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Another big year for materials handling 4

01 Mar 2017 -
The United States market is tipped for a significant decline in new orders in 2017. MHI’s MHEM Forecast reported that new materials handling orders peaked in 2015 at a record high of USD33.7 billion, with domestic demand also at a record level of USD33.5 billion. The report went on to say that materials handling growth slowed significantly in 2016, adding fears for "significant downside risks" in 2017, but subsequent improvements in 2018 and 2019. Downside risks include slowing domestic manufacturing, the slowdown in oil and gas, the relatively strong dollar, slowing global growth, Brexit, and volatility in US equity markets. This pessimism is not universal, however, and another report predicts investment growth. The 2016 Equipment Leasing & Finance U.S. Economic Outlook released by the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation predicts "modest equipment and software investment growth". Materials handling is one of the bright spots in the Economic Outlook, which is focused on the USD1 trillion equipment leasing and finance industry. 

F-TEC’s training centre opened in July 2016.
Vocational training in the UK took a step forward in July with the opening of F-TEC’s new training centre in Swindon. The 5,000 sqft. (465 sqm) facility features lecture theatres and a workshop area where apprentices will gain practical experience across a broad range of forklift brands and model types while established engineers will be taught the specific new skills required by their employers. F-TEC (Forklift Training Engineering Centre), formerly BITA Academy, is the industry-led organisation that delivers apprenticeships in materials handling equipment engineering and the June name change was part of a wider overhaul of the apprenticeship provider’s operations. 

Els Thermote
Women in the industry were the focus of an in-depth report in Forkliftaction News in August. The report quoted Liz Richards, CEO of the US-based MHEDA industry group, who is seeing more and more women attending the association’s educational conferences, conventions and regional networking summits. Among the successful forklift women featured in the article was Els Thermote, CEO of TVH in the Americas. She started in the forklift industry at an early age in Belgium, working for her father and co-founder of TVH, sweeping floors and counting inventory. Thermote grew with the company, working her way up through the ranks through hard work and determination and today leads its American operations. 

Xtreme Manufacturing gets a mention not just because it’s the only company starting with that letter, but also because it entered the Latin American market in December with the opening of Ahern Chile, a new sales and service provider based in Santiago. Xtreme and stablemate Snorkel have grown internationally alongside the Ahern International distribution group and its subsidiaries -  Ahern Australia, Ahern Japan, Ahern Deutschland and Ahern Canada. 

Yanmar added three new turbocharged and aftercooled engines to its range, joining the company’s existing TNV family of common rail engines which are EPA Tier 4 final, EU Stage 3B and FOEN (Switzerland) certified. The new models came ahead of the EU’s new so-called ‘Stage V’ regulation, which is set to reduce emissions even further by setting stricter limits, making European mobile machines the cleanest in the world. To ease the burden on manufacturers, the European Commission has granted an extension of the general transition scheme by six months (24 months in total) to give European machine manufacturers sufficient time to re-design their fleet to comply with the new requirements. Furthermore, introducing a provision on replacement engines with a time limit of 20 years will allow for the continued use of machinery using replacement engines, thereby contributing to the EU’s objectives on resource efficiency. 

ZAPI, the Italian manufacturer of electronic speed controllers, electric motors, battery chargers and associated products for electric and hybrid vehicles, acquired all outstanding shares of Delta-Q of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. "The acquisition of Delta-Q is a strong strategic fit for ZAPI Group, and will provide additional solutions that the combined customer base will benefit from," said Giannino Zanichelli, president of ZAPI Group.