When it comes to material handling equipment, there's durable, and then there's durable. Portec's Power Belt curve clearly qualifies as one of the latter. The CaÃ±on City, Colo.-based conveyor maker says one of its Power Belt units is still going strong after 37 years of operation in a DC run by Owens Corning Fiberglass in Newark, Ohio.
The curve was installed on a packaging line in 1973 and has been in nearly continuous operation ever since, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 51 weeks a year. During that time, it has moved more than 2 million tons of material—in temperatures ranging from -15 degrees to over 120 degrees. Although the curve is still in good working order, it is scheduled for an upgrade because of its age.
Apparently, it's not an isolated case: Portec says that during a recent tour of the Newark facility, Owens Corning engineers found two more Power Belt curves that have been operating under similar conditions since 1971.
Another "oldie but goodie" is the lift truck on display in the rotunda of the Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM) plant in Columbus, Ind. The vehicle, the first Toyota lift truck sold in the United States, was purchased in 1967 by California grape farmer Charles Anderson.
At the time Toyota Material Handling (USA) discovered the forklift was still operating, the machine had been in continuous outdoor service for 30 years. Toyota offered to buy the truck, but Anderson was reluctant to give it up, according to the company. Former TMHU Chairman and CEO Shankar Basu stepped in to negotiate, and Anderson was eventually persuaded to trade in the old workhorse for a new forklift manufactured at TIEM.