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Innovations In Materials Handling Boost Labor Efficiency, Productivity

Posted On: 2/16/2005

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Innovations In Materials Handling Boost Labor Efficiency, Productivity

LAS VEGAS - Although advances in technology for sending, receiving and processing data have attracted the lion's share of attention over the past several years, steady progress in designs to speed and simplify everyday lifting, hauling and lowering may have a more immediate impact on the operator's bottom line. More sophisticated truck fleet management also can be easier to achieve and profit from than wider-ranging strategic transformations.

For these reasons, operators attending the NAMA Spring Expo here from April 4 through 6 can be expected to pay close attention to exhibits promising to speed, simplify and reduce the expense of installing and rotating vending equipment, and handling heavy items in the warehouse and in the field. And there will be a number of new things to see.

Advanced Tracking Technologies Inc. will display and demonstrate its global positioning system solutions for vehicle operations management in Booth 1112 at the Spring Expo. ATTI produces the "MobilEyes" line, which includes "Shadow Tracker" vehicle monitoring devices, mileage loggers for business drivers, and mapping and reporting software for use with them. "Shadow Tracker" systems range from low-cost recording modules that provide detailed analyses of daily vehicle activity, up to wireless systems that allow trucks to be located accurately in real time. Advanced Tracking Technologies is online at

Bill Heard Chevrolet-International-Isuzu will describe state-of-the-art vocational vehicles for vending and coffee service operations in Booth 132, and will exhibit an Isuzu cab and chassis fitted with a Hackney & Sons vending body. The company, a specialist in commercial vehicles, maintains a website at

ExxonMobil Corp. will introduce its "Fleet Card" to route operators in Booth 1230 at the Spring Expo. The "Fleet Card" can be issued to route drivers for use at more than 14,000 ExxonMobil retail sites, and provides not only customized reporting but also fuel rebates up to 3.5% and other savings. Information can be found at the company's website,

Hackney, a division of SVC (Specialized Vehicles Corp.), will describe its all-aluminum route vehicles, and the many options available for them, in Booth 132. The Hackney "Performer" body features side roll-up doors and racks for packaged beverages as well as adjustable track shelving inside to carry a wide range of vendible products. Temperature-controlled compartments for perishable items also are available. The company's vending line is described online at

JLG Industries Inc. will describe the role of its "Triple-L" trailers in reducing the expense and effort required to transport vending equipment at its exhibit in Booth 1534. "Triple-L" trailers are designed with beds that lower to ground level, so machines can be rolled aboard, then lift for towing. Nine models are available, with single and tandem axles and capacities ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 lbs. Beds are available in lengths from 8 to 16 ft., and in flatbed, utility and enclosed configurations. The line is illustrated online at (click on "LLL" under "Brands" at the left side of the menu on the JLG home page).

Mickey Truck Bodies, which marked its 100th anniversary last year, will detail its line of vending route delivery vehicles in Booth 1406. The Mickey refreshment services route line includes "Provend II" and "Provend Plus" models (the latter with outside-accessible side bays); the high-capacity "Vendsetter"; and the "Flex-Vend" body for packaged beverage deliveries. These designs and others can be viewed online at

Morgan Olson, the former Grumman Olson, will spotlight its popular "Route Star" walk-in van series in Booth 151 at the NAMA Spring Expo. "Route Star" vans are available on chassis from Ford, Freightliner and Workhorse. Pictures, and complete specifications for downloading in Adobe Portable Document Format, may be found at

Speedway SuperAmerica will introduce its "SuperFleet" card to operators in Booth 1914. "SuperFleet" is a total management program designed to help fleet managers control costs and monitor vehicle performance. A unit of Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, Speedway SuperAmerica operates some 1,700 retail locations concentrated in the Midwest. Information is available by visiting

Ultra Lift Corp., exhibiting in Booth 558, will update operators on the latest enhancements to its time-tested powered hand truck. With its novel vending-specific accessories, the Ultra Lift has found wide application in moving equipment up and down stairs, over small landings, through narrow doors and on and off trucks. These accessories now include a truck bed "hook box" that stabilizes the hand truck frame when lifting a machine onto, or lowering it off, a delivery vehicle. Also new is a low-profile six-wheel dolly designed to work in conjunction with the Ultra Lift Landing Extender to maneuver vending machines in tight spaces atop staircases. Details of the vending system, and other vocational lines, can be obtained online at

Workhorse Custom Chassis will explain the virtues of its "FasTrack FT1061" step van in Booth 329. The "FT1061" was designed to serve as a more efficient and capacious replacement for the "cargo vans" often used in smaller route operations. The "FT1061" offers 67.8 sq.ft. of floor space with 76 ins. of headroom, with access through a full-height rear door on a step that's only 20 ins. from the ground. It provides that capacity and ergonomic design on a 125-in. wheelbase, shorter than most "cargo vans." And, because drivers can easily step into and out of a roomy cargo compartment that lends itself to efficient organization, they can pick merchandise more quickly, with less effort. Greater productivity means lower cost per location serviced. Information on Workhorse step vans can be found on the Internet at

Stellar Industries will debut its novel "X-Tra-Lift" system to the vending industry in Booth 142. "X-Tra-Lift" is a loading device engineered to fit aboard a full-size pickup truck. It then pivots a roomy platform or load box from its secure stowed position, up and over the rear of the truck, and down to ground level to receive a load (up to 1,300 lbs.). With the cargo rolled onto the platform, the "X-Tra-Lift" rotates it back into its traveling position on the bed of the truck, for easy transport. Details on the system (and a useful animation) are available at