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					Deal or no deal?
 Secondhand forklift trucks could be the answer for those companies seeking additional materials
 handling equipment without raising the budget. Laura Cork goes shopping for quality seconds

             s orders slowly begin to pick up,           Other customers can stretch the budget        certain new models on the market,” he says.
             manufacturers may find they need        further to its platinum package. But whatever     When a customer buys a used Jungheinrich
             more – or different – forklift trucks   the cost, selecting a used truck enables buyers   truck, he says, they are also buying in to a
             to move materials to and from the       to secure premium brand equipment with a          reliable supplier with a sound infrastructure
 warehouse and around the factory floor. With        higher spec and more features than a cheaper      and proven after-sales service record –
 budgets remaining tight, however, more and          new model – “something used car buyers have       something “that some of the recent entrants
 more are opting for used trucks, some of            been doing for years,” Wallis points out.         to the market simply cannot match”.
 which can be refurbished to near-new                    Indeed; this is a market with significant         Jungheinrich’s secondhand equipment is
 standards.                                          potential. Jungheinrich says its sales of used    marketed under its ‘Ready to Go’ brand. One
     This is borne out by market reports. While      equipment have more than doubled in the           customer that was attracted to the offer is
 industry statistics point to a sharp reduction      past two years, and it expects this upward        Franklin Silencers. This Northampton-based
 in sales of new forklift trucks in the UK, some     curve to continue. Less bullish is Linde          manufacturer of industrial silencers recently
 truck manufacturers are reporting a surge in        Material Handling, though it says its used        decided to upgrade its materials handling
 demand for used and refurbished vehicles.           equipment sales have “remained stable” in         equipment and, having looked at what was
     Take Toyota Material Handling UK, for           the past year while the market for new trucks     available on the market, opted for
 example. Operations director Tony Wallis says       fell dramatically. “In light of the current       Jungheinrich’s Ready to Go range.
 the company has seen “a significant                 economic conditions, to be maintaining sales          Franklin decided upon electric and LPG
 increase” in demand for pre-owned                   at last year’s levels is a good sign,” says       models for use around the production and
 equipment in the last 12 months. “We’ve             Linde’s head of used trucks Mark Sullivan.        distribution sites. The gas-powered truck is
 modified our approach to reflect this,” he          “We’re promoting our used trucks just as          used around the production plant, where it
 says. Customers can now buy Toyota used             strongly [as new equipment], particularly as      unloads deliveries of raw steel. The electric
 equipment, with a full range of finance,            they are designed to be robust and reliable for   machine is used within the finished goods
 rental and service options to boot.                 many years of work, far beyond the initial        warehouse.
     Toyota offers pre-owned equipment to            contract period.”                                     Both are fairly low-intensity operations
 three standards to suit each customer’s                 Like Toyota’s Tony Wallis, Jungheinrich       and this was a key factor in steering Franklin’s
 requirements and budget. “Many are                  UK’s used equipment and short term rental         decision to used equipment. “We chose used
 operating a leaner materials handling fleet         director Neil Warren also maintains that much     machines because the Jungheinrich models
 than in previous years, but still want the          of this growing demand comes at the expense       were refurbished to an extremely high
 security of a back-up truck, should work            of new – and much cheaper – forklift models       standard and represented excellent value for
 volumes increase suddenly,” explains Wallis.        imported from the Far East. “We’d contend         money,” says Franklin’s deputy MD Danny
 “An entry level or Toyota Gold standard truck       that a good quality used truck that has been      Weisenberger.

 would give them the value for money they            fully refurbished to the relevant European            Each truck in the used range comes with
 seek.”                                              standards represents far better value than        full service history, valid LOLER certification
                                                                                                       and up to six months’ warranty. As well as
                                                                                                       electric and engine-powered counterbalance
            A good quality used truck                                                                  models, Jungheinrich also offers refurbished
                                                                                                       warehouse equipment such as reach trucks
            represents far better value                                                                and order pickers. Better still, all are available
                                                                                                       on next-day delivery. This is made possible by
     than certain new models                                                                           its truck refurbishment factory in Dresden,
                                                                                                       Germany. The economies of scale here enable
     Neil Warren, Jungheinrich UK                                                                      the company to offer competitively priced

28                                                                                                     February 2010
John Bradley                                                                                    Materials handling & logistics Forklift trucks

               used equipment, and the trucks rebuilt at        offers contract hire or lease purchase            expense of compliance with EU safety
               Dresden are shipped to many countries and        packages.                                         standards.”
               continents.                                           If it all sounds too good to be true, then      The European Machinery Directive is
                  On arrival at Dresden, each vehicle is        perhaps it is. There is a requirement on the      designed to ensure a common policy of safety
               dismantled and all worn or defective parts are   customer to do more than kick the tyres to        and supply. The latest version of the Directive
               replaced, including tyres and lift chains. The   declare these machines with ‘previous’ to be      came into force in December. E or CE marking
               trucks are then cleaned inside and out and       fit for purpose. There’s a hefty responsibility   indicates that the product design and
               repainted before they are reassembled and        and duty of care to ensure employee safety.       construction complies with health and safety
               tested. “The advantage of carrying out this           The truck manufacturers’ association,        requirements laid down by the relevant
               work within the group, rather than through       BITA, asserts that safety must be the top         European Directive (including Machinery
               dealers, is that we know all the trucks that     priority. “It’s not unusual for equipment that    Directive). Without a compliance mark, buyers
               leave Dresden have been overhauled               is offered for sale on the global market and      cannot be certain that the truck design meets
               according to our quality standards, so they      imported into the EU for the first time to be     minimum safety standards – in turn, meaning
               meet all legal requirements as well as           more than 10 years’ old,” says BITA’s secretary   there can be no guarantee of safe operating
               customer needs,” says Neil Warren.               general James Clark. “This means that both        condition.
                  How competitive are its prices? Warren        EU and ISO standards could have been revised         BITA offers useful guidance notes on this
               says that a fully refurbished truck costs        twice since the original date of manufacture.     and other matters: see
               around 60% of the price of a new model. Over     Indeed, from experience, it is apparent that a       It’s certainly important to verify safety
               half the used trucks sold in the UK are          number of these used machines have achieved       standards on a secondhand truck, but if that
               purchased outright, but the company also         their highly competitive pricing at the           truck is to be operated in a hazardous area,

      February 2010                                                                                                          29
                                                                                   Materials handling & logistics Forklift trucks

this becomes a matter of life and death. Safety                                                      forklift trucks have an extremely arduous
specialist Pyroban provides explosion-proof                                                          working life, why would any buyer ignore the
modifications for all leading truck brands and                                                       service history in favour of the best price?
it warns of the dangers of buying used                                                               Wallis recommends asking questions about
explosion-proof equipment. “When we                                                                  the truck’s working life. “Forks and masts are
convert a truck, it undergoes stringent tests                                                        subject to huge stresses over the life of the
which it must pass in order to be certified as                                                       truck. The higher the lift height, the greater
ATEX compliant,” says Pyroban’s Darren                                                               the stresses, so pay particular attention to the
Boiling. “As soon as it leaves our factory, it is                                                    mast mounting points.” It’s not just how the
then the user’s ultimate responsibility to                                                           truck has been used either, it’s where: “If it’s
ensure it is properly maintained.” That means                                                        been used in a yard with an uneven surface,
ensuring the vehicle has a valid ‘thorough                                                           you could expect to see wear and tear on the
examination’ report – the forklift equivalent       inspection, preparation and warranty they are    pivot point of the rear axle. Again, this should
of an MOT.                                          being offered with any pre-owned truck,” he      be inspected and included in any warranty.”
    There are some used Pyroban-coverted            states. Look for a quality brand that has been   The Toyota counterbalance range features a
trucks in the market that are priced                serviced and refurbished with genuine OEM        swing lock cylinder, part of its system of active
attractively, he warns, yet may be so old they      parts. “Manufacturers like Toyota re-sell        stability, which helps to reduce wear on this
are not even ATEX compliant. If in doubt, ask       equipment from their rental fleets, so they      pivot point.
Pyroban to inspect the equipment.                   have been responsible for the maintenance of         There are undoubtedly great deals to be
    Toyota’s Tony Wallis raises more important      the equipment from new, enabling them to         had on used equipment of this kind. But, as
issues that buyers should be aware of.              provide information about its working life and   with used cars, there are premium quality
“Prospective buyers should certainly ask            service history.”                                seconds and other, less reputable offers.
careful questions about the level of                   This is a critical point. Given that most     Choose carefully. ■

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