the attachment.
In addition, for enhanced functionality on an existing attachment, Cascade provides many different damage reduction options and solutions. This full range of technologies, like Hydraulic Force Control (HFC), can be mounted easily onto Cascade products to further improve performance.
For experienced advice on a lift truck attachment purchase, we encourage potential buyers to talk to a Cascade expert about their requirements. We'll help them find the perfect attachment solution to best fit their lift truck and application.