Materials Handling Online -- October, 13th,2000
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TOKYO, Japan -- Komatsu Forklift Company Ltd has begun selling Linde forklifts throughout Japan, as part of a global alliance announced by the two companies in May.

Under the arrangement, Komatsu Forklift will initially have 33 Linde models available - 21 engine-powered models from 1.2t to 8t, and 12 battery-powered model from 1.4t to 3t. The company has hinted at expansion plans for the range.

Komatsu Forklift will establish a Linde division in-house to sell the forklifts through Komatsu's existing network of 18 dealerships, and the single Linde Material Handling Japan dealership. A full-time Linde salesman will man each outlet, armed with a laptop computer with access to databases and other product information.

The Japanese market will now be able to buy the previously unavailable Linde high-performance hydraulic drive machines, equipped with hydro-static transmission.

Komatsu believes the machines will bring work volume increases of up to 10% per unit, compared with conventional forklifts.

Linde's electric forklifts also bring before-unseen reach heights and turning circles to Japan. The range has both direct and alternate current motors, delivering smoother acceleration and responsive forward-reverse shifting.

In a statement, Komatsu Forklift said its initial targets would be "large customers that make heavy use of forklifts". The company's aim was to secure a 2% market share within three years.

"Since this group does not necessarily coincide with our existing customer base, we will develop aggressive marketing activities to expand this base," the company said.

LEXINGTON, USA -- Kentucky forklift manufacturer Clark Material Handling Company has signed a sub-contract manufacturing agreement with Chicago-based Hoist Liftruck Mfg Inc.

The agreement is subject to bankruptcy court approval. Clark and some of its affiliates are currently in Chapter 11 reorganisation proceedings in Delaware.

Under the terms, Hoist will be the exclusive sub-contract manufacturer for Clark's heavy internal combustion and electric lift trucks, including the EC500-70 through to EC500-120, and the CDP10 through to CDP16.

Hoist will manufacture the trucks to Clark specifications, using Clark components and engineering.


Clark dealers will not market Hoist products.

Clark chairman Dr Martin M Dorio Jr said the agreement was "the next step" in the transition of production from Lexington. Under its Chapter 11, Clark is moving manufacturing operations offshore and to other US locations. Head office will remain at Lexington.

"This transfer of production will ensure all Clark customers are supported on a going-forward basis," Dr Dorio said.

He said Hoist was "a growing and aggressive niche manufacturer of trucks for our marketplace".

Hoist president Martin Flaska was pleased with his company's expansion.

"With this sub-contract agreement with Clark, Hoist is becoming a more important force in the material handling business," he said.

Hoist acquired the assets of Ohio-based truck designer and manufacturer Elwell-Parker last month.

BRISBANE, Australia -- Portland, USA-based Cascade Corporation's Asia-Pacific arm has spent "a lot of money" changing its structure to improve customer accessibility and meet growing demand.

Cascade Queensland manager Graham Ede said the company had consolidated its advice and technical support branches and established a national call centre, based in Brisbane.

Customers can now dial 1800-CASCADE (2272233) for customer support, sales and technical support.

Stock levels have been reduced at branches because of the centralised support system.

"Customer surveys showed clients were tired of never being able to reach people on the phone," Mr Ede said.

"This was mainly due to our sales staff being constantly meeting clients and having their phones switched off.

"With the new system, customers call the national centre and can be assisted instantly, or a message can be instantly emailed to their relevant territory manager for follow-up."

Cascade, which employs more than 100 staff in Australia, had enjoyed "solid" fiscal year results, due partly to increased export sales throughout Asia.

Mr Ede dispelled rumours Cascade had closed its Australian branches, and that the move was linked to the imminent sale of Cascade Corporation in the USA.
The parent company is currently in sales negotiations with three major parties in the USA: TD Capital Group Ltd, Lift Technologies Inc and the Ontario Municipal Employees' Retirement Board.

Negotiations were to be finalised by September 29, but industry sources suggest an announcement is "at least" two weeks away.

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh -- The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) will buy 44 pieces of container handling equipment from the USA, Finland and Italy, in the next nine months, the Daily Star reports.

The CPA will spend more than US$10 million for 13 straddle carriers, 22 terminal tractors and nine high-capacity container stackers. The CPA's suppliers have not been named.

The first order is part of a development project which will see more than 140 machines purchased, in an attempt to boost the port.

The CPA said the port last year handled more than 400,000 containers.

Two multi-purpose berths were commissioned in 1992 for container handling. But the additional container handling equipment was not procured due to a "bureaucratic tangle".

Another container terminal is likely to be built at New Mooring, the newspaper said.

SAN DIEGO, USA -- The US Superior Court has awarded an order-picker operator US$880,000 for injuries he sustained from an electric shock while using a Raymond order picker.

Larry Cundieff, 53, was operating the machine when he received a severe electric shock that ruptured a tendon and caused permanent injury to his left arm, the court was told.

"He has since undergone several (operations), but still suffers permanent loss of strength and mobility in his arm. He has been unable to return to work," lawyer Michael Montgomery said.

Raymond distributor Santa Fe Springs-based WT Billard Inc, denied responsibility for Cundieff's injury.

"Repairmen for WT Billard admitted finding a bare wire, but later denied there was anything wrong with the machine," Mr Montgomery said.
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