News for March 2012

TVH Investing 10 Million Dollars in Expansion

TVH Parts Co is investing close to $10 million in constructing and equipping an addition to its Olathe operations and remodeling existing space.

The supplier of materials handling equipment replacement parts and accessories is adding 213,018 sqft. (19,613 sqm) in which it anticipates being fully operational by December, says Els Thermote, TVH chief executive officer.
Among Olathe’s “pioneering companies” in Copeland’s words, TVH business unit Systems Material Handling Co (SMH) opened a 226,694 sqft. (20,856 sqm) facility in January 2006 — even before the interchange was completed — and added another 97,619 sqft. (8,981 sqm) that was occupied in September 2007.

Currently, TVH in Olathe employs 436 staff out of a total of 725 in North America. “This is the success we planned for, and these are the results we expected,” Copeland reports.

In Olathe, TVH occupies about 30 acres and has another six acres available for future expansion, Thermote says. TVH owns 127 acres in the city with more than 90 acres for non-TVH developments.

“TVH has always had a good working relationship with the City of Olathe,” Thermote says. “Planning and discussions with the city began in the fall of 2011, and all necessary permits were issued in late February 2012.”

TVH offers products from widely recognized manufacturers for materials handling and industrial equipment vehicles such as forklifts, aerial work platforms, sweepers, floor scrubbers, and personnel and burden carriers. In addition to its Kansas headquarters, TVH has North and South American locations in Mira Loma, California; Grayslake, Illinois; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Duncan, South Carolina in the US; Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, and Mississauga, Ontario in Canada; Cuautitlán Izcalli in Mexico; and Vinhedo in Brazil.

For clarity, the supplier changed its corporate name in the Americas to TVH Parts Co effective 1 January 2012 from its former identity as SMH. TVH acquired SMH in 2003.

TVH Parts is a subsidiary of family-operated TVH-Group Thermote & Vanhalst of Waregem, Belgium. The parent firm was founded in 1969, has 31 subsidiaries and, under its global TotalSource brand, supplies in excess of 20,000 customers in more than 162 countries.

Edited: March 29th, 2012

Lift Truck Tips: Improving operator ergonomics in this day and age

Any automobile driver could expect to be sore and stiff at the end of an eight-hour road trip. Operators of modern lift trucks enjoy an increasing number of the same features they find in their cars, but improving comfort remains a critical challenge for many forklift manufacturers.

According to David McNeill, product manager of warehouse products forYale, “The biggest focus is on how to make an operator as productive in the last hour as he or she is in the first.”

Fingertip controls, adjustable contoured armrests, mast-mounted cameras to improve visibility, telescopic adjustable steering columns with programmable tilt memory—each advance reduces operator fatigue while increasing productivity. But a full shift in a forklift remains a challenging prospect, and the lower back remains a perennial culprit in reports of lift truck operator discomfort.

Ergonomics is a subset of safety, says McNeill. Because all forklift operators are taught to carry loads in reverse when possible for optimal visibility, this means that as much as 50% of the time spent on the forklift could be spent in a twisted position, he says. Manufacturers are developing seats that swivel or are mounted at a slight angle, which will complement handles to ease the strain of looking backwards.

Bowles adds that many more lift truck models are coming equipped with electric power steering, which greatly reduces operator fatigue, particularly in high-throughput areas. The expansion of automated technology on forklifts even allows a truck to navigate between chosen pallet positions at the push of a button, without any further operator input.

From cup holders to cruise control, more and more comforts of the family car are making their way to the warehouse floor. And, McNeill says things will only get better for the forklift operator.
“We’re all working toward the same goal, but there really is no end,” he says. “Operator comfort can always be improved

Edited: March 12th, 2012

Yale/Hyster forecasts slow 2012 market growth

Nacco Materials Handling Group (NMHG) is projecting minimal forklift market growth in the Americas and the Asia Pacific and modest declines in Europe and China during 2012, parent company Nacco Industries Inc says.

“Nonetheless, NMHG anticipates a slight increase in unit booking and shipment levels in 2012 compared with 2011, primarily as a result of new product introductions and marketing programs,” the company outlook says in a year-end financial report. “Backlog and parts volumes are also expected to remain relatively steady in 2012.”

Nacco financial highlights indicate NMHG had profit of USD82.6 million on 2011 sales of USD2.54 billion, reflecting a significant increase from 2010’s profit of USD32.4 million on sales of USD1.80 billion. NMHG forklift shipments increased 30.5% to 79,700 units in 2011 from the previous year’s 60,000 units. 

NMHG designs, engineers, makes, sells and services forklift trucks and aftermarket parts under the Hyster and Yale brand names, primarily through independent retail dealerships.

NMHG owns seven facilities in the Americas, including five in the US and one each in Mexico and Brasil. NMHG’s European presence includes owned buildings in Northern Ireland and the Netherlands and three leased facilities in England, Scotland and Italy. For the Asia Pacific region, NMHG and joint venture partner Shanghai Hyster Forklift Ltd occupy a Shanghai, China facility that Shanghai Hyster owns. NMHG leases other space in Australia and India.

Edited: March 8th, 2012