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Konecranes Lift Trucks turns 25

September 15th marked the 25th year since Konecranes Lift Trucks started business, as SMV. The year 2019 also marks 15 years since SMV joined Konecranes Group

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Konecranes Lift Trucks turns 25

In 1994, a team of nine heavy lift truck industry experts - Hans Carlsson, Nils-Olof Larsson, Hans Matzner, brothers Conny and Roger Persson, Anders Sandström, Göran Skogsborn, Paul Westergren, and Olle Österlund came together to buy a local manufacturing company in Silverdalen, in south-east Sweden, where they produced their first reach stacker as SMV Silverdalens Mekaniska Verkstad before moving to a new assembly plant in Markaryd in 1995.

 

This was made possible through the backing of a private Swedish investor, Göthe Parkander. The set-up at Markaryd was an assembly line where different parts of the machine were built up. There was no welding involved, as all the main structural parts – chassis, counterweights, masts or booms - were fabricated nearby at the Halmstad shipyard.

 

The departure of the 9-strong team from Kalmar, which by then had been merged with Sisu, made front page news in the second edition of WorldCargo News, August 1994 [WCN Publishing was founded in February 1994].

Extract from the front page article in August 1994 WorldCargo News
Extract from the front page article in August 1994 WorldCargo News

The Perssons are still with the company, as they were young men then, but the legacy of all nine has endured.

 

Konecranes now produces lift trucks in Sweden, China and France (the former Terex/PPM line in Montceaux-les-Mines) and has sold nearly 10,000 across 120 countries.

 

Konecranes Lift Trucks’ products are used in most industries, including ports and terminals, logistics, manufacturing and energy. Customers can order standardised, or partly or fully customised reach stackers, forklifts, and masted empty and laden container handlers.

 

Technical innovations have often had significant impact: in 2001, the world’s biggest barge handler came to market, with a negative capacity of 45-37-29 tons in the first three rows, at the German inland Port of Dorpen.

This jackless 9m wheelbase machine is designated SMV4545 as it can stack 45 ton containers in the first two rows in the yard.

Konecranes built the world’s first hybrid reach stacker in 2013. In January 2019, in partnership with N C Nielsen, Konecranes produced one of the world’s largest reach stackers, with an impressive lifting capacity of 152 tons.

As noted above, SMV became part of the Konecranes Group in 2004. A factory in China was opened in 2007, and in 2013 Konecranes added Linde container handling to the organisation. In 2017, Konecranes acquired Terex MHPS. It says that "this lift truck business has brought substantial growth opportunities and the market leadership position it continues to hold today."

WorldCargo News' report of SMV's first reach stacker order, November 1994. (Actual machine above)
WorldCargo News' report of SMV's first reach stacker order, November 1994. (Actual machine above)

Panu Routila, CEO of Konecranes, said: “Since the acquisition of Lift Trucks the business has become an integral part of Konecranes’ operations and success, helping to expand our company’s global footprint and setting the standard for production excellence and technology leadership.”

 

Andreas Falk, Senior Vice President of Business Unit Lift Trucks, said: “I give a big thank you to all our employees and partners who have worked tirelessly to achieve many remarkable things.”

 

Konecranes Lift Trucks will commemorate its 25 years on September 20th with small ceremonies at each of its key sites around the world. On the same day, in Sweden, it will hold a special event at which some of the surviving founders will speak on stage and employees will attend a celebratory lunch.

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