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New UK articulated forklift promises market shake-up

The UK articulated forklift market faces it biggest potential upset in years as a new entrant makes its debut with truck prices that could undercut its three rivals by up to 30%. The company is MiMA, founded in China 27 years ago and offering a broad range of electric handling trucks, tow tractors and specials, like die-handling trucks of up to 30t lift capacity. This last expertise is what particularly attracted Wilmat Ltd, newly appointed UK agent for MiMA, who produce similar specials but only up to 15 t capacity. They will be handling the MiMA articulated product range roll out across the UK and Ireland in the second half of this year.

MiMA developed its articulated forklift range last year with rated capacities between 1500 kg and 3,000 kg but only the 2,000 kg model will be available in the UK at present in two versions: 1) narrow aisle up to 10mt lift in safe working aisle width of 1.9mt (800mm x1200mm pallet) and 2) a wider version for 2.1mt aisle widths. All models will be electric only with lithium offered as an option. There is optional fingertip control with the hydraulic steering.

Wilmat is currently looking for UK and Irish agents to sell and service in their areas. Truck provision will be through a range of options, including purchase, lease purchase, long-term contract hire with full maintenance and short- term hire.

While the articulated MiMA trucks will be the flagship of Wilmat’s new Chinese venture, its product profile will be greatly enhanced by other MiMA trucks, including reach, electric pallet trucks, stackers, tow tractors, counterbalance forklifts, order pickers, stand on and seated man-down VNA trucks and sideloaders, both stand-on and seated.

When articulated forklifts first appeared on the UK market in any meaningful form back in the 1980s the perception was that they were expensive in relation to reach trucks, a hopelessly wrong approach to truck comparison values because it underestimated the productivity gains and huge savings from interface costs like rent, rates, utilities, truck numbers and servicing that the artics’ versatility ensured. The true cost of any forklift is its life-cycle costs in which productivity rates play a key role. No other type of forklift has transformed warehouse economics so much. In certain circumstances where the space they save in a main warehouse allows the closure of satellite warehouses the added savings in transport costs could yield truck paybacks in under one year.


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