Adaptalift to showcase specialist materials handling equipment

A range of professional materials handling solutions will be on display on forklift specialist Adaptlift’s stand at trade event MEGATRANS2018, taking place 10–12 May 2018.
The company has revealed that its stand will feature its Combilift range of multidirectional materials-handling units, which are suited for handling long loads such as timber and piping in narrow areas.
“MEGATRANS2018 will allow us to showcase our extremely diverse product offering to many market segments and diverse customers in one large show,” said Chris Walker, General Manager of Adaptalift brand Combilift Australia.
According to Paul Hinz, Marketing Coordinator for Adaptalift, the company is looking forward to using MEGATRANS2018 as an opportunity to generate qualified industry leads.
“Trade shows are valuable to Adaptalift as they provide an opportunity to talk openly regarding the equipment and really understand the concept behind it, and how Combilift units can benefit businesses,” he said, adding that trade shows are as valuable for exhibitors as they are for visitors.
“For us, it’s also a bonus that we can wander around and catch up on industry trends and see what others in the space are doing.”
Two developing technologies Hinz will be keeping his eyes peeled for at the show are automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and fleet management software.
“Everyone’s looking to maximise their operations not only from a cost point of view, but also efficiency and safety, it’s something Adaptalift’s very involved in since we have our own fleet management system – ForkTrack,” he said.
Adaptalift, the official Australian distributor for Combilift and Hyster forklifts, is Australia’s largest privately owned forklift company. Originally founded in 1982 as a designer and manufacturer of forklift attachments, the company has since added forklift rental and purchase options in response to customer demand, and now has a national network of branches and a fleet of 10,500 units nationwide.

Maxilift opens new branch in Adelaide

Crane specialist, Maxilift Australia, has announced the opening of a new facility in north Adelaide, which the company has said is the next step in its growth to provide better service.
The new Adelaide branch is located at 501 South Road, Regency Park. Maxilift Australia’s headquarters is based in Lonsdale, South Australia.
“With this new branch we can reduce costs for our northern-based customers with the associated travel time that it takes for cranes, trucks and personnel to reach our site in the south,” said Maxilift Australia General Manager, Kymberly Davis.
“Our customers in the north will receive the same service and level of care that is offered from our head office, including greater technical support from personnel with years of experience. This branch makes Maxilift Australia the only company in Adelaide to service both the north and south.”

2018 Mercury Awards to recognise supply chain excellence

After a brief hiatus, the Logistics & Materials Handling Mercury Awards will be relaunched in 2018 for the ninth annual instalment, in partnership with MEGATRANS2018.
The Awards, featuring a new design, will recognise the outstanding achievements and successes of companies across the logistics, supply chain and materials handling sectors.
The Mercury Awards is the official awards program of MEGATRANS2018, a business-to-business trade event focusing on the freight and logistics supply chain. MEGATRANS2018 incorporates all forms of freight transport, logistics and materials handling, infrastructure and storage and warehousing, providing perfect alignment with the Mercury Awards.
Twelve awards will recognise outstanding individuals and organisations across the supply chain:

  • Supply Chain Innovator of the Year
  • Safety Advocate of the Year
  • Best Technology Application
  • Sustainability Initiative Award
  • Freight Transport Solution of the Year – Road
  • Freight Transport Solution of the Year – Rail
  • Freight Transport Solution of the Year – Air
  • Freight Transport Solution of the Year – Sea
  • Outstanding Graduate Program
  • Best Storage Solution
  • Best Infrastructure Innovation
  • Victorian Government ‘Contribution to Industry’ Award

The 2018 Mercury Awards sponsors include the Victorian Government, the Port of Melbourne and SICK. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; for more information please contact Simon Coburn on 03 9690 8766 or
Nominations details will be announced soon.

Toyota Material Handling to celebrate 50th anniversary at MEGATRANS2018

Toyota Material Handling Australia has signed on with MEGATRANS2018 to showcase not only its current suite of products, but also some exciting new additions set to hit the market in 2018.
The company offers a wide range of forklifts and battery-electric warehouse products to the Australian industry, catering to the varying needs of material handling businesses around the nation.
Toyota Material Handling Australia National Sales & Product Manager – Automation Tony Raggio attributes the diversity of MEGATRANS2018 as an aspect of the multi-modal supply chain trade show that attracted the materials handling specialist
“The main fact for us was, as the show is diverse, it will appeal to not only potential forklift customers, but also customers considering automation as part of their future business,” said Raggio.
“People have always associated Toyota Material Handling as a forklift company. We would use MEGATRANS2018 to show customers our new automation products for 2018, including our Autopilot ‘driverless forklifts’, which we are planning on showcasing.”
Raggio said that because the event covers a wide array of sectors within the Australian supply chain and logistics sector, the decision to exhibit at MEGATRANS2018 was a significant one.
“With people now having access to information at their fingertips it’s important to be very selective when deciding which exhibition to exhibit in. We chose MEGATRANS2018 as we felt it would attract clients that would be interested in our now very wide range of material handling equipment products.”
Raggio added that the show is great chance for Toyota Material Handling to catch up with existing and new customers and suppliers.
“It’s also a great opportunity for us to thank our customers for their patronage over the past 50 years and for helping to make Toyota the number-one forklift brand in Australia – according to industry sales statistics,” he added.
In addition to the new products the company will exhibit at the show, 2018 represents the fiftieth anniversary of the first Toyota forklift sold in Australia so the company will have some special celebrations planned for MEGATRANS2018, with more information on these celebrations to be released closer to the date.
MEGATRANS2018 takes place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 10-12 May 2018.

Investment group to acquire Coates Hire

Investment group Seven Group Holdings (SGH) has announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to pay $517 million to acquire the remaining 53.3 per cent of securities in equipment hire company Coates Hire that it does not already own, from an affiliate of Carlyle Asia Partners II, a fund managed by The Carlyle Group, and minority owners.
SGH said in a media statement that the Coates Hire acquisition reflects its continued focus on becoming “the leading operator of industrial services businesses in Australia” and driving efficient capital allocation across its portfolio.
“The Coates Hire business is led by a strong and experienced management team, with a number of business improvement initiatives in place and already delivering results,” the statement continued.
“Full ownership of Coates Hire will enhance SGH’s portfolio with increased exposure to industrial services.”
Ryan Stokes, Managing Director and CEO, SGH, said: “We are pleased to reach agreement with Carlyle to acquire the shares in Coates Hire we don’t already own.
“We have had a long history with the Coates Hire business and believe with the visible market opportunity associated with East Coast infrastructure activity, along with the current performance of the business and management team, the company is extremely well positioned to create value for all shareholders.
“The move to full ownership of Coates Hire will enhance SGH’s position as a leading operator of industrial services businesses, with a strong macroeconomic environment and a positive outlook providing the potential for significant opportunities to be realised.”
The transaction is subject to satisfactory waivers being obtained from Coates Hire’s existing lending syndicate.

What did the Pallet Survey discover?

The Australian Pallet Survey 2017 was conducted in May-June 2017 as an online survey. It was supplemented by industry consultations that provided additional insights to the survey questions. 81 Australian businesses responded to this survey, which was deployed through several industry peak bodies.
The pallet is viewed as a necessary piece of equipment with little intrinsic value in relation to the product supply chain. Despite the indication that companies have incurred significant costs through their inability to control and manage pallet usage, they view the device as ‘a necessary evil’ rather than part of the value chain of the product.
This view may be challenged if the trends in pallets identified in this report continue. Key influences will be the cost of the pallet, the whole-of-supply-chain planning for the product, increasing automation in distribution and the insertion of technology to track and trace assets as well as product.

Cost is the prevailing concern of pallet users who rent or buy pallets. The ability to meet customer requirements, strength of the pallets, durability and rack-ability were the further ranked considerations.
Pallet pooling dominates in Australia, globally the most mature pallet market, with two thirds of survey respondents using rental pallets, enjoying flexibility and avoiding the responsibility associated with ownership of the assets. 80 percent of pallets represented in the survey are used in open distribution systems, with product sourced from and supplied to multiple parties.
The survey featured a section on the usage, benefits and issues related to plastic pallets in Australia. Hygiene and avoidance of contamination were primary factors influencing this choice of pallet. Rack-ability and strength were concerns expressed in relation to the use of plastic. 22 per cent of surveyed businesses expected to increase their use of plastic pallets in the ensuing two years, driven by customer requirements and regulatory mandates related to the product and workplace safety.
Diversity in pallet sizes is a trend identified. Logistics service providers are finding handling of this variety of sizes a challenge in transport and storage. This issue will need to be addressed as the growth of import pallets, retailer-configured pallets and warehouse automation create a wider array of pallet types.
It is evident from this research that pallet control is a significant challenge for the pallet owner, renter and supplier. Despite considerable cost and effort, the lack of control is resulting in further cost and frustration. It is also evident that companies that have no account with the leasing pools are benefitting from a supply of pallets that are accruing daily rental fees for the supplier and/or transporter of the pallet. While there are technologies available to track and trace the pallet, these have proven too expensive to date to implement. It is unclear whether this is a false economy, given the costs associated with lost pallet inventory and as the technologies become more common.
The Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics appreciates the time given by respondents to support this research.

Dematic expands with AutoStore

Dematic has signed a global agreement with AutoStore, which will enable Dematic to expand its omni-channel integrated product range with an ultra-high density storage and goods to person piece picking system to optimise order fulfilment and kitting. As a qualified system integrator, Dematic will design, configure, engineer, install and support AutoStore as a sub-system within an overall Dematic system or as a stand-alone piece picking system throughout the globe.
Including the AutoStore system in the Dematic portfolio creates more choices for customers to optimise order fulfilment, the company said. For example, if storage density is the most important consideration, the AutoStore system may be the most effective option.
With the AutoStore partnership, Dematic has the ability to provide scalable solutions that work across all elements of the dynamic order profiles and SKU velocities associated with e-commerce and omni-channel solutions. In addition, the Dematic iQ Warehouse Execution System (WES) will manage all functional areas of the operation including piece picking and the AutoStore system. This Dematic one-source provider capability ensures production and distribution operations employ a holistic integrated system that harmonises information and material flow from receiving to shipping.

What is AutoStore?

AutoStore is a modular piece picking system. It consists of five standard modules: robot, port or workstation, grid, bin and controller.  The robots drive on the top of the grid to access inventory stored in the bins below. The bins are put away, retrieved and delivered to the ports or workstations as required.
When compared to conventional storage density, AutoStore can store up to four times more inventory in the same space. It can be installed in oddly shaped buildings, around pillars or on several levels and fills out the warehouse space potential to its maximum. The AutoStore infrastructure is independent of the building structure, and disassembly and relocation is feasible and cost effective.
AutoStore is an eco-friendly system. Overall power consumption is low, energy recovery occurs during bin lowering and robot braking. Ceiling lighting is not needed. It requires less space due to the compact structure.
AutoStore is built around the “goods-to-person” principle. The key benefits of goods-to-person include eliminating worker travel time to pick locations, picking productivity, omitting dedicated pick faces (no slotting, re-slotting, manual replenishment), product security/inventory accuracy, order processing speed, and order accuracy. AutoStore technology supports a quiet, clean environment with reduced fatigue factors. Workstations are designed for ergonomic operation.

Kalmar to deliver container handling machines to DP World Logistics Australia

Container handling technology manufacturer Kalmar, part of Cargotec, will deliver 38 new machines to DP World Australia’s recently launched logistics arm, DP World Logistics Australia.
The order includes seven Kalmar reachstackers, and 11 loaded and 20 empty container handlers. So far, 22 units have successfully been delivered to DP World Logistics Australia’s Botany Intermodal terminal, with the remaining equipment to be delivered by September 2017.
The new machines add to DP World Australia’s existing fleet of Kalmar rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), straddle carriers and terminal tractors and will serve operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Fremantle and DP World Australia’s semi-automated terminal in Brisbane.
The Kalmar reachstackers will be equipped with Kalmar K-Motion transmission technology, which secures uptime and productivity while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Four units will also include overheight legs. All the Kalmar machines will be powered by Volvo IV Final engines to meet emissions standards and will feature the Kalmar SmartFleet system for performance-boosting remote monitoring and reporting.
“Kalmar won a competitive tender to renew, and increase, our fleet of machines in all our facilities around Australia,” said Ron French, National Engineering Manager at DP World Australia. “Our existing relationship gave us leverage to secure the best outcome for DP World Australia, with respect to pricing, service and ongoing support. The K-Motion option was very attractive due to lower fuel consumption and environmental impact.”
Michael Wahab, Director Mobile Equipment at Kalmar, added, “We are happy to continue to serve DP World Logistics Australia with reliable and efficient equipment tailored to their needs. The units are also equipped with environmentally conscious technology, including innovative K-Motion technology to significantly lessen fuel usage and reduce emissions by up to 40 per cent.”


CEO of NZ materials handling firm Gough Group to retire

New Zealand-based transport, materials handling and equipment supplier Gough Group has announced its CEO, Karl Smith, will retire at the end of 2017.
According to the Gough Group, Smith has been CEO for the last nine years and is retiring to take up new opportunities within New Zealand.
He has led the company of more than 850 employees and its network of over 50 locations in Australia and New Zealand since 2008, and Board Chair, Keith Taylor, described him as a “tenacious and resilient leader” who had made a “tremendous contribution” to the Gough Group.
“He leaves an excellent foundation for the Group to continue to grow in both New Zealand and Australia,” Taylor said.
“Karl has been an inspirational leader of the Group across our New Zealand and Australian businesses and has built a great culture with our team, our customers, and our major original equipment manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Palfinger, Hyster-Yale, SAF-Holland and WABCO.”
Deputy Chairman and Majority Owner, Ben Gough, said Smith would leave a lasting legacy of performance and leadership in all his dealings across the many stakeholders.
“The past few months have seen the highest monthly sales for the Group in our 85-year history and we now have the strongest order bank we have seen for over 10 years under Karl’s leadership. We will sorely miss him,” Gough said.

The robots are coming

Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh
Mobile robotics in material handling and logistics will become a $75bn market by 2027. It will then more than double by 2038. These staggering headline figures mask turbulent transformative change underneath: some technologies will rise and transform the fortunes of industries, fuelling growth rates far outpacing recent trends, whilst others will face with decay and obsolescence. We are at the beginning of the beginning of a transformative change, and the time to plan is now.
The IDTechEx Research report Mobile Robots & Drones in Material Handling & Logistics 2017-2037 focuses on all aspects of mobile robotics in material handling and logistics. In particular, we consider the following: automated guided vehicles and carts (AGV and AGC); autonomous mobile vehicles and carts/units; mobile picking robots; last-mile delivery ground robots (droids) and drones; and autonomous trucks and light delivery vans (level 4 and level 5 automation).
Incumbents face obsolescence?
AGV are a mature technology that can safely transport payloads ranging from several kg to multiple tonnes, essentially acting as semi-rigid distributor conveyer belts covering large areas. Their navigation technology is evolving. Today, multiple options are available ranging from the low-cost wire or magnetic tape guidance to the increasingly popular laser guidance. All, however, follow rigid guide points, thus requiring some degree of infrastructure modification and extended onsite installation. This industry is showing healthy, albeit small, grow rates.
This gives an illusion of security to this mature, highly fragmented business where price competition is rise. The next generation navigation technology – infrastructure-independent flexible autonomy – has the potential to shatter this illusion. This new technology, whilst appearing just as the next natural step in navigation technology evolution, requires a whole-scale change in the software side of the robots, giving an opportunity to new challengers to enter and to fully redraw the competitive landscape.
Forklifts will never be the same?
Navigational autonomy will induce a colossal transfer of value from wage bills paid for human-provided driving services towards spent on autonomous industrial vehicles. This, in turn, will fuel the growth in this material handling vehicle industry (e.g. forklift), creating significant revenues over a business-as-usual scenario. This is despite our technology roadmap showing that hardware commoditisation will slowly devalue such driving services particularly in high-wage regions.
AGV barely made a dent in this industry. This is because their navigational rigidity put a low ceiling on their total market scope, keeping them as a small subset of the warehouse/factory automation business.  Autonomous mobile robots are radically different, however, because they will ultimately enable automation to largely keep the flexibility and versatility of human-operated vehicles.
Our model suggests that autonomous forklifts, for example, will remain a tiny share of the global addressable market until around 2023 but will soon after enter the rapid growth phase, causing a transformation of the industry and dramatically raising adoption levels to as high as 70% by 2038.
Mobile picking robots will learn, fast
Navigational autonomy will induce a colossal transfer of value from wage bills paid for human-provided driving services towards spent on autonomous industrial vehicles. This, in turn, will fuel the growth in this material handling vehicle industry (e.g., forklift), creating significant revenues over a business-as-usual scenario. This is despite our technology roadmap showing that hardware commoditisation will slowly devalue such driving services particularly in high-wage regions.
Disrupting the last mile delivery using mobile ground robots
Last mile delivery remains an expensive affair in the parcel delivery business, often representing more than half of the total cost. Its importance is also growing thanks to a change in the composition of total deliveries with B2C deliveries rapidly taking on a bigger share.  E-commerce companies are also pushing next-day and now same-day services hoping to take away that last stronghold of bricks-and-mortar shops: instant customer fulfilment.
Autonomous mobile delivery robots are currently small slow-moving units that will need to return to base to charge. They often need close supervision and can only operate in sparsely-populated and highly-structured environments such as university campuses or special neighbourhood. They therefore are unproductive and easy to dismiss as gimmicks.
This is, however, only the beginning of the beginning. Our cost projections in the report suggest that these mobile robots can indeed become low-cost. The robots are now in the trial and learning phase, gathering more data and optimising the navigational algorithms. They will become increasingly more adept at path planning, even when GPS signals fail, and at object avoidance. The increased autonomous mobility capability will in turn enable a lower operator-to-fleet-size ratio, furthering boosting overall fleet productivity.
Delivery drones:  publicity stunt or a game changer in instant fulfilment?
The idea of drone delivery sharply divides commentator opinion: some dismiss it as a mere publicity stunt whilst others consider it a game-changer that will bring near instant product fulfilment to e-commerce, stripping traditional shops of their last major differentiator.
Drone delivery faces critical challenges. Individual drones offer limited productivity compared to traditional means of delivery. They can only carry small payloads and battery technology limits their flight duration, constraining them to around 30min radius of their base whilst further lowering their productivity due to the downtime needed for re-charging/re-loading.  Safety is a potential showstopper with many accidents waiting to happen.
Drone delivery however is still in its infancy. Its short-term potential, we find, has been exaggerated. However, the technology has long-term future, particularly within the context of the bigger trend to automate as much as of the logistic chain as possible.
Indeed, we find that delivery drone sales will remain limited until 2027/28. Demand will then start to taking off in remote or sparsely-populated (e.g. suburbs), ultimately enabling companies to establish large accumulated fleets. Despite their ultimate rise, however, drone delivery will remain only a small part of the much bigger commercial drone story.
Trucking: a large attractive business to autonomise?
Trucking is a big business. In the US, the trucking industry revenues are in excess of $726bn. This is the equivalent of combined revenues of Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Baidu and then some (a lot) more. It is also a big employer: the US Bureau of Labour Statistics suggests that 1.79m people work in this sector driving 7.2m trucks for inter-city freight transport earning an average salary of USD 41,300/year. No wonder this is a hot topic now then.
Trucking is also potentially an easier target than general passenger cars. This is because it spends much of its time in intercity roads that are less congested and less sinuous than city ones. The driver may remain in the vehicle, but the commercial inventive, even in this hybrid approach, exists because it may justify a relaxation of the rulebook which limits driving hours. This can therefore boost driver productivity and asset utilization.
Our forecasts and technology roadmaps show how different levels of automation (level 4 and 5) will rise and fall in trucking over the next twenty years. Our forecast model has detailed projections for the future cost of automation hardware systems (Lidar, radar, IMU, GPS, PC, etc.) based on historical learning curves of similar technologies.
Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh is research director at IDTechEx.

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