Two for the price of one

Following the success of last year’s Materials Handling Live! Exhibition, next month’s event is bigger than ever and offers a host of solutions. Julia Pierce reports.


From forklift trucks and freight lifts to boxes, balers and waste solutions — whether you are running a warehouse, hub or small storage unit — the Materials Handling Live! Exhibition should have something of interest.

The event, which takes place at Stoneleigh Park exhibition centre, Warks on 22 and 23 May, is running alongside Logistics Link Live!

Together, both exhibitions aim to showcase materials handling solutions that can be tailored to visitors’ needs, enabling them to keep up to date with all the latest developments.

As well as offering supply chain solutions, there will be demonstrations of new ways to improve productivity to increase profit and maximise cost effectiveness. Companies from all areas of materials handling will be represented. As well as hardware, the event covers areas including health and safety, lifting and handling equipment, packaging solutions, racking and shelving and warehouse automation.

Following its popularity last year, the demonstration area has been doubled in size, giving visitors a chance to see materials handling solutions in action. Among those whose machinery will be on display is Shrinkfast, which will be showing its pallet-wrapping machine.

Meanwhile, Translift Bendi will be demonstrating a truck from its B3 range, which can operate in 1.6m aisles — outperforming most very narrow aisle (VNA) machines according to the company. It can handle up to 40 pallets/hour, almost double that of most VNA trucks and almost a third more than reach trucks, all in far smaller aisles. The vehicle has won nine design awards with its multi-patented features, most notably the Queen’s Award for Innovation.

‘Bendi enables more pallets to be stored within the existing building envelope,’ said Helen Bishop, Bendi’s marketing manager. ‘Because of its design, the truck is capable of working both inside and out.

‘Loading and unloading lorries on concrete or unpaved yards is carried out with ease — and then it’s straight into the warehouse to deposit the load. Overall savings in space and time, together with reduced capital costs, can create enormous savings for operators.’

Loading and unloading specialists Thorworld, whose clients include printer and fax machine manufacturer Brother and rubber compounder Eastland Compounding, will be demonstrating one of its mobile yard ramps in the display area outside the main entrance.

According to the company, if the loading system in a yard fails, goods cannot be despatched or received, causing knock-on delays in the production and distribution cycle. Choosing the right supplier and equipment is therefore crucial to ensure trouble-free operation and helping to minimise costly downtime.

‘There has been an increase in the use of double deck trailers by companies such as Tesco,’ said Neil Moore, Thorworld advertising and marketing manager. ‘The company has products tailored to this, and will also be displaying its full new 2007/2008 catalogue on the stand.’ The display will also feature details of Thorworld’s loading bay equipment, safety aids and accessories.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, leading experts in materials handling will be presenting at the British Materials Handling Federation conference, which is free to all those booking in advance.

Highlights include a talk explaining the EU’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive regulations and responsibilities. This will provide comprehensive cover of issues including who is implicated, and how the legislation will work. Later, the Health and Safety Executive will provide an update on health and safety in Retail and Wholesale Warehouses (HSG76) rules, which are currently under review. The presentation will cover what to expect from the new document, due to be published later this year.

There will also be product presentations and launches from leading suppliers in a separate, dedicated product presentation theatre. Battery specialist Norco Group will be introducing two products. The first is the Norco RMS asset tracking, transaction recording and reporting system designed to maximise returns on battery fleet investments.

The company will also launch its Power for Life — an all-inclusive battery topping, maintenance, repair, cell replacement and product replacement programme, offering cost-effective fleet replacements, cover for new and used batteries, and a tax-deductible monthly service charge.

Meanwhile, Clandestine Software’s business development director Mike Smith will explain why voice picking is not necessarily the answer to every company’s needs. Though the use of this technology, particularly for order picking, has been touted as the panacea for all the warehouse’s problems, Smith will show where the true benefits of the technology lie and for whom, giving a clear indication of where the real issues are to be found.

As well as the opportunity to visit these events, there will be a host of companies exhibiting in the main hall. Among these is Mil-Tek, which makes baler machines for packaging and cardboard. ‘Our balers can reduce waste by up to 70 per cent,’ said sales director Bryan Wingfield. ‘We organise a free collection by a local recycling firm, and because the machinery is air operated it has low running costs.’

Another waste management exhibitor is futur. Working with some of the UK’s largest logistics companies, the firm has developed a range of recycling and waste management solutions specifically tailored to the sector. It specialises in providing a comprehensive service, including baling and compacting equipment, material handling and the complete management of re-processing to ensure clients achieve best-value services and returns on recycling as well as full legal compliance with all legislation.

‘We believe the range of solutions we have developed are ideal for logistics,’ said sales director Tim Bostwick. ‘With landfill tax increasing and legislation requiring pre-treatment of all waste before it enters landfill coming in October 2007, now is the right time for companies to take a closer look at the way they handle their waste.’

With such a variety of companies, presentations, product launches and system displays, anyone looking for a solution to a materials handling query should find at least one answer to hand. With so much on show, in just two days, weeks of research from end to end of the business cycle will be brought to life before your eyes.