Production of special trucks is approaching pre-recession levels in Jungheinrich’s special build factory at Lueneburg in Germany, writes Johanna Parsons.
After a dip in output in 2009 to 600 trucks, fifty per cent of its 2008 output, it is already scheduled to build 800 this year.
The Lueneburg factory achieved a positive result over the last year, and managed to keep on all of its regular staff. Although it cut back to one shift per day in 2009, it is beginning to schedule second shifts again for some orders.
Overall, the Jungheinrich group returned to profit in the first quarter of 2010, although sales were still in decline. Hans-Georg Frey, chairman of the board of management of Jungheinrich, said: “Extensive measures taken to adjust personnel capacity and improve earnings taken by Jungheinrich last year in reaction to the massive shrinkage of the market and drop in demand in new truck business thus had a positive impact.”
The Lueneburg facility has a separate function within the firm.
The Lueneburg facility has a separate function within the firm, to position Jungheinrich as a full line supplier by filling any gaps within its product range. Rather than prioritising assembly process optimisation, the focus is meeting all customer requirements with 40 to 50 per cent of production being one offs.
It was established twenty years ago as a concentrated pool of experienced specialists working on all special commissions: special builds, custom builds and small series.
Among thousands of unique designs they have developed the tallest reach truck for DHL that reaches 12.53 and produced a three pallet deep forklift for Aldi and Lidl.
A common customisation for the UK market is a larger battery, to sustain triple shift schedules. Elsewhere in Europe labour laws mean batteries only need to power two shifts before a break.
Occasionally small series commissions become mainstream success stories, such as a shelf stacking aid that with adjustable height that has been taken on across France to fulfil health and safety requirements by negating lifting hazards. Jungheinrich now sell more than 2,500 of these trucks per year and they are in full scale production.
Jungheinrich predicts growth in tow trucks, and has developed the EZS570 with lateral battery loading and 18 per cent lower energy consumption than the leading competitor. It already sold over 500 of these trucks last year.