With the production growth and increasingly supply of manufactured goods globally, managing director Vince Di Costanzo tells Manufacturers’ Monthly how MHE-Demag Australia is giving the industry a lift.
After 15 months of consecutive growth to finish 2017 on a positive note, Australia’s manufacturing industry is showing signs of recovery in exports and delivery.
To be more specific, production, inventories and supplier deliveries are all expanding at an accelerated rate, according to the Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).
This is despite a misconceived belief that the industry is in decline, amid the offshoring of sectors including automotive assembly and an acceleration towards the age of automation and robotics.
While it is changing focus one thing remains certain: the distribution of manufactured goods – both import and export – is growing exponentially and therefore requires a reliable transport network to keep it ticking over.
Ideally positioned as the Pacific Rim’s materials handling specialist, MHE-Demag’s industry knowledge is helping the drive for a more global supply chain.
Its latest technology, including the KBK Crane Construction Kit, is adding value to the manufacturer’s production line, increasing efficiency of creation and sure-fast distribution.
“KBK is our light-weight construction kit and is very adaptable to applications within the manufacturing industry,” said Vince Di Costanzo, MHE-Demag Australia’s managing director.
“The beauty is that it gives room to manipulate the crane’s movements with less manual effort, improving cycle times while ensuring the safety of the machine operator.”
Introducing new markets in Asia to its own supply chain, the company – formerly known as Demag Cranes and Components – first sought the services of a distributor already established in Asia.
Jebsen and Jessen (J&J), based in Singapore and Malaysia, has a footprint in Southeast Asia over many generations, and it was in the early 1970s when Demag came calling.
“Although pockets of our manufacturing industry in Australia are moving offshore, we are still consuming those goods and that consumption is only expected to increase,” Di Costanzo continued.
“In terms of manufacturing production, that is in decline. However, in terms of logistics, warehousing and transportation of manufactured goods – whether for import or export – that is expected to increase.”
Expanding the business has been no easy feat, however. The company turns 200 years old next year. For almost 65 years, it has been based in Australia.
In 2015, a smart move saw Demag Cranes and Components become MHE-Demag Australia allowing J&J to own 50 per cent – joining their crane technology.
From this marriage of continents, MHE-Demag was brought to Australia.
“It means, in terms of our customers we served before, we can do more than simply focus on their factory floor,” Di Costanzo explained.
“With our current resources we can ever more focus on analysing requirements and to customise solutions. This is especially interesting for lighter lifting applications where a light crane system, may not come to mind straight away.”
This assistance can be provided by innovative solutions, tailored to ever more demanding challenges in Australian workshops. The key here is MHE-Demag’s KBK system. It is no coincidence that the original light crane solution continues to be the preferred choice for many.
“In the glass industry, for example, this capability of providing solutions that allow precise and ergonomic material handling is essential,” Di Costanzo said, “for the production process and for despatching.”
“The notable difference for the customer is that MHE-Demag can help businesses to, not only handle materials with cranes and lifting equipment, but also by conceptualise, design and implement solutions that are as unique as one’s fingerprint – cookie cutter solutions are in fact rarely solutions that get the best result for manufacturers.
“One item that manufacturers need to look at is the total investment of their production line and how materials go from A to B. We urge to think beyond a simple dollar value for set up and every manufacturer to ask themselves how they can get the best value out of the space they have – quite often this can be achieved by emptying the factory floor and by utilising a specific light crane application.”
The KBK Construction Kit is designed to fit to lightweight structures, which are typically used around diversified equipment.
It is much easier to integrate than a large, overhead-travelling crane, and can yield an unexpected return in terms of efficiency and smoothness.
MHE-Demag’s cranes and loading bay solutions are supported by German safety standards, which Di Costanzo says are an industry leader worldwide.
“Having that German connection means we have always been ahead of the safety standards required,” he continued, “and that is the case for all of our products.
“Australia, typically, looks to Europe for the next revision of the standards. At MHE-Demag, our own engineering manager, Peter Woodward, heads the Crane Standards Committee here in Australia, which allows us to be the pace-setter when it comes to safety, whether that is in manufacturing or logistics.”