The Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) will stage its annual state of the industry press conference on Tuesday 9 January from 2.00 to 2.45pm in Room 401A, McCormick Place South.

Scheduled topics include:

• The state of the $125 billion material handling and logistics industry

• Trends shaping the material handling and logistics industry

• NA 2008 (to be held from April 21-24 at Cleveland’s I-X Center)

• Industry communications

• Major 2007 industry initiatives

The MHIA will also stage an educational conference featuring a keynote forum that will offer expertise from industry leaders. In addition, over 70 show floor educational seminars and three detailed educational workshops, will be staged.

The NA 2008 so-called spacedraw will be held on January 10 – the first opportunity to secure exhibitor space at this event.

Meanwhile, the MHIA has announced its participation in the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) – a new organisation created to tap supply chain resources of 8,000 companies to speed delivery of relief aid in future disasters.

ALAN is a new network of industry associations created to assist relief agencies by providing logistics resources to support the distribution of humanitarian aid (including goods and services) in the preparation for, and response to, a disaster.

Elsewhere at ProMat, Harrington Hoists will launch its new CX mini hand chain hoist. It says: “The CX is the world’s first quarter US ton hand chain hoist featuring this revolutionary small size and light weight.” It explains that this “unique” hoist was developed to tackle jobs with light loads and where work is required in high or difficult to reach places such as duct installation, plumbing and heating, home automobile maintenance and crane repair. “This is truly a hoist you can carry anywhere,” it adds.

Harrington will also feature its RH-advantage hoists, which, it says, offer the most popular wire rope hoist models, free shipping within 48 hours and a competitive price. These “top-quality” trolley hoists have an ultra-low headroom configuration that provides the lowest headroom possible by positioning the trolley parallel with the beam. The line includes 5, 7.5 and 10 US ton capacities with 23ft or 33ft lift.

Also on show will be the large capacity TCR air powered hoists featuring 10 and 25 US ton capacity models. Both capacities are available in a hook mounted configuration with either cord or pendant control and can accommodate lifts up to 50ft.

Harrington’s first model, the half US ton TCS500C/P, in its TCS “Cheetah” air powered hoist line will also be on the stand. A quarter and 1 US ton model will be available later in 2007.

The new company slogan – “join the revolution” – represents Harrington, it says, “as the market leader offering the most innovative products, delivering the best service and having a truly unique company direction of exceeding customer expectations on every level.” This theme will be reflected in the display, it promises.

New from Pennsylvania-based Acco Chain and Lifting is the Accolift electric chain hoist range – available in capacities from 0.5 to 5 US tons – complete with electro-magnetic and mechanical load brake. The range is in stock and ready for shipment.

Acco will also exhibit its Wright work rated top running trolley hoist range – available in capacities from 1 to 25 US tons – and its speedway monorail hoists – available in capacities from 1 to 5 US tons. Both ranges come with mechanical load brake. In the latter range, long lifts are available up to 107ft. Standard features include:

• Mechanical load brake

• H4 duty classification as per ASME HST-4M

• Machine cut, case hardened alloy steel gears

• Precision heavy-duty ball bearings

• Gravity limit switch

It will also show its heavy-rated hoists without mechanical load brakes. The model Q range (up to 10 US tons) is available for immediate shipment. Capacities up to 20 US tons are also available. The wire rope hoists are available in capacities up to 150 US tons. Standard features include:

• Two speed hoist and trolley

• Overload limit device

• Geared limit switch

• Wire rope guide

• Trolley travel limit switch

• Thermal overload protection

Gorbel says it never stops preparing for ProMat. Marketing manager Jeff McNeil explains: “The bulk of our ProMat planning happens in the six months before the show, but we started thinking about it as soon as the last show ended – reviewing what went well, what we can do better, what the attendees seemed most interested in, etc.”

Generating quality leads is always an obvious goal, McNeil says, “but,” he continues, “for us, ProMat is also a great time to connect with our distributor network and show them our new products. It’s a perfect opportunity to build those relationships and educate them at the same time.”

Gorbel does not plan to launch any new products at the show. It will be exhibiting products that “highlight the breadth of our product line,” as McNeil puts it. It will show free standing bridge cranes for loads up to 2 US tons, a free standing tarca system for loads up to 5 US tons, a free standing and under hung easy arm, and its so-called G-force intelligent lifting device.

McNeil expects a lot of companies to use the show to discuss the expansion of so many companies to China, and the “unique challenges and opportunities this creates in the supply chain.”

Illinois-based WMH Tools says it has been preparing for the show (the only material handling show it attends) for four months, to gain as much “brand exposure” as possible and to increase distribution channels. New products on show include its JPNX lever hoist, SMHX manual chain hoists, a new series of electric hoists and a new series of electric trolleys.

Morse Manufacturing Company will demonstrate a range of moving and stacking drums. Morse manufactures a broad range of drum handling products for drum moving, opening, lifting, tilting, pouring, heating, weighing, stacking and agitating or mixing.

Columbus McKinnon, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is expected to show a series of manual powered hoists, manipulators and overhead rails.

Also exhibiting will be Hillsborough, New Jersey’s Hu-Lift Equipment Company, which will show overhead lifting equipment, below the hook gear, cranes and hoists.

Morgantown, Pennsylvania-based Spanco will exhibit from its range of portable and fixed overhead material handling equipment from 100lbs to 20 US ton capacity.

O’Brien Installations Ltd, of Stoney Creek, Canada will show its range of standard jib cranes up to 25 US ton capacity. Ingersoll Rand, of Seattle, Washington will exhibit from its hoist and winch range.

Crane electrification systems, festoons and cable and hose reels will be on show at Omaha, Nebraska-based Conductix Inc‘s booth.

Jason Looman, CEO of remote manufacturer HBC-radiomatic, of Cincinnati, Ohio says that preparation started around six months ago. But, he says, “we really get into swing of it about 16 weeks prior to the show. This is when we send out invites and start advertising new products.”

HBC-radiomatic’s focus is two pronged. First, explains Looman, “we want to meet as many new customers as possible through a targeted advertisement campaign culminating in their visit to the show.”

Secondly, he continues, “we use the show to demonstrate to existing customers new products that will be put to market during the coming year.” He says the tradeshow allows it to “get most of our customers into town around the same time and lowers our costs in setting up similar training on our own.”

A range of its new products will be on show:

• quadrix (handheld transmitter for industrial cranes)

• micron 6 (another handheld transmitter with an improved graphic display). This product was recently exhibited at CeMAT Asia in Shanghai

• FSE 524 receiver (24 digital commands)

• FSE 516 receiver (adapted for the industrial crane market)

Also on the stand will be “an exciting new 3D demonstration that allows the users to not only touch and feel our radio controls but to actually use them in a simulator,” Looman says. He continues: “We are excited because this virtually takes the buyer to the shop floor to get a true feeling of how our systems work and to not only hear about the features and benefits of our systems but to experience them as well.”

HBC-radiomatic believes this will offer it and its customers “distinct advantages.”

Looman explains: “The tradeshow is an opportunity for the customer to experience working with HBC-radiomatic without having to commit to buying our products. It is a safe environment where the consumer can safely sample different products – our competitors included.”

He concludes: “By being the only radio provider to allow the consumer to experience the full capabilities of HBC-radiomatic, and not just see our products through a glass case, we will leave an impression on the consumer or dealer. Anyone can tell you how good their products are but we want the tradeshow attendees to experience this as well.”

NBB Controls will exhibit under a new brand image with the goal of achieving “an even more professional appearance to underline the quality of our products.”

It will introduce the so-called Planar line of wireless remote controls, which, it says, are compact, handy, easy to operate and robust.

Other features include:

• Protection class IP65

• One or two step push buttons

• Frequency switching over 67 channels

• Functional or multi-functional display

• Integrated antenna

• Uses AA rechargeable batteries

• 40 hours operation time with one battery charge

• Base-unit as optional accessory

Iowa, US-based Positech Corporation has been gearing up for the show since the end of September, says marketing director Ashley Sindergard, who adds that the company’s main goal is to “bring back quality leads.”

Positech will be exhibiting a simple air manipulator (SAM) and multiple custom tooling to fit various applications.

Positech is re-introducing the SAM, in 19 different models, including the Low SAM model used for applications with overhead height restrictions. For jobs that require the compliance and float of a pneumatic manipulator, this machine gives the highest level of feel and position to the payload.

The SAM uses pneumatic power to provide quick response and superior maneuverability with loads up to 940lbs. The SAM’s lift cylinder uses compressed air for vertical lifting and positioning. It comes equipped with a standard operator-controlled up/down metering valve. As an option, automatic balancing control, combined metering and balancing control, or an ergonomic twist grip control is available.

Precision bearings are located at every articulated point to minimise resistance to movement. Standard or customised tooling and controls are available to meet application requirements. The SAM can be mounted on a pedestal, overhead spacer, portable or mobile base, or a dual rail trolley.

Ilinois-based Power Electronics Intl will use the show to launch its new range of electric drives – the micro-speed and multi-vector electronic variable speed motor control drives. The drives are available immediately and Hoist was told that “close to a thousand” units had been sold at the time of going to press.

They are said to have 50% higher temperature ratings and are mill-duty designed for crane and hoist drives. The company said the drives are “a must-have for the steel industry.”

The range features 300% over-current capacity, while complete three-phase hoist and crane movement solutions are available for both new and retrofit AC cranes including DC to AC modifications.

Power Electronics added that the drives have higher temperature ratings – up to 60 degrees C – without de-rating. Also, it said, “faster set-up and tuning without decoupling the motor” is another feature.

Tele Radio America LLC says it started preparing once NA 2006 (this year held in Cleveland) finished in March. It aims to “expand our network of reps and dealers in the US and Canada, as well as consolidate our brand name in the market.”

Its new range of joysticks (exhibited at CeMAT 2006 recently in Shanghai) will be shown to the US market for the first time. The new line of joysticks or so-called “belly box” Tele Radio 860-JD is, it believes, “the most versatile currently available on the market.”

The configurations range between one and up to six speeds in four directions, in addition to hoist/crane selector and up to 10 auxiliary pushbuttons. The new joystick will be 100% compatible with the rest of the 860 family, being able to switch control between a pushbutton and a belly box transmitter any time by pressing a specific key sequence in the transmitter. Tele Radio adds that “no palm, computer, or access to the receiver is required.” T20 and T60 products will also be on show.

Tele Radio explains that it wants to reinforce the sales of its 860 line, which, for the first time since Tele Radio products have been introduced in the US market, will be directly marketed and sold by the subsidiary company of Tele Radio – Tele Radio America LLC.

It concludes: “We think that safety is probably one of the hot issues nowadays in the industry. Fortunately, there is a worldwide trend in the market to empower safety at the workplace and this is where radio remote control offers an unquestionable advantage against wired controls.”

Remote manufacturer Enrange LLC says it has been preparing for this year’s show for six months, and says its main goals are to “meet current and new customers and get together with our manufacture representatives to talk about 2007.”

Enrange has several products that it is considering exhibiting. Representative Wayne Koenig explains: “We have added a transceiver option to some of our systems that have LCD displays, so we can transmit and receive information between the transmitter and receiver.”

He adds that, in the crane market, this feature is used to get weight feedback information from the hoists. “We,” he continues, “are also expanding our Flex EX line to offer tandem lift capabilities, and multiple receiver selections from one transmitter, for selecting multiple hoist to control with one remote.”

Enrange is also going to exhibit a smaller version of its 300T pendant style transmitter.

Koenig adds: “We feel that these products can be used in the industry, and when people touch and hear about a product they usually remember it.”

Seattle-based Measurement Systems International will launched its latest addition to the so-called CellScale product family – the new MSI-9850 RF digital indicator.

Combined with one or more CellScale devices, the MSI-9850 functions as a wireless remote terminal that provides complete control over all scale and data functions. Each MSI-9850 can log on to 64 different networks allowing it to serve multiple CellScales with simple one-button network and/or channel (sensor/scale) changes. All CellScale features are supported, including inter-network radio messaging, data logging, totalising and statistics.

The MSI-9850 features a large primary weight display that is easily read from a distance and an information display to provide network/channel detail. The information display also supports multiple CellScale channels allowing users to display up to eight simultaneously. With a touch of a button, users can choose which channel to view on the primary weight display. Operation is straightforward through the alphanumeric keypad.

The MSI-9850 can calibrate any CellScale remotely and provides a simple user interface to the advanced features of the CellScale. All calibration data is stored in the CellScale allowing any MSI-9850 to be used with any CellScale based wireless weighing system without recalibration.

Enhanced data acquisition, sophisticated data logging, and complete display of multiple sensors/scales can be initiated and managed with the MSI-9850.

Compact industrial packaging and flexible mounting configurations allow the MSI-9850 to integrate with existing equipment and provide outstanding performance in the most demanding applications.

Its booth will also feature CellScale network solutions – “advanced” wireless solutions for material weighing, handling and processing.

Access Control Group LLC, which has been preparing for the show for “two to three months on an on-off basis,” is secretive about plans for the show, saying there is nothing decided at this stage “but there is still time.” It hopes to discuss issues related to fleet management systems.

Cattron Group International will introduce its Unity line of industrial radio remote controls. It said: “The product line represents the first truly global compatible product platform that will allow the company to meet individual requirements anywhere in the world.”

It added that Unity is designed to meet CE standards, is highly scaleable, capable of digital interfaces with several standards including CanBUS, Ethernet, and RS-485, and contains two internal buses for modular upgrades.