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WELCOME TO FORKLIFTACTION.COM, MATERIALS HANDLING ONLINE.
This is issue #316 - 28 June 2007 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
Moffett moves forklift assembly to Ireland.
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Patented plastic could hasten energy adoption
SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom
Bac2, the manufacturer of an electrically conductive polymer used in fuel cell stacks, will open new offices and a test laboratory in Southampton, UK, in August.
Its ElectroPhen polymer has patents pending in Europe, US and Japan, and is used to create bipolar plates and end caps for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell stacks.
These parts constitute about 30% of the cost of PEM fuel cell stacks, says Bac2 marketing director James Lewis. The plates connect individual fuel cells and provide connections to the outside world, similar to connectors in batteries.
Lewis says lower cost raw materials and cheaper manufacturing techniques are used to produce ElectroPhen, which is being developed commercially. He adds that the measured conductivity of ElectroPhen plates is ahead of Bac2's competitors, contributing to higher performing fuel cells.
The new test laboratory will enable Bac2 to accelerate development of customised versions of ElectroPhen. Customisation is necessary because each fuel cell design has different plate requirements with respect to the balance of conductivity, hydrogen permeability, hydrophobicity and mechanical strength.
"The premises represent a major step up from current facilities - desk space at SetSquared and lab access at Portsmouth University.
"Bac2 will be able to develop ElectroPhen variants, design and build evaluation fuel cells and test them on a single site [at Millbrook Technology Campus in Southampton]," says Lewis.
He says ElectroPhen is more flexible and robust than alternative materials used to make plates for PEM fuel cell stacks.
"By comparison, competitors produce composite plates using electrically insulating resins to bind together conductive particles like graphite." ElectroPhen can also be used in other applications in electrical and electronic industries.
Fuel cell, a clean energy source that has water as its waste product, could eventually power cars, buses, laptops, mobile phones and even homes and offices. At present, cost-efficiency is an issue.
Bac2 CEO Mike Stannard says: "The cost and performance advantages it (ElectroPhen) offers can accelerate the adoption of fuel cell technology for powering everything from notebook computers to buses and cars."
PEM fuel cell stacks, compared to other fuel cell types, are suitable for high-volume applications. For example, they are suitable for portable electronics like computers, mp3 players and mobile phones, and automotive applications like forklifts and cars.
Other types, like solid oxide fuel cells, are aimed at large size power generation for buildings.
Engineering students at the University of Portsmouth recently conducted a successful final-year project to create an innovative "air-breathing fuel cell" using ElectroPhen plates. The fuel cell used oxygen from the air that passed through the stack and hydrogen channelled through the bipolar plates. Other fuel cells use pressurised oxygen.
Italy's Pramac foresees acquisitions after IPO
Italy's generator sets and forklift firm Pramac SpA's CEO, Paolo Campinoti, said at a presentation of its initial public offering that it intends to use the proceeds partly for acquisitions, according to Thomson Financial News.
In addition, Pramac, which is being valued at between EUR122 million (USD163.9 million) and EUR153 million (USD205.5 million) in the IPO, intends to pay out a large slice of its profits in dividends, he said.
"From next year, we have planned a pay-out of between 30-40% of net profit. We want to continue our acquisition policy. We are examining various options," he is quoted as saying.
The IPO comprises a maximum of 10.9 million shares issued at EUR4-EUR5 (USD5.37-USD6.72) each, including 2.9 million shares from a capital increase.
The raising should generate between EUR13 million (USD17.5 million) and EUR15 million (USD20.2 million) in fresh capital, EUR2.5 million (USD3.4 million) of which is earmarked for a new production plant in Romania to open at the end of 2007 or early 2008, according to reports.
The company said new commercial offices are planned in India, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, where growth is foreseen.
Pramac also intends to develop its leasing activities, setting up its own units and expanding internationally, it said.
Hydrogenics' multiple customer deployments
Hydrogenics Corp claims it is making significant inroads in developing materials handling markets for its HyPX fuel cell power pack.
The fuel cell systems manufacturer says 60 to 80 HyPX power packs will be delivered to stakeholders including OEMs for class 1 and class 2 forklifts, a major US distributor, the armed forces, automotive and other high-volume production manufacturers.
Most are being deployed at customer facilities in pilot programs of 10 to 20 units to evaluate the HyPX solution for broader enterprise-wide deployments.
Hydrogenics CEO Daryl Wilson says end-users are creating "significant market pull" for HyPX power packs.
"As a result, a number of leading forklift OEMs are accelerating their fuel cell product development efforts.
"These efforts include in-house testing and evaluation as well as field deployments with their key customers," he explains
Hydrogenics released its latest generation of HyPX power packs in January 2007 after successful deployments in 2005 of previous generation power packs in two Hyster forklifts at General Motors' car assembly plant in Oshawa and the Toronto Airport Fedex facility (Forkliftaction.com News #195).
The HyPX power pack consists of Hydrogenics's HyPM HD fuel cell power module and energy-story ultracapacitors.
Macneill sticks with diesel
Calcutta-based Macneill Engineering Ltd is on the lookout for more technical partnerships after launching a new range of diesel forklifts last month.
The 1.5- to 10-ton forklifts with a maximum lift height of six metres were produced in collaboration with Tailift Co Ltd subsidiary Global-Power (G-Power), which manufactures forklifts in Shandong province, China (Forkliftaction.com News #306).
Macneill director Gaurav Churiwal tells Forkliftaction.com News over 80% of the 3,000 to 3,500 forklifts sold in India each year are diesel-powered.
"They're more in demand and we are trying to penetrate the diesel forklift segment with a big bang. Our competitors, Godrej and Voltas, are there and have a big market share.
"With G-Power forklifts, we believe we can go to great heights," he predicts.
Macneill's entry into diesel forklift manufacturing started when it was founded in 1964. A 10-year collaboration with Coventry Climax in the UK resulted in forklifts with Graziano transmissions and UK-branded engines brought to the Indian market.
In the 1980s, Macneill started producing its own diesel forklifts with Graziano transmissions and Simpson engines. Two decades on, Macneill has decided to upgrade its diesel forklift range for a newer, more ergonomic design at lower manufacturing costs.
Macneill began talking about technical collaboration with Taiwanese manufacturer Tailift in October 2005.
The partnership will see Macneill importing transmissions and Chinese-made Xinchai engines from G-Power for forklifts assembled at Macneill's West Bengal plant.
A prototype of the forklift has been working at a steel company's facility for the past eight months. "Tata International bought the prototype from us (and) it has been giving them good performance," says Churiwal.
Forklift users have the option of an Isuzu or Nissan engine for the new forklifts, but that adds USD4,000 to the price tag.
"The new forklifts are beautiful looking with an excellent turning radius and great driving comfort," says Churiwal, adding that as Tailift brands - Artisan, Tailift, G-Power - were accepted in the US and European markets, so too will the new Macneill forklifts.
Churiwal adds that Macneill's chairman will be in Shanghai, China, to discuss possible technical collaborations on diesel forklifts with other Chinese manufacturers.
The ambitious forklift company aims to sell 100 units in the next 12 months and 250 units in the next three years. Its turnover for financial year ended March 2007 is INR250 million (USD6.1 million). This is expected to jump to INR350 million (USD8.6 million) and INR500 million (USD12.2 million) for 2008 and 2009.
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Moffett: Made in Ireland only
ST ANNAPAROCHIE, Netherlands
Hiab, the parent company of Moffett Engineering Ltd, is moving Moffett's forklift production to the Dundalk, Ireland factory, to improve production efficiency.
Moffett, which claims a 60% global market share for the truck-mounted forklift segment, produces its forklifts from plants in Ireland and the Netherlands.
Assembly operations in the Oude Leije plant in the Netherlands will be phased out by year end, but Hiab plans to establish a technical support centre there. The centre will provide technical and spare parts support; operator, safety and service training; and refurbishment of trade-in machines.
Moffett BV managing director Keith Quigley tells Forkliftaction.com News he cannot comment further because Moffett is currently finalising discussions with workers' unions in the Netherlands.
US and Swedish partner in world-first
NEW CASTLE, DE, United States
US warehouse asset tracking systems provider Sky-Trax Inc is partnering with Danaher Motion of Saro, Sweden, to produce the world's first indoor collision avoidance system for industrial vehicles.
Sky-Trax president Larry Mahan says the global reach of the Danaher Motion brand and its leadership in innovation make it an ideal partner to use indoor positioning system (IPS) technology in materials handling safety applications.
The indoor collision avoidance system that is being developed uses Sky-Trax's patent-pending IPS to determine industrial vehicles' precise positions and immediately broadcasts it to other vehicles to warn forklift drivers or AGV navigation systems of impending collisions.
The system can improve employee safety and reduce costs incurred through equipment damage. Capital costs of repairing of replacing AGVs are often overshadowed by supply-chain disruption to warehouse operations, Sky-Trax says.
AGVs are precise in the execution of pre-programmed instructions in route, speed and direction, but the random nature of manned vehicles like forklifts creates the potential for collisions.
"Early feedback from customers indicated this solution will be eagerly embraced in modern materials handling operations worldwide," says Mahan.
The two companies will co-operate in technological development and marketing of the indoor collision avoidance system.
Danaher Motion has 6,100 employees and over 2,000 distribution locations worldwide. It manufactures motion control products to improve manufacturing operations' efficiency and productivity. Its brand names include Dover, Kollmorgen, Pacific Scientific, Portescap and Thomson.
Sanjoy leads latest TVH branch
The TVH Group has opened a branch in the Middle East to provide quicker service for its customers.
TVH Forklift Parts-Middle East branch in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, will be staffed by two and headed by Middle East territory manager Sanjoy Roychoudhury.
Roychoudhury has been a TVH representative in the region for the past four years.
Human-friendly tiller arm
Rocla Oyj has introduced a new tiller arm, the h2, which it says has better ergonomics and impact resistance.
The letter "h" comes from the word human, referring to its ergonomic design and the number 2 points to its two tiller heads.
The tiller arm has one head for pallet trucks and another for masted trucks. It is suitable for all tiller arm guided Rocla warehouse forklifts.
Yale launches 6-7 tonne VX
FLEET, United Kingdom
Yale Europe Materials Handling has launched the 6-7 tonne Veracitor model.
The GDP/GLP60-70VX forklift, which comes in diesel or LPG engines, has been designed for the lumber, steel and aluminium, concrete, brewing, stevedoring and chemical industries.
Forklift users can choose between the standard electronic powershift transmission and the Techtronix 332 transmission.
Forklift-mounted computers go overseas
DALLAS, TX, United States
Glacier Computer of Amherst, New Hampshire, will offer its Everest computer product lines overseas through a global distribution agreement with damage prevention specialist ShockWatch.
Jeff Kilpatrick, vice president of marketing for Dallas-based ShockWatch, says the rugged mobile computers complement his company's product line.
"ShockWatch already manufactures and distributes a broad line of equipment monitors that our customers use to capture operational data on their forklifts.
"The mobile computing capabilities and rugged design of the Everest line make it a logical addition to our offerings for use in the same environments," he says.
The Everest computers mount onto forklifts, fleet vehicles or fixed locations. Its rugged design enables it to tolerate extreme temperatures, humidity, dust and vibration, a Glacier computer statement says.
Glacier channel manager Mark Mistretta says under the arrangement, the computers will now be available in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia through Shockwatch's independent dealers n 62 countries.
Glacier's Everest computers are engineered for use in the warehousing, distribution, manufacturing, construction and oil drilling industries - the same markets as ShockWatch's products.
Kalmar updates spreader and RTG
Kalmar has introduced Max Stable, a new spreader design that features an anti-sway (is this correct or should that be anti-sway) system for quicker and more accurate spreader movements.
It consists of an eight-rope reeving system without the need for auxiliary ropes for faster, no-sway micro-movements.
Kalmar says rubber-tyred gantry crane users will experience better load stability control with Max Stable because all eight ropes hoist the spreader's cargo.
Kalmar Industries has also updated its all-electric rubber-tyred gantry crane, the E-One, for the first time since its launch in 2005.
The E-One has been updated in response to customer feedback in these areas: improved maintenance access, new cabin and trolley access, fewer maintenance points, state-of-the-art cable chain, faster on-site assembly and hoist ropes that are easier to change.
Acquisition enables South African expansion
Konecranes has signed an agreement to buy 19% of share capital in South African crane manufacturer Dynamic Crane Systems Ltd (DCS).
Kari Utriainen, Konecranes Standard Lifting director, says the acquisition enables the company to expand its customer base in South Africa.
DCS has annual net sales of around EUR4 million and 60 employees. It has been a licensee of Konecranes products in South Africa since early 1990s.
Gottwald expands Turkish presence
Gottwald Port Technology has received orders for eight Generation 5 mobile harbour cranes from four different port terminals in Turkey.
The orders include two G HMK 7408 mobile harbour cranes each for long-time customer Mardas Marmara Deniz Isletmeciligi AS and new customer Yilport Container Terminal.
Rodaport and Antalya terminals have ordered G HMK 7408 and G HMK6407 cranes.
Low-flying planes upset forklift driver
WINDER, GA, United States
A forklift driver charged with making harassing phone calls to a regional airport says he didn't mean to scare aviation officials.
Roland Lee Germaine, 56, made about 20 phone calls to the Northeast Georgia Regional Airport in Winder this year, The Associated Press reported.
"I was just upset with the planes flying low over my house," says Germaine. "I thought one was going to come down, it was flying so low."
Airport director Glen Boyd says many calls were left on the airport's answering machine but some were received by staff.
"He'd end with suggestions that he'd be willing to shoot an airplane down. We took these very seriously all along.
"You just don't know in this day and time what people are capable of doing."
Forklift auctions move online
Buyers and sellers are turning to online auctions, taking advantage of the 24-hour marketplace on sites like GraysOnline.
"Previously, on-site auctions were deemed successful if around 100 people attended the site and a fair proportion actually bid on the assets," says Grays spokesman Josh Sanders. "The online auction environment means that we can appeal to hundreds of thousands of legitimate buyers from across the country and, in fact, the world.
"Buyers are happy with the convenience, as they don't have to waste time attending auctions when they may not end up being the successful bidder. Vendors are happy as sale prices reflect the fact that thousands of people are interested in bidding on the assets, instead of the limited number of people who are able to actually attend a traditional auction."
Another benefit of online auctions, he tells Forkliftaction.com News, is that vendors can utilise the company's services whether they have one forklift or 150 forklifts to sell.
"We conduct auctions on behalf of the biggest names in the forklift industry, right down to sole traders looking to downgrade, retire or even upgrade," says Sanders, adding that the company sells well over 1, 000 forklifts a year online.
GraysOnline, one of Australia's largest auctioneering companies, offers forklift vendors significant advantages, says Sanders. "The main reason our website works so well is that we have a huge amount of traffic visiting the site ... with over 350,000 unique visitors a month. We are amongst the top 10 shopping websites in Australia, according to Nielsen reporting. This is coupled with our previous history as a legitimate auctioneer which means that we are perfectly placed to assist anyone thinking of buying or selling via an online auction."
The benefit for vendors of using auctions as a route to market is the ease and flexibility that it offers. Whether a company is a small business or a multi-national organisation, the online auction house manages the process from beginning to end, leaving the vendor to concentrate on their core business while the auction house handles warehousing, supply chain management, promotion, sales and delivery.
Another advantage is that the items can remain at the vendor's site until they're sold. There is no need to consolidate assets into one area (which would need to occur for a traditional on-site auction).
Assets can be sold in-situ all over Australia, eliminating relocation costs. Buyers then come to the premises to pick up the assets or have them couriered.
"We manage the end-to-end process for our vendors," Sanders explains.
"We handle customer enquiries, payment from our buyers, we offer inspections and pick-up days and then fast payment to the vendors after the sale, with a detailed summary of exactly what sold and what it sold for."
Selling online, step-by-step
Close to 3,100 trucks and other industrial equipment items were sold in the USD26 million auction, including 38 truck tractors; over 200 forklifts, scissorlifts and boom lifts; 23 articulated dump trucks; 77 hydraulic excavators; 89 skid steer loaders; 39 trenchers; 45 crawler tractors; 33 crawler loaders; 50 wheel loaders; and 71 loader backhoes.
Almost 2,000 registered bidders from 27 countries, 45 US states and all 10 Canadian provinces participated in the auction with close to one-third of them using the company's real-time Internet bidding service, rbauctionBid-Live. Nearly 350 items, representing over USD7 million worth of gross auction sales, were sold online. Internet bidders from as far away as the United Kingdom, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates purchased equipment in the auction.
New safety product for forklifts
SPRINGVALE, Victoria, Australia
Specialists in automotive control systems for industrial vehicles, the Australian company Speedshield has done it again - producing another safety accessory for forklifts.
The Fleet Weigh is an all-in-one digital weigh gauge which also includes features such as a pre-start checklist, card access and speed alert module, enabling fleet managers to get all the desired safety functions in one unit at the cost of a traditional hydraulic weigh gauge.
Explains executive director of Speedshield, Paul Dawson: "We launched the product locally and in the US last week and the response so far has been phenomenal."
He tells Forkliftaction.com News that two of the largest aftermarket spare parts suppliers in the USA have called to source the product for clients and quantities of Fleet Weigh modules have been despatched to the USA and Europe to cope with immediate customer demand.
"Our initial supply forecast of 1,000 units per month looks certain to be eclipsed in the first month alone."
The product is a rugged, fully immersible unit and installation is straight-forward for a mechanic with basic electrical skills. It is installed without the use of laptops and other breakables.
"Operator- and maintenance-friendly, Fleet Weigh is a straightforward retro-fit to most industrial moving plant,"says Dawson, adding that it removes the headache of satisfying customers who demand various aftermarket extras.
The product meets the recommendations of WorkSafe for reducing the risks posed by forklifts in the workplace:
Versatile cross-over launched in Australia
Crown Lift Trucks has released a unique counterbalanced forklift for the Australian market, capable of being used in a variety of applications.
Dubbed the 'cross-over' vehicle, the RC 5500 Series can be used throughout a facility including loading and unloading trucks, transporting and staging products throughout the warehouse, as well as storing products in racks.
The model has been developed over the past three years and encompasses the very latest in operator ergonomics and safety, a Crown statement says.
Key features include:
"We studied operator behaviour including how they got on and off the forklift, and how they manoeuvred around the warehouse, managing loads. As a result, we designed the compartment for comfort and productivity.
"This unit provides real-world operational benefits that translate to increased productivity, increased operator satisfaction and lower 'whole of life' costs."
And the winner is?
BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
Safety advisor Derek Campbell of Johnson Screens was delighted to hear that his business card was the lucky one drawn from the box at the Forkliftaction.com stand at the safety show in Brisbane held last week, winning him a Canon Powershot A450 digital camera.
"It's the first time I've ever won anything like this in my life," an excited Campbell tells Forkliftaction.com News.
He plans to use the camera to assist him in his work, adding that it will enable him to identify safety issues which need resources added to them.
Campbell commented that this year's show was excellent, particularly the inclusion of materials handling, and he applauded Forkliftaction.com's stand for its "simplicity and great service".
Milestone delivery for local forklift provider
NTP Forklifts Australia recently passed a major milestone with the delivery of its 5,000th TCM forklift.
NTP supplied Electrolux with 80 units last month, each with varying specifications to meet particular needs. The 5,000th unit for NTP was a 1.8 ton counter-balanced gas unit with integral side shift.
Supply chain & logistics accolade
Former Woolworths CEO and managing director, Roger Corbett, was awarded Australia's pre-eminent honour for supply chain excellence last week when he took away the coveted Smart Conference 2007 Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession of Supply Chain Management.
Corbett was commended for his 40-year career commitment to supply chain, logistics and retail in Australia, which included significant contributions to the development of industry policy and standards, and the development and implementation of some of the country's most successful new business acquisitions and alliances.
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EMC Group Moves to bigger and better premises
EMC Group has consolidated as the premier source for forklift parts, fork-arms and Attachments with the move to a new 590 sqm building in the heart of the Adelaide industrial area.
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2000 kg VIPER easy to tame with one hand - Now With Power Steering
OSKO Forklifts have announced the release of their VIPER new SUMI Walkie Reach Truck. Available in capacities of 1500 and 2000 kilograms these units boast a world first by combining power steering and “VTC” hydraulic actuation.
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Energic Plus Chargers - The New Standard For Advanced Technology Chargers
Energic Plus, a new line of battery chargers specifically designed for the North American market, is now available from Systems Material Handling (SMH), Olathe, Kan.
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Rejuvenation Kits for electric forklift batteries.
From the day a battery is made performance decline begins. Sulphate crystals gradually accumulate and cover battery plates resulting in lost capacity, cell distortion, short circuits and eventually cell failure from sulphate "suffocation" or related sulphate induced plate damage. The unique ENERGYTECH DUO-REGEN® process combines highly specialized additives and state of the art microelectronic PWM pulse technology as an electro-chemical sulfate reversion system. This technology dissolves sulfate crystals, cleans and re-energizes battery plates, restores electrolyte strength & recovers lost battery capacity.
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Advertise here – June’s “hot” offer
Your product photo(s), product description and USD $195... That’s all it takes to promote your product to thousands of forklift dealers, forklift fleet managers, manufacturers and end users, around the world or in your regional markets.
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Bob Baker, New Zealand Forklift Manufacturers and Distributors Association
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Bob Baker, president of the New Zealand Forklift Manufacturers and Distributors Association, believes the training of operators and technicians is of paramount importance to the forklift industry.
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