Blog! Five Fast Things for January 8, 2007

By Bob Vavra, Editor, Plant Engineering January 9, 2007

1. Welcome back to 2007! The opening show of 2007 is this week’s ProMat Show in Chicago’s McCormick Place. For those of you who spend your year on the road at trade events, you know it’s the start of another busy year on the road. If you didn’t plan on coming to Chicago (and no one would, with anticipating the balmy temperatures around these parts) you’ll be able to find out plenty about what’s going on this week in this space .

2. Fuel cell update : One of the topics of discussion is the hydrogen fuel cell research being undertaken by a number of lift truck operators. Raymond Corp.’s press conference Monday morning highlight a $750,000 grant the company received for its fuel cell project from the New York Energy Research and Development Authority. The project will serve as a living lab for Raymond’s efforts to make fuel cell technology available to manufacturing facilities on a broad basis over the next two to five years. Mike Field, vice president of engineering for Raymond, said the project is being driven by customers such as Wal-Mart, but also by others as the use of fuel cell technology gains momentum in a green world.

3. Manufacturing expansion : Raymond is also looking to expand its Greene, NY facility by 73,000 feet over the next year. It’s always good news to hear manufacturing facilities expanding. It’s even better when manufacturing suppliers expand, because that means their customers are expanding as well. To hear what click here .

4. Mergers of technology, hardware: One of the key convergences at ProMat is the way the hardware companies that handle lifts, hoists and conveyors are coming together with the technology providers that manage the information about what’s being moved. For the latest news on those trends, click here .

5. Tomorrow from MMH: Our sister publication, Modern Materials Handling , will provide some research from the Aberdeen Group on warehouse productivity. Stay tuned for that tomorrow.