The UniCarriers Difference

You’ll see the difference in UniCarriers forklifts from the very start — in the fit and finish of every forklift they manufacture. And it’s a difference that will continue to grow over time — as you appreciate the value of the exclusive, innovative features that are only available on UniCarrier forklifts…as you experience the superior up-time performance they deliver…and as you profit from the bottom-line advantages that come from running UniCarriers forklifts.

State-Of-The-Art Manufacturing

At UniCarriers Americas, they understand that it takes a lot more than steel to build a quality forklift — that the most important components in the manufacturing process are:

  • State-of the art manufacturing facilities
  • A highly efficient production process
  • Strict quality control measures
  • A workforce that’s highly knowledgeable, skilled and passionate about the work they do

And they put it all together to build an organization that produces reliable forklifts and satisfied customers.

UniCarriers Americas ISO 9001:2008 certification is a testament to commitment to quality manufacturing, continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

Advanced Engineering

UniCarriers Americas engineering takes a holistic approach to design, finding new ways to make our products easier to operate, faster to service, more reliable and more economical to run. As a result, you’ll find they engineer:

  • Components with fewer moving parts and less wear points
  • Service points that are readily accessible to minimize the time and effort of routine maintenance
  • Controls that are easy to learn, intuitive to use and ergonomically designed
  • Systems that automatically detect and alert the driver to system anomalies

Designs that provide better sightlines…systems that control speed, optimize performance, improve fuel economy…trucks that deliver more uptime, faster work cycles and greater bottom-line profitability — they’re all products of our advanced engineering and the advantages you get from working with UniCarriers Americas.

Awards & Certifications

At UniCarriers, they have put together a state-of-the art manufacturing facility, a highly skilled and motivated work force and a company culture that won’t accept anything less than excellence.

While we know UniCarriers has created something special, it’s always nice to have their efforts and accomplishments acknowledged by others. And they are rewarded every day by a growing list of loyal, satisfied customers — and the recognition of our community and our peers.

The Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award has recognized UniCarriers Americas as an organization that has demonstrated a commitment to our economy, society and environment through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices.

Green Supply Chain Award for efforts to incorporate a green initiative into our core supply chain strategy. The award recognizes companies making green or sustainability a core part of their supply chain strategy and working to achieve measurable sustainability goals within their operations and/or supply chains in the areas of sourcing/procurement, fulfillment/logistics, operations, and product life cycle management.

UniCarriers Americas ISO 9001:2008 certification shows our strong customer focus, the commitment of top management, and that advanced processes are in place to help ensure quality and continual improvement in the products we manufacture.

UniCarriers Americas ISO 14001:2004 certification was earned by minimizing our carbon footprint and reducing the impact we have on the environment. It demonstrates the commitment we have to our community, our customers and the world.

Learn more about UniCarriers Equipment at their website. To get a quote on a UniCarriers forklift, contact us at 636-583-3689.

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Beating the Heat in Your Warehouse this Summer

The hot summer months are upon us. With increased heat and humidity workers become more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Workers who are not accustomed to working in the heat can quickly become ill and experience heat stroke, which can lead to serious illness and even death. There are a few things to keep in mind about heat-related illness and what you can do to help prevent it in your workers.

  1. Train your employees about the dangers of heat-related illnesses. OSHA has excellent training information and materials to help you relate this information to all of your employees who work in the heat.  Part of that training should be to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and to act upon them immediately. Never brush it off and continue working. The symptoms exist for a reason!
  2. Understand that all employees are not equally able to resist the heat. Employees should be able to assess their own conditioning and how well they handle heat. Employees who are taking certain prescription medications or have certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, need to pay special attention to how they feel while working. Employees who are new to outdoor jobs are often most susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Try to ease them into the normal workload gradually, until you’re confident they are acclimated.
  3. Provide additional water stations during the hotter months, at more convenient locations, and encourage employees to drink water every 15 minutes or so, based on temperature. Never wait until you are thirsty to start re-hydrating.
  4. Provide for more frequent breaks. In the long run employees will be more productive in the heat if they are getting proper rest to allow their bodies to cool down while also keeping themselves better hydrated during these breaks.

OSHA has provided a wealth of information to help you provide a safe atmosphere to deal with the summer heat. While OSHA does not have a standard pertaining to preventing heat illnesses, it is up to us to be sure we have done everything that we can to help our employees stay safe and avoid heat-related illnesses.

Well-trained and equipped employees are more productive employees. Keeping them safe from the heat during the summer months ensures better productivity for tomorrow and years beyond. But it is ultimately up to us as the employers to be sure our employees are prepared to understand and act accordingly to ensure their own safety.

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Shocking Truth About Electric Forklifts

For decades, internal combustion engine forklifts have dominated market share in North America. Over the last five years or so, that is changing, for many reasons. More and more companies are realizing the benefits of switching to electric forklifts from internal combustion, which are:

  • Reduced fuel costs
  • Longer forklift useful life
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Improved ergonomics for the operator
  • Zero emissions in the facility

In fact, electric forklift now count for 65% of the North American market share of new forklift sales. Recent years have seen dramatic improvements in:

  • Electric motor technology and performance
  • Charging technology, particularly fast-charging systems
  • Outdoor performance and durability
  • Increases in maximum capacities of electric forklifts

One of the big advancements has come by way of fast charging technology. Conventional charging means multiple batteries for each forklift as it would take 8 to 10 hours to charge a batter, then 6 to 8 hours to rest and cool, then discharging during a regular 8 hour shift. However with new fast charging technologies, electric forklifts are often able to remain productive with a single battery. Fast charging stations are placed throughout the facility where operators take breaks, this allows for fast charging during non-productive times.

In addition smart charging systems are truly that, smart; they recognize the type of battery being used in order to charge it safely and efficiently. In addition, many smart charging systems feature automatic watering and equalization capabilities. This ensures cell balance and proper battery care, keeping the battery within manufacturer’s recommended conditions and validating the warranty.

Recent studies of electric forklifts vs their internal combustion counterparts have revealed dramatic savings. With increased useful life, reduced maintenance and fuel costs one study showed that a fleet savings of over $200,000 by switching to electric forklifts. But electric forklifts are not for everyone just yet. Be sure to consult with professionals that understand electric forklifts, charging systems, their benefits and limitations.

Contact us at 636-583-3689 to speak with one of our fleet professionals about the viability of electric forklifts for your application.

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If Mining, Construction and Forestry can Trust Komatsu, so Can YOU!

Komatsu Heavy Machinery and Forklifts

Machines Counted on to do the Toughest Jobs
For decades, Komatsu heavy duty equipment has been a mainstay for some of the toughest industries in America. From giant excavators, wheel loaders, and bulldozers to our own forklifts, Komatsu builds quality into the product and supports it with some of the best warranties in the the industry.

To learn more about Komatsu forklifts, click here. Then visit their warranty page to learn more about their warranties. Want a quote on a new Komatsu forklift for your fleet? Give us a call at 636-583-3689.

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Four Traits of Safety-Minded Companies

As managers and owners, we want a safe work environment for all of our employees. Unfortunately, all too often it escapes us. Time passes quickly, and initiatives that were once important standards become guidelines or even merely suggestions. How can we ensure that when we put safety measures in place, they will stay in place as employees come and go in a business climate that is constantly in flux?

While we lack the space to answer this question in full detail here, there are a few major approaches to providing a safe work environment that transcend industries, equipment and facilities. We outline these “hows and whys” of workplace safety below.

Since 1970, OSHA has worked to create a safer workplace for all employees, and their mission has been very successful. However, accidents still happen, and not only at companies willfully violating OSHA standards. Sometimes safety goes beyond meeting standards due to unique circumstances in certain operations.

The following are a few approaches to safety that have helped both large and small companies to achieve better workplace safety, fewer incidents and accidents, lower costs, more productivity and better workplace attitudes.

Safety is integrated with company mission – Safe companies put as much emphasis on doing things safely as on doing them productively. From day one, every employee knows they are working for a company that would rather they do their job safely than quickly. These employees will lockout a piece of equipment when something goes wrong, will replace light bulbs that need it instead of ignoring them and will report unsafe behavior or unsafe conditions.

Training never ends – Employees are involved in ongoing training – how to lift more safely, how to sit properly in a chair, how to operate a certain piece of equipment and so on. Your business is fluid: things change; equipment changes; and equipment, building space and employees are added. As your conditions change, your training must address these changes. Training for the safest work environments is never a one-time event or a two- or three-day training initiation. It is an ongoing pursuit of the safest possible work facility. It should be a goal of all employees to see that their coworkers go home safe every night.

Involvement at all levels – While involvement in a safe work environment must start from the corner office, the mission and strategy it is also important to ensure that every employee knows that they are involved and responsible. It is a good idea to create safety teams for every facet of your business, to revolve people in and out of those teams, and to have them conduct frequent facility or department reviews to identify potential threats. The most successful companies have reward systems for reporting anything that could be a potential threat, even if it is as minor as a sharp corner on a coat rack. This keeps all employees engaged in creating a safe work environment.

Accountability – Once you have established your safety mission and mapped out your strategy, everyone involved must be held accountable. No one can shirk their safety responsibilities. If a sharp corner on a coat rack is missed and someone gets cut, find out why no one noticed. Are they doing regular inspections? If safety standards are not being met, it is the leadership’s job to find out why and fix it. Everyone must know that if an accident happens on their watch, it must be accounted for and a plan must be designed to ensure that it will not happen again.

A truly safe, productive and profitable workplace is attained through ongoing efforts, and these are just a few of the major strategies that play out in successful organizations. We encourage you to seek the assistance of OSHA, NIOSH or other private safety consultants to help you organize and strategize your safety plans.

If there is anything we can help you with in regard to your equipment and its operators, please contact us. We would be happy to assist you!

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Eastern Missouri’s One Source for Materials Handling

Union Machinery is your complete source for all your materials handling, machinery moving and storage needs.

Since 1987 we have served the greater St. Louis area and beyond with our machinery moving and storing services. As we grew and expanded our services and products we added forklift sales and service in 1993.

We now represent three high-quality lines of forklift equipment, provide service and parts for all makes and models as well as rentals for nearly any material handling application! We have prided ourselves on listening to our customers and providing the products and services that they need to improve their materials handling operation.

We have even added warehouse products, commercial warehouse equipment and attachments to our mix,  giving us a well-rounded product supply for all our great customers.

If you have yet tried Union Machinery for your materials handling or equipment moving and storage, consider giving us a call at 636-583-3689 and give us the opportunity to earn your business. We have a feeling you will be glad you did!

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New Aerial Lift Safety Resources

While aerial lifts are used frequently at construction, warehousing, and many other job sites, they can pose potentially fatal hazards to workers. Aerial devices include boom-supported aerial platforms, such as cherry pickers or bucket trucks, aerial ladders and vertical towers.

The major causes of injuries and fatalities are falls, electrocutions, and collapses or tip-overs, such as the one that killed Kevin Miranda in Taunton, Mass., on Aug. 18, 2015. Skyline Contracting and Roofing Corp. was fined more than $100,000 after OSHA inspectors found that the aerial lift was positioned on unleveled ground and determined that the company had not trained Miranda to recognize this hazard.

Learn about the fall-related risks and recommended safe work practices associated with this equipment by visiting the new NIOSH Aerial Lifts webpage. The page includes a Hazard Recognition Simulator designed to help you acclimate to aerial lift operation. Additional resources on aerial lift safety are available from OSHA.

 

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Forklift Purchase Price vs. Total Ownership Costs

When you are purchasing a piece of equipment, you obtain competitive quotes, verify specifications and generate a purchase order. For that matter, just about anything we purchase goes through the same process. However, there is much more to purchasing forklifts and other material handling equipment. We have found, over the years, that often there are variables that can greatly affect the total cost of ownership of anything, be it an automobile, forklift or a giant cargo container.

The price you pay for your piece of equipment, by most accounts, reflects about 10% of the total ownership costs of that piece of equipment. This leaves 90% of your total costs up in the air. Depending on many variables, you could pay much more for the equipment than you needed to, or much less. These variables include:

Performance and Reliability of Equipment – Comparing cost per hour to operate can give you a good idea of what competing pieces of equipment will cost you over their useful life. When comparing cost per hour to operate, you should be sure you’re comparing similar models under similar circumstances. A lift truck operating 1500 hours a year for a light weight product manufacturer will cost far less over its lifetime than the same lift truck operating at a recycling facility. This cost should reflect general maintenance requirements as well as fuel costs.

Fuel Consumption – While this is often a part of performance and cost per hour, knowing the fuel costs for each comparing brand and calculating total costs over the life of the equipment can sometimes be quite an eye-opener. In addition, what are your fuel alternatives? Can you use electric models? Thinking outside the box may result in lower costs to power your forklift and other lift equipment.

Specifications vs. Operations – It is rare that two 5,000-lb-capacity forklifts from competing brands will have similar specifications. Knowing what your facility will accommodate and comparing that with each model will give you insight into how each model will perform, given your operating parameters. Factors include: aisle width vs. turn radius, draw bar pull, suspension and ergonomics compared to your floor condition, indoor/outdoor use and ceiling height/rack height vs. max lift height. You will also want to compare features between brands to ensure that each lift truck model is equipped with the proper components to meet your operational requirements. For example: Can it operate properly inside your ice cream freezer?

Ergonomics – A comfortable and smooth-running piece of equipment will provide you with increased productivity. These are costs hidden in equipment that are quite real in daily operating conditions. How much time and research and development, does each brand put into the comfort and ease of use of their equipment? Happy, comfortable operators are simply more productive.

Safety – Never underestimate the safety features of your equipment. What equipment is being specified and what equipment is optional from each manufacturer is very important to know. Reducing your accident costs or product/facility damage can make a big difference in your total fleet operational expenses.

Useful Life – Finally, how many hours can you expect from each piece of equipment until the cost to operate becomes cost-prohibitive? This can vary widely depending upon brand and model. But having some qualitative and quantitative information on hand, if possible, will help you make a better decision about the total cost of operating each unit/model.

There are many factors beyond price tag or lease rate that can help you make good decisions about the equipment you purchase. Having a partner that listens, evaluates and fulfills your needs is essential in building a fleet that is most productive and less costly in the long run. Contact us at 636-583-6389 to speak to one of our material handling professionals about the right forklift for your operation.

 

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Section 179 is Back and Better for 2016

Congress has approved much needed improvements in Section 179 which allows companies, like yours, the ability to completely deduct the purchase cost of equipment the first year it is put into service. The new limits are:

Maximum 179 Deduction for 2016: $500,000

This means for qualifying equipment purchases of up to $500,000, your company can deduct 100% of the purchase price from its taxes the very first year it is put into service.

Further, this maximum will be increased annually, with the maximum tied to inflation, at $10,000 increments.

Bonus Depreciation; Maximum Qualifying Purchases: $2,000,000

Once you exceed the maximum deduction of $500,000, bonus depreciation kicks in at 50%, until you reach the maximum qualifying purchases of $2,000,000. For example, if you spend $1,000, ooo on new equipment, you can fully deduct the first $500,000, then deduct 50% of the remaining $500,000 for a total tax deduction the first year of $750,000.  It then begins to phase out dollar for dollar until you reach $2,500,000, where it is then completely eliminated.

Bonus Depreciation will be extended through 2019. Businesses of all sizes will be able to depreciate 50 percent of the cost of equipment acquired and put in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017. Then bonus depreciation will phase down to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019.

Note: The section 179 deduction applies to NEW and USED equipment whereas the bonus depreciation is only available for NEW equipment.

What that means to the purchase price of a NEW, $30,000 forklift? Assuming your company is in the 35% tax bracket, your effective cost, after deducting the entire $30,000 from your taxes, is only $19,500!

With Section 179 in effect for the remainder of 2015 and all of 2016, and beyond, there’s never been a better time to invest in new forklifts for your facility.

Note: We always suggest you consult your accountant or tax professional before you utilize section 179 for tax savings. Not all companies are structured the same and your savings may vary.

To learn more about Section 179, please visit; www.section179.org. Visit our New Forklift showroom,  Then Contact Us for a quote, or give us a call at 636-583-6389.

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Hidden Costs of Choosing the Wrong Forklift Battery and Charger Combo

To be competitive in today’s markets, you need a cleaner, “greener,” but efficient product. Forklifts are no different. Leading manufacturers are doing more R & D to meet customers’ needs for more powerful electric lift trucks that will meet tough application requirements, reduce the carbon footprint and improve productivity.

Electric forklifts clearly are more environmentally friendly than their internal combustion counterparts, are becoming equally powerful and can cost thousands less to operate. In fact, compared to a forklift with an internal combustion engine, electric forklifts can be as much as 75% cheaper to own & operate over their useful life.

Selecting the wrong charger and battery combination can quickly shorten battery life, leading to the need to replace batteries more frequently. Multiply a 50% reduction in battery life by the number of batteries in your facility and you will quickly realize the hidden costs of choosing the wrong charger for your batteries and the application in which they will operate.

What are the options for batteries and chargers? It would be easy to simply select the lowest priced available battery or charger, but this can cost your company thousands more dollars in the long-run.

There are many things that can shorten battery life, but by far the two major culprits are:

  • Opportunity charging, or “short cycling” a battery using a standard charger. This short cycling creates heat, which is the main cause of premature battery failure.
  • Lack of water. This lack of water generates more heat, which shortens battery life dramatically.

Combine the lack of watering with opportunity charging, and you have a certain recipe for a dramatic decrease in your battery’s productivity and useful life. Batteries traditionally have a standard number of charge/cool/discharge cycles (1500-1800 per battery), and opportunity charging and insufficient watering can reduce cycles by as much as 50%.

But if you invest in the right charger up front, you can all but eliminate these problems. The right charger can increase battery life, reduce the number of batteries you need, and improve your overall productivity. Some chargers read current battery discharge and use patented pulsing charge technology to charge the battery quickly and efficiently, without generating excessive heat.

But how do you select the right battery, charger, or combination of each, for your specific applications so that you can maximize results? Our first recommendation is to call a dealership that has a proven history of service and highly trained personnel to diagnose and repair your forklifts, batteries, and chargers all in one place. These dealerships stay on the cutting edge with constant updates to both their products and personnel training, and they are equipped to help you through the maze of choices.

Some things we consider when helping customers select electric material handling equipment include:

Where are chargers and battery changing stations located throughout your facility?
What combination of voltages (24, 36, 48, 80V) and corresponding chargers do you operate?

  • How many shifts do you operate?
  • How many hours is each forklift in operation per shift?
  • How often do you add water?
  • How long do batteries have to cool down after charging?

By determining how your equipment will be used and how often, we can help you decide if a single standard battery and basic charger will suffice, or would three batteries per forklift help you run three full shifts at maximum capacity. The combination of battery and charger will never be the same at each company. Making the wrong choice for you can lead to some hidden expenses that start almost immediately and compound each month. We have seen this happen too many times, but we can help you make the right choice of battery and charger for your application, reducing your overall costs and increasing your operational efficiency.

The bottom line is that there are many factors that have an impact on your overall efficiency when using battery operated lift trucks, and having a partner like Union Machinery can make the difference that helps you optimize battery run-time, life-time, and productivity, all of which contribute directly to your bottom line.

So call us at 636-583-3689. Consultation is free, and we just may be able to save you thousands on your fleet fuel cell consumption.

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