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Dear reader,
This is issue #303 - 29 March 2007 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“Argentine forklift market on the rise.”


UK Watts aims high with new Bulgarian JV
Ballard: Cost reduction a key factor
US a major market for Italian forklift company
Argentine forklift market takes another leap
Space saving Irish truck on the rise
IMHX draws positive feedback
Contract includes eco driving training
Forklift carries giant highland delicacy

Combilift Ireland shows support for Aussies
Manitou team gets a close shave
Scholarship applications close on Saturday

EBLO SEATING releases it's new MGV20/C1 narrow seat


John Sneddon

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UK Watts aims high with new Bulgarian JV
LYDNEY, United Kingdom

UK-based Watts Tyres Plc has established a joint venture company, Watts Zarya Ltd, with a former member of the Balkancar group.

Watts announced at IMHX in Birmingham that Watts Zarya Ltd had been established as a joint venture with steel wheel and rim manufacturer Balkancar Zarya, of Pavlikeni, Northern Bulgaria. Watts Zarya would supply wheels and tyres to the materials handling OEM market.

Watts CEO Jean-Paul Mindermann said the joint venture was a cornerstone of the company’s strategy to be the materials handling industry’s leading wheel and tyre provider.

“Balkancar Zarya is an excellent partner with high quality wheels to complement our tyres and existing wheel business.

“With Bulgaria joining the EU, the timing and location is perfect to offer OEMs the high quality, competitive solution they are searching for.”

Bulgaria and Romania became EU members on January 1, 2007.

Stoyan Stoev, Balkancar Zarya chairman, said the Bulgarian manufacturer would expand its competitive position with existing OEM customers and in the aftermarket through its partnership with Watts.

Watts Zarya would start supplying to customers in the next three months. A Watts and Balkancar Zarya joint statement said the company was in “advanced discussions” with several key OEMs.

Watts Zarya starts trading on May 1, 2007. The company will initially target the European market using Watts Tyres and Balkancar Zarya’s distribution infrastructure in Europe.

Balkancar Zarya sales manager Anton Stoynev told News the company was established in the 1960s to supply wheels for Balkancar forklift assembly plants in Sofia and Plovdiv. Balkancar Zarya no longer belongs to the Balkancar group of companies and was privatised in mid-2005. Production facilities cover 20,000 square metres. More than 90 per cent of Balkancar Zarya’s annual production of 120,000 wheels is exported. In 2006, its production process was ISO 9001 certified.

This year, Watts acquired a majority shareholding in its Mexican distributor UK Tires SA and expanded its US operations with the acquisition of Diprima’s industrial tyre business.

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Ballard: Cost reduction a key factor

Cost reduction was a key factor in making fuel cell technology commercially viable for materials handling applications, Ballard vice president Noordin Nanji said.

Ballard Power Systems and Cellex Power Products have been awarded funding from the US Department of Defence (DoD) for a materials handling equipment application cost reduction and demonstration program.

The DoD research and development contract is worth USD5.88 million. Ballard and Cellex each receive half the contract’s value.

“The support provided through the DoD for cost reduction activities is a great example of tangible government investment in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector,” Nanji said.

The program aimed to benefit the US Armed Forces’ logistics operations by further developing and demonstrating proton exchange membrane fuel cell solutions for the materials handling market.

Ballard will engage in technology and product development activities to further reduce the cost of its Mark9 SSL fuel cell product, designed mainly for materials handling applications.

There will be a one-year field trial to demonstrate the improved productivity of fuel cells, compared to lead acid batteries, in a high throughput distribution centre in Michigan.

Cellex Power Products, acquired by Plug Power this month ( News #302), will implement a 40 unit commercial trial of its fuel cell power units, using Ballard’s Mark9 SSL fuel cell, for class three forklifts.

Cellex vice president for sales and marketing Tom Hoying said the project helped move commercialisation of fuel cell solutions for forklifts forward.

The program was part of a broader initiative involving US Army TACOM, the Interagency Technical Support Working Group, Kettering University, Macomb Community College and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

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US a major market for Italian forklift company
LA VISTA, NE, United States

V Mariotti Company, of Torino, Italy, has appointed MH Distribution Company, of La Vista, Nebraska, USA, to supply the Mariotti forklift line to dealers in its leading market.

Mariotti appointed Smit-Gramley Ltd as distributor in the eastern US and Canada in January 2006.

Mariotti expects the new appointment to significantly expand its forklift distribution through the rest of the USA, Canada and Mexico.

The Mariotti forklifts, with widths as narrow as 31 inches (0.787 metres) and heights as low as 75 inches (1.905 metres), include the ME series model 4, which Mariotti claims is the world’s smallest sit-down forklift. Mariotti’s Mycros and ME series of electric sit-down forklifts are designed to lift up to 2,600lbs (1,179.3kg) in limited space applications. They can drive through a standard door opening and manoeuvre in elevators.

MH Distribution operations manager Barry Cahoon said Mariotti produced 500 to 600 forklifts a year. Half that production volume was targeted to be sold in the US.

MH Distribution oversees the dealer network for the western US and Mexico for distribution of Mariotti product lines and all of North America for Mariotti parts.

Mariotti was established in 1920 by Vasco Mariotti to provide materials handing equipment to the Italian market.

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Argentine forklift market takes another leap

Argentina imported nearly 40 per cent more forklifts in 2006 than 2005.

Figures from Argentinian marketing company Marketeck SA show 4,296 new forklifts were imported into Argentina in 2006, a 39 per cent jump from 2005’s 3,086 forklifts. It was almost double 2004’s 2,243 forklifts ( News #249).

The FOB value of the imports was USD77,532,000, up 49 per cent from 2005’s USD51,998,429.

Imports of used trucks dropped 26 per cent from 1,277 forklifts in 2005 to 1,159 forklifts in 2006.

Marketeck president Henry Whitney said Argentina’s forklift market size was traditionally 1,500 to 2,000 new forklifts a year. In 2005, the market swelled to 3,086 forklifts.

“First estimates for 2007 suggest another 4,000-truck year,” Whitney said.

Marketeck SA analysed official Argentine Government customs statistics, processed by Tesys SRL and La Nación.

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Space saving Irish truck on the rise
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia

Irish articulated truck maker Aisle-Master Ltd’s managing director was down under this week to show his support for Combilift Australia.

Gerry McHugh said the Australian market was an important one for Aisle-Master and he had visited Australian customers annually since 2002.

When Aisle-Masters were initially produced in Ireland in 2001, the production output was about 20 units. Last year 200 units were produced and McHugh forecasts 250 units for 2007.

So far, 86 Aisle-Masters have been sold in Australia, making Australia a key market.

Aisle-Masters have lift heights up to 10.5 metres and capacities of 2,000kg. They can work in aisles as narrow as 1.75 metres, thus increasing warehouse storage capacity. Like articulated trucks Flexi, made by Narrow Aisle Ltd, and Bendi, by Landoll Corp, the Aisle-Master can work indoors as a warehouse truck and outdoors like a counterbalanced forklift, eliminating double handling and the need for two forklifts.

McHugh said there were plans to increase the lift height of the Aisle-Master to match the lift heights of turret trucks, but no details could be disclosed yet.

“Floor space is continually increasing in price year after year. If a client runs out of space, he has to look at the costs of relocation. Staff may even leave.

“In many cases, articulated trucks have saved customers hundreds of thousands of dollars in relocation costs,” he said.

The electric Aisle-Master was introduced in 2005. McHugh said the production volume of electric Aisle-Masters this year would equal the volume of LPG Aisle-Masters.

“Last year, the ratio was 60:40 in favour of LPG trucks. The demand for electric trucks is spurred by the rising cost of fuel and the fact that electric trucks produce no emissions.”

Aisle-Masters are produced at Combilift’s Clontribet plant in Ireland. McHugh was working in truck-mounted forklift manufacturer Moffett Engineering’s design department but left to start Aisle-Master in 2000. The developers of the Combilift multidirectional forklift, Robert Moffett, Martin McVicar and Gerry Harte, are co-founders of the company. McHugh said 30 per cent of Aisle-Masters were sold in the UK, 16 per cent in the US, 14 per cent in Australia and the rest in Europe.

MHF Imports, the Australian importer of Combilifts and Aisle-Masters announced the establishment of Combilift Australia at a media briefing in Sydney, Australia this week. Combilift Australia would import, distribute and market the forklifts and provide technical and marketing support to dealers.

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IMHX draws positive feedback
BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom

More than 18,000 people visited the International Materials Handling Exhibition (IMHX) from March 13 to March 16 at Britain’s National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.

Among 336 exhibitors that filled the show’s 45,000 square metre footprint were Doosan Infracore, Toyota, Briggs Equipment UK, Combilift Ltd, JCB, EnerSys Motive Power, Kalmar, Jungheinrich, Linde, BT, Narrow Aisle Ltd, Clark, Still, JLG Industries, TVH UK Ltd, Aisle-Master, Pyroban, Mobicon, Nexen Lift Trucks, Translift Bendi and Hubtex.

British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) president Steve Hodkinson said:
“I’m delighted with the exhibition. The quality of stands has been matched by the quality of visitors and the VIP parking has been extremely effective.”

IMHX was jointly held with The Cleaning Show. An IMHX statement said there was an “excellent crossover” of visitors between both shows.

The slogan for the show was “Inspiring materials handling excellence”.

Matt Dawson, a former England rugby union player, helped Doosan Infracore launch its diesel, gas and electric Pro-5 series forklifts. Dawson signed rugby balls for fans who visited Doosan’s stand, which displayed 11 of the Pro-5 series trucks.

Toyota showcased its “most popular forklift”, the Generation 7 internal combustion forklift, which has sold more than 250,000 units worldwide. Also on display was Toyota’s fuel cell hybrid forklift prototype FCHV-F, first exhibited at CeMAT 2005.

BITA president and Toyota Industrial Equipment UK managing director Steve Hodkinson said the company was delighted with visitor response to the stand.

“The feedback we’ve had from visitors to our stand has been very positive. They sense the power of the brand and understand our environmental credentials.”

Barloworld exhibited the largest forklift at IMHX, the Hyster RS46-36CH, which has a 46-tonne capacity. The forklift was shown for the first time in the UK and the exhibited machine was sold at the show for about GBP250,000 (USD490,274).

Forklift parts supplier TVH UK Ltd displayed a Sonatic kit for reliable LPG level measuring. Using a “unique ultrasonic technique”, the kit provides accurate measuring even when the forklift is in motion.

Explosion proof specialist Pyroban treated visitors to its suitably named “Flashpoint” bar. Pyroban spokesperson Darren Boiling said: “The quality of visitors has been good for us. Many have been existing users but we also had lots of new inquiries.”

IMHX 2007 was the first trade show for Germany-based Clark Europe GmbH. During the show, an order for nine forklifts to fulfill a long-term rental contract was placed by one of its newest dealers, Aberdeen, UK-based Bear Handling Ltd.

Irish articulated forklift maker Aisle-Master made its IMHX debut this year. Aisle-Master exhibited its 20S LPG machine and 20SE electric forklift.

Click here to view’s IMHX 2007 photo gallery.

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Hyster introduces ZR forklift
GREENVILLE, NC, United States

Hyster has introduced the ZR reach truck, which it says helps customers achieve greater distribution centre productivity.

Innovative features include “electric power steering that minimises battery drain, automatic drive tyre centering at key-on, automatic brake operation and multiple programmable modes for maximum speed, acceleration, deceleration and hydraulic ramping”, a Hyster statement said.

Hytsu kick starts IC production

Hytsu has started producing its S100 series of one to 10 ton internal combustion forklifts at a 100,000 square metre workshop in Anhui province.

The new assembly facility is planned to produce 5,000 units a year by 2010. That would amount to forklift sales of CNY600 million (USD77.6 million) by 2010, Hytsu spokesperson Ken Ban said.

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Contract includes eco driving training

Sweden’s largest wood products company, Setra Group AB, has entered into a multi-year rental contract with Kalmar for 31 specially developed 15-tonne capacity forklifts.

Most of the forklifts will be delivered by the northern hemisphere spring. Kalmar will service, maintain and finance the forklifts.

Setra Group production manager Jerker Nyström said the group had very clear specifications for the forklifts.

In 2005, the group started looking for forklifts to operate in its 12 sawmills in Sweden, from Seskarö, near Haparanda in the north, to Vimmerby in the south. More than 90 forklift drivers joined company site managers in the search.

“From an early stage it was decided Kalmar could adequately meet our requirements,” Nyström said.

To comply with Setra forklift drivers’ wishes, the Kalmar forklifts have piling holders, anti-skid devices on the wings and splash protection on the drive and steering wheels.

Setra and Kalmar’s contract included “eco driving” training for forklift drivers. The training encouraged “gentle driving” to minimise energy use.

The contract value was not disclosed.

Setra, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, sells sawn and processed wood products. The group’s annual sales are about SEK6 billion (USD855.9 million) and it employs about 1,400 people. It has 12 sawmills, five processing units and seven distribution units. Nearly half its annual volume is sold in Sweden.

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Forklift carries giant highland delicacy
DUNEDIN, New Zealand

A forklift was used to carry an unusual load at a New Zealand port in what was believed to be a national record.

Otago Daily Times reported a crowd gathered at the Port Otago wharf during the Port Fest M’eat Drink and Be Merry festival and watched a haggis weighing almost 100kg being loaded onto a forklift.

Haggis maker Brian Lane, who makes up to five small haggises a week, weighing 6kg each, said his haggis’s weight was a New Zealand record.

Lane used an ox stomach for the haggis’s outer skin because it was bigger than the traditional sheep stomach.

More than an hour was spent stuffing the 97.85kg haggis before it was slow-cooked for six hours.

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish consisting of a sheep or calf’s heart, liver and lungs minced with suet, onions, oatmeal and seasonings, boiled in the animal’s stomach.

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Combilift Ireland shows support for Aussies
SYDNEY, NSW, Australia

Combilift, of Monaghan, Ireland, and forklift distributor MHF Imports, of Sydney, Australia, have jointly announced the establishment of Combilift Australia.

At a media briefing at Adapt-A-Lift, in Sydney, representatives of Combilift, Ireland, answered questions on the Combilift and Aisle-Master forklifts that will be imported by Combilift Australia.

Combilift Australia is a division of importer MHF Imports, which was established as Adapt-A-Lift Imports by Adapt-A-Lift Forklift Rentals and Sales (AAL) in 2002.

Privately-owned AAL, which has branches all over Australia, has more than 5,000 forkllifts in its rental fleet.

After MHF Imports principals visited Combilift’s Irish manufacturing plant, an alliance between the two companies grew, resulting in 195 multidirectional Combilift forklifts and 86 Aisle Masters being sold in Australia.

In total, 6,000 Combilifts and 1,000 Aisle Masters have been sold worldwide.

The success of Combilifts and Aisle-Masters in Australia has encouraged MHF Imports to market the forklifts under a new division using the Combilift name.

Combilift Australia, based in Melbourne, will be run by national sales manager Jarrod Emmins and business and administration manager Alicia Whiffen. Emmins, Whiffen and three other employees will work closely with Combilift and Aisle-Master major distributor Adapt-A-Lift Rentals and Sales. Adapt-A-Lift has more than 120 staff nationally.

Whiffen said Combilift Australia would import, distribute and market the forklifts and provide technical and marketing support to dealers.

Combilift Ireland was founded by Martin McVicar and Robert Moffett in Clontribet, Ireland, in 1998. Combilift currently exports to more than 45 countries. Its 2006 turnover was EUR60 million (USD80 million) and the company forecasts turnover to grow to EUR100 million (USD133.3 million) by 2010. Its 150 employees are expected to increase to 250 by 2010.

Emmins said the Irish manufacturer would produce 1,801 Combilifts this year. About 250 Aisle Masters would be produced.

Combilift Ireland director of sales Aidan Mckenna and Aisle-Master Ltd managing director Gerry McHugh were at the media briefing.

The Irish manufacturer has grown rapidly in the past five years. In 2006, it entered dhf magazine’s world ranking list of forklift manufacturers for the first time ( News #248).

In June 2006, Combilift opened a new headquarters and factory in Monaghan ( News #266).

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SALES REPRESENTATIVE, publisher of this international industry publication and web portal, is looking for a motivated sales representative to join the team.

If you feel you can develop a good raport with Forklift Dealers, Rental Fleet Companies and Parts & Components Suppliers to the industry, please contact us.

We need someone to represent us in the Australian and New Zealand market from our offices, based in Brisbane.

For more information on this exciting work opportunity, click here, or contact the team: email, fax +61 (0)7 3369 9096 or phone +61 (0)7 3369 9090 and ask for Ann.

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Manitou team gets a close shave
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia

Manitou Australia staff and customers put their locks on the line last week and raised more than $2,500 for the Leukaemia Foundation.

Charlie Schwerkolt, Manitou national equipment managing director, said 15 people had their heads shaved and 20 coloured their hair to participate in the foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave to Care and Cure campaign.

The Leukaemia Foundation is an Australian, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the care and cure of patients with blood and bone marrow cancers.

People who agree to have their heads shaved or coloured are sponsored to raise the funds.

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Scholarship applications close on Saturday
SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia

Tertiary students seeking careers in the supply chain and logistics industry have only until Saturday, March 31, to apply for four university scholarships.

The university scholarships program is run by the Logistics Association of Australia Ltd (LAA) and Swisslog Australia Pty Ltd.

Two undergraduate scholarships, each worth $2,500, and two postgraduate scholarships, each worth $5,000, will be awarded.

Scholarships include LAA membership and mentoring from experienced LAA members.

For information and application details go to

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EBLO SEATING releases it's new MGV20/C1 narrow seat

EBLO SEATING has complemented their C1 seating range with the introduction of their new narrow version. Due to the growing demand for an alternative narrow seat EBLO has created the MGV20/C1 narrow that will fit in most side loaders and reach truck applications.

Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.

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John Sneddon

John Sneddon, 46, is president of Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp, of Richmond, Virginia, the US subsidiary of Jungheinrich AG. He told News journalist Roger Renstrom in Chicago this year, that he sees Jungheinrich making greater inroads in the North American market.

Click here for the full Industry Profile feature, including pictures.

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3 of 2,529 listings
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In the Discussion Forums

The load centre rule of thumb
"Looking for some info about the load centre rule of thumb. For every inch the load centre extends, reduce the carrying capacity by 100lbs. So, 2,000lbs @ 24"load centre rated capacity truck with a 4 metre carpet boom attached is load centre@ 78" ? "
bobby_b, United Kingdom

Yale photographs
"Looking for a photo of a Yale machine working in an airport. Can can anyone help please? Needed for a reader in South America who is doing a project."
Admin, Australia

Calling all UK engineers ...
"I've been visiting this site for a while now and have picked up some useful info but haven't come across many UK engineers to exchange information and gossip with! "
simon_k, United Kingdom

Discuss old forklifts
"I don't think there is a large market for classic forklifts. Surprisingly you can still find forklifts from the 40s and 50s still being used often in small shops or really old manufacturing facilities."
InventoryOps, United States

Discussion Forums

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Upcoming Events

1. Forklift Safety Seminars - NSW Australia - No Charge
Various venues in NSW, Australia
May to September 2007

2. Expanding The Synergy of Technology
Tampa, Florida, United States
20th to 23rd May 2007

3. bauma 2007
Munich, Germany
23rd to 29th April 2007

4. bauma China 2008
Shanghai, China
25th to 28th November 2008


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1. Forklift Service Technician - Full time
United States, Pensacola, FL

2. Fleet Services Analyst - Full time
United States, Columbus, IN

3. New Equipment and Sales Representatives - Full time
United States, Santa Fe Springs

4. Forklift Mechanic - Full time
Australia, Adelaide

5. Forklift Mechanic - Full time
Australia, Brisbane

6. Parts Department Supervisor - Full time
United States, Savannah, GA

7. Victorian Rental Fleet Manager - Full time
Australia, Melbourne, Victoria


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1. Executive Management - Full time
Anywhere, United States

2. Technical & Sales Etc. - Full time
We like the look of Brisbane & Queensland, Australia

3. Manager Marketing / Sales - Full time
Middle East, Saudi Arabia


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Editorial Calendar 2007

Review of 2006
US forklift market
Turret trucks and order pickers
Forklifts and global warming
Fleet management systems
The global attachments market
Forklifts in harsh applications
Materials handling in Eastern Europe
Engines and drive trains
Forklifts in cold rooms
China’s forklift market
End of Year review


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