Engineering News Article

Materials handling equipment supplier Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC) has delivered 43 machines on a 60-month, long-term rental contract to tyre manufacturer Sumitomo Rubber Industries.

The machines are used at Sumitomo’s manufacturing plant in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal.
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The machines comprise 15 DEC 5 t electric tow tractors recently introduced to the local market by GLTC, 20 Doosan diesel forklifts with capacities from 1.8 t to 7 t, and eight Crown ESR5260-2.0 reach trucks with 11.5 m lift heights.

GLTC KwaZulu-Natal sales manager Dale Rosewall notes that this is the second time that GLTC and Sumitomo have reached such an agreement. The previous agreement of 2018 involved the rental of tow motors and forklifts for the new TBR manufacturing plant.
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Sumitomo Rubber Industries procurement associate manager Jogen Moodley says the DEC electric tow tractors are deployed to transport work-in-progress material used for tyre production in the factory.

He adds that the machines are powerful and smaller, and fit the bill for the factory’s confined working spaces.

“Space constraints have created a challenge to move material within our factory. The DEC tow tractors can easily access confined spaces, which cannot be accessed by conventional forklifts.”

Moodley explains that another key benefit is that these units are electric, which, in turn, translates into operational savings and zero emissions, ensuring the health of its employees.

Rosewall comments that the 20 Doosan forklifts were specified according to the departmental and application requirements of the facility after an extensive site investigation.

The forklifts are being used to move heavier loads, including raw materials, equipment and tooling, than those handled by tow tractors, says Moodley.

The eight Crown ESR 5260-2.0 reach trucks are used in the raw-material and finished-goods warehouses.

“Owing to the space constraints, we cannot use conventional fork trucks, and reach trucks are winning the day for us. Offering 11.5 m of lift height capacity, the ESR research trucks also assist with the height factor for storage on racks at higher levels,” he says.

Motivation Behind Rental

Moodley says materials handling equipment is generally an expensive commodity to buy and maintain, hence Sumitomo’s decision to rent it.

“Outright purchasing would be costly. That’s why we opted for the rental option with a maintenance contract for complete peace of mind.”

Renting offers the company the flexibility it needs, enabling it to easily adapt to business fluctuations, adds Moodley.

“Rental offers a far lower upfront cost, compared with the outright purchase of a new unit.”

In addition, a rental can be written off and regarded as an operational expense and is generally far easier to deal with than the depreciation costs associated with an asset that has been bought.

Moodley explains that, in terms of budgeting, a rental is far easier to forecast than any unexpected repairs that may be needed during the life cycle of an owned unit.

The rental option offers backup machines in case of breakdowns to ensure that productivity is not affected while machines are repaired. It also offers an easy upgrade or downgrade path without additional capital outlay, compared with outright purchasing.

Meanwhile, high-quality aftersales support, efficient key accounts sales personnel, flexibility, robust machine options and pricing are some of the key reasons why Sumitomo finds comfort in dealing with GLTC, says Moodley.

“We have been working with Sumitomo since the opening of its new truck and bus radial plant, in Ladysmith. Staying true to our market-leading reputation, we have technicians and a workshop fully stocked with parts on site to offer a high-quality support service,” says Rosewall.

For convenience, all machines on site are fitted with GLTC’s fleet management system fleet management system. This helps customers to improve productivities and means less machine downtime, less tyre wear and reduced abuse costs, adds Rosewall.

The fleet management system is a complete forklift fleet management system that operates through the general packet radio service (GPRS) network. GPRS is a packet oriented mobile data standard on the 2G and 3G cellular communication network’s global system for mobile communications. Data is sent through a corporate access point name, which is a point where a mobile device can enter an Internet protocol network.

By optimising productivity, the fleet management system measures the use of forklifts over a predetermined period, providing a ‘used snapshot’ that establishes, besides other aspects, the optimum number of forklifts required in an operation, adds Rosewall.

He concludes that GLTC offers the most diverse product range in Southern Africa, which can tackle any application, adding that this is the company’s competitive edge, which separates it from the competition.