COVID-19 Industry Communications Center – UPDATED

With the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus on the industry, Diesel Progress will maintain a running news feed of the latest information involving COVID-19. If you have news to share, please contact mike.brezonick@khl.com, mike.osenga@khl.com, chad.elmore@khl.com or ian.cameron@khl.com.  

– May 28 –

Head Of Bauma Show Organizer Says Events Can Begin Sept. 1

An interesting post on LinkedIn today from Klaus Dittrich, the chairman and CEO of Messe München, the German-based tradeshow organizer that stages Bauma in Munich, along with a number of other industry events.

“Excellent news for trade shows of #MesseMünchen: the Bavarian Government decided today that trade shows in Bavaria can take place again from September 1st. The basis for this decision was our special concept for infection protection. Because health and safety of our customers, our partners and our employees have first priority.”

While most shows in the first half of the year were disrupted by the COVID-19 panic, there are a number of events around the world that are still on at this time. These include the annual GIE+Expo turf equipment show in Louisville, Ky., in October; Power Gen International in Orlando, Fla., in December; the International Workboat Show in New Orleans, La., in December; and Bauma ConExpo India and Bauma China, both in November.

Maybe 2020 isn’t really over yet.

– May 28 –

Mack, ATA Team Up with American Logistics Aid Network to Deliver Goods

To assist those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Mack Trucks and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) are partnering with the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) to deliver vital supplies, such as food and personal-care items, to nonprofit organizations who distribute these goods locally.

“In good times and bad, the trucking industry moves nearly three-quarters of our nation’s freight, helping ensure crucial supplies are delivered where they are needed,” said Martin Weissburg, president, Mack Trucks. “Working in partnership with ATA and ALAN enables us to more effectively marshal resources and deliver supplies to organizations addressing the needs of local communities across the country.”

Two model year 2019 Mack Anthem models, which Mack provided to the ATA as part of its sponsorship of the Share the Road and Workforce Heroes programs, are now delivering shipments of supplies between nonprofit organizations, including Feed the Children and Joshua’s Heart Foundation, among others. Professional truck drivers from ATA member companies have volunteered their time to make the deliveries.

Mack TrucksSince the ATA’s Share the Road and Workforce Heroes live safety and career education efforts have been postponed or cancelled due to shelter-in-place requirements and other safety precautions, Mack and ATA released both Anthem models to make deliveries coordinated through ALAN.

“Given all of the supply chain chaos surrounding COVID-19, it would have been easy for these organizations to press the pause button on their charitable program until the crisis was past,” said Kathy Fulton, ALAN’s executive director. “But we’re so thankful they didn’t, because trucking is always one of our non-profit partners’ biggest needs. And these vehicles are allowing us to support many relief efforts in a really big way.”

ALAN, which was founded in 2005, provides supply-chain assistance to disaster relief organizations and other non-profits by connecting them with transportation resources during a crisis. In addition to connecting non-profits in need with transportation solutions, ALAN helps humanitarian organizations make every logistics dollar count.

“ATA’s relationship with ALAN dates to their creation, following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” said Elisabeth Barna, executive vice president, industry affairs, ATA. “At that time, our Share the Road Mack® Pinnacle™ axle back model made its maiden voyage to New Orleans with a truckload of water.”

ALAN was contacted in April by Feed the Children, a leading hunger relief organization fighting to end childhood hunger by distributing food and other essentials for daily living through its network of community partners across the country. As the response to the coronavirus pandemic began impacting traditional distribution efforts, Feed the Children began looking for solutions to ensure its tens of thousands of pounds of food and beverages, personal care items and laundry detergent located in its LaVergne, Tennessee warehouse made its way swiftly to non-profit partners around the country. It was critical to them to make sure the ever-growing needs of those affected by the pandemic could be met.
One of those community partners is the Miami, Florida-based Joshua’s Heart Foundation. Founded in 2005 by a then 4-year-old Joshua Williams, the organization is dedicated to the fight against global hunger and poverty.

“Our mission is to empower needy people to improve their quality of life by providing them necessities like groceries and personal items,” said Williams, Joshua’s Heart Foundation founder and chief changemaker. “Like all organizations, the pandemic has affected our ability to receive and distribute goods, making the shipments from Feed the Children through ALAN critical to our efforts.”

– May 27

SAE’s ComVec Now A  Virtual Event

 The SAE announced that its annual ComVec Technology Connection, held in Rosemont, Ill., is changing to a virtual event.

“Due to concerns around the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, along with health directives and guidance from governmental and international health authorities, government- and corporate-imposed travel restrictions, and distancing and gathering directives and recommendations, resulted in SAE International making the difficult decision to cancel the in-person ComVec event,” the organization said in a statement.

The virtual ComVec, which will be held the same dates of Sept. 15-17, addresses vehicles and equipment spanning the on-highway, off-highway, agricultural, construction, industrial, military and mining sectors. According to the organizers, more than 850 technical experts and business leaders typically attend the event.

Exhibiting and sponsoring companies will be automatically included in the virtual event, SAE said.

Questions and inquiries can be directed to SAE Customer Service at CustomerService@sae.org.

– May 22 –

Construction Equipment Sales To Fall 19%: OHR

Global construction equipment sales are expected to fall 19% this year from the 2018-2019 peak of 1.1 million machines to 891,000 units, according to revised forecasts from specialist market research and forecasting company, Off-Highway Research.

The mildest impact is expected in China where Off-Highway Research’s previous forecast of an 8% fall in sales compared to 2019 remains unchanged. The company says the Covid-19 impact on the Chinese market was relatively brief and the bounce-back has been strong since early April. In the other major regions of the world, the expected downturn ranges from 19 to 30% this year.

“One of the striking aspects of our forecast is the variation from country to country,” said Off-Highway Research managing director Chris Sleight. “Nations which reacted quickly and were able to control the spread of Covid-19 are expected to see milder impacts on their equipment markets – China and Germany are two examples. Other countries where the spread was less well contained will see more profound impacts in equipment demand.”

Looking further ahead, Off-Highway Research expects a moderate improvement in sales in 2021, but Sleight said there was uncertainty in this forecast.

“Everyone would agree that we are in uncharted territory,” Sleight said. “Our forecast is somewhat based on the assumption that the second quarter of 2020 will be the worst for the industry and that an improvement will start in the second half of the year in most countries. The on-going recovery depends the safe easing of lockdowns and assumes no second spike in infections. It also depends on robust government policy responses to stimulate activity. Those might be needed for some time.”

For more information, visit www.offhighwayresearch.com.

– May 21 –

Virus Prompts JCB Online Sales

JCB has started to sell machines online during the COVID-19 lockdown for the first time in its history – and a Dorset, England landscaping and groundworks contractor has become the first customer to place an order.

JCB
Focal Landscapes owner Marc Woodward in Dorset.

JCB has introduced the new order online option, available to U.K. mainland customers, to support businesses with their plant requirements during the Covid-19 lockdown. Now Poole-based Focal Landscapes has purchased a JCB 8008 micro excavator and a HTD-5 tracked dumper direct from JCB via the website direct.jcb.com, with order to delivery taking less than a week.

“We are determined to support our customers’ machine requirements during the challenging current Covid-19 crisis,” JCB U.K. and Ireland Sales Director Steve Smith. “The new service gives customers the ability to buy some of JCB’s most popular products online, directly from the manufacturer, with no need to meet face-to-face or leave their homes.”

The JCB machines available to purchase online are the 8008 micro excavator; the 16C-1, 18Z-1 and 8026 mini excavators; the HTD5 Dumpster; the 1T-2 site dumper and S1930 and S2632 scissor lifts.

– May 21 –

Yanmar, Deere Help Disinfect Streets In South America

Yanmar South America has teamed up with John Deere and the local government of Indaiatuba, an important center of industry in the state of Sao Paulo, in an effort to disinfect the streets of the city from COVID-19.

The city of Indaiatuba carried out the spraying and disinfection of the city’s streets from April 15 to May 8 with Yanmar contributing a Solis 90 CV tractor to assist in the operation. Working at night, the tractors sprayed a solution of water and sodium hypochlorite, a chlorine-based bleach, prepared and approved by the city’s health department. Yanmar South America employee Odirlei Silva from the agricultural commercial department operated the tractor.

“We have over 60 years of history in Indaiatuba,” said Yanmar South America President Kenji Kitahara. “This city is home to many of our employees and it’s important for the people of the city that we work closely with City Hall in this time of crisis.”

The response of residents was overwhelmingly positive with many taking to social media to express thanks for the disinfection work.

Nilson Gaspar, Mayor of the city of Indaiatuba agreed with residents. “Nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our residents,” said Gaspar. ”We’re very pleased that the city has been able to come together with Yanmar and John Deere to carry out this important public service.”

Yanmar said it will consider further action in the future in line with city health guidelines.

– May 20 –

U.S. Construction Output To Drop 6.6% Because Of Pandemic

Construction output is expected to drop by 6.6% in 2020, the equivalent of US$122.4 billion, due to the rapid decline in demand for new projects and safety regulations related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to data and analytics company GlobalData, the latest forecast is down sharply from the previously expected rise of 0.6% (US$12 billion) prior to the outbreak.

“Canada is projected to see the steepest decline in output (7%) owed in part to the collapse in global oil prices, while construction output in the US is projected to decrease by 6.5%,” explains Dariana Tani, economist at GlobalData.

For more on the story, click here.

– May 20 –

It’s Official: Virus Pushes Germany Into Recession

The German government announced today that the coronavirus crisis has pushed the country into recession.

Official figures from the Federal Statistics Office show the German economy contracted by 2.2% in the first three months of 2020. This follows a 0.1% contraction for the final quarter of 2019.

The figures, however, demonstrate that the German economy has been relatively resilient through the crisis, compared with neighboring France (down 5.8%) and Italy (down 4.7%).

For more information, click here.

– May 20 –

Company Manages To Adapt, Says Vermeer President

The world today is a very different one from just a few months ago for all sectors of society and business, with construction no exception. However, despite the drastic changes that have occurred in the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Doug Hundt, president of industrial solutions at Vermeer, says the company has managed to adapt and maximize the positive.

“When we first realized this crisis was real and we needed to move really fast, we developed two goals right away,” he said. “Number one, we wanted to make sure we’re protecting our people as best we can. Number two is to continue to take care of and support our dealers and our customers.

“We’ve really galvanized around those two goals, and all our actions since then have been focused on keeping those two objectives in mind. We are a company that is privately held, and we’ve been in business for over 70 years. We not only have operations throughout the US but also around the world,” he says before adding with a nice touch of understatement that the situation has been, “Quite dynamic.”

To read more, click here.

– May 20 –

World Ag Expo Plans For 2021 Show

You’ve got to hand it to the organizers of the annual World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. Even though they put together one of the few shows that actually took place this year in February, they are already planning how to stage the 2021 event in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The next World Ag Expo will be at the International Agri-Center on Feb. 9-11, 2021. An estimated annual average of 100,000 individuals from 70 countries attend World Ag Expo each year. The largest annual agricultural show of its kind, World Ag Expo hosts more than 1400 exhibitors displaying agricultural technology and equipment on 2.6 million sq. ft. of exhibit space.

“COVID-19 has affected business everywhere, but ag is essential, so we’re working on safe ways to serve our World Ag Expo customers in 2021,” said Jerry Sinift, International Agri-Center CEO. “We’re planning for an in-person event, but we also know it will look and feel different. And we will have a more in-depth digital option for those who can’t make it to Tulare.”

As an events center, the International Agri-Center has postponed or cancelled all events scheduled to be held on-site through June 2020. Upcoming events are reviewed on a weekly basis to see if they are possible.

With more than eight months until the 54th show, officials are working with the Tulare County Health Dept. and adjusting contract terms to account for COVID-19. Show officials are using county health orders to plan for social distancing, determine who will be allowed to attend the event and provide for hand and surface sanitizing. Because the situation continues to change day-to-day, operational plans will not be finalized until closer to the show. A COVID-19 contract addendum will be in place before the end of May to provide a COVID-19 safety net for exhibitors.

“Our cancellation policy has been the biggest question from exhibitors,” said Jennifer Fawkes, marketing manager at the International Agri-Center. “We know these are challenging times for any business and we are adding a contract addendum specifically for COVID-19 for 2021.”

The addendum will be sent to contracted exhibitors and renewing and prospective exhibitors will be able to review the COVID-19 policies before the end of May when completing their space request application at https://bit.ly/WAE21Space.

For more information on the World Ag Expo, go to www.worldagexpo.org.

– May 20 –

Cat Power Gen Dealers Living Up To Slogan

One of Caterpillar’s marketing mottoes for its Power Generation business is “Powering You Through.”

It’s especially apt in this era of COVID-19 and the company has established a website that documents how its power generation network is working to help power hospitals and other healthcare facilities around the world keep up and running.

To read more, click here.

– May 15 –

Big Job Cuts Possible At JCB

U.K. equipment manufacturer JCB today announced that up to 950 jobs are at risk of redundancy at its UK plants after demand for its machines fell by half as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

JCBThe company has written to U.K. employees today to advise that up to 950 staff roles are under threat at its 10 plants in Staffordshire and Derbyshire, England and Wrexham, Wales and that a 45-day consultation period will begin on Monday. Around 500 Guidant agency employees, who work at JCB’s U.K. sites, are also being released from the business.

The job losses have been announced as a result of the severe disruption caused to JCB’s business by the COVID-19 crisis, which will see annual production halved.

For more information, click here.

– May 14 –

MINExpo 2020 Postponed Until 2021

The National Mining Association (NMA), the MINExpo International 2020 show sponsor, said that the advance of COVID-19 around the world has made holding the show on its planned September 2020 impracticable under the circumstances.

“Therefore,” NMA said in a statement, “in the best interests of all concerned MINExpo International 2020, will not be held September 28-30, 2020 in Las Vegas due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The show, which is typically held every four years, will be postponed until September 2021.”

NMA said its current plan is to hold MINExpo International 2021 in Las Vegas. “We are working with our event partners to identify and secure the necessary exhibition facilities and hotel accommodations in Las Vegas for a successful MINExpo International 2021,” NMA said. “Once the logistical arrangements have been confirmed the new dates will be announced.”

– May 14 –

Capstone Provides Business Update

Capstone Turbine Corp., a global manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, today provided an update to its Business Continuity Plan in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A critical part of the plan is the Capstone leadership team volunteering to take a 25% temporary salary cut, as well as the fiscal 2020 executive bonus in equity in lieu of cash, if earned. Additionally, 28 other top company managers have volunteered to take a similar 15% reduction in salary. Today, in response to the ongoing crisis, the company has announced that those voluntary employee salary cuts will be extended from June 30 to Sept. 28.

“With over 70,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in California we continue to operate under our emergency Business Continuity Plan that is designed to keep employees safe, while allowing us to continue to support our critical aftermarket Factory Protection Plan (FPP) long-term service contracts and spare parts deliveries to our Essential Critical Infrastructure customers, such as energy, health care, wastewater treatment, pharmaceuticals, food manufacturing, etc., as well as to sustain our key long-term business initiatives,” said Darren Jamison, president and chief executive officer of Capstone.

The company provided the following updates to its Business Continuity Plan:

– Beginning March 30, Capstone furloughed approximately 52 employees, leaving behind only staff deemed essential for day-to-day administrative operations for a minimum period of 45 days. Several employees will now return to work June 1, most with the same 15% voluntary salary cuts, with others scheduled to return in a staggered manner through to the end of September. However, as a result of the continued global economic slowdown due to COVID-19 and the associated decline in global crude oil prices, the company will be eliminating 26 employee positions on June 1.

– During the period of March 30-June 1, Capstone will continue to have a limited production capability of new microturbine products but had recently pre-built approximately 5.9 MW of microturbine finished goods during March for shipment during this period of suspended production. The company reports it shipped 18 microturbines for approximately 1.2 MW during the month of April.

– Capstone continues to maintain a crew of essential operations employees to manufacture service engines, remanufacture spare parts and provide service spares in support of FPPs and global distributor spare parts orders. In March, Capstone pre-built and shipped over $1.2 million of critical service parts to global distributors to ensure continued operations of their microturbine fleets during this time of uncertainty.

– Capstone said its critical vendor supply chain, although it has been impacted by the pandemic, continues to be operational as of today. However, the company is looking to minimize incoming inventory receipts to less than $6 million between April 1 and June 30 in order to minimize cash burn, increase liquidity, and increase inventory turns with a goal of generating positive working capital during the quarter.

– May 13 –

AEM Connecting Reopening Manufacturers with Safety Supplies

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and The Marek Group, a Wisconsin-based marketing execution company, are teaming up to provide a hub for businesses to find COVID-19 supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing supplies and display graphics to promote and protect safety in the workplace.

“AEM has been at the forefront of promoting workplace safety and connecting companies with the resources needed to keep everyone safe in the construction and agriculture industries for decades,” said Jaime Vos, director of Safety Materials Program at AEM. “For manufacturers and other businesses, the health and safety of their employees and customers in the workplace is paramount. We’re providing access to safety supplies to support them during this critical time.”

AEM members and AEM Safety Materials Program customers are eligible for a 10% percent discount on all COVID-19 supplies at the AEM Store. AEM’s online store can provide everything from signage to floor graphics to face shields and masks to hand sanitizer for orders of any size. All orders will be fulfilled by The Marek Group, located in Wisconsin. People needing to place larger or recurring orders should call (262) 549-8931.
“We have been partners with AEM for 20 of the 50 years we’ve been in business, so we have earned trust in our ability to deliver as promised,” said Fuzzy Marek,

CEO of The Marek Group. “The importance of personal protective equipment speaks for itself. However, display graphics that communicate best practices and company safety policies are also important and effective at protecting the safety of your colleagues and customers. Just as important, many of these supplies are made in the USA.”

– May 13 –

Gates To Donate More Than $535,000 For COVID-19 Response

Gates, a global provider of application-specific fluid power and power transmission solutions, has announced charitable donations of more than $535,000 in support of organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed by the company’s global headquarters in Denver, the Gates Industrial Corporation Foundation is working with nearly 100 Gates facilities around the world to identify and help fund local nonprofits that are making a difference. The Foundation is also offering double matching for U.S. employee donations to COVID-19-related organizations in this time of greatest need.

“At Gates, we take our responsibility as a global corporate citizen very seriously,” said Roger Gaston, executive vice president of human resources for Gates. “While we are an employer and an economic engine in nearly a hundred communities around the world, we are also neighbors who want to help out in the places we call home. For that reason, we’re empowering our local facility leaders and all of our employees to help us place resources where they will do the most good.”

Responding quickly to the global outbreak, Gates initiated the charitable initiative with a substantial donation to the Hubei Charity Federation to support the medical needs in the area where the virus is believed to have originated. The aid campaign now spans other parts of South and North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa; Greater China; and East Asia and India, including 17 locations across the United States. Among the recipient organizations are chapters of large NGOs, such as the United Way and the American Red Cross, as well as local hospitals, food banks and other humanitarian organizations.

Donations, totaling more than $535,000, are being provided on an unrestricted basis to allow recipient charities maximum flexibility to address the most urgent needs in their area. Among those are Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline medical professionals and health care services and food and housing for the most vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic.
In addition to its worldwide charitable donation initiative, Gates continues to actively monitor, manage and adapt to the evolving pandemic. Thanks to prompt

implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols at all of its approximately 100 plants, offices, labs and distribution centers around the world, Gates has been able to continue serving its customers and maintain employment levels while protecting the health and safety team members, their families and communities.

– May 13 –

Cummins, AEM’s Slater Highlighted In Nightline Segment On Manufacturing

ABC’s venerable Nightline news program did a segment on how manufacturing in the U.S. is dealing with Coronavirus pandemic and how some are reopening. The broadcast highlighted Cummins’ efforts at its Indiana plants and included insights from AEM President Dennis Slater.

Click here to view the Nightline segment.

– May 13 –

Busworld India Rescheduled

Busworld and Messe Frankfurt India said they have postponed Busworld India by approximately two months. Originally scheduled to be held in August 2020 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) in Bengaluru, the trade fair will now take place from October 6-8 at the same venue.

In a statement, the show organizers said, “Taking into account the caution advisories in the current situation and aiding ease of business for the Bus & Coach sector, the 2020 edition of Busworld India has been pushed ahead until October to ensure that the industry can brace itself for an effective business comeback.

“The world over, the corporate sector is working around undefined parameters, which can make it challenging for exhibitors and visitors to travel and attend business normally in the months following the lockdown. After close consultations with exhibitors and industry associations who were strongly in favor of the postponement, the organizers felt that this is the best and responsible course of action for the industry, which will also give exhibitors time to plan their participation more effectively.

“As organizers, we want to ensure that the event optimally serves its objectives, when the industry can unreservedly come together for knowledge and tech exchange. We have been in constant dialogue with industry players who are strongly in favor of this decision. The environment has to be conducive for business – and more importantly for the health of our exhibitors, visitors, employees and all stakeholders.”

“Busworld India will continue to be a unifying event for the Indian bus & coach industry to encourage innovations and exchange of technology that will build strategic co-operation and collaborations within the sector. Between now and its opening in October, the organizers aim to continue to keep the industry connected through its webinar series to put the on-ground situation into perspective and support the sector in the recovery phase.”

– May 12 –

 JCB Re-Starts Some Production

JCB today announced a partial re-starting of production at five of its UK factories as a package of safety measures is rolled out to protect employees in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Loadall division at the World HQ, Rocester, Staffordshire, JCB Earthmovers and JCB Landpower in Cheadle, Staffordshire have resumed production along with JCB Transmissions in Wrexham, Wales and JCB Cab Systems at Uttoxeter. The move means a return to work for more than 400 employees.

British production lines fell silent on March 18 and the vast majority of JCB’s 6,500 UK employees have been furloughed since April. Now, JCB has confirmed that low levels of production are resuming – with a package of safety measures introduced to fully protect employees.

These include employees self-assessing for COVID-19 symptoms before leaving home, temperature checks overseen by medical staff for every employee arriving for work and the issuing of surgical masks to office and shop floor employees and working from home for employees where possible.

JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “Production has resumed at a very low level, mainly to satisfy demand for agricultural machinery. Ahead of this re-start, an exhaustive review was undertaken to enable us to introduce wide-ranging measures that will best protect our employees.

“The actions we have taken ensure that safe distancing between employees on-site can be achieved at all times. In circumstances where risks are greater, additional protective visors are being provided. The health and safety of our employees is absolutely paramount as we all adjust to this new normal and the measures we have put in place will ensure we all stay healthy and avoid risks.”

– May 11 –

AEM Webinars On Pandemic’s Economic Impact On Ag, Construction

In an effort to support its members as they continue to navigate COVID-19, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) will hold a pair of free webinars. Specific dates, times and details related to topics and presenters are as follows:

Tuesday, May 12 at 1 p.m. CT

COVID-19 and the Economic Impact to Agriculture, presented by Dr. Robert Johansson, chief economist, U.S. Dept of Agriculture; John Newton, chief economist, American Farm Bureau Federation and Todd Van Hoose, president/CEO, Farm Credit Council. Economists from the USDA, American Farm Bureau and the Farm Credit Council will discuss COVID-19’s impact on the agricultural economy. Webinar participants will learn how farmers and ranchers are dealing with the global health crisis, receiving valuable insight on how it may affect demand for agricultural equipment. For more information click here.

Thursday, May 14 at 1 p.m. CT

What the COVID Crisis Means for Contractors, presented by Kenneth D. Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. The pandemic has implications for every industry. What does in mean in the short-term and long-term for construction demand? Join AEM and Ken Simonson as he presents the results of AGC’s latest survey, which probes the impact of the pandemic on contractors, their employees, and their suppliers. For more information click here.

For more COVID-19 information and resources, as well as links to on-demand versions of previously held webinars, visit the AEM’s COVID-19 information center or subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor.

– May 8 –

Bonfiglioli Restarts Production In Italy

Bonfiglioli Group CEO Fausto Carboni announced on LinkedIn that the company has resumed full activity at its Italian facilities.

“Finally in Italy we have again 100% capacity and both production and sales activities in all our Italian sites are fully resumed from 4th May,” Carboni said. “The other big and positive news is that our Indian Branch opened the production site in Chennai and its assembly site based in Pune and will be able soon to be on stream again.

“Now the whole Bonfiglioli group is back to work, in China in particular we already reached excellent achievement, in fact in April we hit the best sales results ever! With great pleasure, I send my congratulations to all colleagues in China for their resilience and strength.
“Of course, we have to be very careful as the virus has not yet been eradicated; only the compliance with all fundamental safety protocols can allow us to look positively to the future, avoiding a return to terrible times.

“Now it’s time to stay together and connected, our supply chain, our customers, our branches and our parent companies, we need to stay on the same page and capture the opportunities of this situations and look to a great future. Stronger Together!

Carboni also spoke via video, which can be seen here.

– May 8 –

FPT Industrial Sees Positive Signs In China

Like every other company, FPT Industrial, the global powertrain brand of CNH Industrial, has worked hard to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic while abiding by the health and safety regulations set forth in the different international markets in which it operates.

In this challenging time, the company said it is seeing positive signs of recovery in China, the first nation to encounter the pandemic. With a gradual return to work and a ramping up of industrial activities, some companies are seeing encouraging business results, with one example being FPT Industrial’s joint venture in Chongqing, China, SFH.

Founded in 2007 by FPT Industrial in partnership with SAIC Motor and Chongqing Machine Equipment, SFH is one of the largest engine manufacturers in China. With some 700 employees, the joint venture manufactures the Cursor engine ranges for heavy-duty commercial vehicles and construction equipment for on- and off-road use – as well as power generation and marine applications.

The plant exports part of its production to markets around the world and produces engines meeting Stage 5 and Euro 6 emissions regulations for the European and North American markets.

Following several weeks of shutdown due to the virus outbreak in late January, the plant resumed production in early February with extensive measures in place to ensure the health and safety of all employees. Following a carefully designed plan, it restarted at reduced capacity, gradually returning to full operation.

Thanks to increased demand in China’s heavy truck market, SFH recorded a new, all-time high monthly production record for Cursor engines in April. It marked a 6% increase compared to the previous record achieved in 2018 when the heavy truck industry in China was at an unprecedented volume peak.

As a major engine supplier for commercial vehicle manufacturers, SFH operates four cylinder and head production lines and two assembly lines. Among them, the cylinder and head production lines are equipped with 40 large-scale production machines. The plant is operating 24 hours with extra shifts so as to guarantee supply for its customers, including SIH, parent company CNH Industrial’s joint venture for heavy trucks in Chongqing, to meet the surging demand of the market.

– May 7 –

Feds Ask Acela Truck To Build FEMA Portable Morgue Trailer Units

Acela Truck Co., a Montana manufacturer of high-mobility fire and rescue trucks, has been tasked by federal agencies to manufacture as many as 200 mass fatality portable morgue trailers over the next several months as part of continuing efforts to respond to the growing number of fatalities as a result of the Coronavirus.

The Disaster Portable Morgue Units (DPMUs) are mobile, self-contained refrigerated trailers and shipping containers used to expand morgue and hospital mortuary capabilities. The DPMUs are specifically designed by Acela to address the multiple challenges of the existing, makeshift refrigerated semi-trailers that the federal agencies have been using. Each unit is outfitted with low-entry floors and ramp systems, seamless interior surfaces and customized, expandable racking systems that accommodate industry standard equipment, shore and generator power systems. They have a life expectancy of more than 20 years.

To accommodate the demand for the DPMUs, Acela has halted its truck production lines and retooled its manufacturing capabilities for the next 60-90 days to produce and deliver units for federal agencies across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“At the request of our federal partners for expanded mortuary solutions, we re-tooled and stood up the new production line in less than three days,” explained David Ronsen, president of Acela. “We feel a strong sense of duty to do what we can to help ease the extraordinary stresses on our partner agencies, the caregivers and the families impacted by COVID-19. We also feel fortunate to have the experience, engineering and production capabilities to rapidly manufacture these units and are very proud to help bring some relief.”

Following guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Acela said it has implemented an aggressive cleaning and disinfecting program within its facilities to reduce health risks and keep its employees safe. The Montana-based manufacturer has also expanded its production to seven, 10-hour days per week and is hiring as many as 20 new skilled production staff. In addition, Acela is working with more than 30 outside vendors on the project, many of whom are air freighting in parts and supplies to meet demands.

– May 7 –

Virus Contributes To Q1 Slump At Deutz

Deutz has reported a slump in first quarter new orders, unit sales and revenue due to a fall in demand exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The detrimental effects of the coronavirus crisis have become very tangible and are creating a further drag on our business in an already challenging market environment. After shutting down large parts of our production facilities in Europe in April, we are now progressively starting them up again. But the level of output is driven by the strength of demand from our customers, which has been declining in the current economic conditions,” said Dr. Frank Hiller, chairman of the Deutz board of management at the German engine maker.

In the first quarter of 2020, Deutz took new orders totalling €356.7 million. The decrease of 30.7% compared with the first three months of 2019 was due not only to the high level of new orders in the prior-year period as a result of customers building up their inventories of engines before new emissions standards came into force, but also – crucially – to a much sharper fall in demand caused by the coronavirus crisis, the company said.

For more details, click here.

– May 7 –

Volvo Trucks Helps Provide Meals to Feed Truck Drivers

Truck driver and social media personality Brittney Richardson — with help from CDLLife, one of the nation’s largest online professional driver communities, and Volvo Trucks North America — has embarked on a seven-state road trip to provide free meals to fellow drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With some restaurants and rest areas shuttered, and grocery stores increasingly restrictive during the pandemic, many professional drivers are struggling to find a fresh meal even as they haul food and other essential cargo during the pandemic. The “Fueling Our Heroes” campaign, which kicked off this week in Kansas City, Mo., is dedicated to distributing 2500 meals to drivers in 15 locations across Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Volvo Free Meals for TruckersThe mission is spearheaded by Sadie Church, CDLLife’s vice president of marketing, and professional driver and social media personality Brittney Richardson. Richardson, who typically transports goods for a national big-box retail chain, is known for her pink 2019 Volvo VNL 860 and works closely with Church to promote diversity and healthy lifestyles within the trucking community.

“No driver should ever have to go hungry because he or she can’t find food, and there are also those who don’t have a microwave or room to cook in their trucks,” said Richardson, who came out of quarantine for the Fueling Our Heroes initiative. “This is our way to help those who are currently on the frontlines of the pandemic, while also shining a light on the difficulties they are facing on the road, such as not having easy access to fresh and convenient meals.”

Church and Richardson left Kansas City this week to deliver fresh and ready-to-eat meals at truck stops, including select options for dietary needs such as vegan and vegetarian.

“Truck drivers are playing a key role in sustaining our quality of life during COVID-19,” said Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand management, Volvo Trucks North America. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support CDLLife and Brittney Richardson as they recognize and assist the drivers on the road who are moving the economy forward every day.”

Those looking for a way to honor the efforts of our nation’s drivers can donate to the “Fueling Our Heroes” campaign. The program is seeking to raise $250,000 to provide essential, nutritious meals for drivers. Church and Richardson will continue their efforts after the initial trip, planning more visits to more truck stops, keeping the initiative going.

Fans and followers interested in keeping up with Church and Richardson on their adventure can do so on the CDLLife app, the CDLLife Facebook page, the CDLLife YouTube channel, the Brittney in Pink Facebook page and the American Truckers YouTube channel.

– May 6 –

COVID-19 To Wipe 4% Off Global CE Production

Specialist consultant Off-Highway Research has estimated the impact of factory closures and national lockdowns on global equipment production this year. As disruptive as these problems are, falling demand from customers is likely to be a bigger issue.

Factory closures and national lockdowns around the world will cost the global construction equipment industry lost production of 43,000 machines this year, according to specialist market research and forecasting company Off-Highway Research. This is equivalent to 4% of last year’s total output of 1.07 million machines.

At present the most significant impacts of closures are being felt in France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., Europe’s largest equipment producing countries. However, Off-Highway Research also highlights the experience of China, where the industry is now trying to make up for lost time.

“Factory closures and lockdowns in China cost the industry 6% of its production,” said Chris Sleight, Off-Highway Research managing director. “Some OEMs didn’t close at all, but most were shuttered for 2-6 weeks and then had to ramp up production once they re-opened. Activity is now very high as the industry is anticipating some government stimulus and something of a buying spree.”

Prior to the pandemic, Off-Highway Research was forecasting a softening of global demand for equipment. “The industry reached a peak in 2018 and 2019, and we were already expecting a decline of 5% or so this year from those record highs,” Sleight said. “COVID-19 will most likely exacerbate that, but we also expect a strong policy response from governments around the world to reinvigorate their economies. It is too early to put a figure on what the impacts will be.

“As disruptive as the closures and lockdowns are at the moment, I don’t think lost production and supply chain difficulties will be the industry’s main problem this year. The biggest challenge will be adapting to demand in the second half of the year. That will be volatile and most likely lower than the industry has enjoyed in the last two years.”

The results of Off-Highway Research’s survey of lost equipment production in 26 countries around the world is available to clients now via conference calls. Contact mail@offhighwayresearch.com if you would like to arrange a call. Results will also be published in a special complementary report in May which will be available to all clients.

– May 6 –

IAA Commercial Vehicle Show Canceled

The IAA Commercial Vehicles show, one of the world’s largest trucking and transportation shows announced that it is canceled for 2020. The event was to have been held in Hannover, Germany, Sept. 24-30.

In a statement, show organizer VDA said, “As a global meeting place for experts and decision-makers from the entire transport and logistics sector, its strength is its international range of both exhibitors and visitors. Direct personal contacts are at the heart of the show.

“The health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have fundamentally changed the backdrop for the IAA Commercial Vehicles. The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed shown the general public very clearly just how essential commercial vehicles are for maintaining public food supplies, but it is having an unprecedented impact on business in the sector and also the IAA.

“Many countries have travel restrictions that will remain in force for several months to come. Large events have been prohibited over the coming months in nearly all European countries. Given the situation with the Corona pandemic, face-to-face meetings can no longer be held at a trade fair and particularly at the IAA.

Against this background, the VDA has decided to cancel the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2020 that was to be held in Hannover from September 24 to 30. It was a difficult decision to make. Yet in view of the overall situation in Europe and around the world, we do not see any possibility of holding the IAA this year in its familiar form as a platform for exhibitors and visitors.”

The next IAA Commercial Vehicles will take place in September 2022.

– May 6 –

GIE+Expo Planning “Different Show”

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) sent out an email in which it verified that it was still planning to hold its annual event in Louisville, Ken., Oct. 21-23.

“If there ever was a year where the industry needed GIE+Expo, this is the year,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI, the show organizer along with the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Professional Grounds Maintenance Society. He added that “despite all the uncertainty in the world, we know this for sure: GIE+Expo is going to be run safely and responsibly, and will follow all necessary guidelines and protocols to ensure the health of attendees and exhibitors.”

Kiser said GIE+EXPO sales remain strong. “We fully expect our nation will soon turn a critical corner in dealing with this pandemic and be back in business, he said. “In the meantime, we remain active and working with our partners to help the industry address the challenges facing it now and in the future – including moving forward with plans for our trade show.”

GIE+Expo has more than 1000 exhibitors, along with a 20-acre demonstration area. Kiser said the 2020 show has 40 new exhibitors have signed on and there is a “robust” schedule of education programming, including an expanded slate of technology sessions and business-focused programming, as well as education for hardscaping, snow and ice management, irrigation, etc.

“Be prepared for a different show this year in Louisville,” Kiser added. “We’re working with our management team and partners on changes to the show’s structure and layout, as well as ensuring the education programming focuses on how the industry is coming back online and finding opportunity in this challenge. We have a million square feet to spread out.”

For more information on GIE+Expo, click here.

May 6 Deere Pausing Production At Iowa Sites

Deere & Co. is pausing production at its Davenport and Dubuque, Ia., facilities May 11, and implementing further layoffs in Dubuque, according to a report in the Quad City Times.

Deere will put 159 workers at John Deere Dubuque Works on indefinite layoff effective June 1. That follows the layoff of 105 employees in Dubuque earlier this year.

Production at John Deere Davenport Works and Dubuque Works will be paused on May 11 with an expectation to resume on May 26, the newspaper said. Both facilities manufacture construction and forestry products, which Deere had projected a 10 to 15% reduction in net sales worldwide for that segment in February.

“The temporary suspension is due to supply chain disruptions and weakened demand of construction and forestry equipment amidst the COVID-19 global health crisis,” Deere said in a statement.

“Temporary production shutdowns such as this occur regularly on an annual basis at our facilities. This is a common measure to adjust for supply and demand adjustments.”

May 6 ─

 JCB Volunteers Deliver PPE To Health Care Workers

Hospital and National Health Service staff in Staffordshire and Derbyshire, England, have taken delivery of vital personal protective equipment made and delivered by a team of JCB volunteers.

JCB reopened its Innovation Centre at its Rocester headquarters so volunteers could make medical grade visors for NHS staff on the company’s 3D rapid prototype machines. Company employees volunteered to make deliveries of the visors to local hospitals and NHS staff.

Deliveries were made to The Royal Stoke University Hospital, the Haywood Hospital in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, and to a team of 16 district nurses in Leek, Staffordshire, England. The nearby Derby Royal Hospital has also received a quantity after contacting JCB.

Now JCB is awaiting the delivery of more medical-grade acetate this week so hundreds more of the visors can be completed and delivered to the local community.

– May 6 –

Fuel Cells For COVID-19 Field Hospitals

Throughout the U.S., the health care industry, as well as cities, counties, states, and other units of government, have been preparing for the worst as far as handling COVID-19 cases. With some expectations of a surge in patients overwhelming existing health care facilities, at some undetermined time in the future, many areas have made contingency plans to handle patient overflow including the installation of temporary facilities.

Sleep Train Arena
To provide standby power for potential COVID-19 patient overflow, California’s Bloom Energy has installed a 400 kW fuel cell system to power a facility at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento that will hold approximately 100 hospital beds.

These temporary facilities need power, power that can function with on-site medical equipment, just like permanent operations. In an interesting twist on all this, Bloom Energy, San Jose, Calif., said it has installed two “rapid-deployment” fuel cell power generation projects that will support patients in these two secondary locations.

In a second COVID-19 related installation in Vallejo, Calif., Bloom has installed a 400 kW system in the parking lot of a national hospital system. The company’s Energy Servers fuel cell system will power a field hospital in the main hospital’s parking lot to accommodate patient overflow, if needed.

The first project – in the Vallejo, Calif., — is in the parking lot of a national hospital system. Bloom said it deployed a microgrid using the company’s Energy Servers fuel cell system capable of powering a field hospital in the main hospital’s parking lot to accommodate patient overflow, if needed.

Bloom already has 1200 kW of Energy Servers modules providing prime power for the main hospital. It added a 400 kW system and installed the microgrid in only three days – five days ahead of schedule. Bloom said the microgrid is virtually vibration free and quiet, eliminating potential shaking related damage to sensitive medical equipment and disruption to the local community. Bloom said the installation is also compact, occupying only three parking spaces at the site.

“Our modular energy servers were designed with ‘quick time to power’ as an important value proposition,” said Bloom Energy founder, chairman, and CEO, KR Sridhar. “We advanced our rapid deploy microgrid offering greatly after the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events last year to help customers affected by the wildfire related power outages in California. In the future, we will be able to use this solution for other rapid deploy scenarios for emergency management.”

For more on the Bloom Energy projects, click here.

— May 5 —

 Eima Ag Show Doubles Down On Event

FederUnacoma, the organizers of Eima International, the European trade show for agricultural equipment, said it has responded to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and has moved its 44th edition from mid-November of this year to early February 2021. However, the November event is not canceled, the organizers say, but will be instead turned into “a digital mega-event, an absolute innovation in the history of the industry’s showcases.”

The Bologna, Italy, event, which had nearly 2000 exhibitors and 320,000 visitors in its last edition, was originally scheduled for Nov. 11-15. The new show dates are Feb. 3-7, 2021, still at the Bologna exhibition complex.

Eima ag show
Organizers of the Eima agricultural equipment show in Italy have taken a two-pronged approach by rescheduling the show to 2021, but planning a “digital mega-event” for the original dates this November.

On the same days as the original event, Eima International said it will create the “Eima Digital Preview,” what organizers called “the world’s first agricultural machinery event entirely hosted using a digital platform and technologies.”

“The decision to postpone the great traditional Eima until the beginning of next year stems from a careful logistical and economic assessment, since it is extremely likely that exhibitions may still be affected in autumn by specific government ordinances, and the transport and services system may still be slowed down due to the precautionary measures that will still be in place both in Italy and abroad,” said Alessandro Malavolti, president of FederUnacoma, the federation of Italian manufacturers that is the direct organizer of the event. “After all, the agricultural and applied mechanics supply chain urgently needs to resume business because there is great interest in technological innovations and great need, especially after the acute phase of the virus emergency, to restore energy and competitiveness to the primary economy.

“That’s why we planned the November preview which will bridge the gap to the February 2021 edition, an event that represents an exception in the history of EIMA International, which will return to its traditional placement from November 2022.”

The exhibitors in the 44th Eima, which have already filled the Bologna exhibition complex, will be carried over to February, explained Simona Rapastella, general manager of FederUnacoma, who said the digital platform for the November virtual event are already being worked on.

“We are working in synergy with institutions, professional organizations and publishing houses to create a program of seminars, conferences and media-based events, to focus attention on the main issues and encourage the meeting between supply and demand regarding technologies for agriculture, green area care and land maintenance,” Rapastella said. “The ‘business-to-business’ meetings with foreign operators will feature prominently on the new platform since they represent a strategic target and a great strength for our exhibition.”

─ May 5 ─

CNH Industrial Underway With “Progressive” Manufacturing Restart

CNH Industrial today announced that a progressive resumption of manufacturing operations is proceeding according to plan and follows all COVID-19 health and safety protocols on a global basis. Central to this process is employee health and safety and agreements with trade unions, to ensure full engagement with the resumption of activities.

More than two thirds of the company’s 67 plants are already operational, to varying degrees. On a regional basis, more than 75% of production sites in Europe and some 60% in North America, in South America and in the rest of the world are already operational. Outside of the Americas and Europe, some 90% of CNH facilities are operating, when joint ventures are included, the company said.

Priority was given to agricultural and powertrain manufacturing, considered essential industries by governments and in response to local market demands. These were followed by commercial and specialty vehicle manufacturing, given the importance of the transportation and civil protection sectors at this time, and thereafter construction equipment production.

CNH said it plans to return to full operation at most sites by the end of the month. Modifications may be necessary if local or regional situations deteriorate or in response to specific critical issues, such as end market conditions and supply chains.

From the beginning of the pandemic, the company said it has continuously maintained support and assistance to its sales networks and global spare parts and components supply. End customers, together with the dealer network, have been fully supported by CNH Industrial Aftermarket Solutions, and today, almost all of its 45 logistics hubs are operational, the majority of which are running at full capacity.

To guarantee future product innovation, CNH Industrial is maintaining its commitment to its most significant Research & Development programs. Today some 24,000 company employees are able to work from home, and around half are operational. Where available, the company in agreement with trade unions, is leveraging employee salary support measures.

─ May 5 ─

Major Marine Show Rescheduled

One of Europe’s most significant marine industry trade shows, SMM, has been rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was originally planned to commence Sept. 7, but now will take place Feb. 2-5, 2021, in Hamburg, Germany.

SMM is regarded as one of the world’s key events for the maritime equipment and shipbuilding industry and in 2018 it attracted 2250 exhibitors from 67 countries and approximately 50,000 visitors.

For more information, click here.

─ May 5 ─

More Layoffs At Caterpillar

Caterpillar announced a number of employees were laid off on April 30 as part of global steps being taken to reduce costs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a report from the Peoria Journal Star, the layoffs included full-time support, management and production positions, as well as reductions in the flexible workforce.

Company spokeswoman Kate Kenny was quoted as saying the move was part of a plan “to reduce costs due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to improve our competitiveness during this period of economic uncertainty.”

Kenny told news outlets the cuts affect both employees and contract workers. Because the layoffs are being made at Caterpillar facilities across the world, the company is not identifying specific numbers of people let go at individual work sites.

In announcing decreased first-quarter earnings on April 28, the company warned that its financial results “for the remainder of 2020 will be impacted by continued global economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The second quarter would be “more significantly impacted” by the crisis than the first quarter, the company said.

Weeks ago, in response to the pandemic, Caterpillar temporarily idled its Mapleton foundry and imposed “indefinite” layoffs on some employees in East Peoria’s Building KK. It also froze pay hikes for salaried employees and top executives and eliminated incentive payouts for 2020.

─ May 4 ─

Deutz To Suspend Dividend

Deutz said that it has decided to suspend its dividend payment, due to the impact of the virus.

“Suspending the dividend should strengthen the company’s financial stability and maintain the group’s liquidity,” the company said in a statement. “Deutz had announced in its ad hoc disclosure dated April 2, 2020 that it would be reviewing the appropriateness of its original dividend proposal of €0.15 per dividend-bearing share.

“Furthermore, the company has decided to hold its Annual General Meeting on June 25, 2020 and – due to the restrictions in place and in order to protect shareholders and employees – to run it as a virtual event. This means that neither shareholders nor their authorized representatives will be physically present. Details of the procedures at the virtual AGM will be provided in the notice of the AGM, which has not yet been published.

“Our proposal to suspend the dividend payment for 2019 is aimed at maintaining the Group’s liquidity so that our growth projects can progress as planned and we can further strengthen our financial stability during the coronavirus crisis.”

The company said the health and safety of employees remains the highest priority. It said it will continue to be “a strong and reliable partner” for its customers and dealers. Service warehouses are open and are operating under appropriate security measures; the key business of field repairs, maintenance, and spare parts deliveries will be maintained, it added. The Deutz board of management has also decided to waive its “variable remuneration” for 2020. Furthermore, all senior managers will waive a large proportion of their variable remuneration in 2020. The necessary capital expenditure to ensure the company’s long-term success will go ahead.

“We want to guide Deutz safely through this crisis so that we can emerge stronger from the current situation once full production resumes,” said Dr. Frank Hiller, chairman of the Deutz board of management.

─ May 1 ─

Husco-Led Consortium Develops Reusable Mask For Healthcare Professionals

Husco, a privately-held company specializing in high performance hydraulic and electro-mechanical components, announced that a consortium called MaskForce has designed, developed, and produced a reusable face mask.

This face mask is temporarily authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization for use by healthcare professionals to help prevent the spread of infection or illness during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The initial production run of 30,000 face masks is underway at Husco’s headquarters in Waukesha, Wis., with the first shipment to Milwaukee-area first responders sent on April 29. The consortium, which includes Briggs & Stratton, is working on plans to ramp up production to more than 10,000 masks per day to help meet national demand.

“Creating innovative products that make work easier and improve lives is the mission we live by at Briggs & Stratton; so naturally, when presented with the opportunity to use our expertise in a way that can protect the lives of front line workers, our employees met the challenge head-on,” said Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corp. “We are honored to be a part of the MaskForce consortium and my thanks goes out to Husco for leading the effort as well as to each and every organization that played a role in bringing this to life.”

Unlike most face masks which are designed to be discarded after a single use, the MaskForce product can be sanitized and re-used. Made of medical grade silicone and polypropylene, the final design is soft, comfortable, and provides a low-pressure facial seal. The MaskForce team tested hundreds of suitable materials and collaborated with multiple university labs, medical professionals and first responders before finalizing the production design.

“Among our core values is practical innovation, which drives us to consistently and creatively push the boundary of what is possible to create immediate value,” said Austin Ramirez, chief executive officer of Husco, which is leading the MaskForce consortium. “MaskForce is both an example of American manufacturing ingenuity and the good that can be accomplished when multiple stakeholders collaborate to serve the community.”

The MaskForce consortium began when more than 50 professionals representing local manufacturers, first responders, educational institutions and healthcare organizations gathered together with the shared goal of developing a reusable face mask to help address the nationwide health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the guidance and input of these organizations, the goal was achieved in just four weeks.

“Among our core collaborators, no one blinked an eye when it came to using our collective expertise during this time of need,” said Austin Schmitt, vice president at Husco. “From the start, we endeavored to create something better, with the necessary comfort, fit, and functionality needed, supported by a high-volume production process to get the masks into the hands of first responders as quickly as possible. MaskForce accomplished in four weeks what would typically take months or even years.”

The mask is priced close to cost, with any profits in 2020 reinvested back into the community. In addition to accelerating production of the current model, a smaller form-factor mask is under development. The MaskForce face mask is temporarily authorized pursuant to an FDA emergency use authorization and is actively pursuing NIOSH N95 certification.

─ April 30 ─

Cummins To Reopen Some Indiana Plants

Cummins will reopen several of its facilities in southern Indiana on May 4. The company originally shut down the Columbus, Ind., engine and fuel systems manufacturing plant, the Seymour large engine manufacturing facility. The Cummins Midrange Engine Plant (CMEP) in Walesboro, Ind., was shut down at the same time, but Cummins attributed that closure to the fact that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had shut down its Ram pickup truck assembly facility.

At the time the plants were idled, Cummins said it expected the shutdown to last approximately two weeks. The Columbus and Seymour plants will reopen Monday, but the reopening at CMEP is contingent on when FCA restarts Ram truck production.

A Cummins spokesman said that the company had put a number of measures in place to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

─ April 30 ─

BKT Reopens Indian Tire Factories

Balkrishna Industries Limited (BKT) announced that production of off-highway tires has partially restarted in all its Indian factories, following dialogue with and approval by the local governments of the states where the plants are located. The company said it has also restarted supply and delivery to OEM and aftermarket channels.

The company said it has taken a number of steps to minimize risk to its workforce, including distancing between workers and workspaces, reorganization of shifts, installation of temperature sensors and the establishment of medical checks for all workers at the start of their shift with a doctor always present at every facility.

The headquarters in Mumbai has been closed, but customer services and sales support have always been operational using smart working techniques, the company said. The same methods have also been adopted for BKT Europe and its services covering logistics, technical assistance, marketing, customer service and sales support. The facility in Seregno (Northern Italy) has not suffered any slowdown and is constant contact with European OEM customers, handling each situation with the promptest service possible.

─ April 30 ─

New COVID-19 Impact Report From Off-Highway Research

Off-Highway Research has produced an extra, complementary report for its clients that provides information on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global construction equipment segment. It contains key information from the company’s Chinese, European and Indian Market Reports, along with further material discussing the implications of the virus and associated containment measures on the industry.

The report looks at the impact on construction equipment production from the wave of national lockdowns and temporary factory closures. It has not so far been possible to revise construction equipment sales forecasts for 2020 and beyond, OHR said, but it will update its forecasts when the impacts of both the lockdowns and subsequent policy responses around the world becomes clearer.

To become a subscriber and qualify for the free report, please contact mail@offhighwayresearch.com.

─ April 30 ─

Canadian Company Launches Body Temperature Camera System

Provix, a Canadian company that specializes in video systems and vision enhancement through thermal imaging, has launched a new thermal camera to measure body and face temperatures.

As one of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or any viral infection is abnormal body temperature. The normal body temperature ranges from 36.5° C to 37° C, and if it exceeds 37.3° C, it is a true pathological fever.

Provix also offers a FireWatch Hot Work camera system that will automatically email notification to predetermined email addresses when a preset temperature threshold is exceeded.

The Provix non-contact temperature detector, is designed to achieve rapid preliminary temperature screening of people passing through the device. Provix said it has improved and upgraded the facial recognition technology and automatic infrared facial temperature measurement. The system will measure accurate forehead temperature, report any abnormal temperature with an alarm. The equipment will automatically save the facial image, temperature record, time passed, name, and ID card information record.

─ April 29 ─

Oshkosh Plans Furloughs, Plant Shutdowns

In reporting its second quarter income, Oshkosh Corp. , the manufacturer of fire trucks, defense vehicles, refuse collection vehicles, concrete mixers and access equipment, said it was taking a series of steps to significantly reduce costs in second half of 2020 in response to the Coronavirus pandemic

“We quickly responded to uncertainties caused by COVID-19 to our customers, our suppliers and our business as well by reducing production levels and implementing a company-wide cost reduction plan that targets $80 million to $100 million in savings for the second half of fiscal 2020,” said Oshkosh Chairman and President Wilson R. Jones. “The plan includes lower salaries, with executives and board members taking larger decreases; furloughs; temporary plant shutdowns; reduced travel expenses and project and other discretionary spending reductions.

“We believe these are the right actions for our company as we stay nimble and close to our team members, customers and suppliers. Our balance sheet is strong and our liquidity of approximately $1.2 billion at March 31 positions us well to navigate through the global pandemic. I am confident that Oshkosh will emerge stronger as we work to get to the other side of this global crisis.”

Oshkosh reported fiscal second quarter net income of $68.6 million, compared to $128.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2019. Consolidated net sales in the second quarter decreased 9.7% to $1.80 billion compared to the second quarter of 2019 as a result of significantly lower sales in the access equipment segment and lower fire & emergency segment sales, offset in part by higher defense segment sales.

Jones said that the company has “large customer backlogs in both our defense and fire & emergency segments,” but that there was uncertain demand in the access equipment and commercial segments “as well as potential disruptions with supply chain continuity and team member availability in all of our segments.

“Our integrated supply chain is collaborating across the world to pursue alternatives with our supply partners and communicate frequently with our people to mitigate these risks.”

─ April 29 ─

Combilift Designs Multiple Ventilator System

Irish forklift and material handling equipment manufacturer Combilift has drawn on its expertise in engineering and software design to develop the Combi-Ventilate, a splitter device which turns one ventilator into multiple ventilation stations.

Combilift Combi-VentilateDesigned to address the requirements of medical professionals in the current Covid-19 emergency, the Combi-Ventilate was developed by a team of mechatronic and software engineers in the past five weeks with a unit currently undergoing laboratory tests with Ger Curley, professor of Anaesthesia & Critical Care at Royal College of Surgeons in Beaumont Hospital near Dublin.

“Certain countries and cities are struggling to get enough ventilators and many governments and health authorities are encouraging manufacturers to come up with a solution, as did the HSE in Ireland,” said Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder Combilift. “Instead of actually developing ventilators, we analyzed what is really required, as we do in our usual business models.”

The Combi-Ventilate uses standard pipes and fittings for easy assembly and its individual patient filters prevent cross contamination. Each patient has a dedicated screen which allows medical professionals to individually monitor their vital information. Features include non-return valves, HEPA filters, flow sensors and an automatic flow control valve. Any abnormalities that occur are detected and will only trigger that specific patient’s alarm.

The Combi-Ventilate has automatically adjustable flow control valves which allow the health service professional control the tidal volume to each patient electronically without having to make manual adjustments.

“We have made Combi-Ventilate under the same ethos and with the same objective as we do with all our the Combilift products – which is all about doing more with less,” said McVicar. “We have undertaken this non-profit endeavor in order to meet and facilitate the demands of the global crisis for health services around the world, namely the lack or shortage of ventilators. The medical device sector is not our core business but making critical equipment which keeps people safe and alive has always been our focus and this latest project, driven by our desire to help during these difficult times, mirrors what our research and development has done for the last 20 years.”

─ April 29 ─  

Westport To Resume Production At Italian Operations

Westport Fuel Systems Inc. today announced that production and manufacturing will fully resume at its facilities in Cherasco, Brescia, and Albinea, Italy, on May 4. The company said its Italian operations have significantly expanded measures to protect its workforce in accordance with government protocols for health and safety including social distancing requirements, personal protective equipment, cleaning protocols, and other measures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“The safe and organized restart of our Italian operations is an important signal for our employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and the local economy,” said David M. Johnson, chief executive officer of Westport Fuel Systems. “Our team in Italy is working to implement a detailed, tactical plan to restart and resume full operations. I am proud of how our employees have responded to this unprecedented challenge with resilience, determination, and care for each other.”

─ April 29 ─

CECE Survey Paints “Worrying Picture” In Europe

 A new flash survey by CECE, the trade organization for the construction industry in Europe, paints “a very worrying picture” for the European construction equipment industry as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The survey ran between April 22-27 and gathered input from a representative group of industry leaders assessing the impact and delivering their perception on the business perspective.

With over 60% of respondents pointing to significant reduction and 15% reporting factory closures, it is evident that the impact on production is already severe, CECE said. Not a single company reports being unaffected.

According to the survey, 65% of respondents are worried by prolonged construction inactivity and failing demand even after the health emergency ends. CECE also tried to measure the activity levels of relevant groups and it found that all groups are only partially operational, ranging from 74% for rental companies to 93% for contractors. CECE said it noted that 15% of the respondents report rental companies to be fully unavailable and non-operational.

The CECE flash survey also tried to gauge the impact of this crisis on OEMs’ sales expectations. Approximately 60% estimate sales will drop between 10% and 30% and 25% of the respondents foresee an even more severe drop of over 30%.

A surprising 31% of factories in the survey are reported working at over 70% employment activity, close to half of the respondents are working at 50% or less, including 5% of the companies with no active workers. Two thirds of the inactive workforce is supported by temporary layoff support measures.

In all categories of the CECE flash survey on COVID-19, there is an evident deterioration of the situation compared to last months and the current focus on market demands is a powerful warning sign that the worst is yet to come for the industry.

─ April 29 ─

Sensor+Test Postponed Until 2021

Sensor+Test 2020, which was to be held June 23-25 in Nuremberg, Germany, is the latest event to fall victim to the Coronavirus. The show organizers said that the virus has resulted in the prohibition of public events in Bavaria until Aug. 31. The two conferences that were to be held parallel to Sensor+Test, the SMSI 2020 – Sensor and Measurement Science International and ettc2020 European Test and Telemetry Conference, have also been canceled for this year.

“Our team has fought tooth and nail to carry out the Sensor+Test 2020,” said Holger Bödeker, the show organizer. “Nevertheless, the event can unfortunately not take place.”

The next Sensor+Test will be held May 4-6, 2021. The trade fair will take place jointly with the SMSI 2021 – Sensor and Measurement International Conference and the PCIM Europe, as well as the SMTconnect.

─ April 29 ─

Donaldson Provides COVID-19 Update

Donaldson Co. today provided a business update in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our top priorities include the health and safety of our employees, fulfilling customer commitments and doing our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and I am extremely proud of how our company has responded,” said Tod Carpenter, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “I want to thank our employees for doing an excellent job coordinating and collaborating in this challenging environment, and I want to especially acknowledge our front-line workers for showing incredible dedication to our customers.

“Donaldson has 105 years of experience managing complex and dynamic situations, and our robust capabilities are complemented by the strength of our diverse portfolio of filtration businesses. We support critical markets, including manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, defense and food and beverage, and we have a solid base of replacement part sales that make up more than 60% of our total sales. Additionally, our stable financial position allows us to continue pursuing long-term opportunities, like winning first-fit programs and expanding further into strategically important markets and geographies. Through our dedicated employees, deep customer relationships and strong value proposition as a technology-led filtration company, I am confident that we will successfully navigate this fluid environment.”

Donaldson said it has implemented a variety of countermeasures to promote the health and safety of its employees and their families during this pandemic, including business travel restrictions, remote work capabilities, social distancing practices, increased cleaning frequency and thoroughness, temperature screenings and quarantine protocols.

Many of Donaldson’s business lines are considered “essential” or “critical” by governmental agencies, so the company has maintained operations at nearly all its facilities. There have been temporary closures at a small number of facilities in certain regions, reflecting compliance with local mandates and support of its employees, the company said. With its global footprint, region-to-support region production strategy, strong network of suppliers and diverse business composition, Donaldson said it has avoided meaningful operational disruption and continues to support its customers around the world.

Donaldson said its preliminary third quarter sales are expected to decline between 14% and 16% from the prior year, reflecting uneven demand during the quarter as the pandemic continued to spread globally. Sales between Feb. 1 and March 31 declined 8.7% from the prior year, or 6.9% without the negative impact from currency translation. Preliminary April 2020 sales are expected to be down between 25% and 30% from 2019, the company said.

Compared with the prior year, sales in Donaldson’s Asia-Pacific region underperformed relative to the rest of the world in February and outperformed in March and April as China began recovering while the impact of COVID-19 began spreading more significantly to other regions. Sales of replacement parts, which make up more than 60% of Donaldson’s total sales, significantly outperformed relative to sales of new equipment, particularly within Engine Aftermarket and certain businesses in the Industrial Products segment, including Industrial Air Filtration and Process Filtration.

The company continues to focus on gross margin improvement, where appropriate, while balancing uneven customer demand. Donaldson is controlling its manufacturing and operating expenses by matching production labor with demand. It has also instituted a global hiring freeze for all non-essential positions while further reducing discretionary expenses. These initiatives are expected to partially offset the impact of further sales declines in April.

Donaldson said the magnitude and duration of the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic on its business cannot be reasonably estimated and will likely be material.

─ April 28 ─

 Shanghai Perkins Distributor Helps Coronavirus Efforts In Wuhan

Shanghai based Perkins distributor Lei Shing Hong Machinery (LSH) was among the Chinese businesses that stepped in to support the rapid build of the new Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. The 1000-bed facility, which is caring for people with the COVID-19 virus, was built in 10 days and took just another four days to become operational.

Perkins China Gen-SetTo ensure the hospital could continue to operate in a power interruption, LSH donated four Powerlink-branded generator sets to the facility. Each set, driven by a Perkins 1103A-33G diesel engine, is designed to provide reliable standby power in the event the grid goes down.

Within 24 hours of LSH making its decision, the four generator sets had arrived in Wuhan. LSH also provided the resource to complete the transportation, assembly and testing on site.

“We are very proud that our distributor LSH was able to make an important contribution to both the hospital and to counter the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan,” said Tommy Quan, Perkins Asia sales director.

─ April 27 ─

Volvo Penta Supplies PPE To Healthcare Workers

Volvo Penta, the global manufacturer of engines and complete power systems for marine and industrial applications, is taking action in response to the prevalent need for personal protective equipment (PPE). At two of its North American facilities, the company is producing and distributing protective gear to healthcare workers in the local communities and beyond. The efforts are part of an ongoing initiative from Volvo Group North America which plans to supply thousands of PPE units to healthcare operations across the country.

Volvo PentaThe Volvo Penta engineering team at the company’s U.S. headquarters office in Chesapeake, Va., has led development of medical face shields. Utilizing a selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing system and leveraging mask components manufactured by other Volvo Group business areas, the company delivered face shields to Chesapeake Regional Healthcare and has plans to continue production for further distribution.

At Volvo Penta’s engineering office in Germantown, Wis., the staff has focused on development of ear guards which help to alleviate pain often experienced by healthcare workers wearing face masks. To date, more than 1,000 units of this protective equipment have been shipped to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and pharmacies in seven states including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin.

“Together with our colleagues from Volvo Group North America, we are honored to support relief efforts and help protect those serving on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Martin Bjuve, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas.

In addition to the PPE production efforts, Volvo Penta also made a charitable donation to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and Eastern Shore to support those in the Hampton Roads community where the organization is based.

Across Volvo Group North America, financial aid, medical supplies, purchasing expertise and other in-kind donations to nonprofits have been provided in multiple locations.

─ April 27 ─  

InnoTrans Rescheduled To Next Year

InnoTrans, an every-other-year show that covers the rail and public transportation industries, announced that it has rescheduled the event to next April 27-30. The event, which is held in Berlin, Germany, was originally scheduled for September 22-25.

“The health and safety of exhibitors, trade visitors and all the employees at the trade fair have the utmost priority,” said Kersten Schulz, director of InnoTrans. “For this reason, InnoTrans will take place from 27 to 30 April 2021. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our exhibitors at InnoTrans for their cooperation and loyalty.”

At the last event, show organizer Messe Berlin said 3062 exhibitors from 61 countries presented the global rail industry’s innovations to 153,421 trade visitors who came from 149 countries. The five segments at InnoTrans are Railway Technology, Railway Infrastructure, Public Transport, Interiors and Tunnel Construction.

For more information, go to www.innotrans.com.

─ April 23 ─

AEM Lauds Passage of Additional COVID-19 Relief, Urges More Support

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement regarding ongoing efforts by the U.S Congress to deliver additional aid to small businesses, including more funding for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):

“This week’s bipartisan votes by the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate to provide additional relief for small businesses are certainly encouraging, but Congress must continue to find ways to support working families and businesses of all sizes in the weeks and months to come,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. “While the Paycheck Protection Program is helpful for many small equipment manufacturers, there is a lot more Congress needs to do to support the 2.8 million men and women of our industry. Too many equipment manufacturers are still struggling to stay open and on the job. With the PPP replenished, Congress must now turn their attention to a large number of manufacturers who do not qualify for this program but still desperately need support. We encourage Congress to continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to provide equipment manufacturers with the support and resources they need to stay in business and be part of the recovery effort we need to turn the economy around.”

AEM sent a letter on Monday urging U.S. Senate and House leadership to reach a bipartisan deal ahead of tomorrow’s expected vote. AEM also activated its 40,000 I Make America grassroots supporters this week to ask Congress to take immediate, bipartisan action to boost funding for the PPP. AEM has worked to provide its members with resources and information about COVID-19 related relief available to them. This includes monetary relief provided by the CARES Act, which included funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.

─ April 23 ─

Terex Provides COVID-19 Update

Terex Corp., the global manufacturer of aerial work platforms and materials processing equipment, provided a business update regarding health and safety, liquidity, and cost reduction actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are focused on successfully navigating through this unprecedented period and are implementing substantial cost saving and operational actions to enhance liquidity and maintain financial flexibility,” stated Terex Corp. Chairman, President and CEO, John L. Garrison, Jr. “We continue to monitor our end market demand and supply chains and have developed contingency plans should future developments warrant further action.”

Terex said the health and safety of its employees “is and will remain the top priority,” of the company and it has followed CDC guidelines. After safety, Terex said its top priority is liquidity. “We are pleased with the support demonstrated by our bank group regarding the amendment to our revolving credit facility (revolver). The amendment provides the liquidity and flexibility to manage the company during these challenging times,” said Terex Corp. Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, John D. Sheehan.

As of March 31, the company had available liquidity of approximately $945 million, including over $500 million of cash and cash equivalents and approximately $430 million of available capacity under the company’s revolver. On April 23, 2020, the company amended its revolver, extending the expiration term to January 31, 2023.

In addition, Terex said it has no meaningful corporate debt maturities until 2023. The board of directors has suspended any quarterly dividend payments for the remainder of the year and previously announced the suspension of purchases under the share repurchase program.

Terex said it has begun a comprehensive cost reduction program to help support its financial position during this time of uncertainty. These actions include:

-Temporarily lowering the salaries of the CEO by 50%, the executive leadership team by 20%, and other team members between 5% to 10%. Temporarily furloughing and permanently reducing its workforce, where necessary, “to maintain a right-sized skilled workforce for the commercial demand of our products.”

-Adjusting production to align with reduced levels of commercial demand.

-Partnering with suppliers to limit incoming supply of materials, receiving only what is needed to support current production schedules. Terex said it is working with suppliers “to ensure continuity when the market improves.”

-Reducing plans for capital expenditures by 35% for the remainder of 2020.

-Utilizing tax and other government opportunities to preserve liquidity.

-Deferring or reducing other cash outlays.

“I want to thank all our team members for their commitment and resilience and recognize the support of their families as we continue to navigate through this challenging environment.,” Garrison said. “We also want to thank our customers and suppliers for their support during these unprecedented times. We are confident that as a result of the actions taken and the support received from our team members, customers and suppliers, we will be well positioned to capitalize on the recovery.”

─ April 23 ─

Virus Hits Volvo CE Figures

The rapid deterioration of global demand caused by measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus had a negative impact on Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) first quarter 2020 financial results, with sales, profitability, deliveries and orders all showing reversals during the period.

Volvo CE Q1 SalesDuring the first three months of 2020 Volvo CE said net sales decrease by 17% with the company adding earnings “were impacted by lower machine volumes and an unfavorable machine mix.”

This was reflected in the operating margin, which at 13.3% was slightly down on the 15.1% in the same period the year before, the company added.

Order intake decreased by 7% in the first quarter 1 2020, although demand in China – the world’s biggest market for construction equipment – increased towards the end of the quarter. Deliveries were down, by 13%, to 20,170 machines, compared to 23,139 machines in the first quarter of 2019.

For the complete story, including perspectives by Volvo CE President Melker Jernberg, click here.

─ April 23 ─

Ricardo Delivers Face Shields

As a part of its effort to support local care homes and U.K. National Health Service (NHS) trusts, engineering consultancy Ricardo has made deliveries of the first 2000 of its purpose-designed protective face shields – part of the personal protective equipment (PPE) required by those working on the front line of the national effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic

The deliveries of the first shields is a major milestone in Ricardo’s effort to provide PPE to front line workers in care homes and the NHS, the company said. The shields are made to a bespoke Ricardo design and local NHS doctors assisted the Ricardo design team by testing the new face shield for enhanced comfort and wearability over extended periods.

The face shield frames were manufactured by Ricardo supply chain partner Stephens Plastic Mouldings, using tooling co-funded jointly with Ricardo. To ensure that the face shields reach care home and NHS staff as quickly as possible, facilities at Ricardo’s technical centers at Shoreham by Sea in West Sussex and Leamington Spa, England have been re-purposed as assembly lines and logistics centers for the PPE.

─ April 23 ─

COVID-19 Results In Lowest U.S. Petroleum Consumption In Decades

U.S. consumption of petroleum products has fallen to its lowest level in decades because of measures that limit travel and because of the general economic slowdown induced by mitigation efforts for the COVID-19, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

EIA Petroleum statsAs outlined in EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report, total petroleum demand averaged 14.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in the week ending April 17, up slightly from 13.8 million b/d in the previous week—the lowest level in EIA’s weekly data series, which dates back to the early 1990s. The most recent value is 31% lower than the 2020 average from January through March 13, or before many of the travel restrictions began.

In the week ending April 3, total U.S. product supplied of petroleum products fell by 3.4 million b/d, the largest weekly decline in EIA’s data series. Changes in the weeks since then (weeks ending April 10 and April 17) have been more muted, suggesting that consumption is stabilizing.

Total petroleum demand measured as product supplied consists mostly of motor gasoline (45% of the 2019 total), distillate fuel oil, which includes diesel, (20%), jet fuel (9%), and chemical feedstocks and other fuels (26%).

The decline in distillate fuel oil consumption so far has been less severe than the changes in motor gasoline and jet fuel. Through March 13, distillate product supplied averaged 3.9 million b/d in 2020. By the week ending April 17, distillate product supplied was 20% lower, at 3.1 million b/d. Distillate fuel oil is primarily consumed as diesel fuel, the predominant fuel of the trucking, locomotive, and agricultural sectors. Continued demand for distribution of necessities such as food and medical supplies and increased home deliveries for goods likely contributed to relatively stable demand for distillate fuel in the initial weeks following the shutdown.

─ April 23 ─

NFPA Provides Status Update Of Member Companies

The National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) has provided an updated list of the status of NFPA member companies and what they are doing in support of Coronavirus relief efforts. Most NPFA member companies count as “essential” businesses, resulting in many of them continuing to produce and ship products and support their distribution chains.

And like many industries, fluid power association member companies have stepped up to support efforts to battle the Coronavirus.

To see the list of NFPA member companies and their status, click here.

─ April 23 ─

Agritechnica Asia Rescheduled To October

Agritechnica Asia, which had been scheduled to take place May 7-9 at Bitec in Bangkok, Thailand, has been rescheduled to Oct. 14-16. The event is co-located with Horti Asia.

“We greatly regret that we have to postpone the exhibitions,” said Bernd Koch, managing director of DLG International, one of the show organizers along with VNU Exhibitions Asia. “The decision was taken after extensive consultation with our partners and exhibitors.”

─ April 22 ─

Filtration Specialist Innovates For Coronavirus Battle

Mann+Hummel, a leading global expert in filtration, announced it has implemented a number of initiatives to support the growing battle against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Charles Vaillant, Mann+Hummel
Mann+Hummel’s chief technology/digital officer Charles Vaillant sporting the new face mask design, produced in the company’s Fayetteville, N.C., facility.

While Mann+Hummel has been known for their dedication to the heavy duty and industrial segments, the company has been committed to growth in Life Sciences & Environment. Since 2015, Mann+Hummel has acquired air and water filtration leaders including Tri-Dim Filter Corporation and Microdyn-Nadir, among others. The acquisitions gave Mann+Hummel expertise in HEPA filtration, cleanroom filtration and operating room (laminar flow) technologies.

“Companies are mobilizing at unbelievable speeds to assist the frontlines in their fight against COVID-19,” said Charles Vaillant, chief technology/digital officer at Mann+Hummel. “It’s incredible to see the levels of innovation, the speed at which it’s happening, and most of all, the sincere belief that we can make a difference in this fight. If we can save even one life, it makes these efforts worthwhile, and I am immensely proud of Mann+Hummel as we embrace innovation and quickly adapt to help others.”

One example of Mann+Hummel’s speed and innovation is taking place at its facility in Fayetteville, N.C., where two production lines have been converted to produce daily protective grade (non-certified) face masks with a time to market of 15 days. Initially, the product will be supplied to Mann+Hummel employees to protect those keeping the company moving forward. As production ramps up, the masks will also be sold to customers. Globally, Mann+Hummel began 2020 with zero face mask production, and now anticipates that by May 1, over 5 million face masks will be produced per month.

Mann+Hummel is also working on a design to provide highly engineered filtration media inserts that can be used in homemade mask designs. The concept will greatly increase the effectiveness of homemade masks, featuring a thin, breathable media. The company anticipates having the media inserts available within two weeks, available through various e-commerce channels.

“Mann+Hummel has repeatedly demonstrated our competence in successfully transferring technology and know-how to new applications,” said Kurk Wilks, president and CEO of the Mann+Hummel Group. “We now use our filtration competence in automotive to build up and drive the production and supply of face masks. We have several groups in different countries all over the world working on this initiative.”

The company’s TRI-KLEEN product gives public health officials and hospital staff the ability to turn a COVID-19 patient’s room into a negative pressure environment, providing a tool to help field hospitals, temporary care units, nursing homes or ad-hoc locations to maintain safety for patients and frontline staff. While initially sold by Tri-Dim, the technology has been rapidly scaled through Mann+Hummel’s global network to prepare for mass production, which was accomplished in less than 30 days.

In support of a major automaker producing respirators to protect frontline health care workers, Mann+Hummel said it will urgently provide up to 5000 filters per day for the project. The respirator is a collective effort from contributing companies, as it mainly uses off-the-shelf parts to construct a life-saving device, including a seat fan from a pickup truck, a battery from a power tool, and now a HEPA filter supplied by Mann+Hummel. The time to market for the HEPA filter design for respirator devices from initial concept to full production was only 12 days.

─ April 22 ─

Wacker Neuson Withdraws Guidance For 2020

Wacker Neuson, the German manufacturer of compact equipment, issued a statement saying it will forego its guidance for fiscal 2020.

“The ongoing covid-19 pandemic, together with the resulting protective measures implemented by countries, institutions and companies, are having an increasingly negative impact on the Wacker Neuson Group’s business,” the company said. “The economic situation in certain regions deteriorated particularly towards the end of Q1. During the first half of April, revenue and order intake figures were significantly below prior-year levels.

“The Executive Board has thus decided today to withdraw the guidance for fiscal 2020 published on March 16, 2020. At present, it is not possible to reliably predict how the pandemic will affect customer demand moving forward, the state of global supply chains as well as the Group’s production output. As such, the Executive Board is unable to provide a sufficiently reliable, concrete new guidance for fiscal 2020 at this point in time. The Executive Board therefore currently refrains from the publication of a new guidance for fiscal 2020 and will issue a new guidance as soon as this is feasible.”

The company said that the initial business results for the first quarter of 2020 showed preliminary revenue of around €411 million, which corresponds to a drop of around 6% relative to the prior-year period. Profit before interest and tax (EBIT) decreased to €29 million. The EBIT margin fell slightly to 7%.

Profit for the period was markedly lower than the prior-year figure at around €6 million versus €21 million in 2019.

To prepare the Group as effectively as possible for the current situation, in recent weeks the Executive Board has already reduced production programs and brought forward vacation-related shutdowns at production plants. The Group is also implementing various short-time work models. In addition to this, numerous initiatives have been implemented to cut costs and secure liquidity.

─ April 21 ─

Toro Gives $500,000 To Global Coronavirus Relief Efforts

The Toro Co. today announced that it is giving $500,000 to assist families and communities worldwide that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funding from the Toro Foundation will span all regions where The Toro Company operates, and will focus on providing food, health and humanitarian assistance to helping people adversely impacted.

“Supporting our customers and communities is an important part of our culture and core to who we are as a company,” said Rick Olson, chairman and chief executive officer of The Toro Co. “Now more than ever, it is critical that we come together to respond to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 and to support those most vulnerable in our communities.”

The contributions include commitments to several global nonprofits that are assisting in the relief efforts. This includes the American Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Feeding America, the World Food Program, the United Way Worldwide, and United Way organizations in communities where The Toro Company’s employees live and work.

An additional element of the global giving effort includes a special program for its employees who wish to personally give to designated COVID-19 relief organizations. Under the program, The Toro Company will match employee contributions to a nonprofit organization of their choice in support of relief efforts.

─ April 21 ─

Komatsu Extends Factory Shutdowns

Komatsu Group provided an update on the state of its operations and business.

Concerning the effects of the pandemic on production and sales, Komatsu said “We have worked on the global cross-sourcing and procurement of finished vehicles and parts in order to absorb the impact of changes in market demand and foreign exchange rates. Please be advised that we have renewed the conditions of halting production at some plants,” (see accompanying table).

“We are working to minimize the effects on production by means of alternative procurement and inventory reallocation. Concerning the production bases other than those listed, we comply with the guidelines of concerned governments, implement infection-preventative measures, and operate them under normal conditions.”

The company added that “In the regions under the regulations issued by different governments of the world, we have seen the effects of the pandemic, such as suspension of business by customers. In some countries, however, governments have begun to ease their regulations on construction, mining, agriculture, forestry, logistics and the like, as they are essential businesses to support infrastructure.

“With respect to sales, our distributors, centering on Japan, the Americas, Europe and Asia, are continuing business through teleworking of their employees. To continuously supply products, parts, and service, they are implementing measures, such as the reassessment of supply routes and promotion of shift work operations for their employees.”

─ April 21 ─

Manitou Announces Partial Reopening In Europe

Manitou Group has partially resumed activity on its production sites based in France and Italy. This limited reopening, the company said, allows the group to gradually restart the whole supply and production chain in the context of a health crisis that is still cause for concern.

In accordance with the regulations applicable to all the production sites, the group has implemented specific measures to protect the health of its on-site employees and service providers.

“In the context of the health crisis, we have, in conjunction with our stakeholders, implemented very strict prevention and protection measures to ensure that our employees return to work in optimum safety conditions,” said Michel Denis, directeur general of the Manitou Group. “All these measures have been disseminated internally and workers are given training as soon as they return on site.”

The group stressed that these measures will be adjusted according to the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis and the number of employees present on the sites. A minimum activity service remains operational for critical functions, and teleworking is systematically implemented when appropriate.

The closure of production operations in India, however, remains in effect in accordance with current isolation requirements in the country.

─ April 21 ─

Major Japanese Construction Contractors Halt Work

Major Japanese construction contractors Kajima Corp., Obayashi Corp. and Taisei Corp. all plan to halt construction nationwide until early May in response to the expanded state of emergency called by the Japanese government over the COVID-19 pandemic. The move was reported by KHL’s International Construction.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently expanded the state of emergency from Tokyo, Osaka and five other districts to apply to the entire nation.

Japan has not been as badly hit by COVID-19 as many other countries in the world but has seen the number of cases increase rapidly recently, which prompted the government to expand the state of emergency to the whole country.

For the complete report, click here

─ April 20 ─

Deutz Initiates Phased Resumption Of Production

Deutz AG announced that it will be progressively resuming production at its plants in Germany from today. The company had shut down large parts of its European production sites on April 1 due to the coronavirus crisis.

Operations will now resume with extended safety measures to protect the health of the workforce, the company said. The Deutz facility in Zafra, Spain, has already resumed production April 14.

“We are resuming production to meet customer demand,” said As Dr. Frank Hiller, chairman of the Deutz AG board of management. “The health of our employees remains the focus of our efforts, and we are keeping a close eye on the situation in case we have to react to developments at short notice.”

─ April 20 ─

Italian Tractor Sales Slammed By Virus

Sales of agricultural tractors collapsed in March, characterized by the slowdown in activities and then by the stoppage of production sites, according to a report by the Italian Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Federation.

Even with a reopening of the industrial plants, the second half of the year will remain conditioned by the reduction in the volumes produced and by the lower investment capacity of farms, the federation said.

Italian Tractor salesThe agricultural machinery market paid the price of the health emergency and in March it saw noticeable drops for tractors (-34.4%), combine harvesters (-12.5%), tractors with load platform (-21.1%), trailers (-39.3%) and agricultural telehandlers (-10.5%). In March, there was a progressive slowdown in production (with the spontaneous closure of many agricultural machinery companies) which culminated in the total block of activity following the ministerial decree of March 25. In some cases the stoppage of registration procedures at motor vehicle department offices, caused by the precautionary measures adopted by public organizations, also affected the March statistical data, the federation said.

In the statistics relating to the first quarter of the year, the March figure is offset by those in January and February, which were not affected by the epidemic. Regarding the average for the quarter, tractor registrations fell by 14.6%, trailer registrations by 17.4%, while there were positive results for tractors with loading platform (+ 2.6%) and telehandlers (+9.1%). Unfortunately, the total block of production and marketing of machinery that characterized the first half of April will weigh on the results for the next quarter, the association said.

Even in with the reopening of industrial sites, the volumes produced will be significantly reduced, due to the need to comply with the safety and prevention rules within the plants. Consequently, the market will also have lower quantities of machinery, in a setting that will in any case see a lower spending capacity by farms. The forecasts for the second quarter therefore indicate a continuation of the negative phase, hoping that the arrival of summer and the attenuation of the emergency may encourage a more robust recovery of activities in the sector.

─ April 20 ─

Vermeer Leverages China Experience To Help In Iowa

The seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent to officials at Vermeer Corp. when the company’s operation in Tianjin, China was forced to shut down earlier this year as part of a lockdown in the region. In order to reopen, Vermeer officials were required to implement several measures, from distribution of facemasks and personal protection equipment (PPE) to coordination of employee temperature readings. Thanks to their prompt and successful response, Vermeer was one of the first companies in Tianjin to open up once government officials lifted the lockdown.

“Now America’s dealing with COVID-19,” said Jason Andringa, Vermeer president and CEO. “And the supply chain we cultivated in China, we’re leveraging it for the rest of the Vermeer enterprise. Not only have we been able to procure PPE for our own use, but we’re able to continue to leverage the supply chain in order to provide PPE to the state of Iowa and our local community.”

Vermeer face shields
Vermeer is working with RP America to make face shields for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 on the front lines at Pella Regional Health Center in Iowa.

The company’s team members – at work and at home – are working together with RP America to make face shields for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 on the front lines at Pella Regional Health Center in Iowa. Employing 3D printing technology, Vermeer successfully worked with hospital officials to determine the best design of a visor piece for use on the face shield. The company then worked alongside local 3D printer owners in an effort to spur even more production of personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We know this isn’t something that just Vermeer is dealing with, or manufacturers of equipment are dealing with,” said Andringa. “The whole world is facing this, and it’s our job to stay focused on where we can make an impact, along with abiding by the guidelines that are out there.”

Making a positive difference in the face of a public health crisis has also provided a much-needed boost to organizational morale. Though some amount of fear and uncertainty is still being felt by Vermeer team members, company leaders are working diligently to address concerns by engaging in clear and frequent communication with employees.

Vermeer’s communication efforts have been made much easier thanks to increased adoption of a recently launched company app. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the app was being used by 600 Vermeer employees. Now, just a few weeks later, 2700 company team members have signed up and are active users. Initially made available just a month and a half ago, the app now serves as the primary means of circulating important information among company employees.

“It’s really helped that we have communicated as much as we have with our team,” said Andringa. “And feels like we’re over that first wave of really imminent concern about COVID-19. Not all that long ago, there were certainly people who really felt as though it was going to sweep through the state of Iowa and Vermeer, and that there was no avoiding it.”

The Vermeer president and CEO cited vigilant efforts related to social distancing, hand-washing and sanitization as key measures taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent infection among the company’s workforce. So far, the steps taken have been extremely successful. Vermeer has seen only one confirmed case among its 3500 team members, and – perhaps most importantly – company employees feel as safe, sound and secure as possible in the current situation when on the job.

“The one team member has not been on Vermeer’s (Pella) campus, or in contact with any other Vermeer team member,” said Andringa. “And because (the virus) hasn’t been in any of our production facilities, I think it people are responding well and settling into pretty much a normal scenario.”

To read more about Vermeer’s efforts in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, click here.

─ April 20 ─

Mack Trucks Donation To Help During Pandemic

To assist those in the community and those on the front lines, Mack Trucks recently donated to local Lehigh Valley organizations aiding food insecurity and a shortage of medical supplies spurred by the coronavirus. All Mack models for North America and export are assembled at Mack’s Lehigh Valley Operations in Macungie, Pa.

Mack Trucks donated $10,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania to help those with food insecurity, and also donated masks, gloves, safety goggles and personal protective equipment (PPE) to St. Luke’s Hospital, Success Rehabilitation and Maxim Healthcare Services.

“Mack recognizes the importance of doing what we can to support the community we have been a part of for more than a century,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president of North American sales and marketing. “Food insecurity, as well as the critical need for medical supplies, were identified to be two of the most pressing areas in which we could make a positive impact, so we took action to donate.”

─ April 17 ─

ZF Assists In Manufacturing 100,000 Face Masks

ZF North America’s Northfield, Mich., site has partnered with Pontiac, Mich.-based manufacturer Detroit Sewn to help with the fight against the Covid-19 virus. A shipment of 100,000 face masks is expected to be delivered to Detroit Sewn by the end of April.

ZF’s Ryan Murphy packs the first masks produced by ZF in cooperation with Detroit Sewn to be used in the battle against the Coronavirus.

Developed for frontline healthcare workers and individuals in the community with high risk for infection, such as soup kitchens, nursing homes and other essential organizations, these masks will contribute to the fight against the contagion as ZF shifts production of some of its normal automotive safety products to this now critically needed item.

“The world is facing a situation unlike anything our generation has seen before and while the challenge may seem impossible, now more than ever, it’s the support of each and every individual and company working together that is truly making a difference,” said Martin Fischer, president of ZF North America and member of the board of management of the ZF Group. “It’s an honor for us to join in the fight to help protect frontline healthcare workers and everyone who is caring for others during this difficult time. We hope we can not only do our part to make a difference, but to encourage others to contribute as we get through this together.”

ZF’s Passive Safety Systems division operates 42 locations in 19 countries with nearly 40,000 employees including its joint ventures. It has longstanding expertise in inflatable restraints including driver, passenger, side, curtain, knee and interaction airbags and designs, develops and supplies all aspects of an airbag system including specialized cut-and-sew capabilities to shape and produce air bag designs customized to the application.

Traditionally a full-service cut-and-sew manufacturer, Detroit Sewn recently restructured its operations to focus solely on the production of masks and gowns that protect healthcare workers and other essential service workers against Covid-19. The company employs 25 people on two shifts and is also supplying fabric to other manufacturing organizations like ZF that have industrial sewing expertise and who can assist with the fight against this disease.

“We are proud and grateful that seven manufacturing and sewing partners including ZF have joined with us to fulfill the urgent need for masks that meet CDC guidelines,” said Karen Buscemi, CEO of Detroit Sewn. “With our partners’ help along with support from G1 Impact, our nonprofit fiscal sponsor, we have the infrastructure in place to produce more than 300,000 masks in the short term – and the orders continue to roll in daily from health systems and nonprofits.”

─ April 17 ─

SDLG Reopens Factory In China

SDLG, which closed its Linyi, China, facility in February in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, has resumed operations. The Linyi site employs nearly 3000 people and assembles a range of construction equipment that is sold worldwide.

SDLG reopens
SDLG CEO and Chairman Wang Zhizhong and top SDLG executives monitor the measures put in place to ensure the health and safety of employees as SDLG’s factory reopens.

Top SDLG executives visited the facility to monitor measures put in place to ensure the safety and health of its employees amidst COVID-19.

“At SDLG, the well-being of our employees is a top priority before our assembly lines start production again, which is why we have strict measures in place to protect them,” said Wang Zhizhong, CEO and chairman of SDLG.

SDLG has implemented several safety measures to protect its employees including: strict monitoring of employees’ temperature, personal protection equipment (masks, gloves and sanitizers) for all workers, regular disinfecting of the factory’s assembly line, dormitories, cafeteria and a ban on all elevator use.

“We are all in this together, fighting against COVID-19, so we are also advising our clients and operators to implement strict protocols to protect themselves,” Wang said.

For those returning to job sites across China, the company has also released a series of recommendations for staying safe while resuming operations amidst COVID-19. These include:

• Maintaining a 2 m distance from other people at all times.

• Requiring all workers to wear masks and register their temperature at regular intervals.

• Disinfecting all equipment before every shift and making sure to sanitize the following areas in particular steering wheels, handles, armrest, controls and grease guns.

• Avoiding in-person communication where necessary, and instead encouraging cell phones or walkie-talkies. For situations where in-person communications is required, SDLG recommends maintaining a safe distance between all parties.

• Asking workers to bring their own utensils and food to work and remembering to maintain social distancing during dining times.

For SDLG’s machines, the company also recommends high levels of ventilation to ensure the safest possible work environment. Within machine cabs, that means leaving windows open and switching on air conditioning to ensure good air flow. For larger indoor construction sites, operators should turn on air ventilation systems.

“Proper planning and prevention are the best ways to protect the wellbeing of our people and partners during this global crisis,” Wang said. “We all need to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

─ April 16 ─

Wearable Technology To Maintain Social Distancing

In response to the need for greater worker protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, Triax Technologies, Inc., a Connecticut supplier of Internet of Things (IoT) worksite technology, today announced a new IoT system designed to provide proximity distancing alerts and contact tracing through a wearable device. Proximity Trace targets a range of industries, including construction, heavy industrial, energy and manufacturing. It offers added protection for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and helps companies get workers back to work safely, while addressing recommended social distancing practices, the company said.

Triax Technology Proximity Trace“In talking with our customers, we recognized a critical industry need to keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure on the worksite, so we quickly got to work developing a solution,” said Robert Costantini, Triax Technologies CEO. “We leveraged our experience in IoT technology and workforce safety monitoring to address companies’ urgent needs for workers to maintain appropriate distances, to perform historical contact tracing for any employee testing positive for the virus, and to assist companies in getting their workforce back on the job as they implement new safety protocols.

“Our solution is designed to ease the burden on workers to maintain appropriate distances as part of new safety practices that very well could become the next normal.”

The Proximity Trace devices are affixed to a hard hat or worn on the body with a lanyard and emit a progressively louder alarm, alerting workers when they are too close to each other. This enables them to focus on their work, rather than worrying about their proximity to another worker or potential exposure to the virus. The alarm can also serve to change behaviors by reminding workers to practice safe social distancing.

In the event that there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, an employer can conduct contact tracing using historical data captured passively by the worker’s device to identify who may have been exposed. With more reliable information, companies can decide who needs to be in mandatory or precautionary quarantine per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, and whether the site can continue to operate safely without the need to shut down the entire operation.

Proximity Trace communicates to a cloud dashboard specifically designed for contact tracing. The product is undergoing field testing and key feedback from early customers will be incorporated into production for commercial availability.

─ April 16 ─ 

CCEFP Summit Postponed To Fall

The Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) announced that its biannual event for fluid power collaborators, the CCEPF Summit, which was originally scheduled for May 19-21 has been postponed. The new dates are Sept. 22-24 and the event will be held at the University of Minnesota Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.

The CCEFP is a consortium of academic researchers and industry supporters working together to change the way fluid power is researched, applied, and taught. The CCEFP Summit connects industry to university resources and talent through technical presentations, networking opportunities, lab and facility tours and special features.

─ April 16 ─

Mahindra’s Michigan Plant Making PPE, Providing Meals

Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) said it is marshaling its resources and people to help fight COVID-19. The company is announcing several actions it is planning and executing from its Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters and manufacturing facility. These include:

-Re-tooling manufacturing facility to produce aspiration boxes, face shield, masks and other personal protection equipment (PPE).

-Using a Mahindra food truck to distribute free meals to Oakland County healthcare workers and first responders.

-Launching the “Roxor Delivers” program that supports dealers of the company’s Roxor off-road work and recreation vehicle that have had to close due to state mandates and consumers who are unable or unwilling to leave their homes. The program will deliver Roxor vehicles right to consumers’ doors limiting social interaction.

“MANA’s Michigan employees have taken an all-hands-on-deck approach to the COVID-19 fight”, said Rick Haas, president and CEO, Mahindra Automotive North America. “We have a company full of people who love to design and make things and they’re not people who like to stand on the sidelines. We have ideas coming in from across the company and we’re looking hard at all of them.”

─ April 15 ─

Daimler Trucks CEO Talks Leadership In Turbulent Times

Daimler Trucks & Buses is starting its second season of the podcast Transportation Matters by CEO Martin Daum with a very appropriate topic – leadership in turbulent times. With his guest, U.S. leadership expert and author Daniel Harkavy, Daum discusses the role of leaders and their leadership behavior in the current COVID-19 crisis, as well as how leaders navigate their people through difficult times in the best possible way.

Martin Daum podcast
Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum (left) discusses leadership in turbulent times with author Daniel Harkavy in a new Transportation Matters podcast.

From emotionally adjusting to this new situation to concrete advice and takeaways, the two spin a highly relevant discussion in a time, when leadership is more crucial than ever.

“We are in the middle of a perfect storm,” said Harkavy. “I think leaders have to need to develop muscle in how they think,” which is a though Harkavy develops in the course of the conversation and breaks it down into concrete advice and takeaways.

The Transportation Matters podcast can be accessed at the Daimler Trucks website here, as well as through Apple, Google, Spotify and Deezer.

─ April 15 ─

Twin Disc CEO Reflects On COVID-19 Impact

Twin Disc CEO John Batten talked about the strangeness of the current Coronavirus induced downturn with local biweekly business publication Milwaukee BizTimes.

“It is very strange to be here on weekdays during normal business hours and to be one of only four people in the building,” said Batten, chief executive officer of the Racine, Wis.-headquartered power transmission equipment manufacturer.

Batten told the Milwaukee BizTimes that Twin Disc, which has two plants in Italy, one each in Switzerland and Belgium, offices in China, and distribution in Singapore and Australia, could see the coronavirus outbreak emerging.

“It’s like a big giant Slinky,” Batten said. “We saw things getting worse in Europe first and then maybe naively believed it wouldn’t hit us and then wham, it hit us pretty quickly.”

Batten said he expects the economic challenges from the coronavirus to be measured in quarters, not months. Twin Disc is already taking actions to conserve cash for the future. Those actions included layoffs for 10 salaried employees, a 25% cut in paid hours for other salaried positions and a 15% salary reduction for all remaining full-time employees. Batten and chief operating officer James Feiertag took 20% salary reductions.

In total, the cuts will save around $4.1 million annually and Twin Disc has also deferred all non-essential spending and capital expenditure projects.

“It’s been strange making a lot of decisions on questions that you’ve never had to address before in such a short amount of time,” Batten said, adding that managing through a downswing is a skill Twin Disc’s team has developed. “You’re glad you have it, you don’t like developing it.”

To see the complete Milwaukee BizTimes report, click here.

─ April 15 ─

AEM Cites Ways Manufacturers Can Continue Production During Pandemic

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has published an article discussing how manufacturers can maintain production during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“A recent article proclaimed a truth manufacturers in all industry sectors know all too well,” the article stated. “You can’t build an airplane working from home.”

While many industries can have their employees work from home, “manufacturers face the reality that manufacturing requires employees to work onsite. There is no factory production work from home.”

The challenge to staff a factory becomes much more daunting every day during this pandemic, with an emphasis on “self-quarantining,” social distancing, and avoiding groups of more than 10 people.

The article, written by Bernard J. Bobber of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., which recently conducted a Manufacturers’ Roundtable Discussion involving scores of manufacturers from numerous industry sectors to share ideas about how manufacturers can continue to operate in the face of the pandemic. This article compiles some of the ideas and practices identified in that Roundtable discussion, and they can be organized into three primary categories:

Identify And Exclude High-Risk People

Manufacturers have to move aggressively to identify and exclude from the workplace those employees that have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus (i.e., fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, difficulty breathing). Where feasible, it could be better to go one step further and identify and exclude employees at high risk from the factory. Examples include those who have taken a cruise or international flight in the last few weeks, or who live with someone presenting symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

Ways to identify the symptomatic or other high-risk persons include temperature screening of employees upon entering work (to exclude persons with a temperature above 100.4º); asking for self-identification through frequent surveys or interviews; spot sick employees and send them home; consider communicating a “see something, say something” mindset so that employees are trained and empowered to inform an appropriate point of contact if any other person in the factory is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

Consider If Yours Is A Critical Infrastructure Business

On April 8, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its new Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19. The guidance provides that critical infrastructure workers may be allowed to continue working following a potential exposure to COVID-19 in order to ensure the continuity of essential operations under certain circumstances. Here are the key points employers need to know about this new guidance:

The guidance specifically applies to critical infrastructure workers, including workers and contractors in the food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, informational technology, transportation, energy, and government facilities industries. Further information on identifying critical infrastructure workers can be found on the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website and on the CDC’s first responder guidance website.

Keep Employees Safe At Work

Employers may consider a number of steps to maintain a safe work environment. In a unionized factory, the CBA will need to be considered and the union consulted when the employer makes changes to terms and conditions. But in this time of an unprecedented pandemic, crisis should compel union cooperation, or at least allow employers to creatively interpret and apply some of general “purpose of the agreement” type of language usually found near the front of CBAs that is sometimes overlooked.

Key safety ideas include:

-Prohibit all non-essential visitors to the factory; rigorously screen essential visitors and limit their movement in the facility.

-Train employees on self-responsibility behaviors – hand washing, social distancing, respiratory etiquette, etc., and repeatedly refresh the training.

-Cease using large group meetings.

-Replicate meetings multiple times to have smaller groups attend, and physically space people out in the meeting room.

-Eliminate routine shift hand-off meetings that are not critical, or limit these to just particular people as critically needed. Also, rely more heavily on log entries to communicate shift to shift.

-Stagger shift start/stop times, break times and lunch times to minimize congregations at the time clocks and in the locker rooms and break areas. Maybe create a new shift (nights, or weekends) to help separate your workforce and to give employees scheduling options that may help them manage new family obligations with kids home from school.

-Zone the factory and prohibit employees from wandering into zones where they do not need to be to perform their jobs. Stagger crews so that an outbreak can perhaps be isolated so that, after cleaning, the factory can run with unaffected crews.

-Identify the key personnel without whom the factory cannot operate (e.g., boiler operators, wastewater treatment engineers, lead electricians or maintenance mechanics, etc.) and create schedules, procedures and any other steps to isolate them from each other and the rest of the workforce to try to minimize their exposures.

-Provide sanitary wipes throughout the facility and train employees on using them constantly to clean high-touch surfaces.

To read the complete article, click here.

The article is part of AEM’s COVID-19 section on the AEM website. To learn more about the association’s efforts to support the equipment manufacturing industry, click here.

─ April 15 ─

CNH Industrial Donates $2 Million To Foundation For COVID-19

CNH Industrial N.V. said it is continuing to take decisive steps in the fight against COVID-19, focusing on employees’ health and the local communities where it does business. To this end, the company announced it is donating $2 million to the CNH Industrial Foundation and to other charitable projects throughout the world, with a focus on supporting individuals and communities impacted by the virus.

The new pledge is in addition to the company’s ongoing donations of medical equipment supplies, including ventilators, personal protective equipment, electrical generators and ambulances, to healthcare providers in the regions in which CNH operates.

Furthermore, to demonstrate solidarity with its workforce, the CNH Industrial senior management team has elected to temporarily forego part of its compensation. The company’s board of directors has agreed not to take any of their remuneration for the rest of year, the acting chief executive officer will take a 50% salary reduction for three months, and the global executive committee will take a 20% salary reduction for three months.

─ April 15 ─

HED Aids In COVID-19 PPE Shortage

Matt Starr, a software engineer at HED Inc., returned home from ConExpo-Con/Agg in March only to discover he would be quarantined at home until further notice. As the news about the COVID-19 pandemic became more unsettling, Starr realized he could make a contribution to support the challenges faced by the medical industry of limited personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies.

Personal protective equipment components produced by 3D printers at HED.

He began by pitching his idea to HED CEO Paul Ludwig, suggesting that the company’s 3D printers could be used to create PPE protective masks for local Wisconsin medical facilities in need. With a go-ahead from Ludwig, Starr enlisted Jon Lobert, a mechanical engineer still working from the HED office in Hartford, Wis.

After investigating the National Institute of Health (NIH) requirements for non-commercial protective facial masks, they discovered that it takes about an hour for a 3D printer to product two masks. Lobert works with two filament-style 3D printers and has essentially been creating masks non-stop since he and Starr began the project the first week in April.

To create the mask front shields, Lobert found clear folder covers commonly used in spiral bound presentations. “We happened to have a sizable stack here at HED so I’m pulling from that to build the masks.” Lobert said. “For now, I am making the face shields, but will be looking into also printing the clips that hold the conventional masks like the N95 type masks from rubbing against the wearer’s ears.”

While Lobert continues with production of the masks from HED, Starr is printing PPE components on his personal printer at his home.

HED has two 3D printers A Lulzbot TAZ5 that the company has had for five years and a new Prusa MK3S. For now, both machines are printing with a material called PLA that is approved by the NIH for these types of products.

“These face shields are meant to provide protection from aerosols landing on the face of the medical personnel,” Lobert said. “These aerosols can be droplets from coughs, sneezes, or worse and most likely would have the virus in them. This is part of the reason why it’s so bad to touch your face.”

“I have been printing on my own personal 3D printer, which is a Prusa i3 MK3S with MMU2S. Starr said. “I started with a face shield design that is completely 3D printed except for the clear shield portion. It uses a baseball cap snap in the back to fit properly. Then I switched to the NIH-approved design that Jon is printing. Now I am also printing respirator masks in conjunction with Concordia University in Mequon.

“Everything I am printing uses PETG material since it is easier to disinfect and clean. It is also stronger and more flexible. I currently have 6 kg. of the material I am printing with.”

The face shield design does not require anything in the back to hold them in place. The support piece holds on similar to wrap-around sun glasses by applying pressure against the side of the head. The design initially came from Europe and was adapted to be made in the U.S. using a three-hole punch.

Over the past weekend Starr dropped of his first 20 face respirators and delivered 21 face shields savers to a friend who knows a nurse at the Ascension Medical St. Mary’s Women’s Hospital NICU. “They mentioned that the masks they currently have to wear are held on by their ears and the straps were digging in,” Starr said. “These ‘ear savers’ should prevent that.”

─ April 15 ─

NFPA To Hold Virtual Regional Conference

The National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) announced that its next regional conference will be held next month online.

Expand your knowledge of precision manufacturing and its effects on fluid power systems at the June 4 NFPA/FPIC Regional Conference, presented in a virtual format by NFPA and MSOE’s Fluid Power Industrial Consortium (FPIC).

The half-day conference, which is now being hosted online, will focus on how precision manufacturing can improve fluid power system efficiency, reliability and durability. The conference will feature three speakers of varying backgrounds and will be conducted on a platform that allows for attendee interaction with the presentations.

Offering this event virtually will give members and non-members alike the unique chance to receive exclusive insight about the impact of precision manufacturing on our industry without ever having to leave their home. Download the preliminary schedule for more information.

The event is free to NFPA and FPIC members. Non-members are welcome to attend but will be charged a $100 registration fee. Additional event information, including registration details, will be added to the website soon.

Questions? Contact Maddie Parise at mparise@nfpa.com or (414) 259-2022.

─ April 14 ─

Genie Produces PPE For Seattle Area Hospital

As communities, states, and countries around the globe continue to address the health crisis created by COVID-19, personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel and first responders remains in high demand. To help address this need in their community, team members from Genie, a Terex brand, headquartered in Redmond, Wash., have been working on a concept that will allow them to produce medical equipment for a local hospital.

The effort began with a face shield design developed by Jim Donaldson, Genie engineering design manager, Terex AWP. “After watching a video about the types of medical equipment our hospitals needed, I thought we would be able to make the face shields that go over the N95 masks,” Donaldson said. “I went to the store and bought a sponge, bungee cord and a poster that came packaged in a plastic tube. I cut up the tube to make the shield, and then I attached the sponges and bungee cord.”

Donaldson shared his idea with Matt Fearon, Genie president, Terex AWP, who agreed it was a concept worth exploring. Working with team members from project management, engineering and sourcing, the initial design was refined, and long-time supplier, Allegis Corp., stepped in to source the materials necessary, even developing a custom tool to stamp out the shield shape.

“Our supplier really helped with moving this project forward — and moving it forward so quickly,” Donaldson said.

With the design updated, Fearon, Donaldson and a small team of engineers and project managers then met with representatives from Overlake Medical Center, located in Bellevue, Wash., to gain a better understanding of the hospital’s needs, feedback on the face shield design, as well as to determine if there were any other ways the Genie team could help.

As a result of that meeting — and with the knowledge that the need for PPE is indeed great and immediate — the Genie team expected to begin production of the face shields in Redmond on April 14th. The material the team has on hand should be enough to produce an initial 4000 to 5000 face shields for Overlake Medical Center. Whether the Genie team will produce more than the initial donation of face shields will depend on availability of the material, as well as the need.

In addition to the face shields, the Genie team developed a process for manufacturing face coverings using material provided by the hospital and a heat-sealing process to create seams and pleats. “Finding the material to create the bands that go over the ears was actually a real challenge due to the high demand,” explained Roger Bowie, Terex Business Systems (TBS) manager. “But the team thought through that problem until they had a solution, identifying a way to use material that was readily available to make fabric strips that could be used for ties.” Bowie added that when in production, the team expected to produce one face covering every minute.

Additionally, Genie engineers have used the company’s 3D printing capabilities to make some custom parts, which allowed critical hospital PPE to be put back into service quickly.

“Our Genie team was anxious to help, the Overlake team pointed us in the direction of the highest need and together, we made great things happen,” said Fearon. “I am proud of, but not surprised by, the initiative and innovation of our team members. They heard about a critical need, and they didn’t hesitate to step up to the challenge — they focused on finding solutions, and they acted quickly because they knew the need was urgent.

“Our team in China jumped in by air shipping 1000 N95 masks at a time when there was a severe shortage of masks in the U.S. These are unprecedented times and overcoming the challenges we face locally, and globally, will require everyone to do what they can to help. I am excited that we have found such meaningful ways to help our local community and could not be prouder to lead this team in good times and in challenging times.”

─ April 13 ─

Horton Begins Producing Frames For PPE Face Shields

With technology usually reserved for prototype development and machine fitting samples, Horton has begun producing face shield frames for use in local hospitals battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horton 3D printed face shields
Face shields utilizing Horton’s 3D-printed frames are being distributed to medical providers throughout the Twin Cities.

The engine cooling manufacturer recently volunteered its 3D printing capacity to making the frames, which house the clear shield protecting a medical professional’s face. As the novel coronavirus sweeps across the globe, many medical facilities face shortages of such personal protective equipment.

“We’re just trying to help out as much as we can,” said Horton Engineering Technician Dennis Skalecki, one of the leads on the project. “They need something, and we have the availability, so why not do it?”

Skalecki and Application Engineer Ryan Niederkorn took charge of the idea after connecting with local high school engineering teacher Mark Westlake, who provided the 3D printing model for the frames. Westlake, director of St. Thomas Academy’s Innovation Center, has collected, assembled and distributed more than 1,200 shields to health care providers across the Midwest.

Recipients include Regions Hospital, Children’s Minnesota, Methodist Hospital, North Memorial, all Minnesota veterans’ homes and the Dakota County Sheriff’s office.

Westlake and the Innovation Center have tapped 3D printing sources throughout the United States to help create the face shields. Horton was one of the first local manufacturers to join the effort.

“We have loved having Horton support this effort,” Westlake said. “Horton was one of the first companies to rise to challenge, and we love when we receive the Horton box at Saint Thomas Academy. The quality of the 3D printed visors need no finishing when we are preparing the shields for the end users, and that saves us a ton of time.”

In the first week of production, Horton had created 128 frames in its Roseville, Minnesota facility, with plans to print as many more as necessary.

“I will keep going till [Westlake] tells me to stop,” Skalecki said.

─ April 13 ─

Navistar Says Springfield Plant Closing Extended

Navistar International Corp. today provided an update on actions it is taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an essential business critical to supporting the nation’s increasingly stressed supply chain, Navistar said it plans to continue manufacturing operations at all plants subject to market conditions, component supplier disruptions and the continued spread and impact of COVID-19. Due to component supplier constraints, the stoppage at Navistar’s truck assembly plant in Springfield, Ohio, has been extended through early May.

Navistar service facilities and parts distribution centers are continuing regular operations, and up-to-the-minute International Truck and IC Bus dealership hours can be found at InternationalTrucks.com/covid19.

“Navistar is not immune to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Troy A. Clarke, chairman, president and CEO. “The extent of this virus is unprecedented, and our personal lives, businesses and global economies are being impacted by events beyond our control. With considerable uncertainties surrounding coronavirus, we have been monitoring the situation closely and decided to take actions to reduce costs and maximize financial flexibility and liquidity to best position Navistar for the future.”

The company is implementing a series of temporary cost reduction measures to further preserve financial flexibility. Actions include:

-A postponement of 30% of capital expenditures.

-A postponement of 30% of information technology project spend.

-A deferral of $162 million in pension contributions until 2021 under provisions of the CARES Act.

-A deferral of employer payroll tax payments and certain Employee Retention Tax Credits under provisions of the CARES Act as guidance becomes available.

-A deferral of 35% to the base salary of the CEO and board compensation.

-A deferral of 10 to 30% to the base salary of U.S.-based, salaried exempt, non-represented employees.

-A reduced workweek by 20% for contractors.

Salary deferrals will be effective April 20 through December 31 and will be repaid with interest no later than March 15, 2021. Other cost reduction actions will go into effect immediately through December 31.

These cost reduction initiatives are in addition to other previously implemented employee-related actions including a deferral of merit salary increases and a delay in 401k company match contributions until 2021. In total, these measures conserve approximately $300 million in cash over the balance of the company’s fiscal year, ending October 31. Navistar said it will continue to diligently monitor business conditions and consider additional actions as necessary.

As of April 10, Navistar’s consolidated cash and cash equivalents and manufacturing cash and cash equivalents both exceeded $1 billion.

“We held a strong manufacturing cash position heading into this pandemic, and the actions we are taking allow us to manage cash flow in response to these extraordinary times,” said Walter G. Borst, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “These actions do not impact the longer-term benefits of our Navistar 4.0 strategy but may influence the timing of when the plan’s full potential is realized, which we will reevaluate once the post-coronavirus economy is better understood.”

─ April 13 ─

Generac CEO Talks COVID-19 Challenges

Aaron Jagdfeld, chairman, president and chief executive officer of power generation systems specialist Generac talked to the Milwaukee BizTimes, a bi-weekly business publication, about the challenges his company has faced because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

When the Coronavirus hit and states began instituting shelter-in-place orders, Generac saw an increase in demand for its portable generators. That interest has now shifted to the company’s standby models, which Jagdfeld attributed to consumers giving more thought to their power security.

“There’s just an overarching anxiety,” he said. “I think everybody has a much higher level of anxiety these days and what happens in that residential business is when we see anxiety levels go up, people tend to think about generators and things like that a little bit more.”

Generac’s commercial and industrial business has seen a more complicated response to the coronavirus outbreak. While the company’s products are in demand in health care and telecommunications markets, the need for generators used for the mobile products industry in oil and gas and construction markets has fallen off.

“It’s almost like the spigot got turned off overnight,” Jagdfeld said, adding the company will need to keep a close eye on the rest of its industrial business.

“As we’ve had pullbacks in the economy before, the way it impacts our industrial business is … generally a couple months from now we would see a pretty good-sized air pocket there,” he said.

To read the complete interview, click here.

─ April 13 ─

Michigan Tech Builds Mobile Unit to Clean COVID-19 PPE

Michigan Technological University, a public research university located in upper Michigan, has designed a prototype mobile system for sanitizing personal protective equipment (PPE). The system incorporates a refrigerated shipping container, commercial-grade baking sheets and a modified oven that can disinfect PPE at temperatures hot enough to break up coronaviruses and do so in a big, moveable oven that can be quickly made with local, off-the-shelf parts that are easy to get and put together. The unit can clean 5000 to 10,000 PPE units every two hours and can run continuously.

The design is streamlined, incorporating a thick-walled shipping container with the refrigeration unit swapped for a heating unit run on an electric generator, lined with stainless steel racks and trays holding PPEs that are heated to 140º to 170º F.

The parts are all on hand in commercial bakeries, restaurants, HVAC shops, shipping yards and universities — and could be quickly delivered to hospital and clinic loading docks, the university said.

An engineering team from Michigan Tech tested the prototype, called the Mobile Thermal Unit (MTU) Sanitizer, in a campus parking lot alongside local company Aire Care. The prototype is now heading downstate for further validation testing.

“If Houghton, Michigan, can find 25 racks, the right kind of shipping container, a heating unit and the experts to put a prototype all together in a couple days, then this could be deployed in any city in our nation,” said Dan Barnard, co-inventor of the design along with his wife Amy, a biomedical engineer by training. Dan’s cousin, Andrew Barnard, is a mechanical engineer at Michigan Tech and the director of the Great Lakes Research Center.

“Our goal is to make a massively available and scalable mobile sanitation unit for hospital PPE. We’ve seen DIY versions using food dehydrators and ovens; we’re making it bigger, but still transportable,” Andrew Barnard said. “PPE shortages are expected to last weeks to months and we want to do something about that now.”

The team received $32,800 in seed funding from the College of Engineering and is working with local Sen. Ed McBroom, Rep. Greg Markkanen and Sen. Adam Hollier of Detroit.

For more information, click here.

─ April 9 ─

Dana Develops Protective Equipment For Medical Community

Dana Patient enclosure
In partnership with a Toledo-based hospital and 2-SCALE, Dana engineers designed and built prototypes for a patient enclosure.

Dana Inc. has used its advanced design and manufacturing technology, including 3D printers, to develop protective equipment for the medical community coping with COVID-19.

While designs for face shields are available elsewhere on the internet, Dana used its engineering expertise to reduce the amount of material needed to produce a face shield version that the company said is strong, durable and lightweight. If created using medical grade resin, it can be sterilized multiple times, further extending its useful life, Dana said.

In partnership with its employees, Toledo, Ohio-area schools and Eaton, Dana has shipped more than 1100 face shields. The specifications and directions for the shields is available on the Dana Cares website.

The company also helped to develop an enclosure to provide a barrier between patients and health care workers during an intubation procedure. During this procedure, the risk of bodily fluids and airborne pathogens reaching a health care worker are extremely high. The plexiglass enclosure allows for full visibility of and access to the patient and is able to be sanitized and used multiple times, Dana said.

In partnership with a Toledo-based hospital and 2-SCALE, Dana engineers designed and built prototypes for the patient enclosure. After testing, the enclosure apparatus is now being produced in limited quantities by Dana to protect health care workers during procedures, specifically intubations and extubations.

Anyone interested in building the shields and enclosures and providing them to local hospitals can download the resources on the Dana Cares page and work with local suppliers to obtain the materials.

Dana has also donated personal protective equipment to hospitals and is leveraging its global purchasing organization to help health-care systems identify alternative sources for gloves, glasses, shoe covers, gowns, and more.

─ April 9 ─

BigDog Mower Add Healthcare Professionals To ‘Heroes’ Program

BigDog Mower Co., the Hesston, Kan., manufacturer of residential turf equipment, today announced the expansion of its longstanding ‘Heroes’ program, which provides first responders and active/retired military with a pricing discount. As the country battles COVID-19 pandemic, BigDog is expanding the program to include healthcare professionals.

“This discount is our small way of saying a heartfelt thank you to people who dedicate their lives to serving our country and our communities,” said Joe Wright, CEO of Excel Industries, the manufacturer of BigDog. “Watching our health care workers go well beyond the call of duty over the last few weeks made it clear to us that they too deserve our gratitude. It is through their tireless efforts that we will see our way through to the other side of this crisis.”

The expanded ‘Heroes’ program enables qualifying individuals to receive 10% off the current retail price of all eligible BigDog mowers. Healthcare professionals and clinical staff who qualify include doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical social workers, physical therapists, medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses.

To learn more about the program, click here.

─ April 9 ─

Deere Begins Production Of Shields For Health Care Workers

John DeereJohn Deere, in collaboration with the UAW, the Iowa Dept. of Homeland Security and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, announced today it is producing protective face shields at John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, Ill. Deere employees will initially produce 25,000 face shields to meet the immediate needs of health-care workers in several of its U.S. manufacturing communities.

Materials and supplies are on order to produce an additional 200,000 face shields. The company is using an open-source design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the project and leveraging expertise, skills, and innovation of its employee base.

“Our manufacturing and supply management teams, along with our production and maintenance employees, the UAW, and our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure we could lend our support and protect our health-care workers during this crisis,” said John May, chief executive officer, Deere & Co. “By working closely with the communities where our employees live and work, we can help support the needs we’ve identified close to home and, as the project expands, address additional, urgent needs across the country.”

John Deere Seeding Group employees are supporting the special project and are utilizing extensive and robust safety measures adopted across the company to safeguard employees.

The production of protective face shields is one of many initiatives the company and its employees have executed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Efforts in the U.S. have included the following:

-Donations to health care facilities.

-2:1 employee match program encouraging donations to local food banks and the American Red Cross.

-Production of approximately 18,000 protective face shields for use by factory employees.

-Employee volunteerism efforts to sew cloth masks for community members along with a match from the John Deere Foundation for the time invested in this volunteer activity.

-Launch of a COVID-19 innovations site to share open-source specifications for related projects, including 3D-printed clips to affix face shields to protective bump caps.

For additional information regarding Deere’s response to COVID-19, visit the company’s Coronavirus Update Center.

 ─ April 9 ─

 Ricardo Joins Virus Fight

As a part of the U.K.’s national effort to provide much needed personal protective equipment in the fight against COVID-19, engineering consultancy Ricardo has today announced that it is about to go into production manufacturing face shields which will be used by frontline National Health Service (NHS) healthcare staff as well as by key workers in the care home sector.

To ensure that the face shields can get to NHS staff that need them as quickly as possible, facilities at Ricardo’s Technical Centres at Shoreham by Sea in West Sussex and Leamington Spa, England are being repurposed as assembly lines and logistics centers for the face shields.

In addition to the supply of face shields to the NHS and others in the U.K., Ricardo is looking to make similar initiatives at its facilities in Europe and the U.S., for the benefit of local communities.

The face shield is being produced to a bespoke Ricardo design, leveraging its design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, it said. A prototype was delivered by the company’s in-house rapid prototyping team and facilities. However, it said it was quickly realised that rapid prototyping would not provide the volumes of face shields needed or at the speed required.

Ricardo used its manufacturing supply chain expertise to engage with an injection molding partner, to create a tool capable of high-volume manufacture.  Using this bespoke tooling, and its engineering design expertise, the team took the opportunity to refine the original rapid prototype design of the face shield for enhanced comfort over extended periods of wear, inviting local NHS doctors to test the new face shield design for comfort and wearability. Tooling and the first batch of units is already in progress and Ricardo will make its first donation of face shields to NHS staff and key frontline workers shortly after Easter.

The company has also offered its services to support the rapid design or conversion of vehicles for use as ambulances and as other support vehicles and has offered the use of some facilities for testing or as logistic centers.

─ April 9 ─ 

 ZF CEO Issues Update On Plant Status

Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO ZF Friedrichshafen AG, issued an update concerning the Coronavirus on LinkedIn.

“Because of the Coronavirus crisis we at ZF are currently operating within our range of visibility – this means that we are assessing the situation every day for all of our locations worldwide while also working hard to review how to restart our production and indirect activities. We have made progress here to some extent as normality is slowly returning to our Chinese plants, even if production is still significantly below what it was before the Coronavirus outbreak.

“Where production is completely suspended or in emergency operation only, we are partially planning to ramp up in individual cases in the second half of April. Unfortunately, this ramp-up will take place in very few locations only, and not simultaneously.

“Unfortunately, the end of this crisis is not yet in sight. We are doing everything we can to get back as quick as possible to the time before the outbreak of the pandemic. However, we have to assume that we will not return to the planned level for the whole year. At ZF, we all pull together. On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank all employees who contribute to coping with the crisis worldwide.”

 ─ April 9 ─ 

Putzmeister, Sany Execs Provide Business Updates

Putzmeister America President and CEO Jonathan Dawley and Xiang Wenbo, president of parent company Sany Heavy Industry Co. Ltd., each issued statements addressed to “customers and partners” concerning the status of their businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused business challenges for all of us driving immediate changes to how our business operates,” wrote Dawley. “I am grateful to all of our business partners for standing strong as we weather this unique time together.

“Our goal over the next few months is ensuring health and safety of our employees, driving financial stability and supporting our customer base which is still hard at work.

“While we are thankful that our business continues operating, we know there are many industries that are much harder hit by the virus.  There are also many medical professionals and support services on the front lines risking themselves to help others.  We humbly thank these individuals as their calling is much higher than our own.”

In his statement, Xiang noted that “The global COVID-19 pandemic is making a huge impact on our families, our businesses, our communities and our lifestyle. Our hearts go out to anyone who’s been impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly.

“When the coronavirus hit China badly in January, the whole country was making tremendous efforts to protect its people with strict measures. With strong national solidarity in China and enormous medical support from around the world we successfully contained the virus spread in March. However, the virus took a heavy toll on the other countries of the world during this time period. With a grateful mind, Sany Group started to donate medical supplies to different countries to support our local communities where our employees live and work. Sany donated 50,000 masks to Germany in the first batch and quickly the second, the third and now the fourth batch of totally 1 million medical masks to 34 countries in the world. If you are in need of medical supplies, Sany local organizations are more than happy to support you in offering medical masks to protect your employees.”

─ April 8 ─

Cummins Foundation Issues COVID-19 Grants 

The Cummins Foundation is issuing emergency grants to non-profits addressing the needs of families and children impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The grants are targeted in cities in which the company is a critical employer with a significant role in the prosperity of the community.

“When schools closed, working parents had few childcare options, learning environments were disrupted and students suddenly lacked access to nutritious meals and critical technologies to learn from home,” said Mary Chandler, CEO of the Cummins Foundation and Cummins vice president of Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility. “The impact on families in our communities has been swift and devastating. Our community partners are fulfilling vital needs.”

The Cummins Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that operates separately from the company, is focusing its emergency COVID-19 funding on childcare, nutrition, basic needs, and remote learning assistance in communities around the world where the company has a significant presence.

Communities in which the company operates, including Columbus, Indianapolis and Seymour in Indiana, Rocky Mount, N.C., and Jamestown, N.Y., and Daventry in the U.K., have applied the grant funding to address the immediate effects of the growing crisis.

The Cummins Foundation is also one of the funding partners of a remote e-learning fund in Indianapolis, the primary childcare partnership in Rocky Mount, human services organizations in Seymour and food assistance programs in Daventry, UK, where the company is helping with packed lunches and hot meals for kids, among others.

As the Foundation continues to learn the most critical community needs from its global partners administering direct services in Cummins communities, additional grants will be awarded.

─ April 8 ─

Changes At Knorr-Bremse

Knorr-Bremse, which makes braking systems and other safety-critical commercial vehicle and rail systems, said most of its sites in Gemany are working short-time from this week due to the Coronavirus.

In a statement, the company said:

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is also leading to far-reaching adaptation measures at Knorr-Bremse. Substantial proportions of customers and suppliers in Europe have temporarily shut down their production plants. Many customers have also reduced capacities in their administration and development departments. Against this backdrop, Knorr-Bremse has reached agreements with employee representatives across Germany with the aim of safeguarding jobs and being able to ramp up production again at any time in close coordination with customers. All parts of Knorr-Bremse are taking a proactive approach and adapting their activities flexibly to the current situation.

“Keeping our customers supplied takes top priority,” said Knorr-Bremse CEO Bernd Eulitz. “Many of our customers have shut down operations for several weeks and we now have to adapt accordingly. At all our sites we are reconciling the interests of the company, our customers and our employees and together we will overcome the crisis.”

Most of the company’s sites in Germany are working short-time from this week onwards. This mainly affects the Munich and Schwieberdingen sites and the Truck division plants in Aldersbach and Berlin, as well as the Rail division plant in Düsseldorf. In the context of short-time working, between 20% and 60% of production and administrative activities will initially be cut back for around three months, including administration at the parent company Knorr-Bremse AG. The level of short-time working and the agreed duration varies from one site to the next. The largest Truck division plants in Germany – Aldersbach and Berlin – had already begun cutting back working hours in March. An additional contribution by the company will increase employees’ short-time working allowance to around 85%.

“Our joint aim is to safeguard all jobs,” said Michael Jell, chairman of the Knorr-Bremse Group Works Council. “At the same time we have to respond flexibly to the market situation, because we still want to have a stable and dependable employer when the crisis is over. And we are all making a decisive contribution to this.”

Where necessary and possible, Knorr-Bremse sites in other European countries, such as Italy, Spain and France, and in the U.S. are also making use of similar programs to help protect employees and ensure job security.

─ April 8 ─

New Date For bauma CTT Russia

bauma CTT Russia, which was originally schedules to take place in May now has a new date. Show organizers Messe München announced that the trade fair will be held from September 8 to 11 at the Crocus Expo in Moscow.

The measures taken by the Moscow city government against the spread of coronavirus will apply for the time being until April 10. In view of this development, “the postponement is the logical consequence”, explains Stefan Rummel, managing director of Messe München. “We are thus giving our customers, exhibitors, visitors and partners of bauma CTT Russia planning security. Their health is our top priority. We are now looking ahead confidently and working with our national and international partners from the construction industry to organize a successful bauma CTT Russia 2020 in September.”

Sergey Alexandrov, managing director of Messe München Rus, explainsed, “We are taking the spread of the coronavirus very seriously and have been monitoring the local situation closely. Based on current developments, we are confident that by setting the new date we will create good conditions for staging bauma CTT Russia.”

After intense communication with exhibitors, Alexandrov believes that “despite the current uncertainties, the importance of bauma CTT Russia remains intact. There is still a great demand for participating and we have the commitment of most of our exhibitors to follow our decision.”

Visitors can still register online for bauma CTT Russia. Already purchased tickets remain valid.

─ April 8 ─

Mower Discounts For Medical Personnel

Scag Power Equipment announced a change to its “Simply the Brave” program, which has been offered since 2018. The program offers pricing discounts of 15% off the retail prices of Scag lawn mowers and mower accessories, and was previously available to current and retired fire, police and EMT personnel, as well as active duty military and military Veterans. From April 6 through September 30, the discount program is being expanded to include medical doctors, nurses and hospital medical professionals. Proof of service must be presented to the dealer at the time of sale.

Additionally, this “Simply the Brave” program will also benefit The Gary Sinise Foundation – First Responders Outreach Program and Nation of Patriots, as Scag will make a donation to each of these worthy charities upon the program’s conclusion.

“The entire Scag Family respects and honors all those who keep our country and its citizens healthy, safe and free,” said Chris Frame, president of Scag Power Equipment. “Today, more than ever, we humbly offer our thanks to these heroes for all that they do.”

Scag Power Equipment, a division of Metalcraft of Mayville Inc., is one of the largest independent manufacturers of commercial lawn mowing equipment in the United States.

─ April 7 ─

Schaeffler Donates €1 Million To Red Cross For COVID-19 Fight

Germany’s Schaeffler AG, a global supplier of power transmission technologies for industrial and automotive applications, and the Schaeffler family, are jointly donating €1 million to the Red Cross to help in the fight against COVID-19.

“We have the greatest respect for all people who maintain our infrastructure with extraordinary commitment in this exceptional situation,” said Georg F. W. Schaeffler, chairman of the supervisory board of Schaeffer AG. “With our donation we want to express our gratitude and respect to the doctors and medical nurses who are doing superhuman work in the fight against Covid-19 these days.”

In February, Schaeffler AG donated €800,000 to Chinese first responder organizations and provided support for Red Cross activities in China.

“The corona crisis has assumed global dimensions. In these difficult times we must all do what we can to support the fight against COVID-19,” said Schaeffler AG Chief Executive Officer Klaus Rosenfeld. “That is part of our social responsibility.”

─ April 6 ─

 Husky Designs Simple Ventilators For Fast Production

In response to a pressing need caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Husky Corp., a Missouri-based manufacturer of fueling nozzles and accessories, has designed a rapid-manufacture ventilator. The units are simple, yet reliable, the company said, and can be produced inexpensively from readily available components, delivered at minimal cost and used promptly with little operator training.

The inspiration for the Husky ventilator design was prompted when nurse anesthetist Nick Till asked his friend, Husky Corp. Engineering Manager Zach Holcomb, if he could think of ways to use manual resuscitator bags as stand-alone respirators. “How can we automatically squeeze this bag?” Till asked, which prompted Holcomb and Husky Design Engineer Derek Willers to launch the project.

The result in a few short days produced a ventilator apparatus using a standard size 1500 ml resuscitator bag, compressed by a rubber ram attached to an air cylinder that is used in product testing applications. The apparatus will deliver air or oxygen at adjustable flow rates appropriate for patients in need.

Husky, designated an ‘essential industry’ as part of the Defense Industrial Base by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security during the COVID-19 outbreak, believes it will be able to produce approximately 500 ventilators weekly.

The proof of concept for the Husky ventilator is comprised of readily available components or those which could quickly be produced with a 3D printer, the company said. The key component is the air cylinder, operated by compressed air, to “squeeze” the resuscitation bag repeatably and reliably. It’s the same type of air cylinder used in the equipment Husky Corp. uses to test its fuel nozzles and components, which often require test cycles that number in excess of several hundred thousand or more without failure.

The ventilator progressed from idea to proof of concept in approximately one week, with refinements and improvements already being added to enhance the programmable controls that adjust the flow rate and compression frequency with precision and ease. Husky is actively seeking confirmation of the feasibility of the ventilator apparatus from a biomedical engineer, pulmonologist, respiratory therapist or similar medical expert prior to making the product available.

Husky said it is also looking at an electric version of the ventilator, rather than one that uses compressed air, for use in areas away from hospital rooms that do not have access to compressed air. The company is also exploring applications where the ventilator could be deployed to third world countries, where a low-cost ventilator would be potentially invaluable.

For a short video on the Husky ventilator, click here.

April 6 ─

COVID-19 To Wipe 4% Off Global CE Production, Says  OHR

Factory closures and national lockdowns around the world will cost the global construction equipment industry lost production of 43,000 machines this year, according to specialist market research and forecasting company Off-Highway Research (OHR). This is equivalent to 4% of last year’s total output of 1.07 million machines, OHR estimates.

At present the most significant impacts of closures are being felt in France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., Europe’s largest equipment producing countries. However, Off-Highway Research also highlights the experience of China, where the industry is now trying to make up for lost time.

“Factory closures and lockdowns in China cost the industry 6% of its production,” said Off-Highway Research managing director Chris Sleight. “Some OEMs didn’t close at all, but most were shuttered for two to six weeks and then had to ramp up production once they re-opened. Activity is now very high as the industry is anticipating some government stimulus and something of a buying spree.”

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Off-Highway Research was forecasting a softening of global demand for equipment. “The industry reached a peak in 2018 and 2019, and we were already expecting a decline of 5% or so this year from those record highs,” Sleight said, “COVID-19 will most likely exacerbate that, but we also expect a strong policy response from governments around the world to reinvigorate their economies. It is too early to put a figure on what the impacts will be.”

To read the complete story, click here.

April 6

Cummins, DuPont Partner On N95 Respirator Masks

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, Cummins Inc. and DuPont are helping address the nation’s shortage of N95 respirator masks. Cummins’ NanoNet and NanoForce media technology, which uses DuPont’s Hybrid Membrane Technology (HMT), are typically found in air, fuel and lube filtration products used in heavy-duty diesel engines to prevent long-term engine wear, but also can be used in the N95 respirator masks worn by healthcare professionals to filter harmful airborne particles that can spread COVID-19.

The need for N95 masks has skyrocketed in recent weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the world’s leading mask manufacturers are in need of the critical materials to assemble the mask and are struggling to meet demand.

“Cummins is re-evaluating our supply base and manufacturing capabilities to identify how we can support our healthcare professionals who rely on critical personal protective equipment to do their jobs,” said Amy Davis, vice president of Cummins Filtration. “Our NanoNet media can fill a key supply void and help address the mask shortage facing the United States and other countries around the world.”

The first mask prototypes using Cummins’ donated media were assembled by University of Minnesota teams in March as part of an initiative to provide masks to M Health Fairview and other Minneapolis-based healthcare systems. As the COVID-19 outbreak escalated, the University of Minnesota realized their supply of N95 masks to protect healthcare workers would potentially run out in a matter of weeks. To address this challenge, a team of designers, engineers, chemists, surgeons, anesthesiologist and apparel and clothing experts from the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine; Medical School; College of Design; College of Science and Engineering; and Center for Filtration Research Consortium (CFR) came together to address this projected shortage of critical personal protective equipment.

“The first thing we recognized from our experts in the Center for Filtration Research, who work directly with Cummins, is that not all filtration materials are created equal and that the Cummins material is an excellent alternative,” said Jakub Tolar, campus health officer and medical school dean at the University of Minnesota. “We are tremendously grateful for the generous donation from Cummins of their filtration materials toward our mask effort. Since the arrival of the filtration media, we have been able to make rapid progress, and we now believe we have several viable mask options, including both a disposable and re-usable option. These designs show real promise in keeping our healthcare workers safe should standard medical supplies of N95 masks no longer be available.”

The project also aims to provide open source instructions that other healthcare systems and groups can use to create their own respirator masks.

While DuPont’s HMT is typically integrated with Cummins’ synthetic fibers to protect sensitive engine components, it has multiple other applications that can include filtration media used in N95 respirator masks. Made using a proprietary spinning process, the hybrid technology materials are comprised of continuous sub-micron fibers. The end result is a “membrane-like” sheet structure that balances breathability and high filtration efficiency of particulates.

“We are proud to make our advanced technology available to help protect more caregivers on the front lines of this global health crisis,” said HP Nanda, global vice president & general manager, DuPont Water Solutions. “We thank our partner Cummins for transitioning the use of its production line to help address the global shortage of N95 mask materials, and we thank the experts at the University of Minnesota for their leadership in testing and designing several mask options for the benefit of many healthcare systems. By working together—and innovating new applications of existing technologies and materials—we hope to slow the spread of this terrible virus.”

When Cummins’ NanoNet media was tested using an industry standard testing method, it exceeded the performance requirements for N95 designation. Cummins’ manufacturing facilities have since provided media samples to mask manufacturers across the globe to test its effectiveness.

While products featuring Cummins’ media will need to be vetted and approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the company is preparing to do its part to help relieve the burden facing the healthcare industry. “We’re working as quickly as possible with healthcare regulators and other partners to help certify products with our materials, and prepare our manufacturing facilities to meet demand,” said Davis.

April 6 ─

Sears Seating Produces PPEs For Iowa Hospitals

As the medical supply chain struggles with dynamic issues such as component supplier closures, labor uncertainty, and unprecedented demand, local Quad Cities manufacturer, Sears Seating, has begun producing critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for Quad Cities area Genesis Health Systems and UnityPoint Hospitals.

“There is no business model required for doing the right thing,” said James Sears, CEO of Sears Seating. “Through the collaboration of Sears Seating’s engineers, expert sewers and hospital staff, we are able answer our community’s call for help. I could not be more proud of the team.”

Sears Seating employees began manufacturing mask covers to help prolong the life of the N95 masks and isolation gowns to protect staff working with patients in isolation on March 26, hitting stride with full production March 30. With enough materials to produce 3000 gowns and 5000 masks, team members are refining processes to make up to 200 gowns or 500 masks per day.

“It is going to take all of us to effectively respond to this crisis, which is unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes,” said Doug Cropper, president and CEO, Genesis Health System. “Sears Seating asked how they could become involved. One of our needs is surgical and isolation gowns, which fit well with Sears products. Any products we can find or produce locally to assist us in keeping our employees safe and safely caring for our patients can also help us avoid delays in shipping or the possibility of shortages. We are extremely grateful to Sears Seating and its employees for helping us meet the challenges of this pandemic.”

April 6

Mack Provides COVID-19 Resources For Customers, Dealers

Mack Trucks today launched info.macktrucks.com/thankyou, an online resource for trucking companies and dealers offering useful information from government agencies, trucking industry experts and Mack to assist them in navigating through the COVID-19 situation.

The dedicated webpage will be regularly updated and includes a video expressing Mack’s appreciation for customers, professional drivers, service technicians and dealers, as well as links to the #thankatrucker conversation on social media.

“We wanted to express our sincere gratitude to the numerous trucking company employees, dealers, drivers and service techs across our industry who continue to step up, despite personal and economic hardships,” said John Walsh, Mack Trucks vice president of marketing. “We’re also doing our best to provide information helpful to them in getting the job done. Whether it’s delivering groceries to our stores, performing essential construction projects, or picking up the trash, we know we echo the sentiments of countless others in saying thank you.”

The webpage offers resources such as links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation, all of which offer the most up-to-date information available.

The page also features Mack-specific information, including details about ongoing 24/7 customer support from Mack OneCall agents, parts availability, production updates and a link to dealer locations.

Visitors to the page will also see posts from the #thankatrucker campaign, and have the opportunity to take part in the conversation.

─ April 3 ─

CNH Industrial Updates European Assembly Plans

In light of the continuing emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CNH Industrial N.V. announced today that the majority of its European assembly operations will remain suspended until April 17.

Logistics hubs, and the related industrial and supply operations, remain operational to guarantee as timely and efficient parts and service support to end customers as possible at this time, the company said. This decision has been taken considering the vital nature to society of the sectors in which the company operates, especially in emergency situations: agricultural and construction machinery, the transport of goods and people, fire fighting vehicles and those dedicated to public safety.

CNH said the safeguarding of the health and safety of company employees remains at the forefront when taking decisions to suspend assembly activities, as well as to preserve others at minimum levels. To this end, CNH Industrial said it is following all national directives by implementing stringent measures and continuing to share and leverage internal best practices globally. This latest decision was reached in agreement with all social partners in the countries in which the company operates.

Subsequent updates on European operations will be defined over the course of the coming weeks, based on COVID-19 developments, the company said.

─ April 3

Cummins Takes Additional Actions In Response To COVID-19 Impact

Cummins Inc. provided an update today on the actions it is taking in response to the impact of COVID-19.

“The impact from the pandemic on the global economy has been sudden and is growing, and it is imperative for us to respond quickly to maintain our strong financial position,” said Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO, Cummins Inc.

In response to lower demand and customer shutdowns in several countries, the company is taking the following temporary actions to lower costs:

– A reduction of 50% in the salary of the CEO.

– A reduction of 25% in director compensation.

– A reduction in salary for all other employees in the United States of between 10% and 25% and a reduction in working hours.

The company will take similar actions outside the United States based on local regulations and collective bargaining obligations. These reductions in pay are intended to be a temporary measure, Cummins said. The company will continue to monitor business conditions closely and reassess the program at the end of the second quarter.

“These are difficult but necessary actions and I know they will have a real impact on the lives of our employees and their families,” Linebarger said. “I appreciate their understanding and support as we work through these challenging times together. I want to thank our employees for their continued commitment to ensuring our customers receive the products and service they need to provide essential support to the global economy.”

April 3 ─

Palmer Johnson Power Systems Statement On COVID-19

Palmer Johnson Power Systems issued a statement on the Coronavirus.

“As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, the entire world is in a state of adjustment,” the statement said. “The same is true for Palmer Johnson Power Systems as we monitor the latest developments and adjust our business based on our core values, ‘We care about each other’ and ‘We care about our customers.’ The health of everyone is our number one concern as we try to find the best way to support our important customers.”

The company said that “Several of our facilities are located in municipalities or states that have issued ‘Safer at Home’ or ‘Stay at Home’ orders limiting non-essential business operations. Palmer Johnson has reviewed all of these orders as they are released, and each has been following the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security guideline regarding the definition of ‘Essential Business.’ Based on these guidelines, Palmer Johnson Power Systems supports several areas of essential business and therefor, can continue operating to support our customers. If there is ever a reason we need to close a location temporarily, we will alert all customers in that area immediately.”

The company said all of its sales and support teams started working from home last week. “Customers should not have noticed this change based on our long term use of technology to allow working from any location,” the company said.

The company said that as it continues production and shipping operations at all locations, it was adding safety measures to protect its employees and customers. “We are also staying in close contact with all of our vendors to monitor any potential disruptions in product supply,” the company said. “To date, we have not had interruption that will significantly alter our ability to deliver customer products. Still, we will continually monitor this and communicate any issues to the affected customers.”

April 3 ─

Witzenmann Stays Positive, Flexible

Witzenmann, the German manufacturer of flexible metal hoses, expansion joints, metal bellows, pipe supports and automotive components, issued a statement in which it said it remains a “reliable partner in difficult times.”

“Witzenmann is economically resilient,” the company’s statement said. “The supplies to customers are ensured even in the current situation. Witzenmann reacts with great flexibility to the dynamic developments at its customers.”

“In the course of the Corona crisis, some customers of the Witzenmann Group have closed their plants,” the company said. The Witzenmann Group has been particularly affected by this in the area of vehicle components and the company said it is reacting with temporary interruptions of work in the affected production areas in April.

“In this situation, we keep a close eye on our cost structure and look at how things are going with our customers on a daily basis,” said Heiko Pott, CFO of the Witzenmann Group. “In order to compensate for the strong fluctuations in demand from our customers, we have taken work interruptions in production in parts of the company. Since 1st April, we have also registered short-time working, which is currently increasingly used in the administrations.

“Overall, Witzenmann has a very solid and stable economic position and will withstand the crisis well, even if it lasts for a longer period.”

The company’s broad portfolio, reaching into a range of industries is paying off, the company said.   “Even in this crisis, it helps us that we are positioned across a wide range of industries,” said Dr. Andreas Kämpfe, CEO of the Witzenmann Group.

While Witzenmann recorded a noticeable decline in order intake in the Automotive division, the company said production continues unchanged for industrial customers (metal hoses, metal bellows and expansion joints), in the Commercial Vehicles & Engines division, and in the Aerospace division. The Industrial and Commercial Vehicles divisions are expected to be fully utilized until June, and the Aerospace division by the end of the year. In the Aerospace division, Witzenmann continues to realize high supply orders and the ramp-up of new programs this year. An adjustment of capacity or short-time work is not planned here in 2020.

“Basically, we are flexible,” Kämpfe said. “This enables us to operate ‘on sight’ in the current situation. This means that we can also bring the currently idle production in the automotive sector back on stream in a reasonable time.”

April 2 ─

Navistar Provides Manufacturing Operations Update

Navistar International Corp. said it is making changes in its manufacturing operations in response to the continued impacts of COVID-19.

The company’s truck assembly plant in Springfield, Ohio, temporarily ceased production March 23 due to disruptions in the supply chain resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. With the supply chain still interrupted, this stoppage is being extended. Production will resume Monday, April 27, the company said.

Additionally, Navistar said it is broadening its temporary suspension in manufacturing operations to its engine assembly plant in Huntsville, Ala., and truck assembly plant in Escobedo, Mexico. Production will resume at both locations Monday, April 13, Navistar said. The IC Bus Manufacturing Plant in Tulsa, Okla., and all Navistar service facilities and parts distribution centers are currently continuing regular operations.

Navistar said it “recognizes the essential role of the commercial vehicle industry in support of the transportation infrastructure and remains dedicated to providing quality service and support to customers to keep critical goods moving during this uncertain time.”

─ April 2 ─

Offshore Technology Conference Cancelled

The Offshore Technology Conference, which had originally planned to reschedule is May exhibition until later in year, has now decided to cancel the event for this year, another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to exhibitors, OTC Executive Director Stephen Graham indicated that attempts to reschedule the show for another time in 2020 were unsuccessful.

“While OTC’s purpose is to provide an opportunity for those in the offshore petroleum industry from around the world to meet and share knowledge, our first priority is to the health and safety of our attendees and exhibitors,” Graham wrote. “Therefore, OTC has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s conference.

“OTC did attempt to reschedule for the later in the year but found too many energy conferences already scheduled for that time frame. We chose to direct our energies toward a highly successful 2021 OTC instead of competing with events that you are likely already supporting.”

For more information, click here.

─ April 2 ─

Casappa Suspending Production At Italian Plants

Casappa SpA announced via LinkedIn that it was suspending production at all of its Italian facilities.

“In an effort to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, Casappa Group is suspending production at all Italian plants until April 13th at the earliest. This is an extremely challenging time for all of us, but our thoughts are now with everyone who has been affected by the Covid-19.”

In a letter posted on LinkedIn, the company added, “Lots of questions remain about how the Coronavirus will affect the industry and critical supply chains moving forward, but we can assure we will provide support in every way we can during this challenging time.”

The company said its sales and aftersales departments are operating remotely and its subsidiaries in the U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, India and Korea “have implemented the smart working mode as well,” while operations in China are gradually getting back to normal.

“We will manage this delicate situation with care and responsibility,” the company said, “taking all necessary actions to protect our workforce, our customers and our communities.”

April 1

PowerGen Africa Rescheduled To November

Following the South African government’s announcement of a national state of disaster and subsequent ban on public gatherings of over 100 people in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarion Events Africa (formerly Spintelligent) is rescheduling African Utility Week and PowerGen Africa. The event, which was due to take place from May 12-14, will now run from November 24-26. The venue – CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa – remains unchanged.

African Utility Week and PowerGen Africa attracts over 10,000 people from more than 90 countries and is the largest energy show in Africa. This year’s show marks its 20th anniversary.

“The health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, employees and the wider public is of paramount importance to us,” said managing director David Ashdown.

“Following the government’s announcement, we have worked with industry to reschedule African Utility Week and PowerGen Africa to November, in order to minimize potential health risks to those connected to the event.

“It is expected that the current challenges presented by the Coronavirus will slow down significantly within the next few months, which means the new November date for African Utility Week and PowerGen Africa will allow us to deliver the most meaningful event in terms of maximizing ROI for our exhibitors and excellent content and experiences for our visitors.”

─ March 31 ─

Briggs & Stratton Makes Additional Reductions

Briggs & Stratton Corp., which last week cut the pay of its top executives, will also reduce the compensation of its salaried employees by 25% to 30% and is halting its 401(k) match, according to a report in the Milwaukee BizTimes. The moves are part of the company’s strategy in dealing with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

BizTimes reported it obtained a copy of a company memo from Chairman, President and CEO Todd Teske in which he outlined a variety of options the company considered before deciding on the salary reductions, which included furloughs and staff reductions.

“We decided that keeping the team together through this difficult time is paramount, as we need to be agile and ready to ramp back up at a moment’s notice,” Teske’s memo said. “We want our team members to be able to earn a salary far in excess of what governmental assistance provides. And we want to continue to be a viable organization where employees can continue to work and earn their livelihood for the long-term.”

BizTimes reported that Teske said the company would monitor the situation and hopes to adjust the reductions in June.

─ March 31 ─

A Perspective On Construction Equipment Manufacturing In China

In an exclusive interview, KHL Group asked Beijing-based SHI Yang, director of Research at Off-Highway Research China, to describe how China’s construction equipment market is recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Yang noted that many major manufacturers reopened their factories in the third week of February. “However, because of the problems in the production of components, the still partially blocked transportation system and the absence of many employees, their production was at low levels in the first two weeks,” Yang said. “But as a general trend, the manufacturers had restored production to normal levels by the beginning of March, with strict virus containment measures are still adopted every day, such as wearing masks. A number of excavator factories are working around the clock now to fill the orders and prepare for the expected peak in April.”

To read more of his comments, click here.

March 31  

Poclain: China Has Switched On

 In a LinkedIn post today, Poclain Hydraulics lauded its Chinese operation, which has been back at work for several weeks. The company has a manufacturing facility in Shanghai, a sales office in Beijing, and distributors in several parts of the country.

“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Poclain employees in China have collectively shown incredible perseverance, dedication and solidarity in the face of risks,” the company wrote. “In the middle of February, China restarted operations under difficult conditions with the approval of local authorities.

“China is moving into full-on recovery now. With customers as our foremost concern, our team is currently running two shifts, six days a week and reached a record for monthly output last week.

“Meanwhile, the team has taken this opportunity to show inspirational commitment and solidarity – helping each other, putting in place and executing anti-virus measures, and helping our sister plants overseas, who are working hard to support us as well within their respective capacities. Unis nous vaincrons.

“The Chinese translation of crisis, called Wei Ji. Wei is risk, danger, and Ji is opportunity and hope. Opportunity appears in the moment of risks. China has switched ON and let’s shift up.” 

March 30

Two Perspectives From A Locked-Down Italy

Walvoil President Victor Gottardi posted a message on the company’s website in which he reviewed the status of his company, but was nonetheless “thinking about the future.”

“In this moment of global health emergency, Walvoil has temporarily suspended production at its sites in Italy and India, following the Directives of the Italian and Indian governments. Other manufacturers have done likewise to,” Gottardi wrote. “However, Walvoil plants continue to function in USA, Canada, Korea and China; the last-named being a country in which we have been able to catch up with regular operations rapidly. Also the Walvoil distribution network, which has always been very dynamic and cohesive, continues to function where possible.

“In any case, all our Customers can count on our global commercial and technical support even in this difficult period, since all commercial touch points/contacts are active and working intensely, some of them from their homes.”

Gottardi said that at all of the company’s sites, “Walvoil has proactively put in place all the necessary safety measures to protect people and work.”

“We take our obligation to protect our workforce very deeply and so, when we reopen our plants (hopefully very soon), while on the one hand we will be very alive to the above obligation, at the same time, we will also be working strongly and diligently to restart production and deliveries at the fastest possible, in the interest of all our stakeholders.”

The company has also formed a group called the Sustainability Board, which is focusing on containing the Covid-19 virus and preventing its further spread in Walvoil plants, provide guidance top all Walvoil Group companies and prepare for growth in the coming years.

To see the letter in its entirety, click here.

Another view of conditions in Italy was provided by Roberta Prandi, associate publisher of Diesel Progress International and New Power Progress, who is based in Northern Italy.

“The situation, especially in the northern regions is still very difficult, but the past three days have shown some positive signs as the curve of new positive cases has started to flatten out,” Prandi wrote. “Only yesterday the Italian government reached an agreement with the major workers’ unions to review the list of non-essential activities that need to shut down. The original list of essential activities included the production of electric motors and gen-sets, agricultural tractors and everything related to civil engineering.”

To read the report in its entirety on the Construction Europe website, click here.

─ March 30

CNH Industrial Updates COVID-19 Strategy, Includes American Shutdowns

CNH Industrial has issued a new statement concerning its measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that include a temporary shutdown of its plants in North and South America.

The statement is as follows:

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, CNH Industrial has been proactively taking all appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees, the continuity of its industrial and distribution infrastructure, and its supply chain. All these efforts are geared to ensure that the needs of our customers are met, even in these unprecedented circumstances.

In light of the significant deterioration of the macro-economic environment triggered by the global spread of the COVID-19 virus and the resulting market uncertainty, the impact that such events may have on the Company’s 2020 financial results cannot be reasonably estimated at this time due to the rapid development and fluidity of the situation.

As a result, CNH Industrial withdraws its financial outlook for 2020 presented on February 7, 2020. Further updates will be provided in the Company’s first-quarter earnings announcement and conference call on May 6, 2020.

In previous challenging circumstances, the Company has demonstrated that it is able to react promptly while maintaining a firm grip on its financial position. Accordingly, the Company is currently evaluating all possible actions to reduce costs and protect its financial position and liquidity.

Management has worked diligently in the last few years in order to attain investment grade status from the three main rating agencies. Our available liquidity position at December end 2019 was $11.2 billion, the highest level in Company history, providing a solid cash base and headroom within its credit facilities to navigate such an uncertain and challenging environment.

Despite these exceptional circumstances, the Company is continuing to implement measures to guarantee the health and safety of its employees, in line with all national directives, and the continuity of its business operations.

It is in this context, that today CNH Industrial announces that it is suspending the majority of its manufacturing operations in North and South America for a two-week period, starting March 30.

In North America, the impacted sites manufacture construction and agricultural equipment but most component facilities will remain operational at low speed, in order to ensure the continuation of supply to the Company’s other manufacturing facilities in North America – specifically those that are deemed essential by the U.S. Government. North American parts depots and most dealer locations will also remain open to maintain uninterrupted service to customers. CNH Industrial is working closely with union leaders to implement the temporary shutdowns and the re-opening of the plants.

In South America, the impacted sites manufacture construction and agricultural equipment, commercial vehicles and powertrains. South American parts depots and the majority of dealerships will continue to provide uninterrupted service to their customers. CNH Industrial is working closely with governments and union leaders to implement these actions.

March 30

Cummins Announces Annual Meeting, With Virtual Option

Cummins announced it will hold its annual meeting of shareholders at its corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ind., on Tuesday, May 12.

However, in making the announcement in its Schedule 14A filing, the company added that it was fully prepared in case Coronavirus-related travel restrictions would still be in effect in May.

“We are actively monitoring the public health and travel concerns relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the protocols and restrictions imposed by the federal, state, and local governments,” the company said. “We are focused on the health and well-being of our employees, shareholders and other stakeholders.

“If public health developments warrant, we will be prepared to impose additional procedures or limitations on meeting attendees, such as holding the shareholder meeting by means of remote communications (a “virtual” meeting) or other changes necessary to protect the health and safety of attendees. Any such change will be announced via press release and the filing of additional soliciting materials with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

March 30

AEM Reschedules Safety & Compliance, Liability Seminars

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has postponed the 2020 AEM Product Safety & Compliance Seminar and Liability Seminar and rescheduled them for Aug. 24-27 in Itasca, Illinois.

These back-to-back seminars are intended to offer industry professionals uniquely valuable perspectives on the latest in standards, regulations and best practices. In addition, one track of 10 sessions focuses on technical manual development, standards, challenges and latest best practices, plus two, four-and-a-half-hour bonus workshops.

Off-road equipment product safety and compliance professionals, whether they are new to the discipline or experienced veterans, will receive valuable information on topics such as risk assessment, hazard communication, developing standards and regulations, technical publication practices and more, AEM said.

March 30

Pettibone’s Critical Infrastructure Workers Continue Operations

Baraga, Mich-based Pettibone/Traverse Lift, LLC has announced that after careful deliberation, it will continue in-person operations for essential employees. On March 23, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 requiring that all non-essential businesses cease in-person activities. The order includes an exception for operations employing “critical infrastructure workers.” Under the Order, Pettibone is an excepted business.

Pettibone is a manufacturer of products for the rail and construction industries, and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has designated such manufacturers as critical to the essential functions of the United States. Companies like Pettibone are part of a larger chain that is critical to many facets of our society and economy.

To that end, all production, aftermarket, and shipping employees have been designated critical infrastructure employees and will continue in-person operations, Pettibone said. All other employees will work remotely. With employee health and safety as its highest priority, Pettibone has taken a number of measures to encourage and enable safe work within the workplace and is following all CDC guidelines.

March 30

Caterpillar Foundation Commits $8.5 Million To COVID-19 Response

As the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve rapidly, the Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Caterpillar Inc., announced it is committing $8.5 million to support global communities, including underserved populations, affected by the virus.

Cat said the foundation’s investment will support nonprofit organizations that are working to help prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic; providing resources to hospitals, medical staff and patients; addressing food insecurity; and enabling online STEM and coding education for youth impacted by school closures.

“These investments are an important expression of our company’s values,” said Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar chairman and chief executive officer. “As we all work together to fight the pandemic, the Foundation’s resources will provide essential support in communities around the world.”

The Caterpillar Foundation is also expanding its existing U.S. Matching Gifts Program to provide a 2:1 match on employee and retiree donations made to eligible nonprofits beginning March 16 through May 1, per the program conditions that can be found at caterpillar.com/matching-gifts.

“The Caterpillar Foundation is focused on building more sustainable and resilient communities, helping them emerge stronger together during this unprecedented time,” said Asha Varghese, Caterpillar Foundation president. “Our employees and retirees give so generously, and we are proud to amplify their gifts and support our many nonprofit partners working tirelessly to keep our communities safe and prosperous.”

The Foundation’s $8.5 million investment is being distributed among a number of organizations and COVID-19 funds around the world, including:

– The United Nations Foundation / World Health Organization Solidarity Response Fund.

– The King Baudouin Foundation Fund for Italy.

– The Global Foodbanking Network Global Fund.

– The Feeding America Response Fund.

– The Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

– The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund.

Earlier this year, the Foundation made a $250,000 donation to the China Women’s Development Foundation to provide healthcare facilities with critical medical protective materials in China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak initially occurred. In addition to these organizations, the Foundation is collaborating with our global facilities to support local nonprofits contributing to the COVID-19 response efforts.

The Caterpillar Foundation is also a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). Through ADGP support, the American Red Cross is able to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters around the world in partnership with international Red Cross societies, including assisting the International Federation of Red Cross as it coordinates a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

─ March 30 ─

JCB Set To Produce Ventilator Housings

JCB ventilatorsJCB is poised to restart production at a factory closed as a result of the Coronavirus crisis in order to join the U.K.’s effort to manufacture ventilator housings, the company announced today.

JCB received a direct appeal from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month to help plug the national ventilator shortage and to help save lives of Coronavirus patients. Following the approach, JCB Chairman Lord Bamford promised to help in any way the company could and immediately mobilized a research and engineering team to examine potential ways to assist.

Now JCB is ready to restart production at a factory which has been closed for nearly two weeks as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. But instead of making cabs for JCB diggers, the plant is being reorganized to make special steel housings for a brand-new design of ventilator from Dyson. A minimum of 10,000 of the JCB housings are earmarked for manufacture once Dyson receives regulatory approval for its design.

The first prototypes of the housings have been delivered to Dyson after rolling off the production line at JCB’s £50 million Cab Systems factory in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England. The factory fell silent on March 18th along with eight other JCB U.K. manufacturing plants after a fall in demand caused by the Coronavirus crisis. Mass production of the housings could start in a matter of days.

“When we were approached by the prime minister we were determined, as a British company, to help in any way we could,” said Lord Bamford said. “This project has gone from design to production in just a matter of days and I am delighted that we have been to deploy the skills of our talented engineering, design and fabrication teams so quickly at a time of national crisis. This is also a global crisis, of course, and we will naturally help with the production of more housings if these ventilators are eventually required by other countries.”

JCB’s response to the national call to action would see the return to work for around 50 employees affected by an extended company shutdown announced last week.

To view a video on JCB’s ventilator housing development, click here.

March 30 ─

Case IH Makes Statement On Coronavirus

Case IH made the following statement concerning the state of its operations as of March 27.

At Case IH, the health and safety of our team members, dealers’ employees, families, and, of course, producers is our first priority. But farming doesn’t stop, and Case IH North America is deemed an essential business. Because of the fluidity of the COVID-19 crisis and ensuing measures — and our current, rapidly changing environment — we continue to keep a very close pulse on these matters and will adjust our operations accordingly.

March 30 ─

CECE Survey Shows Impact of Coronavirus

Almost one third of CECE members included in a survey are being “significantly affected” by the COVID-19 pandemic with 30% already closing factories, a new report said.

A “flash “survey was carried out between March 23 and 27 by CECE (Committee for European Construction Equipment) which represents the interests of national construction equipment manufacturer associations in 13 European countries including some 1200 companies that employ approximately 300,000 people directly and indirectly.

For more information, click here.

─ March 30 ─

New Holland Publishes Video On Agriculture During Pandemic

New Holland Agriculture has released a video highlighting the role of agriculture during the time of COVID-19. Click here to view.

March 28 ─

Mercedes Offers 3D Printers For Medical Device Production

German engine and vehicle manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has offered to support the production of medical equipment with the aid of its 3D printers, through which individual components can be produced that are urgently needed in medical technology as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“With our highly competent team and years of experience in 3D printing technology, we are ready to make our contribution to the production of medical devices,” said Jörg Burzer, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz AG, Production and Supply Chain. “To this end, we are also in contact with the state government of Baden-Württemberg. Our expertise and specialist knowledge is available for production; now it is up to the medical technology sector to contact us. Our 3D printers are definitely available.”

Mercedes-Benz has been gathering experience in the research and application of additive manufacturing for around 30 years. Mercedes-Benz already uses 3D printing machines to produce up to 150,000 plastic and metal components every year. This capacity can now be fully utilized for medical purposes. All common 3D printing processes can be used – from stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to Selective Laser Melting (SLM).

March 27 ─

Briggs & Stratton Reacts To COVID-19, Execs Reduce Salaries

Executive officers at Briggs & Stratton have taken significant salary reductions and the company has also implemented a wage reduction plan for all salaried employees as part of company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Company President and CEO Todd Teske is taking a 40% reduction, while other officers will see 35% reductions.

According a company spokesperson, “This is a daily, sometimes hourly, changing situation but we are operating in a manner that ‘Briggs is open for business.’” The spokesperson said that many of the company’s businesses have been deemed “essential” within state mandates  and as such, the company is shipping products to dealers and retailers. “There is clear demand for our generators at retailers,” the spokesman said, “and in many cases we are producing product in addition to working out of current inventory.

“Of course, we are doing this with our employees’ safety being our foremost concern. We have our Answer Center open and taking calls from both dealers and end users.” Employees are staffing the Answer Center, the spokesman said.

March 27

Parker Hannifin CEO Issues Coronavirus Statement

Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Parker Hannifin Corp., issued the following statement on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout our 103-year history, Parker has been called upon in times of global hardship and adversity. Our leadership and perseverance in these defining moments demonstrates how we live our purpose: Enabling Engineering Breakthroughs that Lead to a Better Tomorrow.

In this moment of great need following the COVID-19 outbreak, the actions of our remarkable team members embody the Parker culture and values that unite us. With a spirit of caring and compassion, our team members are stepping up to deliver technologies used in ventilators to treat those who are sick; engine filters and transmission components for heavy-duty trucks to transport food, water and supplies; aerospace rotorcraft products to support emergency transport of patients; refrigeration technologies to help keep food fresh and medicine viable; and many other technologies essential to people’s daily lives. Across countless critical applications, Parker products and systems are helping with the front-line effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 and support its treatment around the world.

We recognize we have unique responsibilities in the face of this pandemic. At Parker there is a shared understanding that nothing is more important than protecting the health and safety of our team members, our families and the communities we call home. We have taken early and aggressive action to help prevent the spread of the virus in our workplaces. At the same time, we are appropriately addressing the ongoing needs of our business so that we may continue to provide the technologies that are so vital to our world.

Strong, trusting relationships are the foundation of how we do business. Our dedicated sales and customer experience teams are leveraging digital collaboration platforms to ensure we are providing our valued customers, distributors and other partners with the same level of accessibility and exceptional support they have come to expect.

Our thoughts are with all individuals and families who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While these are extraordinary times and significant challenges lie ahead, I am confident that our collective determination and resiliency will prevail, and we will come together globally to change the trajectory of this virus and emerge stronger than ever.

March 27 ─

 A Message From The CEO Of Fairbanks Morse

In a message headlined “Powering The World Forward through uncertain times!” Fairbanks Morse CEO George Whittier, outlined his company’s response to the Coronavirus crisis. Based in Beloit, Wis., Fairbanks Morse is a manufacturer of large engines used in military, power generation and marine applications.

“As a supplier to the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, energy, transportation, and health services sectors, Fairbanks Morse is designated as both critical infrastructure and an essential business under both federal and state Shelter-in-Place/Stay-at-Home orders,” Whittier wrote.” Although our facilities will remain operational to support our customers during this difficult time, Fairbanks Morse has implemented strict guidelines and procedures to keep our customers, employees, their families, and our communities safe. We are taking all necessary health and safety precautions in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and following state and national health guidelines.

“Fairbanks Morse has also implemented a work from home policy where possible. Our staff is strictly practicing social distancing, and the company is providing health and safety tools to employees in our facilities, such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Employees that are critical to our manufacturing operations will continue to come into our facilities, and we have put in place strict health and safety measures to ensure their safety and that of the surrounding community.

“We recognize that it is vital for the defense sector and other critical industries in our country to count on us for support. Just this week, we are preparing engines for the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to help in the fight against COVID-19. Therefore, our facilities will continue to operate.”

March 27

Rolls-Royce Moving Forward In China

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Rolls-Royce said it is moving forward with its growth strategy in China.

As part of that strategy, the company has named VPower Group, a global systems integrator in the power generation sector, as a new distributor for MTU products in China. The company has been integrating MTU engines and systems for more than 10 years into their customer solutions. The new distribution agreement covers the sales and maintenance of MTU engines and generator sets for marine commercial and gas power generation.

For more information, click here.

March 27 ─

Komatsu Factories Affected By COVID-19

Komatsu is planning to temporarily halt production at several of its plants worldwide. The factories where production will be halted, during varying periods, include those in Brazil, Italy, the U.K., Germany and India. All of its factories in China have now resumed production, the company said.

“At business bases in operation we are implementing a wide range of counter-measures, including fever checks, the use of face masks, flex commuting, the prohibition of business trips and teleworking,” the company said. “We will continue to disclose information concerning this matter.

“We have worked on global cross-sourcing and procurement of finished vehicles and parts in order to absorb the impact of changes in market demand and foreign exchange rates. Although we are planning to halt production at some manufacturing plants, there are no critical effects on Komatsu Group’s production for financial year 2019 due to alternative procurement and inventory reallocation.

“For our sales bases to ensure the continuous supply of products and parts to customers and distributors, we are reassessing our supply routes and engaging in a shift work schedule, in particular.”

March 27 ─

Manitou Group Plans Additional Shutdowns

In accordance with the general containment obligations decreed in Italy and India, Manitou Group has temporarily ceased its industrial activities in these two countries. These shutdowns follow those of the French operations communicated March 17.

In the group’s distribution companies, business is also very slow in most geographical areas due to the globalization of containment policies and market uncertainty. Where authorized and when conditions allow this, the group is maintaining the distribution of spare parts in order to serve its operating customers.

The scale and uncertainties of COVID-19 lead Manitou Group to suspend any financial guidance for the year 2020.

In this context, Manitou Group said it remains extremely mobilized to deal with all the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, with regard to its employees, customers, operations and all its stakeholders.

March 27 ─

Mining Show In Chile Postponed

The international mining trade show EXPOMIN, due to be held in Santiago, Chile, from April 20-24, has been postponed. No new date has been confirmed but the organizers said a rearranged event may take place in the fourth quarter of this year.

“This decision was taken due to the rapid global expansion of COVID-19, the declaration of the World Health Organization that classified it as pandemic and in line with the recommendations given out by both local and international health authorities,” the show organizers said.

March 27 ─

Europort Romania Postponed to 2021

Europort Romania, which has been scheduled for May 12-14 in Constanța, Romania, has been rescheduled to next year.

“Due to the intrusive measures international governments and health authorities have taken to counter the global COVID-19 crisis, we are closely monitoring these developments and will continue to do so,” said the show organizers. “The health and safety of our participants, visitors and employees are paramount and shall always prevail when organizing our events.

“For the sake of all stakeholders we adhere to the guidelines stipulated by the Romanian Ministry and international health authorities. For this reason we have no alternative than to reschedule Europort Romania to another date. Because it is still hard to predict how the COVID-19 virus will develop over the next months and how soon life and business can turn to recovery, we have therefore decided to reschedule Europort Romania to 18-20 May 2021.“

March 26

Terex Dealing With Coronavirus Outbreak

Terex Corp. has created a dedicated webpage to keep everyone globally informed on its latest actions and activities related to COVID-19.

“We are continuing to serve our customers with machines, parts and services despite the obstacles posed globally by the coronavirus,” the company said. “Guided by our Terex Way values, our team members are working together to serve our customers while following strict preventive guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.

“We are shipping equipment. Parts operations, parts fabrication, service centers, logistics and shipping operations are running. Globally, our parts customer service is open with team members working remotely, equipped with the required tools and access to respond to customer inquiries. We remain well-positioned to serve customers through a number of channels, including parts.terex.com for Materials Processing businesses, gogenielift.com for Genie, utilitiesparts.terex.com for Terex Utilities, and Terex Service Centers, call centers and other flexible delivery alternatives.”

The company said it is “following stringent precautions to keep our team members safe,” and has implemented the advice and guidance of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as following local country directives and guidance. “Team members who can work remotely are doing so,” the company said. “For those working on-site, we are following recommended preventive protocols including staggering shifts, reducing team member concentration, disinfecting surfaces, sending team members home if they ill, and establishing guidelines for quarantine and other steps to keep the work environment safe.”

The company said it “is shipping machines to meet our customers’ needs.” However, we have temporarily suspended manufacturing operations in certain locations, responding to changing customer demand and complying with government mandates to close facilities. We will reopen those operations at the earliest dates, safely, in compliance with local mandates and in response to customer demand.

The company listed its operations resumption dates.

Aerial Work Platforms: Huron S.D. (open); Oklahoma City, Okla. (April 13); Moses Lake, Wash. (April 13); Redmond, Wash. (April 13); Rock Hill, S.C. (April 13); Watertown, S.D. (open), Changzhou, China (open); Umbertide, Italy (April 6).

Materials Processing: Canton, S.D. (open); Durand, Mich. (open); Fort Wayne, Ind. (open); Newton, NH (open); Oklahoma City, Okla. (open); Bad Schönborn, Germany (partially open now – short work weeks April 1 – April 20); Brisbane, Australia (open); Crespellano, Italy (April 6); Fontanafredda, Italy (April 6); Hosur, India (April 15); Jacques, Australia (open); Subang Jaya, Malaysia (April 15); UK/Northern Ireland ─ Coalville, Omagh, Dungannon, Campsie and Ballymoney (April 17).

The company said its supply chain is flexible and resilient. “From the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, our supply chain teams ensured that our factories received the components and materials needed to maintain uninterrupted production,” the company said. “As we implement temporary plant suspensions and production rate reductions, the focus of our supply chain teams is shifting to limiting inbound material, so we receive only what is needed to support our current production schedules. We are working with suppliers to cancel or reschedule orders as needed.

For more details, click here.

March 26

Komatsu Responding To COVID-19, Continuing Operations

In an announcement on its website dated March 23, Komatsu provided an update on its response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The statement read:

As government leaders from multiple states across the U.S. and around the world are ordering their residents to either shelter in place or “stay home, stay safe,” we are providing an update from Komatsu.

We continue to work with our global teams, distributors and supply chain partners, and as an essential business, our factories, service operations and parts distribution businesses remain open and committed to providing the equipment, technology and services our customers depend on, while prioritizing health and safety measures at our facilities and for our employees worldwide.

As always, our first priority is the safety and well-being of our employees. Following government and global health organization guidance regarding COVID-19, we have enacted policies that reduce risk for our employees including remote work for all who can, rotating and segregating essential operations and supply shifts, strict travel restrictions, prohibiting visitors to our facilities and supporting quarantine needs.

For our employees who cannot perform their jobs from home, our company is fully complying with all Center for Disease Control (CDC), state, and best practices for hygiene, social distancing, and protective measures. Only essential manufacturing and logistics technicians are working in our factories – to ensure the flow of essential parts in support of operations globally.

We are working closely with our vendors, suppliers and global leadership to continue to move forward in accordance with our Business Continuity Plans. Meeting customer needs and providing essential support for the construction, industrial machinery, mining and forestry industries remain top priorities and we will continue to fulfill our obligations to the best of our ability as we monitor the evolving situation, and communicate and adapt accordingly.

Customers who need additional assistance at this time should contact their Komatsu representative or local distributor for direct support.

─ March 26 ─

Caterpillar Announces COVID-19 Response

Caterpillar Inc. provided a business update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to impact Caterpillar’s supply chain, a possibility the company disclosed in its risk factors included in the company’s Form 10-K filed on February 19, 2020,” the company said in a statement. “The company is monitoring the situation closely and supply chain teams have been executing business continuity plans, which include, but are not limited to, being alert to potential short supply situations, and, if necessary, utilizing alternative sources and/or air freight, redirecting orders to other distribution centers and prioritizing the redistribution of the most impactful parts. Caterpillar is committed to continuing to execute these plans and will remain in close contact with its supply chain to monitor future possible implications, especially on production facilities.”

Caterpillar said that at this time, it “is continuing to run the majority of its U.S. domestic operations and plans to continue operations in other parts of the world, as permitted by local authorities. However, due to uncertain economic conditions resulting in weaker demand, potential supply constraints and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government actions, Caterpillar is temporarily suspending operations at certain facilities. The company will continue to monitor the situation and may suspend operations at additional facilities as the situation warrants.

“The magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extent of any impact on Caterpillar’s business, financial position, results of operations or liquidity, which could be material, cannot be reasonably estimated at this time due to the rapid development and fluidity of the situation. It will be determined by the duration of the pandemic, its geographic spread, business disruptions and the overall impact on the global economy.”

Caterpillar’s said its financial results for the first quarter and remainder of 2020 will be impacted by the factors mentioned and the continued global economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Caterpillar is withdrawing its financial outlook for 2020 provided in the press release filed as Exhibit 99.1 to its Form 8-K filed on January 31, 2020. Further updates will be provided in Caterpillar’s first-quarter earnings announcement and conference call on April 28, 2020.

“Caterpillar’s financial position remains strong,” the statement said. “On a consolidated basis, Caterpillar ended 2019 with $8.3 billion of cash and available global credit facilities of $10.5 billion.”

The company said it “continues to implement several preventive measures while also meeting the needs of global customers. They include increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of facilities, social distancing practices, remote working when possible, restrictions on business travel, cancellation of certain events and limitations on visitor access to facilities.”

March 26

No Hannover Messe In 2020

Show organizer Deutsche Messe AG announced that Hannover Messe will not take place this year due to the increasingly critical situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The Hannover, Germany, region has issued a decree that prohibits the staging of the trade show for industrial technology. From now until the next Hannover Messe in April 2021, a digital information and networking offer will provide exhibitors and visitors with the opportunity for economic policy orientation and technological exchange, the organization said.

“Given the dynamic development around Covid-19 and the extensive restrictions on public and economic life, Hannover Messe cannot take place this year,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, chairman of the board of management, Deutsche Messe AG. “Our exhibitors, partners and our entire team did everything they could to make it happen, but today we have to accept that in 2020 it will not be possible to host the world’s most important industrial event.”

Comprehensive travel restrictions, bans on group gatherings and a prohibition decree in the Hannover region made it impossible to stage the show, the organizers said in a statement. It also noted that the manufacturing industry is already struggling with the consequences of the pandemic. Demand and sales in German industry are declining, resulting in supply bottlenecks, production stops and reduced working hours for employees.

March 26

bauma CTT Russia Rescheduled

Messe München, organizers of  bauma CTT Russia, announced that following the directives of the Moscow government, it has postponed the event from its planned May dates. The show has been rescheduled for Sept. 8-11 at Crocus Expo in Moscow.

Messe München said the measures taken by the Moscow city government against the spread of coronavirus will apply for the time being until April10. In view of this development, “the postponement is the logical consequence, said Stefan Rummel, managing director, Messe München

We are now looking ahead confidently and working with our national and international partners from the construction industry to organize a successful bauma CTT Russia 2020 in September,” Rummel said.

Sergey Alexandrov, managing director of Messe München Rus, added: “We are taking the spread of the coronavirus very seriously and have been monitoring the local situation closely. Based on current developments, we are confident that by setting the new date we will create good conditions for staging bauma CTT Russia.

“There is still a great demand for participating and we have the commitment of most of our exhibitors to follow our decision.”

Visitors can still register online for bauma CTT Russia. Tickets already purchased tickets remain valid, the organizers said.

For more information, click here.

March 25

 A Message Of Hope In Italy

Italian construction firm Salini Impregilo has launched an initiative to beam lights the color of the Italian flag across the under-construction Genoa bridge in Liguria.

The company said the move was intended to be a message of hope and a symbol of solidarity for the many Italian people affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Genoa bridge will be lit up each evening at 7.30 pm local time, while the Italian national anthem is played, and the event will be livestreamed on Salini Impregilo’s website.

Read more about it at KHL’s Construction Europe here.

March 25

China “Speeding Up” Construction

China has resumed construction on just under 90% of “key projects” according to an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and as reported on China.org.

Construction of 89.1% of 11,000 key projects is ongoing – although this figure does not include the Hubei Province which suffered large numbers of people being infected with Coronavirus.

The NDRC is reported to have pledged efforts to speed up the resumption of key projects by solving the problems of labor shortage, transportation and supply of raw materials with accurate measures.

Read more about it at KHL’s International Construction here.

March 25

Construction “As Usual” In UAE

The construction industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is continuing as “usual” despite the impact of Coronavirus, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

As a result of the worldwide implementation of precautionary health measures to help stop the spread of the virus, the country’s trade, tourism and transport industries have all been affected by the global slowdown of these industries.

With these critical UAE industries struggling, the country’s central bank has introduced a US$27 billion Targeted Economic Support Scheme that aims “to contain the repercussions of the pandemic COVID-19.”

Read more about it at KHL’s International Construction here.

March 25  

European Equipment Manufacturers Call For Emissions Freeze

Rules forcing manufacturers to meet emissions deadlines should by frozen because of the devastating COVID-19 outbreak, according to a hard-hitting joint statement from the European non-road mobile machinery industry.

A range of trade organizations representing thousands of construction equipment makers has today asked the European Commission to adopt swift measures in response to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

In a joint letter sent today to the European Commission trade organisations including CECE, CEMA, EGMF, EUnited, Europgen and FEM ask for a moratorium on the application of 2020 and 2021 deadlines listed in Regulation 2016/1628/EU on exhaust emissions from Non-Road Mobile Machinery and 2018/985/EU for agricultural vehicles.

“The situation is critical,” said Riccardo Viaggi, secretary general of Brussels-based CECE, the Committee for European Construction Equipment. “A temporary moratorium must be granted, with deadlines postponed until the situation can be reassessed. Neutral from an environmental point of view, the measure would prevent further economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to our manufacturing industries and the jobs that depend on them.”

Read more about it here.

March 25

Deutz Shutting Down Some Production In Europe

Deutz, the Cologne, Germany-headquartered manufacturer of engines and drive systems, announced it will be shutting down large parts of its production in Europe ─ Cologne, Ulm, Herschbach and Zafra ─ from April 1 through April 17.

Many of the company’s customers have already closed down their production or are planning to do so in the very near future, Deutz said in a statement. The statement said the action was also being taken in order to protect its employees and that the company, following consultation with employee representatives, will apply for short-time working.

Against this backdrop and amidst the rapidly developing coronavirus crisis, Deutz said it is withdrawing its guidance for 2020. The company said it has already taken precautionary measures to ensure that it has sufficient liquidity with regard to possible stress scenarios due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Coronavirus crisis is forcing us to take these measures,” said Dr. Frank Hiller, chairman of the Deutz AG board of management. “So far, we have not had a confirmed case of coronavirus at our Deutz AG sites, and naturally we want it to remain that way. The health of our employees is the focus of our efforts.

”In addition, the precautionary measures to ensure compliance with minimum distances between employees are making efficient production currently impossible in the assembly area, which is why we have taken the decision to temporarily close down large parts of our production.”

March 25

German Construction Continues Through Crisis

The three largest contractor associations in Germany – ZDB, HDB and BVMB – have jointly welcomed a German government decision for construction to continue despite the COVID-19 crisis, KHL’s International Construction reports.

“We very much welcome the decree issued by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Construction and Home Affairs (BMI) and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) on the continuation of construction work in building construction, road construction and hydraulic engineering”, said Reinhard Quast, President of the Central Association of the German Building Industry (ZDB).

“The continuation and new tendering of infrastructure construction sites is an essential pillar of the domestic economy, which must be maintained.”

Read more about it on KHL’s Construction Europe here.

March 25

JCB Extends U.K. Production Shutdown

JCB is suspending U.K. production until at least the end of April as a result of the Coronavirus crisis and will continue to pay employees unable to work, the company announced today.

The firm’s nine manufacturing plants in Staffordshire and Derbyshire in England and Wrexham, Wales, closed March 18th as disruption resulting from the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented reduction in global demand. At that stage, only shop floor employees were affected by the move and were paid in full during this period, while office staff continued to work a 39-hour week from home.

The news of today’s extended shutdown will mean that the vast majority of JCB’s 6500-person workforce will now be asked to stop working until at least the end of April. During this period, all affected JCB employees will be paid 80% of their basic pay. Senior JCB directors will not be taking a salary from the company until further notice, the company said.

“These are certainly unprecedented times and none of us expected to find ourselves in this situation,” said JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald. “In announcing that all those JCB colleagues asked not to work will receive 80% of their pay, we hope to remove any financial concerns that many people will undoubtedly have had.”

JCB said it also intends to make an application to the U.K. government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help offset the cost of its support of employees during this challenging period. The scheme is designed to support employers in continuing to pay part of employees’ salaries, for employees who would otherwise have been laid off.

The government scheme pays 80% of an employee’s salary up to a maximum of £2500 per month. In devising its scheme, JCB has set no cap and will pay 80% of each affected employee’s pay.

March 25

Rental Demand In Germany Stable, Says Zeppelin

In Germany, Zeppelin Rental’s main country of operation, demand for rental equipment has remained stable and even increased for certain types of equipment as customers try to complete projects more quickly before construction sites are potentially shut down.

Similarly, in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and the Nordic countries, construction activities are largely uninterrupted. However, construction work in large areas of Austria was halted last week.

Zeppelin Rental’s depots remain open, and its supply chains and logistics were said to be in good working order.

More information is available from KHL’s International Rental News here.

March 25

Hungarian Lube Supplier Making Sanitizer Products

MOL Lube Ltd., part of the MOL Group of companies, announced it has started production of hand and surface sanitizers to offer protection against the Coronavirus. The company said it has shifted production of a windshield washer production line at its Almásfüzitő, Hungary, plant to address a shortage of sanitizer products in Hungary. The facility is operating 24/7, in three shifts, producing a daily volume of around 50,000 L, the company said.

MOL said the formulas for the two new products have been created on the basis of WHO recommendations, and have been tested and approved by the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition in record time in light of the COVID-19 situation. The ethanol for producing the hand sanitizer has been sourced from Hungary. These new hygienic products are thus being sourced from, and manufactured by, Hungarian firms.

MOL Lub has already shipped the first manufactured volumes to state institutions playing a key role in the fight against the Coronavirus (e.g., hospitals, waste management companies, public utilities) as directed by the Operative Group set up by the Hungarian government. Production and shipping will be continuous, the company said.

MOL is also using these new products to protect its own colleagues working at its refineries, plants and service stations against the coronavirus so that an adequate number of our staff will always be available to ensure the security of energy supply in Hungary. MOL Hygi is available in 2 L recyclable plastic bottles for the time being but will also come in smaller sizes as of next month.

MOL Group is also starting production of the sanitizers in Slovakia and Croatia. INA, the Croatian member of the MOL Group, will be producing 50,000 L of sanitizer for now. In Slovakia, production of the sanitizer was launched at VURUP, also a member of MOL Group.

“Sanitizers, which are one of the key tools of protection against the coronavirus, are in short supply all over the world,” said Chairman-CEO Zsolt Hernádi. “In light of the worsening pandemic situation we have, in coordination with the Hungarian government, decided to put a production line at one of our plants in the service of offering protection against the virus.

“Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary solutions. We have made the switch at the plant, obtained the necessary approvals and optimized production processes in only two weeks, a record time. We truly hope that the hand sanitizer manufactured at the Almásfüzitő plant will be a meaningful contribution to the fight against the virus.”

March 24

Haynes Enters Temporary Shutdown

Haynes International, a producer of alloys used in power generation technologies and other markets, has shut down operations and will be closed for the next two weeks.

“These are unprecedented times for our country and our company,” said Mike Shor, president and chief executive officer. “Our responsibility is to take action to keep our employees safe while also working to manage the financial well-being of our company.”

The company had already implemented staggered shifts, cleaning between shifts and social distancing and hygiene policies. However, the current widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the decision to implement the temporary shutdown of two weeks in most of the company’s production operations.

During the shutdown, the company will continue to thoroughly clean and sanitize its facilities and will work on plans on how best to structure restart plans. The company said it is confident in its liquidity position as it has a strong balance sheet and a net cash position.

March 24 ─

Capstone Makes Changes

Capstone Turbine Corp., a manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, said that in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic the company would be furloughing approximately 70% of its direct workforce, leaving behind only staff deemed essential for day-to-day administrative operations for a minimum period of 45 days.

The company’s leadership team is also taking a 25% temporary salary cut. Twenty-five other top company managers also volunteered to take 15% pay cuts.

“With over 1000 confirmed cases in California and a “Shelter-in-Place” order for all of California, we enacted an emergency Business Continuity Plan designed to keep employees safe, continue to support our critical Aftermarket Factory Protection Plan (FPP) long-term service contracts and spare parts deliveries to our Essential Critical Infrastructure Customers, such as Energy, Health Care, Wastewater Treatment, etc. as well as to sustain our key long-term business initiatives,” said Darren Jamison, president and chief executive officer of Capstone. “In these unprecedented and uncertain times, the health and safety of our Capstone and distributor employees, their families, and our communities are of the highest importance as well as doing everything possible to still deliver on our stated goal of positive EBITDA by reducing operating expenses and leveraging our high margin reoccurring revenue streams.”

As part of its Business Continuity Plan, Capstone is taking the following steps:

─ Beginning March 30, Capstone is furloughing approximately 70% of its direct workforce, leaving behind only staff deemed essential for day-to-day administrative operations for a minimum period of 45 days. This will ensure those who remain can more easily practice safe and proper social distancing.

─ During this period (March 30th – May 18th), Capstone will have a limited production capability of new microturbine products, but has recently pre-built approximately 5MW of microturbine finished goods for shipment during this period of suspended production.

─ Capstone will maintain a crew of essential operations employees to manufacture service engines, remanufacture spare parts and provide service spares in support of FPPs and global distributor spare parts orders and is pre-building and shipping immediately to sustain our critical customer sites during this time of uncertainty.

Capstone said it expects the ongoing, global economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic to have an adverse impact on its revenue and adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2020 and also may have an adverse impact on its financial condition and results of operations for the first quarter of Fiscal 2021.

─ March 24 ─

Dura-Bar Remains In Operation

Dura-Bar, the Woodstock, Ill.-based producer of continuous cast iron bars used in a range of fluid power and oil and gas applications, announced via LinkedIn that its operations continue across all sites.

“We have not experienced any material shipment delays from our suppliers and maintain inventory of all materials necessary to continue manufacturing operations,” the company said in its post. “We are committed to keeping our customers supplied, and measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities remain in place with strict monitoring. We implemented planned overtime to support continuation of on-time shipments. We adjusted near-term schedules to balance demand with capacity.”

March 24 ─

Oshkosh Corp. Announces Closures

Oshkosh Corp. posted a statement on its website outlining its strategy for dealing with the Coronavirus.

“A number of Access Equipment customers are modifying their delivery requirements,” said Wilson R. Jones, Oshkosh Corp. president and CEO. “In response to these requests and expected demand levels as well as supply chain constraints, we have decided to suspend Access Equipment production in North America on March 30 with current plans to resume production on April 13. We have also taken similar actions in our European facilities.”

“JLG and Jerr-Dan team members will continue to support their customers with aftermarket parts and service as essential field operations remain open.”

At the same time, the JLG manufacturing plant in China has resumed full operation and is increasing production to meet global capacity targets, the company said. Its Romanian plant also remains open but with limited capacity.

“While COVID-19 is also impacting our Defense, Fire & Emergency and Commercial segments, we continue to use CDC recommended safety procedures across the company and production continues in those segments at this time,” Jones said. “We are proud to build and supply essential equipment that supports critical business operations and helps ensure the safety and health of citizens and the economies where we do business.”

As a result of the evolving impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the company believes its financial results will be impacted, but the magnitude and timing of the impact is uncertain. In addition, production at any of the Company’s facilities may be further impacted as a result of possible government, market or Company actions due to COVID-19. For these reasons, Oshkosh is withdrawing its fiscal 2020 financial expectations. The company plans to provide an update for the remainder of fiscal 2020 when it announces fiscal 2020 second quarter results.

─ March 24 ─

Carraro Halts Some Production

Italian power transmission company Carraro has halted production at several of its sites due to the Coronavirus. The company said it made the decision as the governments of some countries where it operates have taken the decision to temporarily stop, on their territories, activities not strictly related to basic and essential goods.

It said that because of that reason, the Carraro Group “will also have to stop some of its production sites starting from 23 March to 3 April.”

The Italian plants located in Campodarsego (Padua) and Maniago (Pordenone), as well as Carraro India (Pune), Carraro Argentina (Buenos Aires) and Carraro Brasil (Caxias do Sul) will shut down.

At the same time Carraro Agritalia plant (Rovigo) – specializing in tractor production, the Spare Parts distribution center of Driveservice (Poggiofiorito, Chieti) and Carraro China (Qingdao), which has fully recovered its functionality after a short period of closure in the month of February, will remain active.

Carraro said that continuity will be provided “through smart working and with a partial presence in the offices, to the functions that are not strictly productive and are linked to administrative, tax, legal, as well as commercial and operational obligations.”

The company’s main power transmission systems market is agriculture where it makes gears, transmission systems and special tractors. Carraro also develops advanced transmission systems for backhoe loaders, general loaders, telehandlers, wheeled excavators and compaction rollers.

─ March 24 ─

Main Filter Staying Open

Main Filter, a North Carolina-headquartered manufacturer of filters for hydraulic, lubrication oil, industrial air, water, fuel and specialty applications, said in a statement that it would remain open at its facilities in North Carolina, Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

“Recent announcements made by the State of Michigan, the Province of Ontario and the State of North Carolina regarding the closure of all non-essential businesses, provide exemptions for certain businesses and industries that are deemed “essential services,” the company said in a statement. “Main Filter is considered an essential service, supplying filtration products to support critical military, energy, transportation and agricultural industries.

“Because of this, Main Filter will remain open and operating normal hours.”

─ March 23 ─

MP Filtri Announces Closures

Italian filter manufacturer MP Filtri announces the closing of its production plants in compliance with the last decree of the president of the Italian Council of Ministers, released on March 21.

“Despite the whole MP Filtri operational activity was aligned with the provisions of the government and the WHO, it’s necessary to do what it takes when we’re called to,” the company said. The plants will remain closed until April 3.

─ March 23 ─

Navistar Suspends Production, Withdraws Guidance

Navistar International Corp. today provided a business update in light of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As of March 23, the company is suspending production at its truck assembly plant in Springfield, Ohio, for two weeks in response to disruptions to Navistar’s supply chain that are resulting from the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The company is also withdrawing its previously announced financial and industry guidance for the fiscal year ending Oct. 31.

On March 4, the company reiterated its 2020 financial and industry guidance when it announced its first quarter 2020 results for the fiscal period ended Jan. 31, and stated its guidance may require revision, pending any change to operations due to COVID-19.

Navistar said it cannot predict if or when any further disruptions will occur due to the rapidly changing environment as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. The company believes its future financial results will be impacted, but at this time, the magnitude of those impacts is uncertain. As a result, the company is withdrawing its 2020 financial and industry guidance.

As of Jan. 31, the company stated it had $1.0 billion of consolidated cash and cash equivalents. Additionally, the company reported its Financial Services operations had funding capacity available under its $748 million revolving bank credit facility, as well as access to other sources of funding in the U.S. and Mexico.

─ March 23 ─

Westport Suspends Production At Italian Plants

Westport Fuel Systems Inc. announced that pursuant to the Italian government’s decree issued on March 22 regarding COVID-19, the company will temporarily suspend production at its facilities in Cherasco and Albinea, Italy. The directive is in effect until April 3.

The temporary suspension of the company’s production in Brescia, Italy, announced March 16 will be extended to align with this latest directive.

“The health and well-being of our global team of employees continues to be our utmost priority”, said David M. Johnson, chief executive officer of Westport Fuel Systems. “Our Italian team has shown tremendous resilience during this difficult time and we support government efforts to act decisively to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.”

─ March 23 ─

Date Clash Causes Marine Show Cancellation

The flurry of trade show rearrangements prompted by the Coronavirus has led to the complete demise, for this year, of the Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo.

Last week the organizers of the Amsterdam event said it was re-scheduling the show to Oct. 27-29. However, in a statement today, show organizers said, “Many of you will now be aware of the extremely unfortunate timing of both our and Posidonia’s new dates announcement. Neither our Greek friends nor us could have possibly known that we’d chosen the same alternative dates within hours of each other.”

Posidonia is a Greek shipping exhibition which also recently announced it was switching show dates to the Oct. 26-30 at the Athens Metropolitan Expo.

“We are aware that thanks to Covid-19 and the rescheduling of shows, the industry now faces the prospect of attending almost a year’s worth of shows in just the three-month period between September and the end of November,” the statement added. “And so we have taken the decision to cancel Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo 2020. The show, which we launched in 2014 and have seen more than triple in size as the industry moves to cleaner, cheaper and more efficient propulsion systems, will absolutely return June 22, 23, 24 next year – bigger and better than ever.”

─ March 23 ─

Wiring Supplier Closing Plants

Leoni AG, a German supplier of wiring systems for specialty vehicles and automotive applications, announced a series of moves related to the Coronavirus outbreak, which is said would likely lead to “considerable burdens on sales, earnings and liquidity.”

Against the backdrop of the expected burdens, the company said it was closing its plants in Europe, North Africa and the Americas, for a period expected to be four weeks. It is also introducing short-time work in Germany as well as comparable measures at other European locations. In addition, Leoni said it plans to apply for financial aid to increase its financial flexibility.

At the same time, the company said the situation at its Wiring Systems facilities in China have largely normalized and. All plants were able to stabilize production at almost the previous level.

Leoni also expects the automotive business of the Wire & Cable Solutions Division to suffer subsequent declines and production limitations. For the time being, production for the industrial business of the Wire & Cables Division will be maintained, although some losses are to be expected, the company said.

─ March 21-22 ─

Statement From Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO Of ZF Friedrichshafen AG

“As the Coronavirus continues to trouble the world, our first responsibility is to our people and societies. ZF task forces are working around the clock to carefully monitor the situation and ensure that our employees are informed about all necessary measures to minimize the risk of infection – also in their private lives.

“As a major employer and supplier to the industry both in Germany and globally, we are fighting hard to maintain economic stability while doing our part to contain the virus.

“Over the coming days, we are suspending many operations in Europe and North America following announcements by truck and pass car manufacturers. Wherever possible we continue to uphold our end of the supply chain to support operations that are still running or have resumed production. We are also preparing to fully support our customers for when the situation calms down and production ramps up.

“I am convinced that we will overcome this together, just as our colleagues in China have done extremely well. We learn from their resolute actions and appreciate their acts of support as the pandemic shifts to further regions.

“We are all looking forward to re-joining the competition for innovation, quality and value and doing our part to shape next generation mobility when our economy restarts. For now, we give all our strength to keep everybody safe and manage an unprecedented crisis.”

─ March 20 ─

Cummins Provides Business Update

Cummins provided a business update in light of recent changes in customer demand and a weaker outlook for the global economy.

As noted below, today, the company suspended production at its Midrange Engine Plant in Walesboro, Ind., for two weeks in response to the decision by its customer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to shutdown pickup truck assembly until at least the end of March, as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic. That news followed recent communication of lower commercial truck production rates by some of its customers in North America and other plant shutdowns by various OEMs in Europe over the past few days.

While it is not announcing any other production suspensions or plant shutdowns at this time, Cummins said it cannot predict if and when further suspensions or shutdowns may arise. Possible causes for further shutdowns include changes in customer demand, shortfalls in supplier deliveries and the impact of government regulations or mandates.

Cummins said its financial results for the first quarter will be impacted by these changes in customer production plans, but a more significant concern is the growing uncertainty about demand for the remainder of 2020. As a result, the company has withdrawn its guidance for full year 2020 results, which did not factor in the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Cummins will comment on its 2020 outlook during its first quarter 2020 earnings call scheduled for April 28.

“Cummins is in a strong financial position, we have experienced leaders who have managed through several challenging situations in the past and we will successfully navigate through this difficult period,” said Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger.

Cummins Chairman Tom Linebarger
Cummins Chairman Tom Linebarger

Cummins said that as of Dec. 31, 2019, the company held cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $1.5 billion and committed borrowing capacity of $2.8 billion under existing revolving credit facilities.

─ March 20 ─

KHL Statement On Coronavirus

KHLAs a business and as individuals we are facing the same challenges as you ─ our readers, advertisers, clients, partners and suppliers.

We are all taking action to contain the COVID-19 virus and to safeguard our families, employees and our businesses. The majority of KHL’s staff around the world have moved to home working, and that may become all of us if government measures in the U.K. and U.S.A. change. We are pleased, however, that our Chinese colleagues in Shanghai and Beijing are now moving back into their offices and starting to resume normal working. That is a comforting reminder that this situation will not last forever.

There are aspects of our business that have had to change. We have already postponed several conferences and events, and others may follow. We are working with our partners and other events organizers to make sure that these changes work for the wider industry.

We are a publishing, events and data company, and providing up-to-date, accurate information for businesses is what we do. That will not change during the outbreak. In fact we know that businesses require more information, not less, during these times.

KHL journalists based throughout the world are continuing to work with the aim of bringing news and clarity to a rapidly changing situation. Our websites have seen record levels of visitors, drawn by our ability to provide a global perspective on events as they unfold.

We have this rolling news story on the Coronavirus on www.dieselprogress.com and at International Construction, providing stories and information from all over the world. KHL is also now producing a high-frequency newsletter, Construction & Coronavirus, focusing on the impact that COVID-19 is having on construction ─ on sites, in factories, and in offices. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

As many of you may be working from home, we remind you that you can read your KHL magazine in digital format. You can subscribe for free here. If you would like us to temporarily redirect your paper copy to a home address, we can do that. Please contact us by e-mail at circulation@khl.com

We know that as an industry we can weather this unprecedented event and come back stronger. We send you our best wishes.

─ March 20

Electric Vehicle Manufacturer Suspends U.S. Production

Arcimoto, Inc. announced today that it will temporarily suspend all production of the Fun Utility Vehicle through April 17 at its U.S. factory in Eugene, Ore., in response to the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic. The company will maintain a work-from-home staff to push forward critical operations, including compliance and reporting, research and development, customer service, and deployment of the company’s recently-launched Rapid Responder and Deliverator pilot vehicles to key potential fleet operators.

“We face truly unprecedented times, here and in every community around the planet,” said Mark Frohnmayer, Arcimoto founder and CEO. “We moved to a work-from-home model for everyone who could and implemented aggressive social distancing and sanitation policies in the production facility last week. As we have been monitoring the rapidly-changing nature of this pandemic, we have concluded that we cannot properly ensure the safety of our production team until we have personal protective equipment and adequate COVID-19 community testing resources in place. As such, we’ve made the necessary decision to temporarily suspend production. Today’s action is the right decision for our team, their families and for our community.”

─ March 20 ─

SAE Cancels WCX 2020 World Congress

Due to concerns around the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, SAE International said it “has made the difficult decision” to cancel the WCX 2020 World Congress Experience, originally scheduled for April 21-23 in Detroit.

SAE said it extensively monitored and evaluated health guidance from international health authorities, government- and corporate-imposed travel restrictions and the recently declared State of Emergency issued by the state of Michigan before making the decision to cancel. The organization said it is currently evaluating alternate options for how to best deliver the technical content that has been developed to registered attendees.

─ March 20

Cummins Closes Midrange Engine Plant

Cummins Inc. closed its Columbus Midrange engine plant in Walesboro, Ind., today, according to a report in the Columbus Republic newspaper. The closure was prompted by a shutdown at the Chrysler plant in Detroit, Mich., where Dodge Ram pickups are built,

Company officials said because the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, Cummins will pay its employees during the time the plant is closed, the newspaper reported.

A day earlier, Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger posted a personal note on the company’s website titled “We will get through this.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has now touched every corner of the world,” Linebarger wrote. “We are in uncharted territory, and all of us are having to make changes – big ones – in how we live and work.

“Like many of you, I am concerned about my family, especially my parents who are in the high-risk category. I am also concerned about all of you and about the impact the pandemic is having on our people, our customers and partners, and our communities. My heart and thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected by the coronavirus or the problems created by the pandemic. The impact on people is very significant.

“The impact on the global economy is also large and growing and its significance will not be fully understood for some time. As restaurants, hotels, and businesses of all sizes close their doors, many employees will be unable to earn wages and will soon find themselves experiencing financial challenges. Many of these businesses support our company, our communities and our families, and their employees are people we know personally.

“At Cummins, we are doing everything that we can to continue supporting our customers and partners and to keep our business operating so we can support our employees and our communities. Moreover, our products are critical to the economy at this time. We supply primary and backup power to medical facilities, power to data centers and call centers that help keep people connected, engines for ambulances, fire trucks, food and medical delivery vehicles, and so much more. Our service workshops around the world also ensure that these products continue to work when they are needed most.

“I want to sincerely thank those of you who are working at our manufacturing plants, distribution centers, technical centers, and service operations around the world. I have never been more proud of the ways that Cummins employees and products power the world.”

Linebarger added that Cummins is “working across all areas of our company and with governments, agencies and other groups to make informed decisions and act as quickly as possible.”

To read the complete note, click here.

— March 20 —

 Bauma CTT Russia Postponed

 The construction show Bauma CTT Russia, which was due to be held in Moscow May 26-29, has been postponed. The new dates for the show will be announced within the next two weeks.

“COVID-19 is a big concern for all of us,” said show organizers Messe München. “It raises questions about how things will happen in the near future. As the event’s organizer, we have decided to postpone Bauma CTT Russia. Rest assured that we are aware of the responsibility that comes with this decision and will consider all the relevant factors and official guidelines when making it.

“The health of our customers, exhibitors and visitors naturally takes the highest priority for us. Therefore, we will of course continue to monitor developments closely over the next few weeks.”

— March 20 —

Rolls-Royce Statement On COVID-19

Rolls-Royce Power Systems sent the following statement to Diesel Progress:

“The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic also affect Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems and its employees. “Protecting their health is our number one priority. At the same time, we are using all the means at our disposal to keep the business running as best as we can – in accordance with all the rules and regulations,” explained Norbert Veser, Head of the Power Systems crisis management team. “Thousands of employees work in the home office wherever possible. In the production plants, the employees keep the greatest possible distance. They work in separate shifts and we disinfect the workplaces between shifts.

“We keep the manufacturing facilities active in that way so that we can continue to serve as many customers of our MTU products as possible. Because of Covid-19, we will not be able to keep all planned delivery times, but we do what we can: in production, in the office and in service.”

— March 20 —

CNH Suspending European Production For Two Weeks 

CNH Industrial N.V. announced today that in light of the supply chain constrains caused by the COVID-19 emergency in Europe, it is suspending the majority of its European assembly operations for a two-week period. This suspension applies to the company’s agricultural, construction, commercial and specialty vehicles production facilities.

The company said most component facilities will remain operational at low speed, always in strict compliance with national health directives, in order ensure the continuation of supply to the company’s manufacturing facilities located outside of Europe. European parts depots and most dealer locations will also remain open to maintain uninterrupted service to its customer base. CNH Industrial is working in close consultation with unions and works councils to implement the temporary shut downs and the re-opening of the plants.

“The company takes the health and well-being of its entire workforce very seriously, and we have implemented all measures to protect the employee population, as well as to help in the fight to contain the spread of the pandemic,” said Hubertus Mühlhäuser, chief executive officer, CNH Industrial. “The decision to shut down our European assembly plants for a two-week period is driven by disruptions in our European supply chain that do not allow for an efficient operation. During these temporary shutdowns, we will also undertake further extensive sanitization and deep cleaning procedures.”

Alongside these measures, and those already in place at the company’s locations around the world, the CNH Industrial’s COVID-19 global taskforce is constantly monitoring the situation in all markets in which it operates, and will take further measures as required, while continuing to respond to end market demand and service requirements for its mission critical capital goods.

─ March 20 ─

Wacker Neuson Brings Plant Holidays Forward

The Wacker Neuson Group announced that in light of the increasing impacts on the group’s supply chains and against the background of the cautious guidance compared to the financial results of the previous year, the company’s production programs will be reduced starting end of this week and plant holidays planned for the summer will be brought forward at certain plants. Further, the group said it will implement various models of short-time work. The extent of the production cutbacks will then be tailored to the conditions of the markets and the supply chains, the company said.

The sale of machines and services for the construction and agricultural industries will be sustained, as far as permitted by the local conditions. To date, the Wacker Neuson Group said it has a high level of inventory of machines and spare parts at its disposal, through which a considerable degree of supply capability is secured. Nevertheless, there will be partial delays in delivery due to the significant restrictions in logistic chains.

The group’s Chinese location Pinghu has resumed its activities in the meantime. The procedures regarding procurement, production and sales are increasingly normalizing.

─ March 20 ─

ScotPlant Changes Dates

ScotPlant, estimated to be Scotland’s biggest construction equipment trade event, has been postponed and rescheduled for September 25-26.

The exhibition was due to take place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, April 24-25. However, after monitoring events closely in recent days, including plans to curtail mass gathering events in Scotland and growing concern around the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the organizers said they have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the show until later in the year.

“We appreciate that this decision will impact on organizations and visitors’ travel plans and schedules. However, the health, safety and well-being of all ScotPlant attendees has to be our number one priority and we hope people will understand why we have had to take this course of action in the face of unprecedented circumstances,” the organizers said.

─ March 20 ─

BMZ Refocusing On Batteries For Medical Devices

The BMZ Group, a supplier of batteries for power tools, energy storage systems and mobile equipment such as forklifts and excavators, said it is converting its production to accelerate its focus on Li-ion batteries for a wide variety of medical applications. Customers producing ventilators, in particular, have asked the company for its solidarity and support. In some cases, the volume of inquiries has risen by 50%.

“We are all going through an unplanned stress test at the moment,” said Sven Bauer, company founder and CEO. “Each of us is affected by the Coronavirus, and we can see its consequences everywhere we look. We have all taken precautionary measures, and we discuss the situation in a daily Skype call, while gathering information first-hand from our international subsidiaries.

“For us, health protection is paramount. That is why we didn’t hesitate for a moment when we received a distressed call from manufacturers of urgently needed ventilators. We are in the fortunate situation of having access to an extensive inventory, allowing us to increase the number of batteries we produce for use in medical technology. BMZ immediately assembled a team to ramp up production. We’re not leaving anyone behind!”

BMZ said it is working to help fight the Coronavirus internally. Personnel who have recently vacationed in a risk area are required to stay at home as a precaution, even if they are not showing any symptoms. Employees are allowed to bring their children to the office, helping make up for lost childcare options.

─ March 19 ─

Nevada Issues Guidelines For Mining, Construction And Manufacturing

The Dept. of Business And Industry, Division Of Industrial Relations and Occupational Safety And Health Administration of the state of Nevada have issued a memorandum of guidelines for the management of staff and labor in the mining, construction, and manufacturing industry sectors. The memorandum supports Gov. Steve Sisolak’s March 18 document titled, “Nevada Health Response COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiative.”

As identified by the governor, the implementation of a series of protocols is important to reduce and slow the spread of COVID-19. The following are social distancing protocols and measures that are to be initiated immediately in mining, construction and manufacturing activities:

– Restrict meetings, safety meetings/tailgate talks, and gatherings to no more than 10 people.

– Establish effective social distancing protocols, which ensure that staff maintain a 6 ft. personal separation from other staff during meetings, discussions, etc. where 10 people or less are present.

– Ensure that social distancing protocols are maintained during operation of mobile service equipment designed for two or more passengers including, but not limited to, man lifts, scissors lifts, etc.

– Provide sanitation and cleaning supplies for addressing common surfaces in multiple user mobile equipment and multiple user tooling.

– Maintain 6 ft. separation protocols for labor transportation services, such as buses, vans, etc.

– Conduct daily surveys of changes to staff/labor health conditions.

– Ensure that any identified first responders in the labor force are provided and use the needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and equipment for protection from communicable or infections disease.

– Provide access to potable and sanitary water.

To see the full letter as it appeared in the Nevada Appeal, click here.

─ March 19 ─

AED, AEM Urge Government To Keep Construction Projects Going

Earlier today, the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) delivered letters to national organizations representing mayors, local elected officials and the nation’s governors urging them to allow construction projects to continue while highlighting the equipment industry’s integral role in building and maintaining our nation’s essential infrastructure.

In a letter to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, AED was joined by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), delivering the message that “shutting down construction projects in cities and towns not only jeopardizes continued relief and prevention efforts surrounding COVID-19, but will also exacerbate an already dire situation with little safety or health benefit.”

AED delivered a similar letter to the National Governors Association, imploring its members to reconsider halting construction projects across the country. Additionally, AED joined AEM and the Equipment Dealers Association in letters to all 50 governors stressing that equipment manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, and service technicians must be considered essential to economic continuity as governors continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health and safety of all workers and residents.

In Washington D.C., AED has been working with business organizations to ensure lawmakers and the administration understand the importance of liquidity and access to capital for the equipment industry. AED joined allied business organizations outlining tax modifications that will help provide liquidity for small- and medium-sized companies.

AED urged its members to pass along the letters to their mayors, city officials and governors with personalized notes telling their story about the impact that shutting down construction projects will have on their company and the importance of recognizing the essential nature of the equipment industry.

To view the letter to the League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, click here.

To view the letter to the National Governors Association, click here.

To view the letters to each governor, click here.

─ March 19 ─

 ARA Sees “Dire Time” For Rental

The effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are significantly impacting the equipment and event rental industry, according to a recent survey of the American Rental Association (ARA) membership that was released today.

Rental revenues are declining and are projected to significantly deteriorate in the coming months, according to the survey. All party and event rental business respondents indicate event cancelations leading to a loss of revenue when compared to 2019, ARA said. Nearly 55% report revenue loss in excess of 60% and 15.63% of respondents experiencing 46% to 60% loss of revenue. Of these cancelations, the majority are corporate, private, festival and charitable events.

The survey results representing construction/industrial and general tool/DIY members indicate a lesser economic impact, albeit concerning. As of March 16, 37% have indicated no revenue loss, 32.92% have experienced up to 15% revenue loss and less than 3% reported loss of more than 60% of rental revenue.

“This is a dire time for our industry,” said Tony Conant, ARA CEO. “We’re putting the needs of our members in the rental community first. ARA and ARA Insurance have put initiatives in place to ease the financial stress on our members as it relates to membership dues and insurance premiums. Our goal is to continue assisting our members and keep them informed on resources that are available to help them manage through these unprecedented times.”

Some rental operations have temporarily closed, but those that remain open indicate that they are taking every precaution to protect employees and customers by implementing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and extra cleaning and sanitizing of equipment. Many rental operations remain open in order to provide necessary equipment and services for customers that continue work as well as providing tents, tables, chairs and other items needed for drive-through and pickup areas for restaurants, grocery stores, government agencies and more.

ARA said member surveys will be deployed weekly in effort to continually monitor the impact the virus, legislation, regulations and social distancing are having on our industry. All industry employees are encouraged to join the ARA Coronavirus Discussion Group on Facebook to engage in discussion and understand how others are coping during this time.

─ March 19 ─

Hillhead, Plantworx Postponed

Hillhead Quarry ShowOrganizers have postponed the Hillhead biennial quarrying, construction and recycling event – one of the biggest trade shows in its sector worldwide. Also put back is the U.K.’s Plantworx construction equipment show

In a statement the Hillhead organizers, said, “In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Hillhead 2020 is being postponed by 12 months.”

Hillhead event director Richard Bradbury added, “The health and safety of exhibitors, visitors, contractors and employees is our number one priority and with the peak of the epidemic predicted to coincide with the show in June, this would be severely compromised.

“Following an extensive consultation process, the decision has been taken to delay the event by a year to allow market conditions to stabilize and to best support the construction and quarrying industry during this challenging period.”

Also, following industry consultation, Plantworx – previously scheduled for next year – will be put back a year.

“Whilst we are, of course, reluctant to change our plans for Plantworx 2021, these are unprecedented times,” said Rob Oliver, chief executive of the Construction Equipment Association. “In the interests of both our sets of exhibitors and the industry, we will shortly announce our new dates for the next Plantworx in June 2022 at our Peterborough home.’

Organizers were anticipating approximately 20,000 visitors and 545 exhibitors at Hillhead. More than 60 live demonstrations of equipment were also planned.

In February the show announced that a record-breaking 550 exhibitors had confirmed for the event and, a month, earlier had announced expansion plans at the venue near Buxton, Derbyshire, England.

─ March 19 ─

 A Message to NFPA Members About COVID-19

 Eric Lanke, president and CEO of the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), issued a statement concerning the Coronavirus and how it is affecting NFPA meetings and events.

“With the recent travel bans, event cancellations, and school closings, concerns about Coronavirus are top of mind for everyone. During this time of uncertainty, NFPA and its partners are monitoring developments and taking steps in accordance with CDC recommendations to ensure a safe and healthy environment for members, instructors, students, and other industry guests who plan to participate in upcoming events hosted or supported by NFPA.

“At this time, no federal restrictions are in place to prevent meetings and travel within the United States. As long as this is the case, we are continuing our preparations for our upcoming member events as usual, including the June NFPA/FPIC Regional Conference in Minneapolis and the 2020 Industry & Economic Outlook Conference in August in Oak Brook, Ill.

“However, due to circumstances surrounding some of our partner organizations, such as schools, a number of events organized or supported by NFPA have been affected.”

Among those events affected are a range of Fluid Power Action Challenge events, Workforce Events and Standards meetings.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and keep members informed of event suspensions, cancellations, and other changes,” Lanke  concluded.

A full list of affected events can be seen here.

─ March 19 ─

JCB A Possible Virus “Helper”

JCB has been approached by the U.K. government to assess the possible production of ventilators to help treat Coronavirus patients.

The news comes as the company announced it is halting production for the rest of this week and the whole of next week at its nine manufacturing plants in Staffordshire and Derbyshire, England and Wrexham, Wales.

The U.K.’s health secretary called major U.K. companies last week, also including Rolls-Royce, to discuss the possibility of them making medical equipment to help cope with the rise in virus sufferers. The U.K. government is reported to have asked manufacturers, who are able, to “turn their engineering minds and production lines to making them”.

JCB confirmed it has been approached by the U.K. prime minister and said it has research and engineering teams actively looking at the request.

“We have been approached by the prime minister to see if we can help with the production of ventilators,” said JCB Chairman Lord Bamford. “We have research and engineering teams actively looking at the request at the moment. It’s unclear as yet if we can assist, but as a British company, we will do whatever we can to help during the unprecedented times our country is facing.”

─ March 19 ─

DAF Comes To A Halt

Netherlands-headquartered DAF Trucks has temporarily shut down production at three factories.

In a statement the company said: “Due to the Coronavirus and the decision of governments to close down countries, there is a shortage of parts for the production of trucks. In addition, production workers are concerned about possible Corona contamination at work. For these reasons, DAF Trucks has decided to temporarily shut down production at its sites in Eindhoven (Netherlands), Westerlo (Belgium) and Leyland (England).

“Naturally, customers throughout Europe can continue to count on the service of DAF and its dealers. DAFaid and DAF’s ITS International Truck Service will remain available 24/7 and the supply of parts via PACCAR Parts will also remain guaranteed.”

DAF Trucks N.V. is one of Europe’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturers and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. commercial vehicle and engine builder Paccar Inc., whose brands also include Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.

─ March 19 ─

Haulotte Halts French Trio

France’s Haulotte Group, whose products include aerial work platforms, military vehicles and telehandlers, has announced the temporary shutdown of all of its French manufacturing facilities at L’Horme, Creusot and Reims.

The company said that distribution and service activities are operational but added that it is “not in position, to date, to determine the global impact that this health crisis of unprecedented proportions will have on our industrial, commercial and financial performance.”

As well as the French factories the company has other sites in Arges, Romania, Changzhou, China and Archbold, Ohio, in the U.S.

 ─ March 18 ─

Kohler President Addresses Virus In Letter

While Kohler Co. has made no formal announcement of the status of its global manufacturing facilities concerning the Coronavirus, Kohler President and CEO David Kohler posted a letter on LinkedIn to Kohler customers, distributors and vendors. In part, the letter said:

David Kohler
David Kohler

“I want to take this opportunity to connect and assure you that we are continuing to move with speed and fluidity in our aggressive measures to minimize the spread of the virus. At the onset of the outbreak, we assembled a global Incident Management Team (IMT) to understand the best science and implement the best practices in this evolving dynamic situation. We are providing clear centralized guidelines and support while relying on our site leaders to take ownership to drive the proper course of action within their organizations.

“While this is an immense humanitarian challenge for the world, our teams in China and South Korea have shown us that this virus can be contained if disciplined action is implemented swiftly and consistently. This is the spirit and approach in which we are managing all our offices and operations and our associates are working diligently. We are doing everything we can to provide a high level of service, while ensuring the health and safety of our associates, customers and business partners. At present, our global service levels are quite good, but the landscape can shift quickly so we are prepared with business continuity plans for all facilities.”

Kohler has domestic engine and generator manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and Mississippi, as well as in Reggio Emilia, Italy (engines), Liverpool, England (Clarke Energy), Brest, France (SDMO generators), Chongqing (engines) and Changzhou (generators), China, and Aurangabad, India (engines).

Read the complete letter here.

 ─ March 18 ─

 AVL Large Engine Tech Days Postponed

AVL announced that its Large Engine Tech Days 2020 will be postponed from April of this year to April of 2021.

In a statement, the company noted that “the coronavirus pandemic is profoundly changing the daily life of each and every one of us. As a globally active company constantly aware of its responsibility, AVL recognized the seriousness of the situation and immediately took several measures that are necessary to protect our employees and, of course, our customers and suppliers.

“Due to these far-reaching precautionary measures and the strict regulations of the Austrian Federal Government, the AVL Large Engine Tech Days 2020 scheduled for April this year unfortunately have to be postponed to 2021.”

The final 2021 dates are April 21-22, 2021.

─ March 18 ─

Scania To Stop Production In Europe

Scania said it plans to stop operations at most of its European production units on Wednesday, March 25 due to component shortages and the major disruptions that have occurred in the supplier and logistics chain as a result of the spread of COVID-19 in Europe.

“To ensure our customers’ vitally important transports for society, our service workshops and parts centres will continue their operations,” said Scania’s President and CEO Henrik Henriksson.

At present, Scania expects to resume production within two weeks. Scania staff directly affected by the planned production shutdown are employees at the group’s plants in Sweden, the Netherlands and France. Scania is in close dialogue with the union representatives in order to jointly address the situation.

“The management and employee representatives both highly appreciate the state support measures that are now being made available in the countries where our staff now temporarily will lack work,” said Henriksson.

Scania’s industrial operations in Latin America, which account for about one-fifth of the company’s production volume, will still continue as planned.

─ March 18 ─

 JCB Stops Production

JCB is today stopping production at all of its U.K. manufacturing plants as disruption resulting from the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic causes an unprecedented reduction in global demand.

The company is halting production for the rest of this week and the whole of next week at its nine manufacturing plants in Staffordshire and Derbyshire, England and Wrexham, Wales.

Shop floor employees affected by the move will be paid in full during this period, the company said.  No decision has yet been taken on what happens from the week commencing Monday, March 30th and beyond. Office staff will continue to work a 39-hour week, with many working from home, in support of the Government’s social distancing policy.

JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “These measures are unprecedented in the history of JCB but are absolutely necessary to protect the business. As we continue to deal with the health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more challenging to maintain business continuity in this volatile economic climate.

“JCB is a global exporter and worldwide demand for our products has dropped sharply as customers cancel orders and defer deliveries. This is not just a U.K. issue, it is worldwide and with countries like France, Spain and Italy going into lockdown, those key markets for construction equipment disappear overnight.

“In light of this fast-changing situation, we need to re-plan our production and, as a result, manufacturing at all UK factories will cease for the rest of this week and all of next week. This will allow us to take stock of the situation, re-plan our order book, prioritize products that are definitely required by customers, and ensure parts and components are reassigned to support the production of these products.”

JCB’s plant in Pudong, near Shanghai, ceased production last month as the impact of the pandemic initially took hold. After several weeks of disruption, the factory is now fully operational again.

─ March 18 ─

Manitou Closes French Operations Unit March 31

Manitou groupManitou Group issued the following announcement.

In order to limit the expansion of COVID-19 and following the closure announcements received in the morning of March 17 by numerous partners, customers and suppliers, Manitou Group has decided to close its operations in France as from today 1 pm until March 31. This provision concerns all French operations, excluding spare parts, customer support and some central functions.

The group is currently unable to determine the overall impact that this crisis will have on the financial full year.

─ March 18 ─

Cummins Outlines COVID Measures

Cummins has implemented a range of measures regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and said it is monitoring the situation along with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, as well as local, state and federal governments.

The company said it has activated its Global Crisis Response Team to ensure, it said, that it is “taking appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers.”

Companywide measures include:

-Supply Chain teams continuing to host daily meetings and working to mitigate any current and potential impact to its global supply chain, including dual sourcing for critical materials and working with logistics providers to ensure delivery and more.

-Implementing increased “rigorous” hygiene and cleaning procedures at plants, tech centers, branches, logistics centers and offices, including shared technician tools and the devices it uses to service customer equipment.

-Issuing guidelines for customers and suppliers who visit its facilities and asking employees, customers and suppliers to “exercise vigilance and transparency when planning their visit to prevent any unintended exposure to the virus by reviewing a series of screening questions.”

-Implementing a domestic and international air travel restriction and other  region-specific travel restrictions through April 15.

─ March 18 ─

Daimler Measures In Response To COVID-19

Due to the worsening situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Daimler Group decided March 17 to suspend the majority of its production in Europe, as well as work in selected administrative departments, for an initial period of two weeks. By taking this action, the company said it is following the recommendations of international, national and local authorities.

The suspension applies to Daimler’s car, van and commercial vehicle plants in Europe and will start this week. Connected to this is an assessment of global supply chains, which currently cannot be maintained to their full extent. An extension of this measure will depend on further developments. Wherever operations need to be continued, the company will take appropriate precautions to prevent the infection of its employees.

With these closures, Daimler is helping to protect its workforce, to interrupt chains of infection and to contain the spread of the pandemic. At the same time, this will help the company to prepare for a period of temporarily lower demand and to protect its financial strength.

Given the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the economic effects on Daimler cannot be adequately determined or reliably quantified at this time.

Daimler’s management said it is monitoring the situation constantly and will take further measures as required. Full operations will be resumed when the situation improves.

─ March 18 ─

Virus Fears Hit Volvo

The full financial impact of the COVID-19 epidemic is being felt with Volvo revealing that the virus is likely to hit its bottom line.

In a statement it said, “The consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting the Volvo Group, and there is a considerable risk of a material financial impact on the Group as from mid-March.

“The Volvo Group and its suppliers are continuously working to minimize any consequences for customers and mitigating the impact on the Group.”

For more, click here.

─ March 18 ─

OTC To Be Rescheduled

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), originally scheduled for May 4-7, has been postponed until fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, show organizers said, “The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) recognizes the unprecedented global challenge associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our partners, attendees, exhibitors, staff, and community are of the utmost importance, and our hearts go out to all who have been affected.

Considering the rapidly changing guidance from governments and companies, OTC has chosen to postpone the conference from 4–7 May to the third quarter 2020. We are actively working to confirm dates in August or September.”

For more information, click here.

─ March 18 ─

SaMoTer Rescheduled To September

SaMoTer and Asphaltica – the two trade shows at Veronafiere, Italy, dedicated to construction equipment and the bitumen and road infrastructure sector – scheduled in Verona May 16-20 have now been re-scheduled to October 21-25 due to the coronavirus together with ICCX Southern Europe, the precast exhibition-conference.

These events will now be held alongside Oil&nonOil, the energy, fuel and mobility services trade fair scheduled October 21-23.

“The new postponement agreed upon is consequently the result of real time listening to the market and careful assessments,” said Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere. “We took into account the need to ensure safety in health terms and safeguard the important investments planned by companies taking part. This unity of intent with stakeholders once again highlights the sector’s confidence in the capacity of the trade fair system to support it and be a tool for relaunching the sector, even in times of great crisis such as those we are currently experiencing.”

─ March 18 ─

Virus Impacts Marine Certification

COVID-19 has also impacted on the work of the International Marine Certification Institute (IMCI) which certifies watercraft and their components, including engines, to European Union standards.

It said its inspectors and the staff of the IMCI office have today switched to “smart-working-mode” in order to prevent any further spread of this virus adding that this will mean processing will take longer than usual.

The core business of Brussels, Belgium-based IMCI is the CE-certification of watercraft and their components according to the Recreational Craft Directive of the European Union.

In addition, it has other certification programs in this market segment, such as the certification of components according to the standards of the American Boat and Yacht Council and watercraft according the National Marine Manufacturers Association) requirements, both for the U.S. market.

─ March 18 ─

Vibration Symposium Rescheduled

Due to the serious development in connection with COVID-19 and the latest decrees of the Austrian Government, the Vibration Association announced that the Torsional Vibration Symposium will is being rescheduled to May 17-19, 2021.

Those who have already paid the registration fee are automatically registered for the new date in 2021. In case you cannot participate in 2021, participation fee refunds will be provided within the next few months.

The Torsional Vibration Symposium is held in Salzburg, Austria. For more information, click here.

─ March 18 ─

Denso Cuts Visits

Denso said it has put a contingency plan in place to protect its workforce, customers and suppliers in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It said that all employees, including Denso’s customer service team, are available and can be contacted on their usual e-mail addresses and phone numbers; however, regretfully, the company said its sales and technical staff are not permitted to undertake customer visits at this time.

A spokesperson said: “With recent World Health Organization and Government announcements, it is clear that the COVID-19 situation is set to have a profound impact on everyday life in the UK and Ireland, as well as across the globe in the short to medium-term at least.

“Whilst we are determined to protect our own staff and mitigate the risk of contracting the virus as much as possible, we have always prioritized customer support at Denso and will continue to do so in these uncertain times.”

The company, which supplies advanced automotive components and technology, said it will release further updates as the situation develops, but, in the meantime, customers can contact the company if they have any questions.

Diesel Progress’ sister KHL publication, International Construction, has published an extensive report on the COVID-19 impacts on the construction industry. The full report can be found here.

Highlights of that report include:

French Contractors Call For 10-Day Halt The French contractors’ association Federation Française du Bâtiment (FFB) has requested a 10-day stop to construction in the country to allow the industry to prepare safety measures for construction workers. Read full story here.

Off-Highway Research Comment On China: “China is slowly returning to normal. Factories are coming back to full production and there is an expectation that travel restrictions will start to ease up soon. The Government is already taking lots of steps to stimulate the economy such as relaxing credit rules and allowing Provincial Governments to issue more bonds.”

Komatsu Sales In China: Komatsu has revealed that sales of excavators (6t class and above) in China fell by 35% year-on-year in January and by 67% in February.

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