Market sales have grown rapidly, and technological innovation has achieved fruitful results

Small forklifts climbed to new heights (Sankei Observation·Double Upgrades Behind High Growth ②)

  Our reporter Li Xinping

  "People's Daily" (September 22, 2021 18th edition)

  From January to August this year, the entire industry sold 755,700 forklifts, a year-on-year increase of 58.4%.

Among them, the domestic market sold 557,200 units, a year-on-year increase of nearly 51%, and exports of 198,500 units, a year-on-year increase of 84%.

  As the world's largest production and sales country of forklift trucks, why can my country's forklift industry "climb another peak above the plateau"?

The reporter conducted in-depth interviews with industry companies and explored the growth code of the forklift industry.

New demand brings new growth

Smart manufacturing and smart logistics broaden the application scenarios of forklifts, bringing huge market demand

  Start, start, start!

On July 30, outside the factory of Liugong forklifts in Linyi City, Shandong, 13-meter-long large trucks lined up, waiting for the new forklifts to roll off the assembly line.

35 Liugong C-series forklifts were sent to Linglong Tire Company as soon as they were off the assembly line.

"From January to August this year, only one customer of Linglong Tire purchased nearly 100 of our electric forklifts." Xiao Yuanxiang, manager of Liugong Forklift Company, said happily.

  Carefully observe the sales of key companies in the forklift industry such as Nuoli, Anhui Heli, and Hangcha Group. Manufacturing companies and warehousing and logistics companies are becoming major customers of forklift products.

  "Intelligent manufacturing accelerates development, driving the construction of smart factories and the rapid growth of the smart logistics industry, bringing new growth space to the forklift industry." Liu Yunhua, executive deputy general manager of Nuoli shares, said that in the era of smart manufacturing, factory workshops and warehouses The scenario where multiple machines are coordinated with each other and the overall scheduling will be more common. Among them, the forklift responsible for material handling is indispensable.

  In Jiangsu Chaoyue Agricultural Development Co., Ltd., the largest area in the workshop is the 20-meter-high cold chain intelligent logistics warehouse.

Various types of forklifts are used to enter and exit the fresh-keeping warehouse of minus 20 degrees Celsius for all kinds of stewed meat products.

  The electric forklift is responsible for moving the raw materials from the truck to the warehousing port, the stacker picks up the forks of the raw materials into the warehouse, and the shuttle truck then delivers the raw materials to their respective cargo spaces.

In the whole operation process, forklifts such as electric forklifts and stackers cooperate with each other to reduce the use of personnel as much as possible.

Liu Yunhua analyzed that in the logistics industry, affected by factors such as rising labor costs, mechanization and automation of logistics operations are becoming important means for companies to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

"With the rapid growth of the global automated logistics and warehousing industry, the market will maintain strong demand for forklifts with diverse functions."

  Opportunities are here, but if you want to seize new markets, forklift companies need to equip traditional forklifts with "brains" and develop smart forklifts.

  Traditional forklifts rely on manual operation, but in smart logistics, automatic driving has become standard.

In recent years, forklift manufacturers have shown their magic.

In the navigation mode, some companies choose magnetic track technology, some choose laser technology, and some use camera mode.

In addition, smart forklifts can also act as the "eyes" of the warehouse, taking on the task of collecting statistical data for system analysis and improving efficiency.

XCMG Forklift has connected all the new forklifts it produces to the cloud, and provides services such as remote maintenance, repairs, and system upgrades with the help of XCMG's industrial Internet platform.

Nuoli shares have transformed from a traditional equipment manufacturer into an intelligent warehousing and logistics solution provider through the acquisition of related companies, and made forklift products more and more "smarter" by improving soft power.

Industrial linkage catalyzes the production of new products

The development of the domestic lithium battery industry has helped industry companies take the lead in launching lithium battery forklifts in the world

  From the construction site to workshops and warehouses, the use environment is changed from outdoor to indoor, and the requirements for pollution and noise control of forklifts are stricter. Traditional internal combustion forklifts are difficult to meet the requirements.

How to do?

"Turn oil to electricity" and promote electrification.

  For many years, the global forklift industry has been committed to the development of electric forklifts with lower emissions and quiet operation.

At first, electric forklifts were generally equipped with lead-acid batteries, which took 10 hours to charge once.

Two years ago, lithium battery forklifts that only took 2 to 4 hours to charge at a time were the first to be marketed in China and made their debut, opening a battery revolution for the global forklift industry.

  Why can China become a leader in the global forklift industry?

During the interview, the answer became clearer: my country has a strong and complete industrial system.

  From a technical perspective, lithium battery forklifts have short charging time and long running time, but they have not been promoted due to safety and price factors in the past. First, as a material handling tool, lithium battery forklifts will directly explode once they explode. Endangering the safety of storage items, the consequences are more serious than passenger cars, and the losses are often greater; secondly, the price of lithium batteries has been maintained at twice that of lead-acid batteries for a long time, and the high cost has discouraged forklift manufacturers.

  The turning point came quietly.

In recent years, with the rapid development of my country's new energy vehicle market, the lithium battery industry has grown rapidly.

"There is no doubt that my country's lithium battery industry has ranked among the top in the world. Strong supporting capabilities and stable production capacity provide opportunities for the advent of domestic lithium battery forklifts." said Hussler, the relevant person in charge of XCMG forklifts.

  The domestic lithium battery has good quality, high stability and reasonable price, allowing the lithium battery forklift to be recognized by customers as soon as it goes on the market.

The successful linkage between the two industries of lithium batteries and forklifts soon affected the same industry worldwide.

Subsequently, Toyota and other leading international forklift companies have launched lithium battery forklift products.

Liu Yunhua introduced that among the lithium battery forklifts that many imported brands currently put on the domestic market, most of them purchase domestic lithium battery cells, and battery assembly is also completed in China.

  Not only that, the goal of achieving carbon peak and carbon neutrality has further expanded the market space for lithium battery forklifts.

According to Lu Ying, deputy secretary-general of the China Construction Machinery Industry Association, in the context of achieving the carbon peak and carbon neutral goals, the emissions of internal combustion forklifts have been raised to the National IV standard, and the production cost has increased significantly, while the one-time purchase cost of lithium battery forklifts Higher, but the follow-up maintenance and use cost is low, and it is more and more popular in the market, and the application scenarios are gradually expanded from indoor to outdoor.

  According to statistics, in the first half of this year, domestic electric forklift sales reached 211,000 units, an increase of 100.57% year-on-year; my country's electric forklift market accounted for 32.51% of the world's electric forklift market, an increase of 9.34 percentage points from 2020, ranking No. 1 in the world one.

"Although in terms of inventory, internal combustion forklifts still dominate, but in terms of increments, electric forklifts have already accounted for about 50%." Lu Ying said.

  Lithium battery forklifts are gaining momentum, and many industry companies have turned their attention to next-generation technologies.

  "Whether it is a lead-acid battery or a lithium battery, it needs to be charged, which affects the working efficiency of the forklift to a certain extent. The hydrogen fuel cell has a fast hydrogenation speed, which allows the forklift to continue to work for a long time, and its performance is completely comparable to that of an internal combustion forklift." Hu According to Siller, XCMG is fully developing hydrogen fuel cell forklifts, and the prototypes are currently off the assembly line.

According to reports, forklifts do not have high technical requirements for hydrogen fuel cells, and the manufacturing costs can be better controlled. Moreover, forklifts are generally operated in a small area and do not need to invest in the construction of hydrogen refueling stations. Therefore, forklifts and hydrogen fuel cells are ideal. combination.

"Cake" is expected to continue to grow

The international market is increasingly becoming the new "blue ocean" for China's construction machinery

  On September 1, the second warehouse center of Nuoli shares in North America was officially opened.

This storage space with an area of ​​more than 1,000 square meters will be used to meet the growing demand for products from local agents and customers.

In recent years, Nuoli, which has been focusing on developing the international market for a long time, has also established production bases in Vietnam and Malaysia.

  XCMG forklifts are also a firm implementer of internationalization.

"Relying on XCMG's huge and efficient network covering 187 countries and regions around the world, XCMG forklift products have been exported to 20 countries and regions including Brazil, Thailand, and Malaysia." Hussler said.

  Going abroad and entering the international market has always been the goal of many forklift companies in my country.

The long-term persistence has resulted in a "better harvest" in the past two years: In 2020, the entire industry exported 182,000 forklifts, an increase of 18.87%; in the first half of this year, the entire industry exported 139,000 forklifts, an increase of 83.06%.

  There are multiple factors for the forklift industry to achieve a "better harvest".

Lu Ying analyzed that, on the one hand, the global construction machinery industry has a long industrial chain, and the new crown pneumonia epidemic has spread globally, breaking the normal supply chain. However, my country is coordinating epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, with a complete industrial system and a complete industrial chain. It has effectively made up for the gap in international production capacity and expanded the market. On the other hand, after years of development, the overseas marketing and service systems of Chinese enterprises have become increasingly perfect, and their strength has been increasingly recognized by the international market.

"The international market is increasingly becoming the new "blue ocean" for China's construction machinery. We are fully capable of maintaining our advantages and stabilizing the market."

  Looking to the future, enterprises in the forklift industry are full of confidence.

"At present, the company has both domestic and international markets at the same time, with the international market accounting for 60% and the domestic market accounting for 40%. In the future, the pattern of'two wings flying together' will continue." Liu Yunhua said.

Hussler said that by the end of the "14th Five-Year Plan", XCMG forklifts will strive to achieve the goal of over 50 countries and regions and over 50% of overseas sales.