2018-03-01

Given a second life

Remanufacturing returns the chassis, engine and battery to 'like-new' condition.

Old forklift trucks proudly wear their battle scars. Yet, they still have much to offer. In the Czech Republic, Linde MH EMEA has launched a remanufacturing center for used industrial trucks. Its mission is to breathe new life into these battered trucks for the Central and Eastern European sales region.

The man in the protective suit blasting the huge metal parts looks like an astronaut. It’s the only way he can work with all the tiny metal balls - no larger than the size of a pinhead - shooting through the air around him. The air in the blast room is warm, full of dust and smelling of metal. After less than ten minutes, he is finished and steps out. There is not a single trace of dirt, rust or red paint on the chassis of the Linde H30 truck.

The next steps in the process can now move ahead. Josef Slimáček, a works manager at the new remanufacturing center in the town of Velké Bílovice in southern Czech Republic, has been observing his colleague in the blast room through a small window. “Used trucks are not yet ready for the scrap heapt,” he says emphatically. “Since September 2017, 50 of my colleagues have been working to prepare candidates like this one for a second life. We cano refurbish 1,000 trucks annually. Eventually, it’ll be as many as 1,500, with our plant making a key contribution to Linde Material Handling’s sustainability policy.”

"Used trucks aren't yet ready for the scrap heap."

Josef Slimáček

An overhaul for old hands

Not too long ago, the Linde forklift was still in operation in neighboring Austria. It was helping to assemble and dismantle the various stages at the annual Krone Music Festival, held in the city of Linz. The signs of wear are clear to see: dents everywhere, worn tires, rusted nuts and paint scratches. Peter Markschläger, the head of Marketing at Linde Material Handling Austria, says: “The truck’s full-service contract runs out once it has been in operation at the customer site for five years. That’s why it is now here in the Czech Republic for remanufacturing.”

After Linz truck has been delivered, it gets a proper washing. “Then comes the inspection,” says Slimáček. “We’ve established where the truck needs work, the condition of the engine and battery as well as the spare parts that need to be ordered. We only use genuine long-lasting Linde spare parts.” Two workers then take the truck apart. Within 30 minutes, they have separated all the components as in a back-to-front puzzle: the seat, exhaust, windshield, lights, forklift forks.

Remanufacturing in the Czech Republic is of such high quality that customers sometimes ask me whether it really is a used truck and not a new one.

Peter Markschläger

Gallery

As good as new

Ready to be put back to work

Metal parts have their dents removed and are rewelded and dirt and rust are blasted off. And once again, a worker puts on overalls resembling a spacesuit. This time, it’s to give the chassis a new coat of paint. All the components are put back together before a final inspection takes place. A gleaming white Linde logo is added as a final touch. Looking as good as new, the truck is then ready to be sold on the used truck market in Central and Eastern Europe.

The trucks stay in Velké Bílovice for an average of four weeks; just around nine work days are needed for IC trucks. “Remanufacturing in the Czech Republic is of such a high quality that customers sometimes ask me whether it really is a used truck and not a new one!” says Markschläger half-jokingly.

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