Demand for Material-Handling Products to Grow by 8 Percent through 2016
The mood among visitors and exhibitors alike at the CeMAT intralogistics trade show in Hanover last month was quite positive, with the Freedonia Group predicting global demand for material-handling products climbing 4.0 percent annually through 2016, and MHI forecasting 8.0 percent growth in U.S. material-handling equipment manufacturing in 2014 and 9.0 percent growth in 2015. More than 50,000 visitors attended the five-day, bi-annual trade fair, the leading exhibition in the world for the material-handling industry.
As we presented our market-leading solutions at CeMAT, we took note of three dominant trends repeatedly emphasized by our fellow exhibitors: productivity, fuel economy, and customization.
Goods do not generate revenues sitting in a dock or a warehouse waiting to be moved, so there is an incessant focus on productivity in the material-handling industry.
At CeMAT, Cascade introduced Wireless iForks with Bluetooth technology that can turn a forklift truck into a mobile scale, eliminating steps in the material-handling process. They also showed DAGS Magnetic Fork Covers that can be quickly installed or removed for the protection and stabilization of slippery or awkward loads.
Toyota launched all-new BT Lifter models of electric high-lifting hand pallet trucks with higher battery capacities that deliver longer operating times.
Productivity in material-handling also means quick, precise maneuvering, which is why Kalmar has outfitted its G-generation reach stackers, named Gloria, with an advanced control system that optimizes safety settings by defining limits to drive speeds and setting lift height restrictions, load center controls, and other functions. Combined with information from its tire pressure monitoring system, the control system contributes to more precise control of stability, handling, and overall safety.
The hydromechanical variable transmission (HVT) from Dana Rexroth Transmission Systems enables sensitive, precise vehicle positioning with a stepless drive that offers improved acceleration while maintaining tractive effort. HVTs also deliver better maneuverability through hydrostatic braking and wear-free directional reversing without clutches.
Field tests of the HVT on working vehicles have shown fuel savings of up to 35 percent over traditional transmission designs, with additional savings possible through further optimization with equipment subsystems.
The drive for fuel economy crosses all the markets we serve today, and no less so in the material-handling industry. Jungheinrich unveiled redesigned internal combustion engine-powered forklift trucks that deliver above-average throughput rates while consuming low amounts of energy.
Dana is supporting customers’ efforts to boost fuel economy through the development of VariGlide™ continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology. This patented, planetary traction drive will be integrated into a variety of power paths to optimize the transmission assembly, significantly reducing fuel consumption and maximizing performance.
Numerous powersplit power path concepts using VariGlide technology in forklift truck applications have been analyzed, and initial simulations show projected fuel savings of up to 20 percent for a standard-sized forklift truck operating in a typical pick-and-place duty cycle.
While the need for material-handling equipment is universal, the equipment itself is not. Equipment preferences can vary from region to region, depending on emissions and safety regulations, fuel prices, material-handling processes, and operator sophistication.
This year, Cummins introduced the new 48 hp (36 kW) QSF2.8 engine for Heli Series and Hangcha XF Series compact forklift trucks. This engine is engineered with an adaptive architecture that allows it to meet any emissions requirement across a wide power range.
To meet European Union Stage IIIA regulations, a small wastegate turbocharger is added, eliminating the need for charge air cooling. Meanwhile, a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system can be fitted within the existing design envelope to meet EU Stage IIIB and U.S. Tier 4 emissions requirements.
Likewise, Dana unveiled a four-tier technology strategy at CeMAT that offers powershift transmissions customized to meet regional requirements and preferences for forklift trucks and other material-handling vehicles. Dana will offer a wide range of capabilities across the four tiers by building on a common transmission platform suitable for all markets.
The tiers include a full range of options from basic transmission configurations for emerging markets supplying proven performance and long-term durability, up to high-feature transmissions for developed markets incorporating cutting-edge technologies for maximizing fuel economy and productivity.
At Dana, we are optimistic about the projected growth of material-handling market, and we have seen great enthusiasm for the prospects of the industry while exhibiting CeMAT for the first time. Now that the show is over, we’d like to hear your impressions of the exhibition:
- What announcement at CeMAT caught your attention?
- What trends are you seeing in the material-handling industry?
- How has the material-handling landscape changed over the past ten years?
- What are the largest differences in material-handling practices from region to region?
- What remains the same, no matter where you go in the world?
Published by Bernhard Vecchioni