Searching for ways to run businesses more cost effectively, perform work more efficiently, and streamline cumbersome processes is nothing new. But in the current economic climate, the demand to do so has become even greater. Doing more with less – and doing it well – is the expected norm. For the industrial marketplace, lifting equipment often meets these efficiency needs, and this issue of Industrial Lift and Hoist clearly points out the opportunities and alternatives for successfully moving materials and personnel.
For the first time, ILH looks at mini-cranes in-depth. As relative newcomers to the industrial scene, staff writer Lucy Perry explores these track-mounted cranes, which collapse to a size small enough to fit in an elevator or through a door and offer variable power options for a number of indoor and outdoor applications. And the spider-like outrigger configuration on a number of units allows the machine setup to conform to different obstacles that may interfere with a traditional industrial mobile crane.
Mini-cranes are typically used in plants where space is limited – and an overhead crane is not available. For example, Steve Inman, vice president of Maeda USA, Houston, Texas, reports he has a customer using a Maeda mini-crane for helicopter maintenance where an overhead crane does not cover the entire floor.
An offshoot of the mini-crane is the trailer-mounted crane which CraneTech Solutions, supplier of the German-made Boecker-brand trailer crane, says has been garnering attention from end users who want to work frugally and efficiently. “People are looking for more cost-effective ways to run their businesses, and if a crane can do the job at a lower cost, it just makes sense,” says Robert Kohler, vice president of CraneTech Solutions, Portsmouth, Va.
Another focus is on energy efficiency and lift truck manufacturers’ methods to make their machines greener. While the shift to electric forklifts is not a new trend – Toyota Material Handling U.S.A. says customers have continued to purchase more electric lift trucks than IC lift trucks since 1982 – senior associate editor Sue Dahlberg writes about AC power, hydrogen combustion, and hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift trucks at the forefront of the industry. As a result of the switch to eco-friendly technology, lift trucks are more efficient and reliable and have cause for fewer service calls.
The industry is constantly changing, and new product introductions can simplify the shift. Keeping tabs on what is new on the market allows equipment owners to implement more efficient strategies and streamline operations. This month, Industrial Lift and Hoist includes a ProMat 2009 preview. The premier material handling show will take place January 12-15, 2009, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., and we’ve included a sneak peak of some of the industrial lift equipment and support products slated for introduction at the show.
Additionally, Industrial Lift and Hoist will be on-site at ProMat, and we’d love to take the opportunity to meet you and learn about your business. Feel free to call or email in the meantime.