Noble Cause: Lift Truck Dealers Safety Efforts Help the Community

Noble Cause: Lift Truck Dealers Safety Efforts Help the Community

When executives at Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta wanted to improve education for lift truck operators, they had two important and specific goals.

When executives at Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta wanted to improve education for lift truck operators, they had two important and specific goals. First, they wanted to offer a unique, comprehensive and socially inclusive training program. Second, the program had to create a positive economic impact for the surrounding Atlanta community and provide much-needed job opportunities for residents with varying levels of job skills. For Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta, accomplishing both tasks required out-of-the-box thinking.

Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta president, Lee Smith, and his employees already had been educated through Toyota Material Handling U.S.A.’s online and classroom training programs. However, Smith decided to look outside of his industry and hired Spencer Ecklund, a National Safety Council member, Toyota platinum certified trainer, OSHA outreach instructor, former paramedic and rescue SCUBA diver, as the dealership’s safety director. Ecklund’s experience with severe injury and trauma afforded him a unique perspective and passion for safety training and accident prevention.

With Ecklund in place and the dealership making progress on a holistic approach to lift truck safety, Smith decided he needed to take his classes to the next level. To do that, he needed someone who understood not only how to educate but also to make the education accessible. For that, he turned to Maria Favela, a Hispanic training coordinator who also spoke Spanish—a musthave skill, considering the number of potential students who are native Spanish speakers. According to the State of Georgia Department of Education, a 2004 study ranked Georgia as the number-one state in the nation for the fastest growth of the Latino population.

With Ecklund and Favela working together, Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta was in an excellent position to provide the community with an education program unlike anything being offered by its competitors. As a result, the number of new and existing operators dramatically increased, and the revenue from education doubled in its first year alone.

Forklift

The program has also resulted in some cost savings. Ecklund teaches a National Safety Council defensive driving course to the dealership’s field technicians, equipment truck drivers, parts delivery drivers and even salespersons, which has helped reduce the number of overall accidents and lowered insurance premiums.

And, education is available to all Atlanta residents, not just to employees of the Toyota dealership. In fact, every five weeks, Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta works with the local Goodwill chapter to educate seven to eight community members to become new lift truck operators. In addition, the company educates an estimated 200 operators a month through its various programs.

“Watching someone with no experience get trained, get a job and earn a living–that’s terrific. The first person I trained was an unemployed guy living in his car. Now, he’s got a job, and he’s very happy, very proud,” says Ecklund.

Both Ecklund and Favela are proud of the social and economic contributions the education is making in the Atlanta area.

Adds Favela: “What gives me the biggest thrill is hearing from my students. Some will say, ‘I took your batteryclass, and I got hired right away.’”

With the recently opened “operator training facility” in Scottdale, Ga., Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta has made education more accessible to employees; the local rapid transit system is close to the facility.

Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta has three locations in the Atlanta area and one in Augusta. The company, now with 185 employees, was started in 1972. The dealership serves mostly warehousing, distribution and light manufacturing clients.

Air Force Tests Hydrogen- Powered Lift Truck

The Robins Air Force Base near Atlanta is testing the feasibility of hydrogen power with a new Quantum HyHauler Plus hydrogen-fuel dispensing system and a hydrogen-powered lift truck. A trailer will house the hydrogen-producing equipment until a permanent station is constructed.

Base officials received the HyHauler Plus through a partnership with the Army National Automotive Center and the Air Force’s Advanced Power Technology Office. They plan to use the power station to provide hydrogen energy to various base agencies.

The HyHauler Plus converts 0.2 gallons of tap water per hour into hydrogen using electrolysis, a process that separates the hydrogen and oxygen in water. Each day, the system produces about two kilograms of hydrogen, which is stored in 20 two-kilogram, carbonwrapped hydrogen storage tanks. In addition to creating the hydrogen, the HyHauler Plus also dispenses it.

With the help of ePower Synergies and Plug Power Inc., the base also converted a battery powered lift truck into a hydrogen-powered vehicle, and officials plan to compare the productivity of a battery-powered lift truck with that of the hydrogenpowered vehicle. One of the warehouses at the base will be used as a test site to determine if other warehouses should switch to hydrogen-powered fleets.

Mike Mead
Mike Mead, office chief for the Air Force’s Advanced Power Technology Office, admires the new HyHauler Plus hydrogen dispensing system. (Photo by U.S. Air Force, Sue Sapp)

“We are going to put this hydrogen lift truck in a warehouse, where we plan to operate it for eight to 16 hours a day and then refuel it after each shift,” says Scott Slyfield, program manager for the project.

According to the Air Force, the hydrogen-powered lift truck only requires 1.8 kilograms of hydrogen to operate for an eight-hour shift. The trailer functions as a “hydrogen and go” stop for the lift truck. The vehicle backs into position, is grounded and then filled using a straight nozzle controlled by a touch screen located on the trailer.

The HyHauler Plus is equipped with a flashing light that alerts those in the area if there is a hydrogen leak, a fan that can suck out any hydrogen leaks within the trailer and sensors that enable the system to shut off automatically in the event of a hydrogen leak.

Mike Mead, office chief for the Advanced Power Technology Office, says the energy transition should be transparent for users. “That’s the beauty of everything,” he says. “It looks and operates the same as everything we have. It’s just part of the Air Force’s initiative to advance alternative fuels and energy into the Air Force’s daily structure.”

Fleet Management for the Little Guy Companies with small material handling fleets and budget restrictions may want to consider Vigilant G2 Lite mobile asset management system from Access Control Group (Mountainside, N.J.), which includes equipment and a Web-based application.

According to Access Control Group, the mobile asset management product collects and manages operator training verification, safety checklists and equipment usage data. It may also include options, such as impact sensors and batterycharge monitoring, the company says.

Vigilant G2 Lite includes a scaleddown version of the Assetor software that accompanies Vigilant G2.

Lithium-Ion Lift Trucks

Global newsletter Forklift-Action.com reported that alternative fuels and the use of lithium-ion batteries in lift trucks were hot topics at CeMAT 08. The event was held in May in Hannover, Germany.

According to the newsletter, lithium ion batteries, currently used in cell phones and iPods, are emerging as a potential replacement for leadacid batteries. Lighter and more powerful than traditional lift truck batteries, lithium-ion batteries are also lighter, require less energy and run longer. However, challenges, such as the need for efficient charging technology and the high cost of materials, remain.

At CeMAT 08, Jungheinrich showed its Concept 08, a concept study for a stand-on AC pallet truck. The vehicle has seven Chinese 3,6V Li-Ion battery cells integrated into its mast, and company representatives say the prototype is 15% more efficient than a truck with traditional batteries.

In addition, Nissan revealed its first lift truck running on Li-Ion batteries, the result of last year’s joint venture between Nissan Motor Co, NEC Corp. and NEC TOKIN.

Noblelift, a Chinese builder of warehouse machinery, introduced its manual palletizer with a builtin Li-Ion battery, according to ForkliftAction.com.

Fuel-Cell- Powered Prototypes

Linde Material Handling expects hydrogen-powered lift trucks to be economically viable by 2015. “The future is hydrogen,” says Mark Sullivan, product support and service director for Linde in the U.K., “either as a fuel to be fed into an internal-combustion engine or used to power a fuel cell to generate electricity for an electric truck.”

Linde
Linde has developed a P250 tow tractor with a hydrogen fuel cell.

The lift truck manufacturer has recently unveiled a series of new product designs for the U.K. market. The 39X series IC truck is billed as the world’s first lift truck that incorporates a hydrogen engine with direct injection and compressor. The concept vehicle has a load capacity of three tons. Linde has also developed a P250 tow tractor with a hydrogen fuel cell.

Over the next several years, the lift truck manufacturer plans to conduct field tests with 50 hydrogenpowered industrial trucks.

“Whether we are using diesel, electric, bio-fuel, hydrogen or any other fuel source that reaches the market in the coming years, a fundamental means to maximize fuel use is through efficient operation,” says Sullivan. “If one truck is more efficient than another moving pallets, then less power is consumed, fleet numbers can be reduced and this, in turn, leads to lower costs, fewer emissions and less waste disposal.”


Lift Truck Industry Merger

KYOTO, Japan—Nippon Yusoki Co. Ltd (Nichiyu) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. will consolidate domestic marketing activities through a new company slated for opening on April 1, 2009.

The new company, Nichiyu MHI Forklift Co. Ltd., based at Nichiyu’s headquarters at Nagaokakyo, Kyoto, will be active in the sales and service of lift trucks for both manufacturers. Both companies already collaborate on various projects, such as development of an electric counterbalanced lift truck and Nichiyu’s distribution of electric lift trucks under the MHI brand for export. They also combine sales networks for the Japanese market.

Nichiyu will invest more than half of the company’s capital, making the company a Nichiyu consolidated company. The current domestic sales companies will merge into a wholly owned subsidiary of the new company.

Toyota Aids Midwest Flood Victims

COLUMBUS, Ind.—Toyota Material Handling USA (TMHU) Inc. has donated $10,000 and the use of a lift truck to the American Red Cross to assist in flood relief efforts in the Columbus, Ind., area.

Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing Inc. (TIEM), based in Columbus, has close to 900 associates who reside in the local area.

In addition, several employees of Hupp Toyotalift, a Toyota Industrial Equipment dealer with locations throughout Iowa, were severely affected by the flooding. The dealership suffered tremendous damage to its branch location in Davenport, Iowa. As a result, it has opened a temporary location in Eldridge, Iowa.

TMHU has set up a matching gifts program for its associates and network of dealers to raise funds for TIEM and Hupp Toyotalift associates. Toyota Industries Companies, including TMHU, established a $27,500 fund for TIEM associates directly affected by the flood. In addition, clothing and canned food drives are being held at TMHU’s headquarters in Irvine, Calif., its Columbus, Ind., location and at TIEM.

Tusk Lift Trucks Announces Top Dealers

COVINGTON, Ga.—Tusk Lift Trucks has announced its top dealers for 2007.

The top dealer awards, based on market size, recognize dealers that have excelled in sales and market share growth for Tusk within their areas of primary responsibility. For “A” markets, Class I, IV

and V, H&K Equipment Inc. (Coraopolis, Pa.) was awarded first place; Omnilift Inc. (Warminster, Pa.) was awarded second place; and Andersen & Associates Inc. (Deer f ield Beach, Fla.) was awarded third place.

For “B” markets, Class I, IV and V, Maryland Industrial Trucks Inc. (Linthicum, Md.) received first place; TES Inc. (South Kearny, N.J.) received second place; and Andress Engineering (Alabaster, Ala.) received third place.

For “C” and “D” market s , Class I, IV and V, World Lift Inc. (Hewitt, Texas) was awarded first place; Albuquerque Forklift (Albuquerque, N.M.) was awarded second place; and Tri-State Fork Lifts Inc. (Dothan, Ala.) was awarded third place.

Lift Truck Dealer Celebrates Milestone

GREENVILLE, N.C.—Lift truck dealer VBS Inc. Material Handling Equipment celebrated its 60th anniversary of distributing Hyster trucks on March 16.

VBS, which has multiple locations in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, plans to mark the occasion with celebrations at its branch locations. The dealer began distributing Hyster trucks in 1948.

Lift Truck Dealer Raises Money for Leukemia

FORT WORTH, Texas— Toyota Material Handling USA dealer Shoppa’s Material Handling has partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to host the 2008 Shoppa’s Golf Tournament on June 6 at the Texas Star Golf Course in Euless, Texas.

The tournament helped raise funds for disease research and honored Mike Schott, a six-year Shoppa’s employee who was diagnosed with leukemia in March.

This year, Shoppa’s helped raise approximately $5,000 for leukemia research by matching all customer golf sponsorships, selling mulligans and holding golf contests. Shoppa’s also holds quarterly blood drives with Carter Blood Care. The first drive was held on March 26, and the next will take place on June 18.

“When I found out what Shoppa’s was doing for my cause, I was nearly brought to tears,” says Schott. “People really need to be aware of what leukemia is and the signs to watch out for; when I was diagnosed with leukemia, I had no idea anything like this was going on inside my body.”

Employees Learn about Lift Truck Financing

BEDFORD PARK, Ill.—At an open house themed “Get the Scoop on Commercial Finance,” Toyota Financial Services provided information to 400 of its employees about large-capacity lift truck retail financing programs for Hoist lift trucks. The event was held on June 17.

“It was an educational event with a focus on what type of equipment we finance,” says Gene Karger, national manager of LTS business development. Toyota Financial offers finance options for purchasing large-capacity, heavy-duty Hoist lift trucks.

“Working with Toyota Financial for our customers’ financing is a wise choice for Hoist,” adds Marty Flaska, president of Hoist Liftruck Manufacturing Inc. Hoist Liftruck offers its pneumatic P-Series line with capacities ranging from 22,000 to more than 100,000 pounds. Its cushion-tire line of lift trucks includes the Titan Series (18,000-22,000 pounds), FKS Series (23,000-100,000+ pounds) and the electric Lazer Series (15,000-100,000+ pounds). The company’s Neptune Series is designed for use in the marina industry.

According to Hoist, it is expanding its P-Series line with its P-Series RoRo (36,000, 52,000 and 80,000 pounds). Early next month, empty- and full container handlers will be released. Then, late this year, reachstackers will debut, and an electric rubber tire gantry (RTG) crane will be introduced in mid-2009.

Raymond Recognizes Lift Truck Dealers

GREENE, N.Y.—At its recent dealer management meeting, the Raymond Corp. presented nine of its dealers with the Dealer of Distinction award and 10 dealers with its Dealer of Merit award.

The lift truck manufacturer also presented its Circle of Excellence and Paragon awards.

Dealer of Distinction awards are presented to dealers that attain the highest evaluation scores, based on Raymond’s benchmark standards, and also have top market share performance. Dealers receiving the next-highest evaluation scores and market share performance are awarded Dealer of Merit status.

Recipients of Raymond’s 2008 Dealer of Distinction awards include:

  • Arbor Material Handling Inc., Willow Grove, Pa.
  • Associated Material Handling- North, Eagan, Minn.
  • Carolina Handling LLC, Charlotte, N.C.
  • G.N. Johnston Equipment Co. Ltd., Mississauga, Ontario
  • Heubel Material Handling Inc., Kansas City, Mo.
  • Malin Integrated Handling Solutions and Design, Addison, Texas
  • Pengate Handling Systems Inc., York, Pa.
  • Raymond Handling Concepts Corp., Fremont, Calif.
  • Welch Equipment Co. Inc., Denver

The 2008 Dealer of Merit awards went to:

  • Abel Womack Inc., Lawrence, Mass.
  • Associated Material Handling- Central, Carol Stream, Ill.
  • Andersen & Associates Inc., Twinsburg, Ohio
  • Brauer Material Handling Systems Inc., Hendersonville, Tenn.
  • Hooper Handling Inc., Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Raymond of New Jersey LLC, Union, N.J.
  • Raymond Handling Consultants LLC, Lakeland, Fla.
  • Stoffel Equipment Co., Milwaukee
  • Raymond Handling Solutions Inc., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
  • Welch Equipment Co. Inc., Salt Lake City.
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