Local With A Long Lifespan

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Forklift driver Lucas Maela on-site at Avis Forklifts

Vesconite’s tailor made forklift components extend the life of the machines they are used in – and they’re available locally

Cheaper, more readily available and long-lasting. That’s how Garry Davies, operations manager at Avis Forklifts, describes the Vesconite products he uses in the company’s machines. “I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about Vesconite and their offering is certainly cheaper than other bearings,” he says.

Avis Forklifts, no relation to the Avis car rental business, is a family business started in 1970 with just two forklifts. The business today includes a fleet of forklifts across the country available for long and short-term rental, second-hand units available for sale, as well as forklift repairs. 

For good measure, customers can also learn how to drive a forklift at the Jet Park head office in Gauteng and receive the appropriate certification. The business has a BBEE level 2 certification.

Three stages in a forklift’s life

Garry explains there are three areas to their business corresponding to the three stages in a forklift’s life:

  • New models are rented out for the long term (60 months)
  • Older models are available for short-term rentals
  • Units no longer available for rental are sold as second-hand models

Rental contracts include service and maintenance. “We give our customers a fixed-rate rental and we are responsible for all the repairs and maintenance,” Garry adds. 

It’s a win-win situation for customers because they know exactly what they will be getting and paying over the next five years. “Accountants love it because they know what the company will be paying.

“Buy a machine and you have no idea of what the costs could be, when the unit will need a service, or the engine or brakes will require an overhaul. Rent at a fixed rate with a service contract and you don’t need to budget for an additional, unknown amount. The only extra costs you might incur are accidental costs and damages,” he comments. 

There’s an added benefit to taking care of the maintenance. “Because we’ve serviced the forklifts when they were used as rental models, we know their history and have a full maintenance and repair record. So when we sell units second hand, the customer knows exactly what they are getting and we know we are selling a quality product.”

Keeping maintenance costs under control

Long-term contracts are good business because they offer a regular income, but if too much is spent on servicing and parts, costs rise and profits fall. “We need to give a good service and keep the unit in good condition, but we also need to keep an eye on costs as our income is fixed,” Garry notes.

This can be a challenge because forklifts can do as much as fifteen thousand operating hours. “Many customers work 300 hours plus a month,” Garry elaborates. With these kinds of workloads maintenance costs can stack up which is why using Vesconite components is a natural choice. They don’t rust, don’t require lubrication, and are easily available. In short, when they’re in, they work forever. 

“Local agents don’t always have parts available. Forklifts mainly come from China or Europe and bearings and related items for these units are not kept as stock on the shelf here in South Africa. Vesconite bearings and parts are readily available so we can repair immediately.”

Vesconite development engineer and consultant Calvin Mpofu, who notes that Vesconite lasts 10 times longer than bronze in dirty, unlubricated conditions and doesn’t swell or soften in water.

Exceptional performance

Because the bearings are chiefly on the lower section of the forklift they come into contact with the ground, which is often wet and dusty. Metal components rust, requiring frequent servicing and parts replacement.

“Our Hilube components are a thermopolymer,”  says Vesconite development engineer and consultant, Calvin Mpofu, so rust isn’t an issue. “Vesconite Hilube is particularly suited to operating in wet conditions. Combining low friction and low wear properties, these components perform exceptionally well under high loads in difficult operating environments.”

Calvin says Vesconite lasts 10 times longer than bronze in dirty, unlubricated conditions and doesn’t swell or soften in water. It also has a much lower wear rate than nylon which leaves only one possible argument against using it – it may not be an OEM part.

Garry refutes this argument. “OEM parts can be expensive. Vesconite offers a cheaper option at as good or better quality.” He says most customers aren’t brand conscious – they want something that works. Vesconite does. 

Avis Forklifts uses Vesconite retainer stubs in the bottom, as well as top and bottom side-shift wear pads.  “With Vesconite we get something that is damned good and outlasts most other products. Our technicians say that once they fit a Vesconite product they don’t need to worry about it.”

He adds that the components can be tailor made, something Vesconite is known for, so each part is for a specific purpose on a specific machine.

Vesconite may not be the cheapest option available, but Garry says it’s also not the most expensive. “It’s not more expensive if it’s doing 50% more.”

Which is why it is a perfect fit. 

About Vesconite forklift applications

Forklifts are indispensable in manufacturing or warehousing environments, and Vesconite has developed a number of applications using its low-friction, high-load-capacity, wear-resistant polymers to ensure that they keep on running smoothly. 

Vesconite’s successful forklift applications include gantry support bearings, tilt cylinder bushings, side-shift pads, mast pivot bushings, lever and pedal bushings, king pin bushings and steer axle articulation bushings.

Calvin Mpofu, vesconite@vesconite.com