Wednesday, November 23, 2016

7 Years of Change - One Warranty: Stärke Manual Pallet Jack

What does a warranty say about a manufacturer’s faith in its products?  At Stärke, we believe a well-backed warranty provides a strong indication about the quality of our equipment and the strength of our commitment to customers and dealers alike.  Without this commitment, we wouldn’t offer an industry-leading, 7 year warranty on our manual pallet jacks.  This is something we do without concern for lost revenues or profits. 

Just to illustrate this point, I would like you to think back and consider all that’s occurred over the past 7 years, beginning with the year 2009.  What was going on in the world?  What were we watching in movie theaters?  What was happening on television?  What music were we listening to?

If you’re having difficulty remembering, let’s consider a few points:
  • With the 2016 election cycle in full swing, it’s worth noting that it wasn’t until February of 2009 that Barrack Obama finished his first 100 days in the White House after taking office in November of the previous year as the U.S. made history by electing the first African-American president in U.S. history.
  •  In 2009, a housing crisis in the U.S. combined with financial instability brought about the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression.
  • H1N1 or the “swine flu” was seen as the next great pandemic causing a panic and fear across North America.
  • Theatre audiences flocked to see the latest film in the Harry Potter series with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince while the adults watched a worthy Best Film of the Year winner in The Hurt Locker.
  • In living across the North America, captive television audiences watched the first full season of Breaking Bad and the beginning of the end for Walter White, looked on as the Draper family began to disintegrate on Mad Men, and scratched their heads in confusion as the mysteries of Lost were finally revealed.
  • In the world of sports, two of the most iconic franchises in North American sports – the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Lakers – won yet another championship to the delight and dismay of many. In the NHL, Sydney Crosby finally fulfilled his potential and won his first Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins while boxing fans saw Floyd Mayweather, Jr. return from retirement for a second time to face Juan Manuel Marquez.
  • Both Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber were beloved symbols of youthful innocence.
  • Teenagers and celebrities had yet to become hooked on the social media phenomenon that has become Snap Chat.  
As you can see, a lot can happen and change over a 7 year period.  So, if you're in need of a manual pallet jack, choose a Stärke, where you'll find that some things never change.  The holds true for all of our equipment, where our warranties stand above the competition.  

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Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352

Friday, November 11, 2016

Does Manual Lift Equipment Still Fit in the Modern Workplace?

With the leaves beginning to turn and the start of the school year long since past, we’ve decided to go back to the basics with an article on the most basic forms of material handling equipment: manual or hand-powered lifts and equipment.  At this point, you may ask yourself: why devote an entire article to such a topic?  After all, few fundamental changes have occurred to the basic designs or operation of these units for over 50 years. 

It's true that despite a long history with roots dating back to the industrial revolution – or, maybe, because of it – manual material handling equipment is often glossed over in favor of more advanced, powered units.  But this lack of attention belies the importance of manual lift equipment in many industrial and retail work environments.  Should you have an occasion to visit a nearby warehouse, manufacturing facility or retail operation, I challenge you to find one without a manual lift in some form or another, whether it is a manual pallet jack, manual straddle stacker or otherwise.

This is because manual lifts are, and will continue to be, an essential part of warehousing and logistics for any number of reasons.  The first, and perhaps most important, is the simplistic yet effective manner in which they were designed to function.  Due, in large part, to the absence of complicated moving parts – such as those found in an electric motor – manual lifts do not require extensive training or maintenance to operate on a regular basis, which make them ideal introductory units for low volume applications and/or inexperienced operators.  Rather than manually move boxes, loads or equipment to avoid the additional costs associated with powered units, manual lift equipment provides a simple and effective material handling solution.

This brings us to the second reason that manual lift equipment refuses to gently fade into the background: the cost.  For operations or businesses early in their development, or for those with low volume needs, it makes little sense to make an investment in a powered lift that isn’t completely necessary.  Without sacrificing functionality or quality, manual equipment options provide a solution with low acquisition and operational costs for the lifetime of the equipment.  Beyond regular lubrication and inspections, these units require little attention in most applications and may last decades longer than their powered counterparts.  

As you can see, there are many reasons to consider using manual lift equipment but, it should be noted, a major caveat applies to any point made regarding the cost of this equipment.  Despite the lower cost of ownership, there is an opportunity cost to be considered with these units, especially for higher volume operations, where faster and more efficient electric models offer greater throughput, productivity and efficiency, all of which are directly correlated with overall profitability.  In such instances, the added productivity of an electric unit more than justify the greater costs associated with their acquisition, operation and maintenance.

If many of these points remind you of your business or operation, consider Stärke Material Handling Group for your next equipment purchase. Our offering of manual material handling equipment includes a range of manual pallet jacks, as well as a manual and semi electric straddle stackers.  We would also like to know how you view manual lift equipment?  Will it continue to have a prominent place in the workplace as we continue the process of industrial automation?  Leave a comment below and join the conversation! 

Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Accident Report: Electric Pallet Jack Vs. Transport Truck Near Atlanta, GA

The incident occurred when an electric pallet jack was being relocated in a 52’ transport truck trailer by a local beer distributor near Atlanta, Georgia in September of 2016.  At one point during the trip, the truck’s driver was forced to come to complete stop to avoid an accident with another vehicle. 

As the transport truck came to a sudden stop, the Stärke LiftMaxx PT45WAX electric pallet truck maintained its velocity and flew towards the front of the transport truck at 65mph.  The PT45 generated enough force it completely removed the nose of the trailer from both the floor and roof.  The damage to the trailer was severe and would likely be written off.

Uncertain about the condition of the PT45, the customer called their local Stärke Material Handling authorized dealer, Lanier Lift, a local Stärke dealership based out of Buford, GA to service the unit and conduct a post-accident inspection.  According to Brian Harmon, customer service representative at Lanier Lift, and a former lift mechanic with decades of experience, the Stärke LiftMaxx PT45WAX was able to go back to the distributor the same day despite experiencing what amounted to a fall from a four story building.  In fact, the damage to the PT45WAX was entirely cosmetic, amounting to a small crack in the rear cover and some minor scratches to the paint.

“Try that with any other pallet jack… ANY other pallet jack and it would be completely destroyed!  All this unit required was a new cover and some paint – nothing to it.  Now that is true quality!” explained Brian Harmon.

This incident demonstrates that Stärke equipment is designed and manufactured to provide high quality and durable equipment for even the toughest applications.  This is particularly the case with the PT45WAX, which utilizes durable metal parts for the essential components (unlike the lower quality plastic parts used by many competitors), a rugged steel frame, corrosion-resistant Zinc Dichromate fittings, and Stärke system of “constant stability”.  For more information or to demo a unit for yourself, please visit Stärke online or find a local dealer near you!

For more information or to demo a unit for yourself, please visit us online or find a local dealer near you!

Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stärke Material Handling Group Ranks No. 452 on the 2016 PROFIT 500

Thorold, Ontario (September 15, 2016) Canadian Business and PROFIT today ranked Stärke Material Handling Group no. 452 on the 28th annual PROFIT 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Published in the October issue of Canadian Business and at, the PROFIT 500 ranks Canadian businesses by their five-year revenue growth.

For the 2nd straight year, Stärke Material Handling Group made the 2016 PROFIT 500 list by recording a substantial five-year growth rate. Over the last 5 years, Stärke established a large network of independent dealerships throughout the U.S. and Canada and introduced one of the most comprehensive lineups of material handling equipment in the industry.

“Companies become a part of the PROFIT 500 through innovative thinking, smart strategy and sheer grit,” says James Cowan, Editor-in-chief of PROFIT and Canadian Business. “These firms demonstrate what Canadian entrepreneurs can achieve, both at home and across the globe.”

“Stärke Material Handling Group is honored to be on the PROFIT 500 ranking,” says Jim Chesla, VP of Stärke Material Handling Group. “This achievement demonstrates the hard work and dedication of organization, as well as the strength of our product line in markets that truly appreciate the value of peace of mind at a fair price.”

Stärke Material Handling Group is a Canadian owned and operated company manufacturing forklifts, lift trucks, electric utility vehicles and material handling equipment. Stärke’s moto says a lot about who they are - and what they represent: Because it makes sense to expect peace of mind at a fair price. Stärke Material Handling Group also earned recognition in 2016 as one of the top green material handling service providers as part of Food Logistics 2016 Top Green Providers List.

About PROFIT and
PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success is Canada’s preeminent media brand dedicated to the management issues and opportunities facing small and mid-sized businesses. For 34 years, Canadian entrepreneurs across a vast array of economic sectors have remained loyal to PROFIT because it’s a timely and reliable source of actionable information that helps them achieve business success and get the recognition they deserve for generating positive economic and social change. Visit PROFIT online at

About Canadian Business
Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving, best-selling and most-trusted business publication in the country. With a total brand readership of more than 1.1 million, it is the country's premier media brand for executives and senior business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada's business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. We provide concrete examples of business achievement, thought-provoking analysis and compelling storytelling, all in an elegant package with bold graphics and great photography. Canadian Business—what leadership looks like.

Stärke Material Handling Group - because it makes sense to expect peace of mind at a fair price

Media contact

Justin Engel, Marketing Specialist, Stärke Material Handling Group,, 1-877-435-4352, ext 230

Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352

Friday, August 26, 2016

Looking to Acquire New Material Handling Equipment? Consider Lease and Financing!

When acquiring a new piece of material handling equipment, businesses have unparalleled access to a wide range of financing options from equipment manufacturers and financing companies alike.  With so many options available, most of the barriers that previously prevented companies from acquiring new equipment are no longer an issue.  In fact, lease agreements now account for approximately 50% of all new acquisitions, demonstrating the utility and attractiveness of modern financing options ( expects this number to rise up to 64% over the next 10 years).  Viewed from this perspective, the proliferation of financing options represents a panacea of sorts, opening up opportunities for more businesses to benefit from new equipment without overly burdensome monthly payments or sacrificing the flexibility needed for continued growth.  

Keep in mind, however, that the expanding range and complexity of financing options also creates a degree of uncertainty and hesitancy for businesses that are unfamiliar with the available options.  Amidst the confusion, it can be easy to forget about the intended purpose of all of these options – providing financing solutions that are uniquely suited to your business’s needs and direction.  Developing a comprehensive understanding of a business’s unique needs, and the challenges of the application, then, is a critical first step during the selection process.  This principal also applies to the financial arrangements used to acquire the equipment – whether purchased outright, rented, leased or financed.

Among the most important factors to consider are the overall intensity and usage projections for the application, the projected growth and development of the business, and the nature of any previous financial commitments or arrangements.  Each of these factors should feature prominently in any decisions regarding new equipment acquisitions.

Usage and Application

Both the usage rates and the nature of an application are important considerations during the equipment acquisition process.  The rates of most lease and rental arrangements, for example, depend upon the number of hours put on a piece of equipment and the environmental conditions present at a work site.  As the projected number of hours increase and the applications become more challenging, monthly rates tend to increase at a proportional rate.  As a result, it is paramount that your usage predictions are accurate in order to avoid paying more than necessary while avoiding the financial penalties that result from overtures. 

For businesses at either extreme, the financial life of the equipment make direct purchases the most sensible option.  Since most lease agreements place heavy restrictions on the maximum number of hours, operations at the high end of the spectrum could potentially exhaust the available hours well before the end of the agreement, rending the equipment unusable without substantial overtures and additional charges.  Meanwhile, a well-maintained forklift will last 10 – 20 years in a low usage application, well beyond its financial life.

Growth, Development and Financial Flexibility

For many businesses, the prospect of buying a new forklift represents a careful balancing act between their current needs and available capital on the one hand, and a desire to limit long-term commitments without leveraging growth on the other.  Instead of purchasing the equipment, we advise these businesses to pursue an operating lease agreement, as this provides the utility of ownership while maintaining the financial flexibility necessary for continued growth.  

With an operating lease, business owners are able to focus on the core aspects of their business as services like equipment maintenance, upkeep, and installation are generally included within the terms of the agreement.  What's more, this also helps to reduce financial uncertainty by eliminating unexpected expenses related to equipment use, which are covered under the lease agreement.  And, by claiming the monthly payments as an operating expense on your taxes, leased equipment may provide additional financial relief.

Still Confused? 

If you're still uncertain about which option best suits your business, reach out to your local Stärke dealer and request some information on the financing options available in your area. 

Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Advantages of AC Electric Motors in Material Handling Equipment

Beginning in the early 90’s, the growth and development of the AC – or alternating current – electric motor sparked a revolution in the material handling equipment industry. Once viewed as an option of last resort, AC motors have now emerged as a superior alternative to internal combustion or direct current (DC) motors for equipment in numerous applications. In particular, AC models are preferred in conditions that place a premium on air quality, including indoor manufacturing or warehousing facilities and factories within the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

As of 2013, electric forklifts represent more than 60% of the North American market, with even greater adoption rates in Europe. With the distinct advantages provided by AC motors – including limited noise, zero emissions and low maintenance – it is easy to see why there is so much consumer demand for AC units in today’s market.

The transition towards AC motors originally began with the introduction of the 3-phase AC brushless motor in the early 1990’s. Before then, most electric units featured DC motors, which generate power via direct contact between the brushes, commutator and rotator. The output of these DC motors was heavily dependent upon the size and durability of the brush, which limited efficiency and output of the unit. What’s more, the fragile brushes were easy to damage even under typical operating conditions, resulting in frequent brush replacements and regular maintenance.

The introduction of the 3-phase AC drive motor, however, resolved many of the issues previously associated with electric motors. Unlike DC motors, brushless AC motor use fixed rotator windings, which indirectly transfer electromagnetic current to the rotator to produce power with a series of magnets that pulse to produce rotation. By replacing the direct contact of the DC motor with the brushless operation of the AC motor, AC units now feature two very important improvements over previous iterations.

First, AC motors are now capable of handling significantly higher peak current, resulting in a dramatic increase in torque and speed while reducing the overall size of the unit. This, in turn, allows AC units quickly accelerate to full speed, thereby improving operator efficiency and productivity. Secondly, this change eliminates the need for a direct contact brush system, improving durability and reducing susceptibility to wearable damage. The result is a reliable unit that requires minimal maintenance or unnecessary downtime, as well a reduction in operational costs and improved productivity. In addition, the use of regenerative braking systems to recover the kinetic energy normally lost in deceleration to recharge the battery means that AC units remain productive for longer periods between changes. These qualities also make electric AC motors more environmentally friendly than many of the alternatives. AC electric motors produce less heat due to friction and no emissions and exhaust fumes. This helps to improve the overall air quality, reduces ambient noise and vibration, and limits damage to products.

For these reasons, Stärke Material Handling Group utilizes high efficiency AC motors throughout our line of forklifts and material handling equipment. Beyond the performance-based advantages listed above, our AC units are also more user-friendly than other, similar models. For example, most AC electric units from Stärke include a canBUS controller system capable of making precise, sensitive adjustments to forward/backward acceleration, drive and lifting speeds as AC drives control motor speed by changing the frequency of the electrical supply to the motor. An AC motor reduces power line disturbances, lowers power demand on start, offers controlled acceleration, controlled starting current, adjustable operation speed, and adjustable torque. This customization is not possible with a DC motor, as the individual magnets used in DC motors are incapable of moving in more than one direction at any given point in time (i.e., pushing or pulling), while AC motors are outfitted with multiple magnets capable of moving independently.

Programmable canBUS controllers are also responsible for several innovative safety features found throughout Stärke’s lineup of AC units. Consider the anti-rollback feature currently found in Stärke’s electric counter balanced forklifts that prevents the unit from rolling backwards on an incline once the operator releases the brake pedal. In a similar fashion, Stärke’s OPS30 order picker includes a feature that automatically reduces the unit’s speed in potentially dangerous situations such as operating the unit with an extended mast or taking sharp turns.

As one of the most comprehensive material handling solutions providers in the industry, Stärke offers a massive selection of AC units throughout our line of material handling equipment. The depth and variety of our line ensures that Stärke products can capably meet the challenges o f your material handling application. 

Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Avoid Product Damage and Improve the Efficiency of Your Warehouse

The urge to improve productivity and efficiency is an ever-present companion for anyone working in the fields of warehousing and supply chain management. This remains such a constant concern because, by increasing throughput and volume, a company opens up the possibility for increased growth and earning potential. With the direction and value of this concept a forgone conclusion, the issue becomes how to achieve the desired results.

Given the exorbitant capital investments required to increase or modify the available space of a given warehouse, many firms elect to improve productivity through more cost-effective options including the acquisition of new equipment and technologies. By replacing old and antiquated equipment with newer, better-equipped models, managers are able to reduce the time spent on certain tasks (time spent travelling between lifts, for example) while also reducing downtime and maintenance costs. A win-win situation, right?

Well, not so fast. While purchasing new equipment may eliminate certain inefficiencies present within an organization’s workflow, choosing the wrong equipment may also result in increased product damage. Losses due to product damage, in turn, offset the advantages of quicker, higher capacity equipment as large stacks and heavier loads are inherently less stable. To address this issue, many manufacturers utilize fixed stop supports on either side of pallet trucks and straddle stackers. Here, the fixed stops are supposed to prevent a significant deviation to either side in an attempt to stop loads from tipping as the vehicle turns. The problem with fixed stop supports, however, is their tendency to catch on uneven surfaces (older floors, dock plates, etc.) and bring the equipment to a sudden stop while the momentum of the load carries it forward onto the floor.

So, where does that leave our warehouse and supply chain managers? Or anyone else with material handling needs? Enter Stärke's LiftMaxx line of electric pallet trucks / jacks and straddle stackers and Stärke’s Continuous Stability System.

To avoid incidences of tipping and product damage, Stärke LiftMaxx equipment is equipped with a fixed drive wheel supported by two cantilevered, spring-loaded casters in constant contact with the ground, thereby supporting the stability of the lift truck and its load. With spring-loaded casters, the Continuous Stability System smoothly rolls over uneven surfaces without compromising the stability of the truck or its load. This system offers improved control over competitor fixed stop supports, which are positioned up off the ground and are susceptible to friction wear. 

PT30MXA PT40MXA pallet jack lifter
Stärke has created the most stable electric pallet truck on the market, offering added protection against product damage while in transit. With less than half the wearable parts of the competition, a Stärke electric pallet truck also offers fewer maintenance calls. An adjustable riser rod alters the height of your wheels with a simple nut adjustment, while offering ease of maintenance because of its simple, yet sturdy design. Stärke also uses metal components, rather than plastic, in many instances where our competitors do not; allowing for less wearable parts, and less down-time.

To illustrate the benefits of Stärke's Continuous Stability System, consider the case of a bottling plant. In a high volume operation with hundreds of employees and a fragile product, the chances of product damage are high. One of our dealer sales representatives, Brian Harmon out of Lift Inc. in Buford, GA, found out exactly what this means while presenting a demonstration of the Stärke PT45WAX AC electric walkie pallet truck.

The scene was one of hurried operators in a fast-paced distribution facility. Brian was speaking with the warehouse manager about the new Stärke PT45WAX. He had - seconds ago - finished explaining the Stärke Continuous Stability System (which comes standard on all electric pallet trucks) when an operator rounded a corner in front of them a little too sharply, and the competitor unit, fully stocked with several cases of beer, lost a few cases from the top layer, which fell from the load. The outcome was a loud crash on the concrete floor, and a resulting pool of beer.

“That wouldn’t happen with a Stärke, would it?” The manager stated sincerely, pointing at the mess, frowning over the loss.

Brian just shook his head. “No, sir.” He said, looking down in a moment of silence for the lost beer.

This story could have saved the company money rather than lost money with a Stärke AC pallet truck which does not depend on raised fixed stop supports to keep the truck from tipping, but rather cantilevered spring loaded casters, which have constant contact with the floor.

Local: (905)-227-7554  |  Toll free: 1-877-435-4352