When the market for automated handling equipment such as manual stacker trucks and lift tables experienced a sharp fall in 2009, it was expected that the industry would take a few years to repair itself. The country was in the grip of recession and businesses were struggling to get back on track, causing experts to predict a long and slow road back to growth and progression for automated handling equipment. But despite the worrying dip, and the country's inability to escape the recession, it is now predicted that growth will be seen in this sector over the next few years, helped in no small part by George Osborne's recent Autumn Statement.
The Autumn Statement contained, among many actions supporting small businesses, a business bank worth £1bn, and a huge leap on tax relief on plant and machinery; from £25,000 to a quarter of a million pounds worth of investment from January onwards. The encouraging initiatives are intended to coax businesses into investing in new equipment, especially those in the manufacturing industry, who are large proponents of automated handling equipment. The amount businesses can invest tax free, in equipment such as pallet trucks and lift tables, will increase tenfold and aid the industry's careful steps on the road to recovery.
Indeed, since 2009, the market has exceeded expectations despite adverse economic conditions and widespread financial uncertainty. Those in the manufacturing industry have experimented with ways in which they can optimise working space using narrow aisle traverse trucks, and have tried to streamline working processes by bringing in new fleets of weighing scale pallet trucks. Though the Autumn Statement has aimed to encourage small to medium businesses to part with the billions of pounds in revenue that they are supposedly hoarding, it was actually these types of companies who were spending the most on such new equipment to hone their workplace.
It is thought that many businesses in the manufacturing industry currently shy away from total automation of their equipment, purely because trucks such as semi-electric stacker trucks are more flexible than their completely electric counterparts. The trucks have a manual aspect which allows employees to operate the machinery, spotting mistakes or errors that might be missed with a solely automated system. The most successful trucks in this volatile time have been the ones which combine electric capabilities with manual controls, such as aerial work platforms which rise to heights of up to three metres, allowing employees to carry out maintenance and work at height. As it stands, the industry relies on such apparatus, and growth in the sector will continue to grow steadily after a possible spark from Mr Osborne's new schemes.
About Pallet Trucks UK
Pallet Trucks UK is part of the Midland Bearings Ltd Group. It occupies a 60,000 sq ft distribution warehouse containing over £7 million worth of materials handling stock available for immediate shipping.