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Manitou moves in Italy

Manitou Construzione Industriali (MCI) recently held the official opening day of its new telehandler assembly facility at its new location in Castelfranco, Emilia Province, Italy. The 36,000 square metre facility, currently occupied by a 166-strong workforce, comprises an 18,600 square metre covered area, 2000 square metres of office space and is now Manitou’s second largest production facility.

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MCI's new 36,000 square metre assembly facility.

The new €17 million (UK£11.83 million) factory will retain a focus on the assembly and distribution of Manitou’s 25-strong Maniscopic telescopic forklift line, comprising the MRT rotation machines, the MHT heavy-duty forklifts and the MVT range of hydraulic transmission machines. Approximately 1380 machines rolled off of MCI’s assembly lines last year, but the company prefers a figure closer to the 1300 mark for 2003, while retaining a new model development rate of two to three machines per year and a 2000 units per year maximum output at the new facility. Of Manitou’s Group turnover of €676 million (£470 million) last year, MCI and the Italian operation was accountable for approximately €96.2 million (£67 million).

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Ricco Magni, MCI CEO (second from right), and Marcel Braud, MCI vice president (far left), join members of the Manitou board for the official opening of MCI's new Castelfranco facility.

Space has also been allocated on the new Castelfranco assembly lines for three brand new Maniscopic telehandler models, introduced for the first time at the facility’s opening, and also publicly exhibited for the first time at the corresponding SAIE exhibition in Bologna.

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Approximately 1300 units will have been assembled at the new MCI facility by the end of the year. Pictured is the MRT assembly line.

Arguably the most significant introduction was what is now Manitou’s largest telehandler, the MRT 2540 Turbo. The machine provides a 25 metre lift height, which MCI CEO, Riccardo Magni, believes is only the second 25 metre machine to be produced, behind only one of the company’s fellow Italy-based telehandler manufacturers. The 4 tonne lift capacity unit falls into what Manitou has dubbed its ‘three-in-one’ range due to each machine’s capacity to be used as either a telehandler, rough terrain crane or access platform, depending on which attachment option is in use. The use of Weldox 700 steel has also allowed for a new light steel boom system.

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The new 25 metre lift height MRT 2540 Turbo is now Manitou's highest reaching telehandler.

Also introduced were the MVT 665T and 675T hydraulic transmission, heavy duty industrial Maniscopics. Both machines have 6 metre maximum lift heights, but vary by a 6.5 tonne lift capacity and a 7.5 tonne lift capacity as suggested by the allocated names. Both models feature 4-wheel drive and steer, are powered by a Perkins 1004.40 Turbo(106 horsepower) diesel engine and boast reinforced chassis’ to allow for a heavier boom.

While acknowledging the stricter regime in the UK that currently shapes the use of telehandlers as alternatives to cranes and access platforms, compared to mainland Europe, Marcel Braud, vice president of MCI, estimates that up to 20 of its bigger Maniscopic industrial telehandlers will have been delivered to UK shores by the end of the year, and feels confident that the figure will be improved upon in 2004, which will be only the company’s fourth year in the UK with the heavier duty concept machines.