Products, sustainability, and market conditions drive NA 2008

The show on material handling and logistics featured some new product introductions and a focus on a topic that is rapidly gaining interest throughout industry: sustainability
By Kevin Campbell, Senior Editor April 25, 2008

The NA 2008 material handling and logistics show opened Monday morning at Cleveland’s I-X Center and, for its first two days, enjoyed good size crowds in the morning that seemed to dwindle slightly in the afternoon. Still, many of the exhibitors reported good foot traffic in the aisles and networking in their booths, proving that even in a time of economic decline, people in the industrial sector are still looking to get out there and shop for new equipment and services.
And NA 2008 was a good place for them to look.
The Raymond Corporation introduced Monday their new iWAREHOUSE system for enterprise fleet management and optimization. The system draws real-time information from the operating systems of the lift truck fleet and provides it to warehouse managers in a usable format via a Web portal. The system generates reports and benchmarks lift truck and operator productivity as well as facilitating remote diagnosis of truck problems.
“When a vehicle can communicate real-time information about itself and its activities, it allows for continuous operation improvement,” said David Furman, vice president of marketing for The Raymond Corporation. “Ultimately, this information can be used to optimize one fleet or multiple fleets of lift trucks.”
In a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Gorbel Incorporated introduced new capacities and interfaces that update its G-Force Q and iQ intelligent lifting devices. Now available in 165- and 330-pound capacities, the hoists feature onboard diagnostics and preventive maintenance indicators that alert maintenance workers when regular wear items need to be replaced or when the units are due for inspection. A new handle design adds ergonomic comfort and an LCD interface.
Meanwhile, the issue of sustainability continued to gain attention. For the first time, NA 2008 featured a Sustainability Pavilion, and Tuesday morning’s keynote presentation featured Andrew Winston, founder of Winston Eco-Strategies, LLC , and co-author of Green to Gold , who spoke about sustainability in the supply chain.
During MHIA ’s press conference Tuesday afternoon on the state of the material handling industry, Hal Vandiver, executive vice president %%MDASSML%% business development, MHIA, noted that while the industry has experienced a period of growth in the last year, it is forecasting modest contractions in new orders, shipments and consumption of material handling equipment through 2008. Recovery is expected in late 2009.
For more on these stories, watch PlantEngineering.com and look for the May issue of Plant Engineering magazine.