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chemical spill

Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society via Wikimedia Commons

In what could be considered a slowed-down Australian version of “The Dukes of Hazzard”, an apparently intoxicated man driving a stolen forklift led pursuers on a slow-speed chase for several miles before jumping off the vehicle and being captured by police.

The incident began Sunday, August 10, when Chris  Ruane was visiting a friend in North Lismore, a relatively rural part of Queensland, about 124 miles north of Brisbane.

According to a distinctively Australian account of the incident in The Northern Star: “He heard an almighty bang and saw Lismore Tractor and Machinery Centre owner Trent Martin’s forklift being driven along the road.”

“I knew it was Trent’s forklift, but I knew it wasn’t one of his blokes driving it, and it had just crashed through the front gates,” Ruane told the newspaper. “So I jumped in the car and started following him slowly and called the police.”

The Chase Is On

The “Mad Max” style road rally continued as Ruane drove behind the forklift thief keeping a distance of about 100 yards so as not to arouse his suspicion. Apparently, our Down Under hero preferred to remain under cover. Meanwhile, he rang up the local constables on his wireless and clued them in on the pursuit.

“I think he might of noticed me, so he ditched the forklift, ran away on foot and I drove up beside him and said, ‘Stop, the police are on the way,’” Ruane said.

Not to be discouraged,the 23-year-old suspect — whose identity was not released — ran off down the side of the Al Magnay Building Materials work yard. Meanwhile, Ruane spotted a group of five teenage boys and let them know what was going on and the boys also joined the pursuit.

“I went around to the next street and he was jumping over a house fence there and I said, ‘Give yourself up, the police are on their way,’ ” Ruane said.

“You’ve Got Me Fair and Square!”

Still  not ready to give it up, the suspect hid under a caravan — or trailer, here in the US — where witnesses pointed him out to police when they arrived.

“He came out with hid hands up,” North Lismore police reported on their Facebook page. ” ‘You’ve got me fair and square.’ ”

When police searched the man, they found a quantity of marijuana in his pocket and a half full can of rum and Coke was found on the stolen forklift.

The man was taken to the Lismore police station, where he registered a blood alcohol reading of .108%, according to Lismore Police Det. Matt Kehoe.

The man was charged with mid-range drunk driving, possession of a prohibited drug, driving while disqualified, taking and driving a conveyance, malicious damage, and two counts of entering enclosed lands. He was released on conditional bail and ordered to appear in court next month.

Rodney Bryan, who works as a boilermaker at Lismore Tractor and Machinery, said it was the first time that the business had been broken into.

“Why you’d take a forklift, I don’t know,” Bryant said. “It only does 15 kilometers per hour (about 9 mph).






The third annual Manufacturing Day will be held Friday, October 3, this year and will feature more than 1,500 manufacturing events nationwide, according to event organizers.

The purpose of Manufacturing Day is to introduce as many people as possible to the important role manufacturing plays for both local communities and the nation as a whole. During the 2013 celebration, more than 830 local events were held.

This year, nearly twice that many events are scheduled — from open house tours of manufacturing plans and educational programs at community and technical colleges, to professional conferences and job fairs. Many towns are planning events across the entire week and some states have even declared October to be Manufacturing Month, according to a news release from event organizers.

“Today’s manufacturing is about advanced technologies, state of the art facilities, and fast paced work environments,” said Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute. “Manufacturing Day expands knowledge and improves public perception about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing really is.”

A panel of co-producers comprised of several trade groups and guest producer Industrial Strength Marketing are coordinating the events, providing a centralized support system to facilitate a full array of simultaneous events.




ProTec Polymer Processing — a materials handling drying systems solution firm based in Behneim, Germany — will unveil a new type of modular drying equipment at the Fakuma plastics trade show, to be held October 14 to 18 in Freidrichshafen.

Among the products to be on display will be a new generation of stationary module drying systems in the material drying segment. The system will include a drying air generator, a gravimetric dosing system , and a configuration for injection molding using one main component and two high-precision small-dosing units.

ProTec also will president its Solido LFT system, which has been customized for economical production of high-quality long-fiber reinforced thermoplastics with fiber lengths corresponding to pellet lengths. The purpose is to highlight the company’s plant engineering expertise in the area of manufacturing innovative materials, according to a company news release.

Also on display will be the new energy efficient SOMOS D-Series stationary module drying systems, which include a drying air generator and two connected drying hopper module tables. The combination of several drying hoppers mounted on a single module table allows for compact, space-saving and economical configuration of the drying system. All module tables can be configured and combined in almost any manner, which also allows for the expansion of existing drying systems.

beer duty

Marston Brewery (photo courtesy of Paul Wyss via Wikimedia Commons)

A brewery in the UK has developed an innovative way to save money on the taxes it is required to pay on the beer it produces: Backwash.

In the UK, breweries are required to pay a tax called a “beer duty” on every barrel of beer that leaves the facility. But Marston’s — a brewery in the West Midlands region of England — has begun to claim a refund on the “dregs” found in the bottom of kegs and casks that are returned to the facility.

Bottom of the Barrel Savings

Known as “ullage” over and “backwash” in the US, this unconsumed beer is usually considered to be unfit for consumption. But Marston’s has broadened the definition of “beer” by counting it the leftover product found at the bottom of its returned barrels as actual, taxable product.

Because taxes must be paid on all beer leaving any brewery, it makes perfect sense for Marston’s to reclaim any duty on beer which is returned, according to the materials handling website Hub.

When kegs are returned to the brewery, before they are sterilized prior to being refilled with fresh beer, any remaining product in the container is emptied and collected in a special storage container known as an “ullage vessel”. This container is then weighed so that the volume can be measured. Marston’s then applies for a credit on the beer duty previous paid.

Requires Specialized Equipment

The entire system is facilitated by special machinery developed by Precia-Molen, a manufacturer of weighing instruments and systems based in Privas, France. The company built a new stamped ullage “return” vessel and replaced all indicators on the holding vessels. A platform scale also was installed to work with the ullage vessel.

Basically, the Marston ullage vessel is a tank on top of load cells which is calibrated for trade use. Because the readings must always be 100% accurate so that the proper tax credit can be requested, they are recalibrated on a regular basis by Precia-Molen technicians.

Precia-Molen redesigned the ullage vessel to incorporate four load cells. The setup has four oversized foundation plates which facilitate the regular use of a force callibration rig to recalibrate and complete the reverification of the vessel for trade use. A model I200 weight indicator was also supplied to complete the installation.

Beer Drinkers Also Must Pay

The beer duty is not just a tax paid by brewers. Consumers of beer in the UK also must pay a tax on every pint of beer they hoist. The amount of the tax depends on the level of alcohol in the beer. The higher the alcohol level, the higher the beery duty.

Lawmakers in the UK recently touched a nerve with voters when they voted to reduce the beer duty by 1 pence per pint. The tax cute waas the second in two years. The move roused the ire of health advocates who said they feared it would lead to increased alcohol consumption in the UK.



This week’s Video of the Week takes a lighter side look at construction freaks, failures and misfits.

Epic Construction Fails

In this video, entitled “Epic Construction Fails”, you will see a compilation of some of the funniest — and dumbest — engineering, architectural and construction failures from around the globe, including:

  • A bridge across a waterway that construction engineers determine doesn’t match up .. until it’s too late.
  • A hotel balcony that has no window
  • Numerous stairways to nowhere that nobody can use
  • A pair of urinals that are a LITTLE too close for comfort
  • A yellow center line that is slightly out of whack
  • Several doorways that have a doozy of a first step
  • A misplaced ceiling fan
  • And many, many more

If you think you’ve had a bad week, just sit back and enjoy some of these head-scratching, hilarious construction disasters that will leave you wondering, “What were they thinking?!”




The number of Australian iron ore mines using driverless vehicles will increase from 32% to 45% over the next ten years, according to a new report issued by the information solutions and technologies company Timetric.

The report, entitled “Technology Investment Priorities in  Australian Mining, 2014,” was based on data compiled from more than 110 mine managers, maintenance officials buyers and other key decision makers affiliated with more than 90 of the country’s mining operations.

Once considered cutting edge technology, driverless trucks are now widely accepted in Australia’s iron ore industry. Until recently, most of the vehicles were used on surface mine operations, but automation has been expanding in underground operations as well, where driverless load-haul dump trucks have been operating since 1990.

The three biggest mining companies — Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group — all now use driverless vehicles in their operations and all are planning on expanding their use in the near future.

The report also found that Australia’s coal industry, which is based mostly on the eastern coast, also is planing on implementing expanded driverless technology into its operations.

In a perhaps related development, Timetric also found that many Australian mining companies are investing more heavily in collision avoidance technology. The company found that more than 30% of all mining companies plan to buy collision avoidance equipment over the next two years. The equipment allows heavy mobile machinery to monitor its surroundings and stop when it is likely to hit something or someone in its environment.


When we think logistics, we think trucks, forklifts and warehouses-and we often forget one of the biggest components of the global supply chain-the airport. Europe’s airports are among the largest movers of goods, and the equipment used to get all the work done is quite unique. One company- Toyota Material Handling Europe (THME) is leading the way across Europe when it comes to airport logistics equipment.

United Parcel Service

UPS jetliner takes off (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and in the public domain)

THME was a showcase participant in recent trade show in Munich where all manner of material handling equipment for airports was displayed and demonstrated. THME was also a showcase participant in recent Russian trade shows, and the company continues to expand its presence in Russian airports and warehouses despite all the recent tension between Russian and its neighbor, Ukraine.

Getting Big Into Basics

Among the most basic equipment in airport logistics are towing tractors-yes-the ones that pull the planes. There are different types of equipment that transfer goods to and from aircraft, onto conveyors and into trucks. None of these concepts are new, but the relentless need for efficiency forces and material handling equipment maker to focus on how to make the same thing better than it was before.

THME’s focus has concentrated on reducing the number of moving parts and redesigning material handling equipment to reduce wear to a minimum and extend the life of every piece of equipment in service, from the biggest towing tractor to the smallest stand-up mobile lift.

Making equipment more use-specific

tugger and carts

a small tugger like this one is among many in use in European airports

Counterbalance trucks are among the most-used of multi-purpose airport material handling equipment. Newly-re-designed models have been created fit specific areas of use, with mast and cab sizes created for specific jobs. The newer models, from diesel-powered units that lift 2.5 tons to small, electric units, are said to consume up to 20% less energy, a report from THME said.







THME Toyota Material Handling Europe

Hidden hazards that kill people

19 Aug 2014

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How can you be certain your work area is safe? You’ve been trained and you know about wearing proper PPE that is fully functional and intact. So why then, do people still die on jobsites despite taking all the normal safety precautions?protective eye gear

You need to conduct a job safety analysis

A video published by the National Association of General Contractors explains to you, free of charge how to conduct a proper job safety analysis, or JSA, so you can find hidden hazards. The video includes real-life scenarios-both of tragic deaths of workers when JSAs weren’t conducted, and how the proper JSA can prevent such things form happening.

One case explained how workers were sending a welder inside a pipe to fix a bad weld. They established a proper oxygen supply for the confined pipe in order to prevent the person inside from suffocating, but neglected to consider that they might have been creating an oxygen-rich environment in a confined space-a recipe for disaster because it caused an explosion.

Learn how to conduct a JSA with all the proper documents

The video quizzes you on how to identify the hazards and creating hazard controls. It walks you through the scenario and offers different practical examples based on real workplace situations, such as working in confined spaces, working with forklifts and heavy equipment and other examples. The pictorial explanations and slides enable you to digest and retain the information easily, and can be useful tools in training others once you have viewed the program from start to finish.


National Association of General Contractors video “Step by Step Job Safety Analysis”


How to choose ISO-approved equipment

19 Aug 2014

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Few things can be as confusing and challenging and ISO regulations. Your clients demand that your facilities be ISO-certified, so not going ISO is not an option. As if getting ISO-certified wasn’t a big enough headache, you need to make sure that your equipment is also ISO certified. How would you like to spend twenty grand on a new piece of equipment and find out during your next ISO audit that it put your facility’s certification in jeopardy?

mobile crane

Is there a one-stop guide to figuring it out?

Yes, there is. It only makes sense to choose equipment from a guide that lists every type of equipment for every type of job and function-and which is compliant under applicable ISO regulations for your facility. You can only do this if you design material handling procedures that are ISO compliant.

ISO’s website, includes a standard catalog that list material handling activities provides direct links to ISO standards for choosing the right equipment. For example, choosing an approved tractor for agricultural and forestry standards, you can go to the tractors link that is part of the list Standards Catalog for tractors and equipment for agriculture and forestry.

Learning the regulatory language

Navigating the ISO standards, and choosing the right equipment, doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. The ISO site also provides guides on the vocabulary that is sued to draft the ISO regulations your facility must comply with. Different vocabulary lists apply to different industries-such as wine-making and vine cultivation, as one example of vocab lists and language tips that exist in the site.

The site provides you with an overview of the scope of standards you are researching-so you can see just what you are getting into and not get in too deep too quickly. You’ll be able to determine quickly if you will need the help of your compliance expert or if you can tackle the task on your own.

Just to give you some perspective, there are 484 published standards related to the handling of fishing nets. Regulators from 31 different countries participated in the creation of these globally-accepted standards. So don’t assume you are behind the curve if you find ISO compliance complicated-chances are that you do think so-and that’s because it is-that’s that.

The ISO website standards catalogue will provide you with an opportunity to educate yourself, your employees and your internal auditors. Revisions of standards will be fully accessible. The site catalogue will serve as a tool that is continuously updated-and at no cost to you.

Direct access to business plans

So what about a business plan? You need to model your business plan so that it supports the ISO certification you must have to do business with your clients. The ISO standard catalogue includes live links to published business plans for many different businesses and industries. Bear in mind that these plans are for public view as ISO’s website is also public. So the plans can’t be kept secret. On the plus side, you won’t have to pay for them.




Here’s a special sneak preview of some of what you will find this week on the Bahrns blog:

  • One of the country’s biggest railroads has developed an innovative new way to keep freight trains rolling even when breakdowns occur. We’ll share their secret with you …
  • A brewer in the UK has figured out a way to make the tiny amount of suds left in the bottom of their empty kegs pay off big time. We’ll show you what they did.
  • You may have heard of a high speed chase, but what about a “low speed chase”? That’s exactly what happened in a sleepy town in Australia last week.

Plus, driverless heavy machinery in the mining industry, the upcoming date of Manufacturing Day and this week’s “Video of the Week”. All this and much, much more can be found this week on the Bahrns blog … so stay tuned!