Merlo plans manufacturing revolution with a modular approach
Merlo's range of compact handlers signals switch to modular production
Italy’s Merlo Group is part way through a dramatic transformation project which will see the telehandler manufacturer switch to a modular production model for its complete range of machines.
According to president Amilcare Merlo, the company has already invested Euro100m in the project and expects to spend more. “We are at the middle of the river: we have to get to the other side,” Merlo told a press conference at Intermat 2015. “People believe in what we are doing and for me that is the most important thing.” Merlo added that although 2014 had been a tough year, it had ended well. “It has been a very difficult year for us all together but I am very happy because we closed in a very positive way in terms of finance,” said Merlo. The first signs of Merlo’s transition to modular manufacture were on show at Intermat: the new range of compact telehandlers P 33.7 and P 30.9 which will go into production in the fourth quarter of 2015 and a new medium duty range of compact models: the P34.7, P35.7 and the P33.9. “It has had a 360-degree impact on our plant and on our organisation,” said Merlo marketing director Matteo Bendetto. He explained that increased automation at the plant would deliver a better quality of machine to the customer. Additionally, modularisation would simplify maintenance, and reduce the number of parts making service faster and more efficient. Under the new regime, customers will also be able to pick from a menu of options. “For the first time we can offer suspended cans on small machines,” says Bendetto. The new modular machines will benefit from a number of other features: totally remodelled cabs over 1m wide; Eco Power Drive to reduce fuel consumption; a simplified engine layout to aid maintenance; CANbus system; Tac-Lock system for safe and quick attachment changes; the suspended cab; and the Merlo Transversal Stability System (MTSS). MTSS was awarded an Intermat Gold Innovation award from the MTSS in the Engineering and Systems category. “To win a prize in this exhibition is very important,” said Merlo. “It’s important for the managers and for the family...it confirms that we are heading the right way.”